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Monday, June 7, 2010

Edition 22: Variety

Women Magicians Create Own Halo
PTI
From mere assistant roles to solo performances now, women magicians in the country have come a long way, breaking yet another male bastion.
In a proof of their growing stature in the field, women magicians from Kerala and different parts of the country and abroad would be exhibiting their skills at the world's first Convention of Women Magicians to be held in Thiruvananthapuram on May 30.
About 150 magicians, including top woman magician Luna Shimada of the US, have already registered for the convention titled, 'Maya 2010', the organisers told PTI.
Hosts Kerala would be represented by 20 participants, including a 12-year-old school student.
Earlier, women magicians could perform only as assistants.
However, things have changed now and the fairer sex have started performing on their own, magician Gopinath Muthukad, the brain behind the setting up of a Magic Academy at Thiruvanathapuram, said.
Housewives, working women and students come to the academy, which is organising the convention, to learn magic as a hobby. They do perform, but very few take it up as a profession, he said.
The Academy, which started in 1996,offers various courses for beginners.
Muthukad, who has done several shows in various parts of the country and abroad and has trained Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, said the effort is to bring more women into the field of magic. Women can perform better and are more flexible, he says.
Magician Maneka Sorcar, daughter of noted magician P C Sorcar Junior had also been invited.
ormer Kerala Chief Secretary, Lissie Jacob, is learning magic as a hobby and continues to take lessons regularly. Jacob had performed during the Kerala Magicians meet in February 2008.
Kaized Bhumgara, an air hostess from Mumbai, along with her two daughters Pearl (20) and Zenia (12) would be performing in the convention's competitive section also. Kaized is also the former general secretary of Society of Indian Magicians, Mumbai.
There are four categories of competitions - stage magic (seniors and juniors), close up (the magicians will have to perform very close to the audience), innovative kitchen which has been newly introduced in the magic competition.

Newton’s Apple Tree To Defy Gravity
MARCIA DUNN/AP
Sir Isaac Newton's famous apple tree is about to leave gravity behind.
Flying aboard space shuttle Atlantis next week will be a 4-inch sliver of the tree from which an apple fell nearly 350 years ago and inspired Newton to discover the law of gravity.
British-born astronaut Piers Sellers is flying the piece of wood for The Royal Society of London. "I'll take it up into orbit and let it float around a bit, which will confuse Isaac," Sellers said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week.
When Sellers last flew in space in 2006, he carried up a gold medal that the society later presented to British physicist Stephen Hawking. This time, he told them, "What about something for you?"
The small slice of Newton's apple tree they offered is "from THE apple tree, from the one that he was looking at when the apple fell down and he got the idea," stressed Sellers.
"It's his personal apple tree ... that's really something, isn't it?"
Sellers said the president of the Royal Society assured him the piece is authentic.
"Written on it in very old 18th century lettering is I-S-dot-Newton," the astronaut told the AP. "He had a very nice hand. So I think it is his tree."
It's big enough to see the grain in the wood and is curved, he said.
Sellers will return it to the Royal Society following Atlantis' 12-day flight.
The Royal Society — the national academy of science of the United Kingdom — is celebrating its 350th year. As part of the anniversary celebration, the society in January made available online the 18th-century document detailing Newton's account of the famous apple incident, which occurred in the mid-1660s.
Here's what William Stukeley wrote as told to him by Newton:
"It was occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself ... Why should it not go sideways, or upwards? But constantly to the earth's center? Assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in matter."
Newton was a physicist, mathematician and astronomer, among other things. He was born in 1643 in Lincolnshire, England — said to be the site of the famous apple tree. In 1687, he published his book "Principia" in which he described his theory of gravity and the laws of motion. He died in 1727.
Sellers, 55, who has a doctorate in biometeorology, became an astronaut in 1996. Born in Sussex, he's been a U.S. citizen since 1981. Next Friday's launch to the International Space Station will be his third space shuttle mission.
Sellers also is taking along a flag for the 2012 Olympics, to be held in London.



Wanted: A Bird For Canada To Rival US
AFP
Canada is in search of a bird to name as a national symbol to rival the United States's bald eagle, the Bahama's flamingo, and New Zealand's kiwi, CBC said Friday.
The initiative was launched by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy, which specializes in birds of prey rehabilitation, captive breeding and research.
The organization launched an online petition to choose a bird for Canada, and is being supported by public broadcaster CBC, which encouraged viewers to participate in the selection.
The winner is to be presented to parliament to be ratified.
Canada's 13 provinces and territories have each claimed a bird to represent their respective region, including the snowy owl, blue jay, raven, puffin, chickadee and grouse.
"So why not Canada?" asked the Canadian Raptor Conservancy on its website, especially since "bird watching is the number one hobby in the world," it said.
The loon, which appears on Canada's dollar coin, and the Canada Goose are each believed by many to be Canada's national bird already -- wrongly it turns out -- and appear to be the frontrunners in the contest so far.
A winner will be named after receiving at least 200,000 signatories on the online petition.
Canadians are urged to select a bird that can be seen regularly by Canadians in all parts of the country and that is not already a symbol of another nation.

Lord Jesus Christ Hit By Car!

The victim might have forgiven the woman who ran him down in a Massachusetts crosswalk, but police haven't.

Police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down a man named Lord Jesus Christ as he crossed a street in Northampton on Tuesday. The 50-year-old man is from Belchertown. Officers checked his ID and discovered that, indeed, his legal name is Lord Jesus Christ. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor facial injuries.

Police say 20-year-old Brittany Cantarella was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

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