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Home of Stonehenge builders found

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 21-04-2019

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Scientists have uncovered the largest Neolithic settlement in the United Kingdom at the Durrington Walls and believe that the village was inhabited by the people who built the Stonehenge monument.

Scientists say that the village was built around 2,600 B.C., roughly when Stonehenge was believed to have been constructed, and housed over 100 people.

Inside the areas which would have been the interior of houses at the time, scientists also found outlines of what they think were beds and cupboards or dressers. Pieces of pottery and “filthy” rubbish around the site. Animal bones, arrowheads, stone tools and other relics were also discovered.

“We’ve never seen such quantities of pottery and animal bone and flint. In what were houses, we have excavated the outlines on the floors of box beds and wooden dressers or cupboards,” said Sheffield University archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson.

So far, the dig has revealed at least 8 houses roughly 14-16 feet square, but scientists say that they think there may have been at least 25 altogether.

The site was likely to have been occupied only seasonally rather than year-round and evidence suggests that a lot of “partying” went on at the location.

“The animal bones are being thrown away half-eaten. It’s what we call a feasting assemblage. This is where they went to party – you could say it was the first free festival. The rubbish isn’t your average domestic debris. There’s a lack of craft-working equipment for cleaning animal hides and no evidence for crop-processing,” added Pearson.

The Durrington Walls are approximately 2 miles from the Stonehenge site.

Puppies used to smuggle heroin

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-04-2019

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Ten puppies with bags of liquid heroin surgically implanted into their bellies were having seizures in a drug bust in Medellin, Colombia, said authorities.

“They utilized a wide range of smuggling, the most repulsive of which was the use of puppies,” said John P. Gilbride, head of the DEA’s New York office.

“There have been cases of animal cruelty that have led to the discovery of drug labs, but not to the extent of an animal being used to carry drugs, especially a puppy,” said ASPCA spokeswoman Jo Sullivan.

Investigators believe that the dogs were used to smuggle heroin into New York on commercial flights. The drugs were then to be distributed and sold along the East Coast.

“Ten puppies, including Labrador retrievers, were rescued during a 2005 raid on a farm in Colombia,” said the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Wednesday. The Agency also announced that they had made more than 30 arrests.

Authorities believe that a veterinarian, Andres Lopez Elorez (who is also believed to be a fugitive in Spain), opened the bellies of at least six of the ten puppies, inserted 500 mL bags of liquid heroin, and then stitched them back up. Three puppies had died due to infections after the drugs were removed. A total of 3 kg of heroin were recovered from six puppies. The bags were found using ultrasound.

“The surviving dogs are still alive and well, we’re told,” said Gilbride. “I think it’s outrageous and heinous that they’d use small, innocent puppies in this way. This investigation identified the individuals who were responsible for overseeing and smuggling millions of dollars worth of heroin from Colombia to the East Coast.”

The investigation revealed that the smugglers, whose ring was based in Medellin, not only used people and puppies to conceal their drugs, but also body creams, aerosol cans, and the linings of purses and luggage.

A tipster is said to have led authorities to the puppies.

It is not known how many puppies were actually used in the smuggling operation.

Three dogs were adopted by Colombian police. At least one of those puppies will be trained to sniff for drugs.

About 24 kilograms of heroin was seized in recent raids in Colombia which have resulted in more than 20 arrests and another ten in custody in New York. A total of at least 24 kilograms have been seized in these raids.

Photography Useful Tips

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Surveyors | Posted on 17-04-2019

Submitted by: Trentuj Dudley

Simple Photography Tricks That Anybody Can Use

Not everyone has a fantastic eye for framing photographs. Nor does everyone have the capacity to capture the true essence of a special moment with their camera. Nevertheless, you do not have to be naturally gifted to take good photographs – you’ll find a couple of straightforward tricks you may use to elevate your picture-taking abilities.

Overexposing your Photography allows the greatest flexibility for digitally editing and enhancing your images at a later time. Slight overexposure also enhances skin tone and ‘burns out’ skin blemishes from your subjects. Not all cameras allow the user to manually adjust the exposure level – practically each and every point and shoot camera doesn’t have the required bells and whistles that allow a photographer to deliberately overexpose an image.

