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18 April 2019

Stand Up To Cancer, Mastercard & Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame Unite To Help Take Down One Of The Biggest Villains Of All: Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer, Mastercard & Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame Unite To Help Take Down One Of The Biggest Villains Of All: Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer, Mastercard & Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame Unite To Help Take Down One Of The Biggest Villains Of All: Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), Mastercard and Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame announced today that they are teaming up to take down one of the biggest villains of all, cancer, with an impactful new Public Service Announcement scheduled to launch in April.

The PSA campaign features Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame Super Heroes alongside real-life heroes: cancer survivors. The two global brands are collaborating to raise awareness for SU2C to help all patients become long-term survivors. 

  • The PSA will come to life across print, TV, radio, digital and out-of-home networks, aligning with the premiere of Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame in theaters April 26, 2019.
The new PSA is the latest collaboration between SU2C and Mastercard, marking Mastercard's 10th year as a supporter of SU2C. To date, Mastercard has donated more than $45 million to SU2C's collaborative cancer research programs, providing invaluable support for research leading to five FDA approvals for new cancer therapies. This marks the second collaboration between SU2C and Marvel Studios, who collaborated with American Airlines, a longstanding donor to SU2C, on a PSA campaign tied to Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War in 2018.
"It's incredible to look back at the impact our donations have had on cancer research. We are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish with the help of our cardholders over the last ten years," said Cheryl Guerin, executive vice president, North America marketing and communications, Mastercard. "This new campaign gives us the extraordinary opportunity to spotlight the heroes of our community— those who have defeated cancer in their own lives. It further underscores the message that no one is alone standing up to this disease and that we are stronger when we join forces. We are so honored to collaborate with Stand Up To Cancer and Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame on this galvanizing PSA. Together, we want to create a future where everyone facing a cancer diagnosis becomes a long-term survivor."
"It's a privilege to team up with Stand Up To Cancer and its long-time supporter, Mastercard, to spotlight the true heroes of our world," said Mindy Hamilton, SVP of Marvel Partnerships. "On behalf of the entire studio, we deeply admire the courage, strength and empowering Super Hero examples that patients and survivors continue to set. We look forward to the day when there is an end to cancer."
"At Stand Up To Cancer, collaboration is the cornerstone of our mission," said Rusty Robertson, Stand Up To Cancer co-founder. "We are so grateful to Mastercard and Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame for standing with us, and to all the survivors who bravely share their personal journeys. This incredible collaboration illustrates how we can all be Super Heroes."
The print PSA features Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame cast members Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, along with Pearl, a pediatric cancer survivor, Arnold a Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) survivor and Lori, a breast cancer survivor. Arnold and Pearl are also included in the Spanish language print PSA.

The broadcast PSA, including TV and radio, also features Chris Evans (Captain America) and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), as well as Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Karen Gillan (Nebula), and Danai Gurira (Okoye). Survivors featured include Arnold, Lori and Pearl, as well as Dave, an esophageal cancer survivor, Phuong, a colon cancer survivor, and Robyn, a breast cancer survivor. It is inspired by Stand Up To Cancer's UK colleagues' innovative PSA, "The Takedown," which was created and directed by Melissa Bolton-Klinger, a Stage 3 head and neck cancer survivor. The US adaptation and print campaign were produced by L Associates, an integrated creative agency located in Hollywood, Calif. that focuses on entertainment and brands.

Mastercard launched its support for SU2C with a "Priceless" PSA which aired during the 2009 MLB World Series. Since then, Mastercard has continued to collaborate with SU2C, most notably on their annual dine out campaign. Over the last 10 years, Mastercard's donations have significantly supported SU2C's research in immunotherapy, precision treatments, and the development of technologies using blood tests to identify cancers early, imaging cancers to understand tumor progression, and new laboratory tools to target drug discovery and precision medicine. Financial support from Mastercard currently is helping SU2C to advance the new fields of convergence, bringing mathematicians, physicists and oncologists together to investigate immunotherapy in difficult to treat cancers, as well as cancer interception, which seeks to diagnose cancer and pre-cancerous conditions as early as possible, and develop treatments to intervene in the formation or advancement of cancer.

