Custom made hotel lobby furniture Like Swallowing a Baby

Some things just dont scale up. custom made hotel lobby furniture Take oysters, for example. The bite-sized oysterraw, baked, or broiled on the half shell, bubbled with cream in oyster stewis a delicious oyster.

The foot-long oysterthe size of the shellfish that used to flourish in old New York Harbors pristine bayis something else again. William Makepeace Thackeray, who gulped one of these down in 1852, remarked in horror that it was much like swallowing a baby. Oysters, nowadays, arent everybodys cup of teain fact, they routinely pop up on Most Hated Foods lists, along with Brussels sprouts, liver, and tofubut our ancestors shamelessly adored them.

Piles of post-feast oyster shellsknown as middensare found along coasts world-wide. One of the largest, in Denmark, dates to the Neolithic period and is roughly the size of the Titanic . In Roman times, a 4000-mile-long barrier reef of oysters extended from Scandinavia south along the Atlantic coast and into the Mediterranean as far as Greece.

Oysters, harvested from these beds, were highlights of Roman feasts, and many Roman homes maintained salt-water tanks in which about-to-be-eaten oysters were kept fresh for the table. The first-century De re coquinaria the oldest known Roman cookbookincludes several recipes for oysters; one recommends seasoning them with pepper, lovage, egg yolks, vinegar, broth, oil, and wine (honey optional). By the first century, however, Mediterranean oysters, due to Roman over-consumption, were running low.

Those oyster-lovers who could afford it imported oysters from as far away as the French coast, sending slaves to trundle them over the Alps in carts packed with ice and snow; and the oyster-hungry Empire was constantly on the look-out for bigger and better sources of oysters. The newly conquered island of Britaina country many Romans didnt think much ofproved to have one redeeming feature: Poor Britons! wrote the historian Sallust, There is some good in them after all.

They have produced an oyster. The oyster that the Romans so craved was Ostrea edulis , the European flat oyster, still (at least by Europeans) claimed to be the tastiest oyster. Its major competitor is Crassostrea virginica , the Atlantic oystersaid to be larger, but blanderwhich once flourished from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico.

European explorers, when they reached North America, found mind-bogglingly enormous oyster beds. Captain John Smith in 1608 described oysters as thick as stones in Chesapeake Bay; and Henry Hudson in 1609 found 350 square miles of oyster beds in New York Harbor. (Biologists guess that the harbor may once have held half the worlds oysters.) An oyster, writes M.F.K.

Fisher, leads a dreadful but exciting life. It also leads an essentially motionless one. Oysters are born in spawning season, during which male oysters release sperm and females release ten million or more eggs.

Spawning is temperature-dependent, occurring when the water temperature tops 68oF that is, in summer, during those fatal months lacking Rs. (Scary strictures against eating oysters during R-less months should be taken with a grain of salt: R-less oysters are perfectly fine, though connoisseurs argue that theyre less flavorful. This may be, suggests Fisher, because oysters like all men, are somewhat weaker after having done their best at reproducing.) Fertilized eggs turn into tiny swimming larvae which, within 24 hours, develop miniature shells.

These infant oystersknown as veligersenjoy about three weeks of carefree mobility, after which they sprout feet, sink to the bottom of the water column, and cement themselves to a solid surface. The newly anchored oyster is known, charmingly, as a spat. It takes one to three years for a spat to reach oyster adulthood, after which the average oyster can live up to twenty years, unless preyed upon by starfish, snails, or people.

The American Indians seem to have eaten most of their oysters roasted in the shellpossibly because they had no easy way of getting them open. A live oyster is a tough nut to crack. It keeps its shell clamped shut by means of an adductor muscle, a formidable organ capable of exerting up to 22 pounds of pressure.

(The stubborn solidity of this seal explains why a close-mouthed person is referred to as an oyster.) Once wrapped in seaweed and tossed in the fire, however, the roasted oyster loosens its grip and mercifully pops apart. By the 17th century, universal passion for oysters had generated dozens of recipes for soups, stews, sauces, fries, patties, pickles, and pies. Martha Washingtons Booke of Cookery a family heirloom by the time it reached Marthas hands in 1749includes a recipe To Roste a Capon with Oysters, and Hannah Glasses The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy first published in 1747 and the most popular cookbook of the 18th centuryhas recipes for oyster ragoo, soop, collops of oysters, and an oyster sauce for turkey.

Amelia Simmonss American Cookery the first American cookbook, published in 1796has instructions To Smother a Fowl in Oysters, which involves not only stuffing the bird with dry Oysters, but also dousing it once its done with a pint of stewed oysters, well buttered and peppered. Oysters are not only scrumptious; theyre good for you. Theyre high in protein, minerals, vitamin B-12, and omega-3 fatty acids, andat least all by themselvestheyre low in calories.

Reputedly they boost a flagging intellect: Cicero is said to have eaten them to improve his eloquence, and Louis XI (nicknamed the Cunning) supposedly fed them to his advisors to boost their brainpower. Andsince at least the time of the ancient Romansoysters have been touted as aphrodisiacs. Giacomo Casanova, with an eye toward sexual performance, is said to have eaten 50 oysters daily, for breakfast.

Think of oysters, try not to think of sex, writes Rebecca Stott in her fascinating and efficiently titled book Oyster . ViIDEO: The state of Maryland has an innovative oyster farming rogram to clean the Chesapeake Bay. In 2005, research by George Fisher and colleagues at Barry University in Miami, FL, suggested a possible explanation for the oysters hot and bothered reputation.

They found bivalve mollusks such as mussels and oysters to be rich in D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), a pair of unusual amino acids that boost the production of sex hormones in rats. It just may be that oysters similarly up hormones and enhance sex drive in humansprovided the human eats a lot of them and swallows them raw. (Cooked oysters have lower quantities of the crucial amino acids.) About 95% of oysters that reach kitchen and restaurant tables today are farm-raised; the vast oyster beds that once surrounded the European and North American coasts are now mere shadows of their former selves, victims of over-harvesting, agricultural run-off, and pollution.

Re-populating these oyster beds has potential for greatly improving the health of challenged marine ecosystems. Oysters are natural filtering systems, each single shellfish capable of filtering some fifty gallons of water a day. In their heyday, the lush oyster beds of New York could filter the entire contents of New York Harbor in under a week.

Oysters taste like the sea, writes Rowan Jacobsen in A Geography of Oysters . No other food does. Not lobsters, not saltwater fish, not scallops or clams or even kelp.

Theyre a treat to eat. But in that one brine-y bite, theyre also a reminder of what they have the potential to save. This story is part of National Geographic s special eight-month Future of Food series.


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  • Storm Names of Par Led

    The following list of names was used for named storms that formed in the North Atlantic in 2011. The names not retired from this list were used again in the 2017 season. This was the same list used in the 2005 season with the exceptions of Don, Katia, Rina, Sean, and Whitney, which replaced Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma, respectively. The names Don, Katia, Rina, and Sean were used for the first time this year.

    RetirementOn April 13, 2012, at the 34th Session of the RA IV hurricane committee, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Irene from its rotating name lists due to its significant impacts in the United States. It was replaced with Irma for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

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  • Permitting Customizable UI for a Spaceship's Systems

    User Interface Customization for Spaceship Controls;

    "In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they're totally different."

    We often find that what we plan for isn't what actually happens. What we think we'll need, we actually don't and need something else. This holds for camping trips, tool boxes and so much else. A Priori planning only gets you so far. Designing spaceships is hard. Getting the user interface right is just as hard. However, we have to assume that for the most part, the displays and controls are correct. They provide the correct information and facilitate the proper operations.

    On a long endurance spaceship that won't come back to port for many years, it's possible that the user interfaces designed into the ship aren't actually all that useful. There's information that an operator finds more useful or a presentation that gives too much of the wrong information. What place in this scenario is there for allowing a user/engineer/operator to customize the display and controls to meet their needs? Where should UI customization be permitted and where should it be forbidden? I'm interested in should customization be allowed, and if so, with what restrictions, not how to make customized displays (as that question is very broad).