There’s a basic approach to overexposing your images that anyone can use, regardless of the kind of camera they’ve. If your subject is ten feet away, just locate another subject at the same distance but with less light. Frame the new subject and slightly press down on your shutter button so that the Photography camera takes a light reading and auto focuses on the secondary subject. Now, without releasing the shutter button, point your camera back to your original subject, frame the shot, and press the shutter button down the rest of the way. The result: an overexposed image.

YouTube Preview Image

The Photography image will likely be overexposed simply because the camera took a light reading based on the darker subject. While this is hardly an exact science for overexposing your images, it works in a pinch when you are stuck making use of low quality equipment. It’s significant to note that you should ensure your two subjects are the same distance away from the camera to insure proper focusing, and you ought to initially frame your first subject just before grabbing a light reading from the secondary subject.

Have you ever heard the phrase Devil Lighting? You possibly haven’t, but it’s a extremely descriptive phrase for describing any light source that doesn’t appear natural. When we interact with men and women on a daily basis, the most typical light source is the sun, and it casts its light from a incredibly high angle. Thus, a person’s facial features look extra ‘normal’ when they are lit from a high light source. Even if we’re interacting with folks at night, most light sources sit well above our heads and cast their light from a high angle. When a photographer tries to get creative with light sources that are positioned below a person’s head, the result is often a quite unflattering, unattractive photograph. Low angled lighting is Devil Lighting, a minimum of according to a photographer comrade of mine, and I’d need to agree with him.

When you use low angle lighting that shines up into a person’s face you create unnatural shadows also as reveal aspects of a person’s skin and face structure that have never been noticed before. It’s not that it’s a bad photograph – to the contrary, low angle light sources are just as revealing as high angle light sources. The distinction is that we’re not used to seeing a person’s face lit up from low angle lighting, as well as the result is an unflattering photograph. This kind of lighting creates a difficulty since it is like seeing a person’s face for the quite very first time, along with the outcomes are often disastrous. In short, do not use low-angle lighting! Even if you are not deliberately utilizing a low angle light source, be conscious of unintentional light reflections that may well be hitting your subject from a low angle.

When taking portrait-style shots often frame in close to your subjects faces. Frame the shot from their shoulder to a few inches above their head. The larger their faces inside the image, the extra enjoyable they will uncover the photograph. There’s one exception to this rule, and for that 1 exception you need to read about the last tip in this article.

The last piece of advice is really a excellent 1. Today’s adjustable lenses have a wide application range. A 50mm lens is said to be the exact same visual Photography image as the naked eye. Taking that rule of thumb at face value, a 200mm lens ought to offer an image that’s 4 times closer to the subject than the naked eye. The higher the millimeter, the more ‘zoom’ is involved. Are you with me so far?

When you photography folks utilizing a wide lens (anything below 50mm), you are going to distort their facial features! The wider the lens, the extra distorted your subjects will grow to be, and this is most notable when people are the primary subject. Conversely, the longer the lens you use, the less distortion you’ll see in a person’s face, plus the far more ‘true’ the image will appear. Actually, if an individual has an unsightly, significant feature on their face (including a nose) a longer lens will most likely produce a significantly far more flattering image.

The trick to making use of the proper lens when photographing somebody is straightforward: stand as far back from them as achievable and adjust your lens until their face is in full frame. Example: let’s say you’ve a 70-200mm lens. Rather than standing 10 feet away from your subject and using the lens at 70mm, you’ll create a higher high quality image by standing 30 feet away from your subject and using the lens at 200mm.

That 1 Photography straightforward trick will produce far more flattering images every single single time, and men and women will think you are an astounding photographer. As an added bonus, by creating a full frame of their face at the longest end of your lens, you’ll also create a nice bokeh for out of focus areas of the photograph, which also makes for a much more attractive image since anybody viewing the photograph will automatically zero in on the most ‘in focus’ portion of the photograph: the person’s face. Those are just several simple tips for elevating your photography abilities. Use them as typically as you can!

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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 16-04-2019

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

John Reed on Orwell, God, self-destruction and the future of writing

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 14-04-2019

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It can be difficult to be John Reed.