  • In 2019, over 1.7 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, with 1 in 3 Americans diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This compelling PSA campaign will raise awareness for Stand Up To Cancer while also raising funds needed to continue critical ground-breaking research.

About Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. A division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), SU2C was established in 2008 by media and entertainment leaders who utilize these communities' resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, to increase awareness about cancer prevention, and to highlight progress being made in the fight against the disease. As of April 2018, more than 1,500 scientists representing more than 180 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects.

The SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., with support of the SU2C Science Strategy and Management Department and the American Association for Cancer Research, SU2C's Scientific Partner, implements rigorous competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration and ensure collaboration across research programs.

Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, and Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., serves as SU2C's president and CEO.

Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame

About Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame.

Kevin Feige produces Avengers: Endgame, and Anthony and Joe Russo are the directors. Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau, James Gunn and Stan Lee are the executive producers, and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay.

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Interesting Sources Of Inspiration For An Office

Reading room
Reading room (image via Unsplash)
Setting up shop can be a complicated process. If you ever decide to start your own company in life, you may find that you want to do it in your own way. And it’s always a good idea to put your own spin things. Uniqueness can be a huge selling point in business, and if you have a niche business idea, then looking to get really personal with your entire approach is a great idea. Maybe you’re selling collectable books or comics or movies? Maybe you’re setting up a club or a media service? Either way, you may find that you need business premises that suits your unique business idea.

To do this, you’ll need some inspiration. But because you’re looking to be different, unique, and interesting, then you need ideas that are exactly that. Here are a range of sources that you can get inspiration from for that.


A great place to start is with movies. Because they’re visual, and you may find that there are great pieces of inspiration that you can take from seeing different locations, buildings, interiors, and décor. If you have any favourite movies, then definitely look to them for ideas on what you can do to bring your business location alive in a unique way.

Fantasy Fiction

If you’re big into your books, you may find that there’s a certain office space in a novel that inspires you. While there may be a range of fictional office locations you could consider here, you’ll want to find inspiration from somewhere that suits your style. If you’re into fantasy, then you’ll want to see what kind of weird and wonderful locations, buildings, or areas that might inspire you to create the office of dreams.

Historical Buildings

Another idea that you can turn to for interesting inspiration, is historical buildings. Because you may find that looking at different buildings and seeing how they were made, then taking architecture inspiration can help you. For this, something like the City Hire timeline can be the best place for you to start. You may even find that there’s a historical building with a free office to rent in it, which solves your search for it.

Art Work

And, of course, you can definitely look at a piece of art for inspiration too. Maybe there’s a particular scene or pattern that you love? Maybe there’s a theme or a message that you can work with? Sometimes, this is a subtle but impactful way to create the office design of your dreams.


Finally, you may find that you can get a lot of inspiration when you travel. And you can get a range of different kinds of inspiration that gives you different ideas for design, layout, or even the style of the building overall. Whether it’s the architecture in Paris, the colours in Marrakech, or the culture in New York City, it can be really interesting to take ideas when you travel, to then see where the inspiration might take you.

17 April 2019

"POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" Comes to 7-Eleven with AR Experiences, Dollar Drinks and Exclusive Products

"POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" Comes to 7-Eleven with AR Experiences, Dollar Drinks and Exclusive Products
"POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" Comes to 7-Eleven with AR Experiences, Dollar Drinks and Exclusive Products
7-Eleven stores are teasing the highly anticipated theatrical release of the first-ever live-action Pokémon adventure, "POKÉMON Detective Pikachu," with dozens of exclusive movie-themed products, shareable photo filters and interactive augmented reality (AR) experiences in the 7-Eleven app.

For a limited time that includes the film's May 10th nationwide release date, the world's largest convenience retailer is also offering dollar drink deals to introduce its new mocha beverages and mystery-flavored Slurpee drink. A small cup of the new hot mocha, medium Cold Brew or medium Slurpee drink each cost only $1 at participating stores.