    There are obvious safety concerns to allowing this. Permitting the power-plant engineers to turn off the big red light because it wakes them up is a bad move. However, letting the navigator build a new display that helps plot a course that incorporates fuel efficiency/time trade-offs would be handy.

    We assume this spaceship has the standard systems: Powerplant, life-support, food prep/production, navigation, sensors, crew quarters, recreation, weapons/mission tools.

  • Training Matrix: Should We Ditch/replace Huge Tables on Mobile?

    It is popular to use this sort of model in certain industries; the training matrix. Its nonetheless a huge table of data. Are there any possible alternatives to replacing the training matrix?

    Or another way to display a huge amount of data on desktop and mobile?

  • Can a Query Write to the Binary Log BEFORE It Has Finished Executing?

    I have a Database which is a Slave and a Master. e.g. it replicates data from our main site, and then onwards to a set of slave databases. (this is mainly a test facility so not monitored out of hours).

    On Sunday morning at 7:55 it started executing an INSERT query. This is a standard query that executes thousands of times a day. Its a single query, not part of a transaction. There are no triggers on that table. This table (and all others) are INNODB.

    But, on this occasion it got stuck. When I came in the office today it had been running for 24 hours (apparently). And replication was a day behind.

    However, when I looked in the Binary logs it showed as COMMITed.

    #160814 7:55:25 server id 21 end_log_pos 103319397 Query thread_id=635785334 exec_time=4294967294 error_code=0

    SET TIMESTAMP=1471157725/*!*/;

    INSERT INTO tablename . . .


    # at 103319397

    #160814 7:55:25 server id 21 end_log_pos 103319424 Xid = 284047583


    # at 103319424

    I checked the Slave databases, and it was on present on there as you'd expect.

    I have a monitoring system which records (amongst other things) the processlist, and it shows that for that INSERT query it was perpetually stuck at STATE = UPDATE.

    I also checked the slow query log to see if it was in there, and it wasn't.

    My understanding was that a query couldn't be written to the binary log until it was commmited on the master, so can anyone explain what has happenned here?

    There was a knock on affect in that once out test system tried to connect at 8:38 this morning, the first SELECT query also got stuck, and then it refused all connetions. So I was forced to restart the database.

    At which point it ran crash recovery, and carried on as if nothing had happenned.

    It is MySQL 5.5.47 and using Statement Based Replication.

  • Why Was Mini USB Deprecated in Favor of Micro USB?

    Mini USB connectors were standardized as part of USB 2.0 in 2000. In 2007, the USB Implemeters Forum standardized Micro USB connectors, deprecating Mini USB connectors four months later.

    Why? What are the advantages of Micro USB over Mini USB that made USB-IF rip out an existing standard and replace it with another one that's basically the same thing?

  • How Can I Explain SQL Injection Without Technical Jargon?

    I need to explain SQL injection to someone without technical training or experience. Can you suggest any approaches that have worked well?