Christopher Hitchens called him a “Bin Ladenist” and Cathy Young editorialized in The Boston Globe that he “blames the victims of terrorism” when he puts out a novel like Snowball’s Chance, a biting send-up of George Orwell‘s Animal Farm which he was inspired to write after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “The clear references to 9/11 in the apocalyptic ending can only bring Orwell’s name into disrepute in the U.S.,” wrote William Hamilton, the British literary executor of the Orwell estate. That process had already begun: it was revealed Orwell gave the British Foreign Office a list of people he suspected of being “crypto-Communists and fellow travelers,” labeling some of them as Jews and homosexuals. “I really wanted to explode that book,” Reed told The New York Times. “I wanted to completely undermine it.”

Is this man who wants to blow up the classic literary canon taught to children in schools a menace, or a messiah? David Shankbone went to interview him for Wikinews and found that, as often is the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

Reed is electrified by the changes that surround him that channel through a lens of inspiration wrought by his children. “The kids have made me a better writer,” Reed said. In his new untitled work, which he calls a “new play by William Shakespeare,” he takes lines from The Bard‘s classics to form an original tragedy. He began it in 2003, but only with the birth of his children could he finish it. “I didn’t understand the characters who had children. I didn’t really understand them. And once I had had kids, I could approach them differently.”

Taking the old to make it new is a theme in his work and in his world view. Reed foresees new narrative forms being born, Biblical epics that will be played out across print and electronic mediums. He is pulled forward by revolutions of the past, a search for a spiritual sensibility, and a desire to locate himself in the process.

Below is David Shankbone’s conversation with novelist John Reed.

Contents

  • 1 On the alternative media and independent publishing
  • 2 On Christopher Hitchens, Orwell and 9/11 as inspiration
  • 3 On the future of the narrative
  • 4 On changing the literary canon
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On politics
  • 7 On self-destruction and survival
  • 8 On raising children
  • 9 On paedophilia and the death penalty
  • 10 On personal relationships
  • 11 Sources
  • 12 External links

U.S. teens generally reducing risky behavior says CDC

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 14-04-2019

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On June 4, a report published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that in the past 16 years high school students have become less likely to engage in health risk-related behaviors such as having sex and taking drugs. However, the CDC found that Hispanic students were less likely to have reduced risky behavior when compared to Black and White students in several key areas.

The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is run by the CDC every two years, and is an anonymous, self-administered survey of students in grades 9 to 12. In the 2007 YRBS, over 14,000 students were surveyed from across 44 U.S. states, 5 territories, and several individual school districts. The combined statistics used results from 39 states and 22 large urban school districts.

The survey showed that males were more likely than females to engage in most behaviors involving violence or risk of unintentional injury, including driving while drinking alcohol, carrying a weapon, and being involved in a physical fight, although females were more likely to have contemplated or attempted suicide. Males were also more likely to have smoked tobacco or marijuana, engaged in heavy drinking, or engaged in sexual intercourse, while females were more likely to have fasted for 24 hours or more, vomited or taken laxatives in order to lose weight.

While the proportions of White and Black students who had ever had sexual intercourse, and who had had sex with four or more partners in their lifetimes, all dropped over the period 1991-2007, there was no change in either of these statistics for the Hispanic population. Compared to their counterparts in the 1990s however, Hispanic students in 2007 were found to be more likely to have used a condom during their most recent sexual intercourse, and less likely to have consumed drugs such as cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.

Hispanic students were more likely than White or Black students to go without food for 24 hours to lose weight, to take drugs such as heroin or cocaine, to drink alcohol on school property, and to have avoided school on occasion because of safety concerns.

In comparison with previous YRBS results, the survey found that the percentage of students who had ever had sexual intercourse decreased from 54.1% in 1991 to 47.8% in 2007, with a comparable decrease in the percentage who had had four or more sexual partners, from 18.7% to 14.9%. Decreases were also found in the percentage of students who had attempted suicide, who rode in a car with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, and who had smoked marijuana in the past month, but an increase in the percentage who had avoided school on occasion because of safety concerns (from 4.4% in 1993 to 5.5% in 2007).

“We are pleased that more high school students today are doing things that will help them stay healthy and avoiding things that put their health in danger. Unfortunately we are not seeing that same progress among Hispanic teens for certain risk factors,” said Howell Wechsler, Ed.D., MPH, director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

Microsoft claims 235 patent breaches by open source software

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 14-04-2019

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Software giant Microsoft’s chief lawyer Brad Smith claimed in an interview published in the magazine Fortune on Monday that open-source software products violate 235 of Microsoft’s patents. The main transgressors are claimed to be Linux (107 patents) and OpenOffice.org (45), with e-mail programs infringing 15 patents. Microsoft wants royalties to compensate for the patent breaches.