"'POKÉMON Detective Pikachu' is a great entertainment tie-in for 7-Eleven because it appeals to so many of our customers – kids, Gen Z, millennials," said Tarang Sethia, 7‑Eleven vice president of digital customer experience. "Millennials, who played the original videogame 20 years ago, are parents now and can enjoy the Pokémon phenomenon all over again with their kids. The entire Pokémon franchise launched as a videogame, making it the perfect vehicle to create experiences that maximize the new and growing AR capabilities in the 7-Eleven app."
Along with the unique and exciting AR games, "POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" products will be available at participating 7-Eleven stores and can be delivered in select areas through 7NOW, the retailer's delivery platform. 

  • Every Thursday during the promotion, 7-Eleven will unveil a free signature item that fans can order and have delivered directly to a chosen location.

Here's what to look for at 7-Eleven stores:

AR – Earning Free Stuff While Having Fun

7-Eleven has created a Ryme City Neighborhood Watch AR experience in its app, named for the movie's fictional setting, that includes a new "Find the Missing Pokémon" activity each week. Drawing from the movie storyline, each activity will fully immerse users in a unique story to find the missing Pokémon.

The quest to successfully find each Pokémon unlocks exclusive offers for free products. The free offers, in the order they can be earned, include a free pizza slice, four free mini tacos, free any-size cup of Hi-Hat Mocha or other hot beverage, and five free chicken wings.

A variety of 7Rewards bonus point offers run throughout the "POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" promotion, and selfie snaps also earn 7Rewards points weekly when customers share via their social channels using the hashtag #7ElevenNHW.

Since 7-Eleven launched AR last year, customers have been seeking out its stores to play games or meet a surprise celebrity, character or athlete.

Mystery Slurpee Sweepstakes

The Mystery Slurpee Sweepstakes offers customers an opportunity to do a little sleuthing for a chance to win a year of FREE Slurpee drinks. 

The Instagram-based contest invites users to follow Slurpee on Instagram; post a photo, video or gif of themselves; guess the three flavors in the Mystery Slurpee drink; and include the required hashtags, #MysterySlurpee and #Sweepstakes in the caption.

Hi-Hat Mocha

Detective Pikachu really, really loves coffee. 7-Eleven customers love coffee a lot too – it's the retailer's No. 1-selling product. Named for a café featured prominently in the movie, the new Hi-Hat Mocha hot beverage blends a rich balance of chocolate and coffee flavors with steamed milk and is topped with frothy foam. In select stores, customers can add a pump of chocolate sauce or yellow and white sprinkles. 7-Eleven also carries a rich, chocolatey Mocha Cold Brew coffee drink.

Collectible Fan Fare

Colorful, limited-edition Slurpee bottles and straws feature Detective Pikachu and other movie characters – Psyduck, Ludicolo and Snubbull. Refillable, insulated coffee mugs also feature Detective Pikachu, Psyduck and Ludicolo.

Participating 7-Eleven stores will have a variety of Detective Pikachu merchandise for all ages, including an exclusive set of trading cards, trading card file, plush Pokémon characters, Pokémon Clip and Carry Pokéball belt and Pokéballs.

Moviegoers can visit their local movie theater opening weekend decked out in Ryme City wear to see Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Available in select 7-Eleven stores and online at are Ryme City T-shirts, Hi-Hat Café and Detective Pikachu hats, wallets and key chains.

Sweet Endings

7-Eleven also created three 7-Select private brand chocolate bars to tie in to the movie. The "POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" bar flavors are Bolt'n Banana Milk Chocolate, Roaring Raspberry Confection and Psyched-up Orange Milk Chocolate. The bars are available at participating stores while supplies last.

Other "POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" sweet treats include a Create-a-Cookie Kit, vanilla cupcakes with yellow icing and sprinkles, as well as Pillsbury ready-to-bake cookies.

7-Eleven stores are teasing the highly anticipated theatrical release of the first-ever live-action Pokémon adventure, “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu,” with dozens of exclusive movie-themed products, shareable photo filters and interactive augmented reality (AR) experiences in the 7-Eleven app.
7-Eleven stores are teasing the highly anticipated theatrical release of the first-ever live-action Pokémon adventure, “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu,” with dozens of exclusive movie-themed products, shareable photo filters and interactive augmented reality (AR) experiences in the 7-Eleven app.