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Arrest Revives Security Concerns at Trump's Florida Estate
PALM BEACH, Fla. As palm trees swayed in the ocean breeze, Yujing Zhang approached Secret Service agents in the Mar-a-Lago parking lot.She said she was going to the swimming pool at the Palm Beach presidential estate and presented agents with two Chinese passports in her name. That raised suspicions with her screeners, but a call to the front desk at Mar-a-Lago revealed a club member with a similar last name and with that, and a possible language barrier, reception waved her through.Not long after, Zhang was arrested carrying four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive and a thumb drive containing computer malware in an incident that is shining a spotlight on the unique difficulty of fortifying the oceanside Florida estate of President Donald Trump who was staying at the club that weekend but golfing elsewhere at the time.Zhangs arrest has revived concerns about security particularly cyber security at a presidential refuge that mixes social functions, world diplomacy and extraordinary access to the president. Hundreds of members frequent Mar-a-Lago and the presidents other private clubs, which function as working resorts even when Trump himself visits, creating a series of challenges that test the Secret Service.Federal officials were looking into whether Zhang was part of a larger effort to gain access to the president and do potential harm, and were combing through her devices and treating the case as a credible threat, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak about the ongoing probe and discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.Democratic lawmakers were inquiring about a possible connection to Li Yang, the Republican donor and spa owner who promised Chinese business leaders that her consulting firm could get them access to the president at Mar-a-Lago.Democrats on Wednesday called for an investigation into security at Mar-a-Lago, and whether classified information stored there is at risk from hostile foreign governments. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said he would get a briefing Thursday from the Secret Service.We want to make sure that the Secret Service is being the very best that they can be, and we want to find out more about exactly what kind of security they had down there in Florida, Cummings said. I think its very, very, very, very important that the president be protected. And I feel very strongly about that.Trump on Wednesday dismissed the incident, saying it was just a fluke situation.We have very good control, he told reporters.With the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Floridas Intracoastal Waterway to the west, Mar-a-Lago sits on the Palm Beach barrier island, a 128-room, 62,500-square foot symbol of opulence and power. Long a Trump favourite since he purchased it from the foundation of the late socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1985, the president travels to the estate every few weekends during its winter high season, abandoning Washingtons chill for Florida sunshine.For the president, I think Mar-a-Lago is not so much a club, but his Xanadu, said Chris Ruddy, publisher of Newsmax and a longtime club member and Trump friend. My feeling is he also sees it as place of destiny and fate because Mrs. Post wanted it as the winter White House.While there, Trump has been known to crash weddings, pop in on charity events and, one time, order air strikes.He has not been shy about conducting government business there. It was while hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping that Trump, over a chocolate cake dessert, authorized a missile launch at Syrian airfields after a chemical attack. On another occasion, he and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe sat on an outdoor patio, as guests dined nearby, and reviewed options for responding to a North Korean ballistic test.Such interactions could make Mar-a-Lago a tempting target, particularly for cyberattacks.Mar-a-Lago has not been sufficiently well-defended against not just physical attacks, but against counterintelligence exploits, including digital attacks, said David Kris, an authority on foreign intelligence at Culper Partners consulting company in Seattle.Federal agencies spent about $3.4 million per Trump visit, much of it on security, according to an analysis done by the U.S. Government Accountability Office of four 2017 trips. The Secret Service doesnt decide who is invited or welcome at the resort; that responsibility belongs to the club. Agents do screen guests outside the perimeter before theyre screened again inside.The agency said in a statement that, with the exception of certain facilities that are protected permanently, like the White House, the practice used at Mar-a-Lago is no different than that long used at any other site temporarily visited by the president.But Mar-a-Lago is different from other presidential retreats.Unlike Ronald Reagans and George W. Bushs ranches or George H.W. Bushs seaside vacation home in Maine, Mar-a-Lago is open to members who pay $14,000 annual dues after a $100,000 or $200,000 initiation fee. They expect access to the facility and want to host their equally affluent guests and they are used to getting their way.Nabil Erian, a former Marine and government counterintelligence officer, said guarding Mar-a-Lago is a nightmare.If this venue was uniquely for the president, it is easier to manage the perimeter, said Erian, an executive at the security firm CTC International Group in West Palm Beach. Because Mar-a-Lago is a club and not just a home, Frankly, it increases the risk of something like this happening.Last Saturday, Zhang changed her story at the indoor reception desk, saying she was there a little early to take photos, but had come to attend a United Nations Friendship Event between China and the U.S., which didnt exist.Zhang also told agents she was at the club because her Chinese friend Charles told her to travel from Shanghai, China, to Palm Beach, saying that if she attended the event she could speak with a member of the Republican presidents family about Chinese and American foreign economic relations, according to the complaint.A man named Charles Lee ran the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association, and was photographed at least twice with Yang, the spa owner whose website advertised access to Trump.Yangs attorney said she did not know Zhang, and merely attended two of the same events as Lee. But the Miami Herald reported that Lee recruited people for Yangs events. The criminal complaint made no mention of a possible connection.Zhang was charged with making false statements to federal agents and illegally entering a restricted area. She remains in custody pending a hearing next week. Her public defender, Robert Adler, declined to comment.But general club access doesnt mean access to Trump or his guests. When Trump is at Mar-a-Lago, more screening and security measures are required.I really think its overblown. There is a lot of security, and the staff is wonderful, said Toni Holt Kramer, a nine-year member of the club and founder of the group The Trumpettes. Mr. Trump wants us all to feel right at home there.Lemire reported from New York while Long reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Mary Clare Jalonick and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.Follow Lemire on Twitter at .
Casual Decor for Your Office Furniture
The Perfect Office Reception Desk for A Lasting Impression There's a lot of truth to that saying that first your impression may be your last impression. So you'll always want the first impression to be a good one. When potential clients or customers walk into your office, the first thing they'll see is your receptionist desk. The opinion they make of the first thing they see should be positive. A messy or cheap piece of furniture will not give the impression of success or someone they care to do business with. Most customers will notice more than just the face of the receptionist. They'll notice the desk, office furniture, wall coverings, etc. It won't matter if your office is very professional or decorated in a casual decor. You need to have need and well put together furniture. Give a Positive First Impression The feelings you feel about other buildings you enter are the same feelings your prospective customers will feel about your business when they enter the front door. If you went to see a lawyer or doctor and the front lobby was shabby and filled with inferior furniture, your first instinct would be to turn around and leave whereas a richly decorated office would leave you feeling that they are highly successful. The same can be said for your office and office furniture. Get the Perfect Blend The perfect combination for your office f reception desk should be one that give your function as well as form. The reception desk is often referred to as office furniture because it needs to look and function in a manner that encourages great productivity. Nothing can be more important than for your receptionist to have furniture that is ergonomic so your receptionist can perform her duties well. Many employers underestimate the importance of their employees being comfortable on the job. Once they start to develop neck or back injuries, it's often too late. Many days of work are lost each year due to back problems from poor ergonomics in the furniture or equipment. The more comfortable your receptionist is, the happier she'll be and the better she'll perform her duties. Search for Office Furniture Companies That Sell Versatile Reception Desks Many companies are around today that sell office furniture and reception desks that are functional as well as stylish. Herman Miller Furniture is one of these companies. They carry a wide array of office furniture reception desks in name brand such as Tula, Nimbus and many more. You'll have many choices. Once you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll find many stores that can help you.
The Hottest New Hotel in Paris Is Floating on the ... - Forbes