According to Microsoft’s Vice-President of intellectual property and licensing, Horacio Gutierrez, the company wants to negotiate with the open-source companies rather than sue them. “If we wanted to litigate we would have done that a long time ago. Litigation is not an effective way of going about solutions,” Gutierrez said. According to him, Microsoft has over the last years tried to work towards a “constructive” solution to the alleged problem of patent violation.

Microsoft in the past has used the strategy of cross-licensing to get royalties from companies who infringe their patents, for example in their deal with Novell. On a company blog, Novell reiterated that their deal “is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property.”

“We don’t think that customers will want to continue on without a solution to the problem,” Gutierrez said about Microsoft’s approach to guaranteeing companies that they won’t get sued because they use the allegedly patent-infringing Linux operating system.

The upcoming third version of the GPL licence, the licence under which Linux is released, will prohibit Linux distributors to agree to patent royalty deals. Microsoft called these “attempts to tear down the bridge between proprietary and open-source software that Microsoft has worked to build with the industry and customers.”

A related U.S. Supreme Court ruling from April 30th showed how software patents can be subject to court challenges; basically, if the innovations patented are “obvious”, the patent is weakened. Joe Lindsay, information officer for a mortgage company, pointed out that the Unix code that Linux is based upon preceded Microsoft Windows, which might also be a reason for some patents to be invalid.

Red Hat, the biggest Linux distributor, said in a statement on Monday:

The reality is that the community development approach of free and open source code represents a healthy development paradigm, which, when viewed from the perspective of pending lawsuits related to intellectual property, is at least as safe as proprietary software.
 

Larry Augustin, former CEO of a company called VA Linux (now VA Software), responsible among other things for launching SourceForge.net, an open-source software development community, posted a message on his blog under the title “It’s Time for Microsoft to Put Up or Shut Up”:

If Microsoft believes that Free and Open Source Software violates any of their patents, let them put those patents forward now, in the light of day, where we can all evaluate them on their merits. If not, then stop trying to bully customers into paying royalties to use Open Source.

According to the Fortune report, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies are estimated to use Linux in their data centers.

Controversy over effects of new bankruptcy law on victims of Katrina

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-04-2019

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hurricane Katrina has rekindled debate over the controversial Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, in the U.S. House of Represenatives. Congressional Democrats feel that among the hundreds of thousands of victims of Katrina, many of whom have lost all their possessions and are coping with relocation, those that declare bankruptcy should be granted the protections of the previous law. 32 Democrats have sponsored a proposal that would delay implementing certain parts of the law to “insure that we do not compound a natural disaster with a man made financial disaster.”

The new bankruptcy law affects anyone whose income (as of the six months before filing) was over the state median income. Democratic legislators point out that many hurricane victims who manage to find work will be suffering from wage reductions, making them unable to effectively deal with their previous debts. Among U.S. states, Louisana and Mississippi have the fourth and third lowest median incomes, respectively. Democrats also feel that it is unfair to require repayment by bankrupted Hurricane Katrina victims while citizens in other states with similar incomes would pay nothing.

F. James Sensenbrenner, Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has denied a hearing on creating an exception in the law for the purposes of Katrina relief. He noted that “If someone in Katrina is down and out, and has no possibility of being able to repay 40 percent or more of their debts, then the new bankruptcy law doesn’t apply.”

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 has been heavily criticized by consumer rights’ organizations. The Consumer Federation of America argues that “[the] new requirements, coupled with strict deadlines for production upon the penalty of an automatic dismissal are difficult for the most organized person to meet, never mind someone who has had his or her home destroyed by Katrina.”

Opponents of the bill also argued that it makes the government “a bill collector for private companies”, and could lead to criminal prosecutions over matters best left in civil courts, and theoretically even to life imprisonment under federal three-strikes laws. Such opponents view the bulk of the act either as “bought and paid for” by the Credit Card Industry, who spent millions lobbying in support of the bill, or else as an unfortunate compromise between the lobbyists for banks and bankruptcy lawyers, such as the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). Nathalie Martin, of ABI, said that “Many people will still qualify to file for Chapter 7,” which means liquidation of assets in exchange for cancellation of debt.

Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-04-2019

Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, €120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

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Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-04-2019

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”.”Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”.He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.