About the Movie:

"POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" stars Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, the iconic face of the global Pokémon phenomenon—one of the world's most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and one of the most successful media franchises of all time. Fans everywhere can now experience a Pikachu on the big screen as never before, as Detective Pikachu, a Pokémon like no other. The film also showcases a wide array of beloved Pokémon, each with its own unique traits and personality. 

When ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, his son Tim wants to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Detective Pikachu, they join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. 
Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
"POKÉMON Detective Pikachu" also stars Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Omar Chaparro, Chris Geere, Rita Ora, with Ken Watanabe and Bill Nighy. 

The film is directed by Rob Letterman, from a screenplay by Dan Hernandez& Benji Samit and Rob Letterman and Derek Connolly, story by Dan Hernandez & Benji Samit and Nicole Perlman, based on the "Detective Pikachu" video game developed by Creatures Inc. 

It is produced by Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Hidenaga Katakami and Don McGowan; with executive producers Joe Caracciolo, Jr., Ali Mendes, Tsunekazu Ishihara, Kenji Okubo, Toshio Miyahara, Hiro Matsuoka, Koji Ueda. Music is by Henry Jackman. 

Sea Creatures Store Carbon In The Ocean – Could Protecting Them Help Slow Climate Change?

A sperm whale goes down for a dive off Kaikoura, New Zealand.
A sperm whale goes down for a dive off Kaikoura, New Zealand. (Heidi Pearson, CC BY-ND)
As the prospect of catastrophic effects from climate change becomes increasingly likely, a search is on for innovative ways to reduce the risks. One potentially powerful and low-cost strategy is to recognize and protect natural carbon sinks – places and processes that store carbon, keeping it out of Earth’s atmosphere.

Forests and wetlands can capture and store large quantities of carbon. These ecosystems are included in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies that 28 countries have pledged to adopt to fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement. So far, however, no such policy has been created to protect carbon storage in the ocean, which is Earth’s largest carbon sink and a central element of our planet’s climate cycle.

As a marine biologist, my research focuses on marine mammal behavior, ecology and conservation. Now I also am studying how climate change is affecting marine mammals – and how marine life could become part of the solution.
A sea otter rests in a kelp forest off California. By feeding on sea urchins, which eat kelp, otters help kelp forests spread and store carbon
A sea otter rests in a kelp forest off California. By feeding on sea urchins, which eat kelp, otters help kelp forests spread and store carbon. (Nicole LaRoche, CC BY-ND)

What is marine vertebrate carbon?

Marine animals can sequester carbon through a range of natural processes that include storing carbon in their bodies, excreting carbon-rich waste products that sink into the deep sea, and fertilizing or protecting marine plants. In particular, scientists are beginning to recognize that vertebrates, such as fish, seabirds and marine mammals, have the potential to help lock away carbon from the atmosphere.

I am currently working with colleagues at UN Environment/GRID-Arendal, a United Nations Environment Programme center in Norway, to identify mechanisms through which marine vertebrates’ natural biological processes may be able to help mitigate climate change. So far we have found at least nine examples.

One of my favorites is Trophic Cascade Carbon. Trophic cascades occur when change at the top of a food chain causes downstream changes to the rest of the chain. As an example, sea otters are top predators in the North Pacific, feeding on sea urchins. In turn, sea urchins eat kelp, a brown seaweed that grows on rocky reefs near shore. Importantly, kelp stores carbon. Increasing the number of sea otters reduces sea urchin populations, which allows kelp forests to grow and trap more carbon.
Scientists have identified nine mechanisms through which marine vertebrates play roles in the oceanic carbon cycle
Scientists have identified nine mechanisms through which marine vertebrates play roles in the oceanic carbon cycle.( GRID Arendal, CC BY-ND)
Carbon stored in living organisms is called Biomass Carbon, and is found in all marine vertebrates. Large animals such as whales, which may weigh up to 50 tons and live for over 200 years, can store large quantities of carbon for long periods of time.