By Liza Foreman for Fathom | Htel OFF Paris Seine opened its doors or, more accurately, floated its planks on the hipster end of the Seine near Gare d'Austerlitz and Pont Charles de Gaulle only a few weeks ago, but it's already become a hip hangout for locals smooching like sex gods in the pool. Several years in the making, the structure is made from two catamaran-style vessels that were constructed in Rennes and sailed down the river to their final home, where they were merged together. From the rooms to the social spaces to the views, the first floating hotel inFranceis a unique way to experience the city. And although the novelty factor is high, Off is a real hotel. I would stay here for a month. What's On Site The hotel is spread over two floors. The restaurant, bar, decks, terraces, and wrap-around balcony are upstairs, with the dipping pool in the middle. Downstairs is a quirky communal area furnished with wooden benches and gold beanbags. Accommodations are 54 diminutive rooms reminiscent of berths on a ship and four larger suites. The designers, fashion and interiors duo Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman, took an inside-outside approach, creating a fluid design that embraces the water that surrounds the boat. Everything was custom-made, including the copper furniture in the communal areas and the reception desk on wheels that was built around a piece of salvaged wood the designers say looks like driftwood from the river. The Food Breakfast served until noon on deck includes the usual selection of eggs, meat, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fresh juices, and an endless supply of tea and coffee. The main menu, available in the evening, is a variety of French tapas, though the chef made me a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, gourmet burger. Dining options nearby include a Caribbean-themed shack on the quay and the restaurant at Cit de la Mode et du Design, which Off recommends for lunch. In the Room The rooms are chic and compact a comfortable double bed, a round armchair, and overhead shelving for storage (ships are rarely known for their spacious accommodations). The small bathroom has a shower behind a glass panel and a toilet enclosed in a black box. Wooden slats, some undulating like waves, are the primary decorative element, as are large windows overlooking the Seine, boardwalk, and ships passing in close proximity. There's so much to see. Room with a View Of the four suites, two are classified as designer. Everything in the Sunset Suite is orange and copper toned, while the Designer Silver Suite is decorated in silvers and grays except for the canary yellow tub and sinks. Reflective mirrors above the bed bring the Seine into the room. This Place Is Perfect For Design hounds. Trailblazers and wannabes. Hipsters. Mermaids and sailors. Not So Perfect For Anti-hipsters. Typical business travelers. And anyone who can't bear French couples making out in bikinis in the pool. Neighborhood Vibe Off is on the gritty and industrial end of the Seine, attracting fewer tourists and more locals who come to hang out on the water, drink at the bars on boats, and dance along the river. Things to Do Nearby The fifth has always been a lively and very lived-in neighborhood, but the area is also rich with attractions. Riverside, the cultural hub The Docks at the Cit de la Mode et du Design is a recent addition to the area, as is the wonderful Institut du Monde Arabe . Musum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Jardin des Plantes, a collection of galleries, gardens, and zoos, and the beautiful Grande Mosque de Paris is a great place for traditional tea and a tagine lunch. BOOK IT Rates begin at 180/night. Click here for reservations . READ MORE ON FATHOM Fathom Paris Guide Strolling and Shopping in South Pigalle A Designer's Guide to the Tenth, the Coolest Neighborhood in Paris
Special Report: Boko Haram - Between Rebellion and Jihad
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At about 10.40 one morning last August, Mohammed Abul Barra rammed his ash-colored station wagon into a security gate outside the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, knocking it off its hinges. Barras 1996 Honda Accord then crashed through the main buildings glass doors and slammed against the reception desk. On security tapes of the incident seen by Reuters, a guard peers into the car, evidently unaware that it is packed with explosives. The grainy footage shows a dozen or so people in the reception edge towards the vehicle. Over 10 seconds pass in confusion before one man seemingly realizes what is about to happen. He grabs the person next to him and darts towards the lift. But its too late. Barra steadies himself, leans forward and the security screens blur into white fuzz. The suicide strike left 25 people dead and the U.N. headquarters in tatters. It also drew global attention to Boko Haram, the militant group from northern Nigeria which has claimed responsibility for the attack and a string of bombings since then that has killed hundreds. As the bombings have grown in frequency in recent months, the Nigerian government and Western security officials have begun to grapple with the exact nature of the threat. Is Boko Haram just the latest in a long list of violent spasms in Nigeria, or is it the next battalion of global jihadists, capable of thrusting Africas most populous nation into civil war? The answer to that is not simple. There is evidence - some of it detailed in this story for the first time - that elements of Boko Haram have received training from foreign militant groups, including North Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM). The August attack was far more sophisticated than anything linked to Boko Haram before. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan calls the group a terrorist organization with global ambitions. In an interview in his presidential villa last week, Jonathan said there was no doubt Boko Haram has links with jihadist groups outside Nigeria. General Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. militarys Africa Command, said last year Boko Haram posed a threat to U.S. and Western interests. At the same time, Boko Haram remains firmly focused on domestic Nigerian issues. When its secretive spokesman claims responsibility for attacks, he almost always lists local grievances that have little to do with the core ideologies of al Qaeda. The groups name means Western education is sinful in Hausa, the language spoken in northern Nigeria, the countrys Muslim heartland. But its anger is directed not at America or Europe but at Nigerias elites: at their perceived arrogance, their failure to deliver services, and the brutality of their security forces. Many Boko Haram members say their focus is on targeting officials who have locked up its members or misused state funds. Even Nigerias national security adviser, General Owoye Azazi, who sees a link between Boko Haram and AQIM, urges caution in defining the group. We need to tackle Boko Haram from several perspectives, Azazi said in an interview. If you go back to history, there are religious concerns, there are concerns about governance, and of course, political implications. Its a combination of so many things. U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrived in Abuja within days of last Augusts attack to help with forensic analysis of the bomb site. A report authored by those agents, Nigerian authorities and independent security teams, paints a portrait of a sophisticated operation. Barra was chosen because he was low profile (and) well trained and his attack was well planned, says the confidential report, seen by Reuters. The car was packed with 125 kg (276 pounds) of manufactured explosives, including the plastic explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) and triacetone triperoxide (TATP) - both highly powerful and volatile, and more potent than easier-to-build fertilizer-based explosives. The explosives were used in a shaped charge, which increases damage from a blast. Investigators believe the bomb probably consisted of both stolen factory-made explosives and home-made materials. The only form of PETN that is commonly available is the core explosive in detonating cord, said Sidney Alford, a British explosives expert. You can get detonating cord from the manufacturers, the army, or from blasting contractors in the demolition or quarrying industries. The failed underpants bomber Faroup Abdulmutallan, a Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009 in an al Qaeda-style attack, used TATP. Another would-be plane bomber, Richard Reid, had PETN in his shoe in his unsuccessful effort to blow up a flight between France and the United States in 2001. President Jonathan said Nigeria has evidence that Boko Haram members have held meetings in North Africa. Azazi, the national security adviser, said the advancement in Boko Harams weaponry and tactics points to help and training from outside groups. We have evidence of meetings between Boko Haram leadership and outside groups, Azazi said, declining to give details. We have evidence that some Boko Haram leaders are trained outside of Nigeria. Their methods, their bomb-making technologies - who taught them? Nigeria, Africas top oil producer, survived a brutal civil war in the late 1960s in which more than 1 million people died. Repeated rounds of violence since then, often between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south, have killed thousands more. The violent spasms are often fueled by politics, and so it is with Boko Haram. The groups official name is Jamaatu Ahlis Sunna Liddaawati Wal-Jihad, meaning People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophets Teachings and Jihad. It earned its nickname from the teachings of its founder Mohammed Yusuf in the early 2000s, in the restive northeastern city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Yusuf argued that Western education, or boko, had brought nothing but poverty and suffering to the region and was therefore forbidden, or haram, in Islam. He began peacefully - mostly preaching - and quickly gained a following among disaffected young men in the northeast. But his anti-establishment rhetoric and hints that Boko Haram was building an arsenal of weapons also caught the attention of the authorities. In 2009, the police clamped down on sect members who were ignoring a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. That sparked a furious backlash. Police stations and government offices in Borno were burned to the ground, and hundreds of criminals released in a prison break, as the violence spread across northern Nigeria. The government and army reacted with force; Yusuf was captured and shot dead in police custody. Five days of fighting left some 800 people dead. Boko Haram leaders still cite Yusufs death as one of the main factors driving the insurgency. The group remains fiercely anti-government and anti-authority, and resentful of the decades of corrupt, poor governance that have impoverished its home region. You would never have believed the Boko Haram phenomenon came from these beginnings, said Shettima Dikwa, a doctor at the University of Maiduguri. Dikwa is one of a number of professionals in the city frustrated at the way Nigerias government and military have allowed the insurgency to escalate. Like others, he says local politicians sponsored armed thugs to help disrupt the 2007 election and then abandoned them, creating a fertile recruitment field. The governor of Borno state has denied these allegations. Boko Harams attacks have intensified since President Jonathan took power last April, in the countrys cleanest election since the end of military rule in 1999. Jonathan pledged to fight graft and attract investment. But he is a Christian southerner, and in the eyes of many Muslim northerners it was a northerners turn to rule. CATCH-ALL LABEL, LOCAL STRUGGLES That backdrop doesnt explain how the group went from drive-by shootings and crude petrol bombs to shaping explosives for suicide missions against the United Nations. A video posted on YouTube on January 11 suggests the groups leadership would like to be seen as part of a global jihad. Abubakar Shekau, who has run the group since Yusuf was killed, appears in the 15-minute tape wearing a camouflage bullet-proof jacket, sitting in front of two Kalashnikov rifles. His beard, headscarf and hand gestures recall the style of video pronouncements made by the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. But Shekaus message hits local notes. The reason why I am giving this broadcast is the recent comments of Goodluck Jonathan about us and that of the leader of the Christians and other statements by others, describing us as a cancer to Nigeria. We are neither a cancer nor a disease. If people dont know us, God knows us, Shekau says. He then goes on to cite common complaints about Nigerian politics. Most of the public evidence about what Boko Haram wants and how it operates comes from its avowed spokesman, Abu Qaqa, a mysterious figure who often pops up after an attack to claim responsibility and explain the motives. Speaking by phone to a handful of reporters in Maiduguri in November, Abu Qaqa spoke of the links between al Qaeda and Boko Haram. We are together with al Qaeda, he said. They are promoting the cause of Islam, just as we are doing. Therefore they help us in our struggle and we help them, too. But Qaqa offered no concrete details of those ties; the rest of the conversation focused on local issues. He said the group isnt affiliated with Nigerian political parties and described the sects anger at the governor of Borno state. In claiming the recent Kano attacks, which killed at least 186 people, he cited the killing and arbitrary arrest and detention of Boko Haram members. Nigerian and Western security experts believe a small, increasingly ambitious and sophisticated group of extremists controls the very top of the group. A handful of those members have received training outside Nigeria, including from AQIM. Nigeria-based security sources who track Boko Haram told Reuters that members of the group have been going to training camps with brigades of Algerian AQIM for the past six years. Small units of five or six members train at a time; no more than a few dozen have been trained in total, the sources said. The foreign minister of neighboring Niger told Reuters last week that members of Boko Haram received explosives training at AQIM camps in the Sahel region, which runs along the southern edge of the Sahara desert. The U.N. Security Council said this month that it had been told that Boko Haram members had received training in AQIM camps in Mali. Experts say the group has become a convenient cover for opportunists. Criminals, political thugs and gangs hide beneath the umbrella of Boko Haram, making it hard to judge its size and scope. Most of its foot-soldiers are disillusioned young men who have only loose ties to religious ideology, and are easily drawn in because there are little or no opportunities elsewhere. Jonathan has begun to acknowledge this, telling Reuters last week that the government would revitalize northern agriculture to provide jobs for youths who might otherwise be recruited by Boko Haram. Aisha Alkali, a human rights campaigner in Maiduguri, says young men in northern Nigeria feel forced to adopt violence to defend themselves. If you push people to the wall, if you leave them with nothing and take everything, where will they go? asks Alkali, shrouded in a traditional black abaya and burka with only her eyes and impeccably manicured hands showing. You make people something they were not. Soldiers patrol the streets of Maiduguri in large numbers these days. By day, they hunch in roadside bunkers; at night, they regularly fight with Boko Haram units. Bomb blasts and gunshots punctuate the dark. Amnesty International says the joint military task force (JTF) in the city has been behind dozens of unlawful killings there, further stirring the unrest. A report by the human rights watchdog says houses have been raided and burned by the JTF. One of the JTF commanders in Maiduguri told Reuters there had been excesses, but said mostly the military were doing a good job under difficult conditions. Yirami Bwala, a 42-year-old shop owner, lost his 18-year-old son Markus in a Boko Haram bomb attack in Maiduguri in January. Most Boko Haram members are just a bunch of illiterates who have been misled about their religion and what tolerance is all about, he said a day after the attack. The military only make things worse by robbing people and attacking innocent, peaceful people. More than a quarter of Nigerias 2012 budget has been allocated to security spending. But with the number of attacks up - at least 250 people have been killed in the first three weeks of 2012 alone, according to Human Rights Watch - criticism of the way Jonathan has handled the violence is growing. President Jonathan told Reuters that Boko Haram militants have infiltrated the military, police and his own government. He sacked the chief of police and his six deputies last week, after the key suspect in the Christmas Day bombings escaped less than 24 hours after being arrested, in what Nigerian security sources said were unusual and suspicious circumstances. The leader of the nation of 160 million people has also said that tackling Boko Haram could be worse than Nigerias civil war, if only because the enemy is faceless and unknown. Some analysts believe Boko Haram may be targeting Christians to trigger a religious conflict. Nigeria has been here before. In 2009 it ended a militant insurgency in the southeastern Niger Delta by offering an amnesty. The government hints that a new broad political settlement may be on the cards. But dealing with a splintered and secretive group like Boko Haram will be difficult. Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president and a southern Christian, visited the family of Boko Haram founder Yusuf last September for peace talks. Days later, gunmen killed Yusufs brother-in-law. Boko Haram denied involvement in the killing. But someone wanted the dialogue to end.
Couple Brought Soapstone to Ontarios Kitchens
When homeowners began working themselves into a lather over granite and solid-surface countertops a decade ago, Gaetan Frank and his wife Noreen took a gamble on bringing soapstone to the Ontario market. Gaetan, a custom cabinetmaker, had started offering laminate and Corian countertops to his customers 20 years ago, since he could fabricate those materials with his woodworking tools. But when they were approached in 2000 by a Brazilian soapstone supplier about adding it to their line, they were hesitant because it required a major investment in new equipment. But we had a gut feeling and went with our instincts, says Gaetan, who spent four months researching the stone and experimenting with it. We took a chance. So the Franks cabinetry business became N&G Soapstone Countertops . Soapstone is a natural quarried stone that, while soft to the touch, is non-porous and dense; and therefore naturally resistant to stains and bacteria without any man-made sealants. Its also easy to maintain, with an occasional application of mineral oil. But a general lack of knowledge about soapstone proved to be an early stumbling block. Even though soapstone had been used for centuries in Europe (for masonry heaters, fireplaces and ovens) and had been used in laboratories in North America, Canadians only knew soapstone as what was used in Inuit carvings, Gaetan says. We approached kitchen retailers, designers and contractors and basically we ran into brick walls. We realized the only way to market it was to educate consumers. Noreen has a background in marketing, so they launched an aggressive newspaper and magazine advertising campaign and started attending home, kitchen and bath shows. During the SARS epidemic in 2003, a newspaper article about a study of bacteria on countertops by Canadian public health officials named soapstone as one of the best options, which helped raise its profile. Soapstone started catching on and, in 2006, N&G moved from its 4,600-square-foot location in Brooklin to a 10,000-square-foot fabrication facility and showroom west of Uxbridge. The company is the largest soapstone maker and supplier in Canada. About 70 per cent of the business is soapstone, but the company also sells granite, quartz, Vermont and Grantique slate. Designers, architects and home builders from as far away as British Columbia seek them out. Commercial clients have also become a big part of the business, and N&G recently supplied soapstone to Torontos upscale Canoe restaurant for everything from the reception desk and the bar to the waitress stations. Although countertops are the main thrust of its business, N&G also makes custom sinks, shower stalls, flooring, cabinet knobs and backsplash tiles from stone. We are a green company, says Noreen. We recycle all of our water and we dont dispose of our soapstone waste in landfill. The smaller pieces left from making the countertops are made into backsplash tiles or sinks and the small pieces are sent to refill old gravel pits. The soapstone is exclusively sourced from quarries in Brazil, which the Franks visited to learn about the process and to ensure there is no child labour involved. They deal only with quarries that are registered and monitored by the Brazilian government. There are several grades of soapstone, for everything from carving to countertops. Some of the black market stuff looks like soapstone and people cant tell until they get it into their home and it stains because its too soft, says Gaetan. Weve been doing this for so long, we know how to figure out whats good, whats not. Unlike granite quarries, which can be mined for decades, soapstone occurs in smaller pockets and quarries are usually mined out in about six years. Although it is found in many places around the world and is plentiful in Canada (especially in Newfoundland), the cost to quarry it here is prohibitive. Soapstone only comes in tones of charcoal grey to black, but veins of quartz, iron or calcite running through it can be pink, green or grey. N&G lets customers pick their own slabs. We are all about consumer education and we let them decide what will fit best into their home, explains Noreen. The cost of a soapstone countertop (including installation) is about $100 to $105 per square foot, about the same as mid- to high-range granite or quartz. It is initially treated with mineral oil, which is rubbed into the surface on a regular basis for the first couple of months to speed up the natural darkening process. If scratches occur, they can be sanded with sandpaper, and then treated with mineral oil. Although soapstone remains the stalwart of the business, the Franks are always on the lookout for new products and are about to launch countertops, shower stalls and backsplashes made of 100-per-cent recycled glass, which contain no resin or concrete fillers. Gaetan spent several months fabricating it to ensure it would meet his standard of quality. Hes now testing designer colours, such as cobalt blue, and translucent glass. We try to push the boundaries with materials, he says. We try to be as green as possible and as unique as possible.
Toyota Enterprises Forays into the Indian Hospitality
BANGALORE: Toyota Enterprises, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, has forayed into the Indian hospitality market through a joint venture with Hyagreeva Hotels and Resorts, which owns and operates The Chancery hotel brand in Bangalore. This is the first overseas venture by Toyota Enterprises, which operates 60 hotel rooms in Japan and manages and operates lodges, dormitories, Japanese Inns, cafeterias and restaurants. The company also has business interests in construction, real estate, education, insurance, and travel. In June this year, another Toyota affiliate, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, along with Japanese hospital chain Secom Medical Systems, had entered into a joint venture with the Kirloskars to set up a chain of speciality hospitals in the country. In the hotel venture, Toyota Enterprises India, a 100% subsidiary of Toyota Enterprises, will initially take over 52 rooms, which it would manage, market and maintain, at the 120-room The Chancery hotel, located on Lavelle Road in Bangalore. While there won't be any re-branding of the hotel, Hyagreeva will invest in styling the guest rooms according to Japanese standards, and will set up a Japanese restaurant along with a spa. The Japanese wing at The Chancery, which will be on the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel, will be operational from January 2013. Added features would include a dedicated Japanese concierge service, reception desk, signboards, staff for guidance, a floor manager, and a large communal bath area. The communal bath area will replicate the hot spring bath experience common in Japan. Each guest room will be customized to Japanese requirements, such as multi-electricity outlets, large desks, bidet toilets and expanded space for long stay guests. "Bangalore has a large presence of Japanese companies and there is an increasing demand for accommodation facilities," said Kazuyuki Kawai, president, Toyota Enterprises. The company estimates that over 600 expat Japanese families reside in Bangalore, of which 300 families are associated with the Toyota Group. Kawai said around 10,000 Japanese visit Bangalore on work every year, which he said "is only going to increase as more and more Japanese companies invest in Bangalore." Naveen M C Raju, director, Hyagreeva Hotels and Resorts, said that every month the Japanese business traffic takes up 1,800 room nights in the city. However, the city's largest international business traffic comes from the US and Europe. Raju added that the joint venture, which is a 50:50 partnership between Hyagreeva and Toyota Enterprises India, has plans to build two standalone hotel projects that are slated to come up along the Bangalore-Chennai national highway and the Nellore-Chittoor highway. "We are identifying locations for the projects," said Raju. Kawai said Toyota Enterprises is also exploring other business areas in which they could potentially invest in India such as a hospitality-training institute.
Accommodating Blind and Partially Sighted Clients
Abstract Veterinary surgeons provide an important service to blind and partially sighted guide dog owners. By adopting basic disability awareness and visual impairment training, practices can ensure that the assistance needs of those clients are met, facilitating access to veterinary care. THERE are approximately 5000 guide dogs in the UK that provide mobility, independence and improved wellbeing to blind and partially sighted adults and children. Approximately 60 per cent of guide dog owners are completely blind or have severe visual impairment; the remainder have varying degrees of residual vision. With the increase in the number of working dogs and their routine veterinary consultations occurring every six months, it is increasingly likely that many veterinary practices will have blind and partially sighted owners among their clients. More than two thirds of people that are blind and partially sighted feel that their personal GP practice is not fully aware of their needs, specifically around physical assistance and staff awareness; nearly all blind and partially sighted people receive no information from their GP in a format that is acceptable to them (such as large print or e-mail) (Nzegwu 2005). In 2012, the European Guide Dog Federation's mobility research report (based on owner questionnaires of Guide Dog Owners across 19 EU member states) documented problems with accessing facilities for people with visual impairment across Europe: Extremely worrying is the lack of access to medical facilities such as doctors surgeries, with 33 per cent reporting difficulty in access occasionally, frequently or always! 36 per cent report that they leave occasionally, frequently or always without achieving the objectives of their visit' (Brooks 2012). Frequent problems are a lack of training for staff to understand the blind person's needs as well as substantial challenges in accessing the physical space. It is doubtful that veterinary practices perform any better than our medical counterparts. The Equalities Act (2010) (which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act) places legal responsibilities on practice owners to ensure that they make reasonable adjustments to how services are provided to accommodate people with disabilities. The aim of this article is not to detail those adjustments but rather to consider how a little extra time, effort and communication can enhance the visit of a blind or partially sighted owner to veterinary practices. Meeting and greeting at reception There are approximately 360,000 blind and partially sighted people in the UK. Those with residual vision might have limited visual acuity and/or a limited field of view. These conditions will impact upon their mobility, ability to make some observations or undertake detailed tasks, and will change the way in which they access material for reading. An owner's perspectiveI want to have a fulfilled life enjoy my life. I know there are going to be issues as there would be if I were a sighted person, but I want people to be aware of me as a person and not just a blind person. I want people to see me as an ordinary person who just doesn't see the world as they do And to accommodate me, help me if they can and if I ask for it, without either of us being ashamed or embarrassed Anonymous guide dog owner (Nzegwu 2005) Some sighted people might feel awkward when dealing with a blind and partially sighted person because they are unsure how to behave (Shyne and others 2012) but there are three key aspects that should be considered: Communication Staff should speak always directly to the owner of the guide dog as the primary carer of the dog and not by default to any sighted person present or to the dog. Sometimes, the guide dog owner can take time to recognise a voice, so even if you are familiar with the client, ensure that you always introduce yourself by name from the start of the conversation. Other staff members or students present should also be introduced so the client is aware of who else is there, and to avoid later embarrassment when a colleague who has been silent then speaks. Orientation and assistance Staff should proactively ask what assistance the guide dog owner might require during the visit. This could include asking whether they would like orienting in the room, which would include a short description of the size of the room, what predominant furniture is present and who else is present; for example, the number of clients and other animals in the waiting room. It is also good practice to inform the guide dog owner of the number of people ahead of them in the consultation list and the length of time they are likely to have to wait. The guide dog owner should be offered assistance to a seat in the waiting room; this is important even if they have visited the practice previously as they will not know which seats are occupied, what other animals are present and where there could be an unwanted interaction. Guide dog owners will be unable to read other animals' body language and, therefore, will not be aware of nervous or aggressive animals within the waiting room. There is also a potentially increased risk of dog-on-dog attacks for dogs working in harness (Brooks and others 2010). Upon reaching the seats it is helpful to provide additional information about their specific location (eg, the seat is immediately in front of you, facing you and the two adjacent seats are empty). Of course the owner might decline assistance and could, for example, just require verbal directions to the seating area, which could include the approximate number of steps and in which direction the seats are located. Greeting a client in receptionEnsure reception staff are trained in how to offer assistance to visually impaired clients.Ensure staff have good communications skills and introduce all staff that are present.Train all staff how to act as a sighted guide a DVD and leaflet are available at not distract the dog when it is working in harness. Interacting with the guide dog In many cases the owner might be relying upon the dog for guiding and so the dog should not be distracted or fussed without asking the owner for permission to do so. This is particularly important while the dog is working (indicated by wearing of the harness and the owner holding the harness handle). Communication Staff should speak always directly to the owner of the guide dog as the primary carer of the dog and not by default to any sighted person present or to the dog. Sometimes, the guide dog owner can take time to recognise a voice, so even if you are familiar with the client, ensure that you always introduce yourself by name from the start of the conversation. Other staff members or students present should also be introduced so the client is aware of who else is there, and to avoid later embarrassment when a colleague who has been silent then speaks. Orientation and assistance Staff should proactively ask what assistance the guide dog owner might require during the visit. This could include asking whether they would like orienting in the room, which would include a short description of the size of the room, what predominant furniture is present and who else is present; for example, the number of clients and other animals in the waiting room. It is also good practice to inform the guide dog owner of the number of people ahead of them in the consultation list and the length of time they are likely to have to wait. The guide dog owner should be offered assistance to a seat in the waiting room; this is important even if they have visited the practice previously as they will not know which seats are occupied, what other animals are present and where there could be an unwanted interaction. Guide dog owners will be unable to read other animals' body language and, therefore, will not be aware of nervous or aggressive animals within the waiting room. There is also a potentially increased risk of dog-on-dog attacks for dogs working in harness (Brooks and others 2010). Upon reaching the seats it is helpful to provide additional information about their specific location (eg, the seat is immediately in front of you, facing you and the two adjacent seats are empty). Of course the owner might decline assistance and could, for example, just require verbal directions to the seating area, which could include the approximate number of steps and in which direction the seats are located. Greeting a client in receptionEnsure reception staff are trained in how to offer assistance to visually impaired clients.Ensure staff have good communications skills and introduce all staff that are present.Train all staff how to act as a sighted guide a DVD and leaflet are available at not distract the dog when it is working in harness. Interacting with the guide dog In many cases the owner might be relying upon the dog for guiding and so the dog should not be distracted or fussed without asking the owner for permission to do so. This is particularly important while the dog is working (indicated by wearing of the harness and the owner holding the harness handle). Moving around the practice Guide dog owners should be approached when it is their turn for the consultation; it can be unhelpful to call a name from a distance when the route to the consulting room is unclear or might be partially obstructed, for example, by display stands. Download figure Open in new tab Download powerpoint In the consulting room, don't be embarrassed to ask your usual full range of clinical history questions and don't have a low expectation of what information the owner can provide When moving around a practice, the guide dog owner might rely on the dog for guiding, but it could be preferable for a member of staff to provide sighted guiding. Asking whether the owner would like to be guided will not cause offence and neither will a suggestion that guiding them might be easier in a particular environment. There could be many potential obstacles within a waiting room, including fixed and temporary furniture or stands, other clients and animals, all of which might require different levels of avoidance. In these cases it is preferable to stand on the owner's right side and allow them to take hold of the assistant's left arm/elbow with their right hand (Guide Dogs 2009). In this manner, the owner can be guided and there is no attempt to direct them by pushing. There is no need to take hold of the dog's harness or lead. When guiding, it is appropriate to describe where you are going, what hazards are coming up or the direction in which you will be turning, often using the approximate number of steps ahead that this will occur (eg, We will be turning right in a few steps). When approaching a closed door, inform the owner and describe whether the door opens towards or away from you. When the dog is guiding the owner, but they are both following a sighted guide, it is also helpful to provide verbal directions or a commentary on the journey. In the consulting room On entrance into a new room, briefly describe its function, size, the number of people present and the general layout of the room. In the consultation room, it might be particularly important to describe where the consultation table is in order to prevent owner injury from bending down to handle their dog or remove equipment the dog is wearing. Guide dog owners will have the same range of engagement with the health status of their dog as any other client. Some will be extremely vigilant, they might live with sighted people or walk with sighted friends and, therefore, be able to provide significant clinical history. Do not have a low expectation of what information the owner can provide. Most will groom and examine the dog daily and perform regular body condition scoring and pick up faeces after their dog, so can be aware of some health changes earlier than many sighted clients. Some owners will also have a degree of useful sight. Do not be embarrassed to ask the full range of clinical history questions and to use the same phrasing as for any other consultation. The owner will not be concerned by the use of the word see (eg, Have you seen him limping?). Nor will they be upset if they are asked to describe the appearance of something (eg, faecal quality) or something that has happened. Blind and partially sighted owners want to be treated like any other owner, although many have a very special bond with their dog because of the mobility support it provides them. It is often helpful to provide a commentary during the clinical examination so the owner is aware of where the veterinary staff are in the room, and when they are approaching the dog. This avoids the awkward silences and also makes sure the owner is able to anticipate actions and help to calm and restrain the dog. Continual narration also helps ensure that the owner is aware of the progression of the consultation, as they will not recognise any non-verbal communications, such as gesturing, that are often inadvertently used. Guide dog owners will not be embarrassed by an offer to show them something and this can be facilitated by asking how they would like it done. It is perfectly acceptable to offer to demonstrate concepts using plastic models, again asking the owner if they would like to feel the model to allow them to conceptualise it, or to palpate things on their own dog. It is often helpful at the end of the consultation to summarise the findings and the diagnostic/treatment plan in separate blocks of material that can then be checked off against the owner's understanding. Dispensing Dispensing drugs for guide dog owners to administer can sometimes be problematic; however, spending a few moments discussing what is easiest for the owner to manage can avoid any potential non-compliance issues. It is extremely difficult for a blind or partially sighted person to measure the volume of a liquid or to accurately administer a given number of drops of liquid, or to administer tablets that have to be broken into smaller parts and these are all best avoided if possible. It can also be difficult to ensure that tablets given in food are fully consumed and, therefore, direct oral administration is usually preferred (clients should be asked if they are comfortable to do this and might like the opportunity to practice). Some tasks are particularly difficult, especially treating conditions of the eye, and, for some treatments or circumstances, the client may need to organise regular repeated administration at the practice by a practice nurse. Download figure Open in new tab Download powerpoint Because guide dogs can be so transformative for the mobility of many blind and partially sighted people, having to hospitalise a dog may mean an owner will be unable to get to work or enjoy a normal social life In the consulting roomHave normal expectations of the clinical history that the client can provide.Be aware of non-verbal communication that might be second nature; speak more than normal and describe procedures that are being undertaken.Offer to demonstrate on the dog or use models that the client can feel.Make sure the consultation environment is sufficiently empowering to enable the client to ask the questions they would like to ask; recognise that their disability is solely an inability to see. Dispensing medicationsAvoid prescribing liquids that have to be measured before administration.Ask the client if they would prefer a nurse consultation for repeated or difficult drug administration.Differentiate similar products by choice of external packaging.Ensure that administration instructions are clear and readily understood and consider providing information in an alternate format such as e-mailing a summary. The size and shape of any tablets that are to be administered should be described and the owner should be asked if they would like to feel the packaging or products to ensure that they are familiar with them and to mitigate confusion later on. Owners are often familiar with managing their own medications but problems can arise when several medications are dispensed at the same time, especially if these are in similar packaging (eg, loose tablets dispensed into similar sized bottles). Providing different packaging for different products (eg, placing one set of tablets into oversized packaging) is a very simple way of identifying products. There is also often a need to provide instructions that can be reviewed at a later time (anyone can confuse instructions such as two tablets from the large pot three times a day and three tablets from the small pot twice per day). Many guide dog owners live with sighted people and, in these situations, printed labels are sufficient. Others will be able to recognise the shapes of words and interpret from that or use low vision aids to read. Guide dog owners with significant sight loss, who live alone, might wish instructions to be provided via an alternate method. Many will use a voice recorder or the dictation application on their mobile phone, but it could also be helpful to offer to text or e-mail instructions as a back-up (which can be converted through software to audio formats). Guide dog owners are realistic and won't expect information to be provided in Braille. Many are partially sighted and, therefore, using large print text might be suitable. Hospitalisation of the guide dog For many blind and partially sighted people the guide dog is transformative for their mobility. Hospitalisation of the dog can therefore mean that they are not able to get to work or have a normal social life, and this might be an extremely sensitive issue for a guide dog owner. Possible hospitalisation and the owners' mobility needs are best discussed in the privacy of the consulting room, rather than at the reception desk. When unexpected immediate hospitalisation is necessary, a plan should be put in place to enable the guide dog owner to return home safely. Owners might not have a long cane with them or be trained to use a long cane and so, although taxi transport can be provided, access to their home can still be difficult. Sometimes it is possible to avoid hospitalisation, for example by offering a special appointment to allow minor sample collection or diagnostic investigations while the guide dog owner waits, and this could be used to minimise the impact on the partnership. A guide dog should not be allowed to work for 24 hours after administration of a sedative or anaesthetic and, if this has occurred, the owner should be notified (in advance, if possible) and alternative transportation home should be organised. Invoicing and provision of information For working guide dogs, invoices will generally be settled directly by the Guide Dogs charity; however, for non-Guide Dog purchases, most blind and partially sighted people will use cash, debit or credit cards with no particular issues. At the time of a consultation, it is perfectly acceptable to ask guide dog owners if they would like clinical information leaflets or practice hand-outs in a printed form. Some guide dog owners have residual vision or a sighted person at home that can read documentation to them. Offering these options is preferable to not providing this information at all. Alternatively, guide dog owners can be directed to sources of information available on a website. Sadly, many websites are poorly organised and difficult to navigate for visually impaired people. Frequently, websites use confusing graphics, rely on the ability to differentiate colours, do not allow for increasing font size and are formatted in such a way that makes it is difficult to use text-to-speech software (eg, JAWS, WindowEyes, Thunder, NVDA and Narrator) to read. Ideally, when setting up or redesigning a practice website, website designers could ensure that sites are accessible for these screen readers but, as a minimum, accessibility can be improved by avoiding multiple columns and tables, providing short descriptions of all images and avoiding the use of images as hypertext links. Webpage designers should also be aware that blind and partially sighted people might wish to use additional equipment to translate materials such as a refreshable Braille display. While most guide dog owners are resolute about website accessibility problems, many could be easily overcome by specifying accessibility criteria when practices are planning website upgrades. Download figure Open in new tab Download powerpoint Due to the possible risks, guide dogs should not be allowed to work for 24 hours after being administered a sedative or anaesthetic and, if this has occurred, alternative transportation home should be organised Reader challengeAfter reading this article, try to find your own way, blindfolded, from the practice entrance to the toilet in a journey that includes washing and drying your hands. Reflect on how you found the walk and what you might want to change or do differently around the practice to make the trip easier. While guide dog owners might not have high expectations of society in general for providing written information in an accessible format, information can often be made accessible relatively easily. For example, communication with clients can be achieved using a telephone call, text or e-mail rather than via posted vaccination cards or letters. Noting a client's needs and preferred accessible format on the dog's clinical record can help both parties for future contacts and communications. Accessibility Practice owners might never have considered the accessibility of their practice for blind and partially sighted people and, while there is little that can be done to ensure accessibility outside of the practice property (eg, tactile paving on drop kerbs), accessibility within the practice can be easily improved with some thought and planning (Dalke and Corso 2013). Within the practice grounds, accessibility can be improved by good signage at the practice entrance/gate, and a safe and smooth pedestrian route through the car park. Key issues for blind and partially sighted owners are obstructed routes or ones with restricted widths that prevent the passage of the dog and the owner side-by-side. Dogs are particularly good at avoiding obstructions; however, partially sighted owners might not rely on the dog to guide them at all times, particularly if the dog is fearful of veterinary treatment. Therefore, glass doors and panels provide a significant challenge and should be carefully marked at an appropriate height. General guidance for visually impaired clients is to ensure that signage preferably uses symbols with large lettering (first letter capitalised and the others lower cased - as many visually impaired clients with residual vision will recognise the shape of words), and with high-colour contrast. Access can be improved by ensuring that there are good levels of lighting and preferably that the choice of decor provides an enhanced colour contrast between the floor and walls, or possibly that there is colour and/or textural contrast between walkways and waiting areas for example. (This could be kept in mind when facilities are being refurbished). Stairs should have a handrail, be well lit and should ideally have good contrast between risers and treads. Accessibility of the physical spaceEnsure good standards of signage with good contrast and clear directions.Ensure routes are clear of obstructions.Consider improving lighting levels and contrast between floors and walls and on staircases.Ensure suitable handrails in appropriate locations. Braille labelling for rooms is not particularly important, as it is often haphazardly placed (on the door or to the right or left of the door at variable heights) and, currently, only a minority of blind and partially sighted people can read Braille. Conclusion Guide dog services are provided by Guide Dogs, a charity that receives no funding from government and provides transformative mobility and well-being support for thousands of blind and partially sighted adults and children in the UK. The Guide Dogs' vision statement is that blind and partially sighted people can enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else. Adoption of basic disability awareness concepts, open communication and dialogue about needs and assistance, visual impairment training for staff and provision of written information in an accessible format by veterinary professionals can go a considerable way to supporting Guide Dogs' mission and will improve access for blind and partially sighted clients to veterinary practices. ReferencesBrooks A. (2012) European Guide Dogs Federation Mobility Research Report. Accessed July 28, 2014Brooks A., Moxon R., England G. C. W. (2010) Incidence and impact of dog attacks on guide dogs in the UK. Veterinary Record doi:10.1136/vr.b4855Dalke H., Corso A. (2013) Making an entrance: colour, contrast and the design of entrances to homes of people with sight loss. Thomas Pocklington Trust. Accessed September 29, 2014GUIDE DOGS (2009) Sighted guiding - how to help blind and partially-sighted people part 1. Accessed September 29, 2014Nzegwu F. (2005) Enhancing care provision for blind and partially sighted people in GP surgeries. Guidelines for best practice. Accessed September 29, 2014Shyne A., Masciulli L., Faustino J., O'connell C. (2012) Do service dogs encourage more social interactions between individuals with physical disabilities and nondisabled individuals than pet dogs? Journal of Applied Companion Animal Behavior 5, 1624OpenUrl Further readingBSI (2009) Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of practice. BS 8300. British Standard Institution.HMSO (2010) The Equalities Act. Accessed September 29, 2014
Holston House: a Downtown Nashville Hotel Brings Modern Style to Historic Building
Nashville residents are quick to point out that a hundred people are moving to their city every day and with a slew of new hotels opening and under construction, it looks like their friends are coming to visit. One of the citys newest openings, Holston House, part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, combines the best of old and new Nashville, hosting a modern, luxurious interior inside a renovated Art Deco building in the heart of downtown Nashville. Originally a hotel from the 1920s, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the interiors of Holston House has been updated byNew York deign firm Stonehill Taylor, with modern accents that maintain the Art Deco charm as well as play with the citys musical foundation. The lobby is a welcoming lounge with deep red and blue chairs and couches, under a display of vintage speaker cabinets a nod to Phil Spectors Wall of Sound that offer split level views to the downstairs bar and upstairs restaurant. An arch of stage lights leads to the reception desk, and a classical lions head water fountain has been updated by a background drawing which turns the beast into a modern rocker with electric guitar. The hotels 191 rooms and suites are more subtlety designed, with neutral colors and blue accents. Behind the leather headboards are wall coverings representing sound waves. The two Penthouse suites are the most luxurious, with in-room bars and patio spaces overlooking the Nashville skyline. Combine both of them and you also get an extra bungalow space for entertaining, with an additional patio. But the true highlight of the hotel is the rooftop pool and bar long and sleek, and designed more for lounging with a cocktail than swimming, with a fabulous view of the city. TENN is the in-house restaurant at Holston House, located off the lobby, and under the direction of chef Andrew Rodriguez features twists on classic American and Southern specialities, such as Butter Bean Hummus, Shrimp and Grits serves with Andouille sausage along with riffs on Short Ribs and Trout. The atmosphere is casual but at a recent dinner there, the food went well beyond expectations a restaurant worth visiting whether or not staying at the hotel. Downstairs from the lobby, Bar Tenn is a comfortable place to grab coffee during the day and cocktails or wine in the evening. Holston House is within walking distance of some of Nashvilles best attractions, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Ryman auditorium and the live music venues of Broadway, known as the Honky Tonk Highway. The area is also filled with stores for cowboy boots, though locals will tell you no one from Nashville actually wears them must be all the visiting friends. And a short drive from HolstonHouse is Third Man Records, founded by Jack White of the White Stripes, with records and books for sale, a working 1947 recording booth, and a tour of the studio on Fridays and Saturdays.
Of Cabbages and Condoms
Bangkok restaurant Condoms & Cabbages was started with the hope that it would popularise family planning. When Rashmi Das and her husband Suresh visited Bangkok last year, Suresh, a self-confessed foodie, decided to track down some of Bangkoks more unusual restaurants. I asked the man at our hotels reception desk to recommend a restaurant that is really unique. He blurted out, Condoms and Cabbages, laughed Suresh. I looked at him strangely because I thought he was either joking or hinting at something.The duo hired a taxi to take them to the restaurant (I just about managed to tell the name of the restaurant to the taxi driver without squealing, remembers Suresh) and they were convinced that the whole thing was a prank. But Cabbages and Condoms, or C & C as many call it, does exist. As they entered the restaurant, statues and trees decked in colourful condoms greeted Rashmi and Suresh. Outside there was a sign which said Sorry we have no mints. Please take a condom instead, said Suresh. There was a Santa Claus made out of condoms, a bride whose gown was made out of condoms, Christmas trees made out of condoms even a boy dressed in a Manchester United uniform made out of condoms! Even our bill was accompanied by a condom. It all felt so surreal.The restaurants website greets visitors with the tag line, Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy. But the loud hints to safe sex and pregnancy at C & C are much more than a gimmick. The restaurant was founded by the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), a private, non-profit organisation. PDA was formed in 1974 to curb Thailands population growth which, at the time, was spiralling out of control. The restaurant was started with the hope that it would popularise family planning.Although the menu is similar to that of menu Bangkok restaurants, C & C restaurant manager Khun Noppadol Sriruwat pointed out that the restaurant serves something called a Condom Salad. The Condom Salad is clear noodle, which looks like clear rubber, vegetables, chillies and onions, said Sriruwat.Surprisingly, the place is frequented by many families. Most of our guests are Western people. We get very few Asians. Children from two months old to teenagers also visit our restaurant with parents, explains Sriruwat.
Answers to Some Key Questions on Quebec's Face-covering Law
Quebec's Bill 62, requiring people to show their faces when they give or receive public services, became law this week. The new law applies to a wide array of public institutions from hospitals to libraries and has eliciteda groundswell of criticism.Trudeau says federal government will 'look carefully' at implications of Bill 62There are also a lot of questions about how the law will work.Here are some answers:Can municipalities or transit agencies get an exemption?The decision to include municipalities and transit agencies in Bill 62 was a deliberate one on the part of the Liberal government. Those bodies wereadded to the proposed legislationlastAugust.However, several municipalities, including Montreal and Quebec City, are adamantly opposed to being included in the law. The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) said in a news release Friday it thinks municipalities should be exempted.The government has made no move to do so.Could some organizations simply not enforce the law?The law states the highest authority in every organization is responsible for making sure that it is enforced.However, the law doesn't set out any consequences for organizations or employees who do not follow it. 'Problematic' and a 'dog's breakfast': Quebec face-covering ban panned by authors of landmark reportThis is expected to change. The province plans to include penalties for failure to comply when it adopts regulations as to how the law will be applied by July.Several transit agencies, including those in Montreal and Gatineau, have said they will not enforce the ban until the guidelines for how the law is to be implemented are ready.Montreal protesters don surgical masks, scarves over new face-covering lawWhat will happen to people who wear a balaclava or a winter scarf when they get on the bus?Quebecers may have to getthrough a winter before the guidelines on how to deal with situations such as this are ready. The government has given itself until next July to adopt those guidelines.Meanwhile, Justice Minister Stphanie Valle has refused to speak about specific scenarios. However, the law as it is worded appears to allow transit users to cover their face while waiting at a bus stop, but require them to remove their face covering after they board.What happens when a woman wearing a niqab goes to the hospital?A woman who wears a niqab, burka or other face covering will be expected to reveal her face when she undergoes a medical examination. Requests made by men or women to be treated by a doctor of their own gender are already being systematically refused, Health Minister Gatan Barrette explained earlier this week.'I should see your face, and you should see mine,' Quebec premier says of new religious neutrality lawHowever, Barrette said the situation is "fuzzy" when it comes to how hospital staff at the reception desk should handlepatients with a covered face when theywalkinto an establishment. "We are all waiting for those directions," the health minister said.What happens if a person refuses to take off their face covering?That's not yet clear.Instructions on how an employee is supposed to react will depend on the circumstances, says the justice minister's spokesperson, Isabelle Marier St-Onge.EXPLAINER|What you need to know about Quebec's religious neutrality legislationThe provincial guidelines coming out by next July are supposed to outline how public service workers should deal with various specific situations.Will doctors be allowed to wear surgical masks?Will police officers in riot gear be allowed to wear face shields?Quebec's workplace safety standards will still apply, despite the religious neutrality legislation, the justice minister's spokesperson said. Workers will still be required to wear the necessary equipment to protect themselves and others, said Marier St-Onge.

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