When they die, their carcasses sink to the seafloor, bringing a lifetime of trapped carbon with them. This is called Deadfall Carbon. On the deep seafloor, it can be eventually buried in sediments and potentially locked away from the atmosphere for millions of years.

Whales can also help to trap carbon by stimulating production of tiny marine plants called phytoplankton, which use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make plant tissue just like plants on land. The whales feed at depth, then release buoyant, nutrient-rich fecal plumes while resting at the surface, which can fertilize phytoplankton in a process that marine scientists call the Whale Pump.

And whales redistribute nutrients geographically, in a sequence we refer to as the Great Whale Conveyor Belt. They take in nutrients while feeding at high latitudes then release these nutrients while fasting on low-latitude breeding grounds, which are typically nutrient-poor. Influxes of nutrients from whale waste products such as urea can help to stimulate phytoplankton growth.

Finally, whales can bring nutrients to phytoplankton simply by swimming throughout the water column and mixing nutrients towards the surface, an effect researchers term Biomixing Carbon.

Fish poo also plays a role in trapping carbon. Some fish migrate up and down through the water column each day, swimming toward the surface to feed at night and descending to deeper waters by day. Here they release carbon-rich fecal pellets that can sink rapidly. This is called Twilight Zone Carbon.

These fish may descend to depths of 1,000 feet or more, and their fecal pellets can sink even farther. Twilight Zone Carbon can potentially be locked away for tens to hundreds of years because it takes a long time for water at these depths to recirculate back towards the surface.
‘Marine snow’ is made up of fecal pellets and other bits of organic material that sink into deep ocean waters, carrying large quantities of carbon into the depths.

Quantifying marine vertebrate carbon

To treat “blue carbon” associated with marine vertebrates as a carbon sink, scientists need to measure it. One of the first studies in this field, published in 2010, described the Whale Pump in the Southern Ocean, estimating that a historic pre-whaling population of 120,000 sperm whales could have trapped 2.2 million tons of carbon yearly through whale poo.
Another 2010 study calculated that the global pre-whaling population of approximately 2.5 million great whales would have exported nearly 210,000 tons of carbon per year to the deep sea through Deadfall Carbon. That’s equivalent to taking roughly 150,000 cars off the road each year.

A 2012 study found that by eating sea urchins, sea otters could potentially help to trap 150,000 to 22 million tons of carbon per year in kelp forests. Even more strikingly, a 2013 study described the potential for lanternfish and other Twilight Zone fish off the western U.S. coast to store over 30 million tons of carbon per year in their fecal pellets.

Scientific understanding of marine vertebrate carbon is still in its infancy. Most of the carbon-trapping mechanisms that we have identified are based on limited studies, and can be refined with further research. So far, researchers have examined the carbon-trapping abilities of less than 1% of all marine vertebrate species.
The brownish water at the base of this humpback whale’s fluke is a fecal plume, which can fertilize phytoplankton near the surface.
The brownish water at the base of this humpback whale’s fluke is a fecal plume, which can fertilize phytoplankton near the surface. (Photo taken under NMFS permit 10018-01. Heidi Pearson, CC BY-ND)

A new basis for marine conservation

Many governments and organizations around the world are working to rebuild global fish stocks, prevent bycatch and illegal fishing, reduce pollution and establish marine protected areas. If we can recognize the value of marine vertebrate carbon, many of these policies could qualify as climate change mitigation strategies.

In a step in this direction, the International Whaling Commission passed two resolutions in 2018 that recognized whales’ value for carbon storage. As science advances in this field, protecting marine vertebrate carbon stocks ultimately might become part of national pledges to fulfill the Paris Agreement.

Marine vertebrates are valuable for many reasons, from maintaining healthy ecosystems to providing us with a sense of awe and wonder. Protecting them will help ensure that the ocean can continue to provide humans with food, oxygen, recreation and natural beauty, as well as carbon storage.

About Today's Contributors:

Steven Lutz, Blue Carbon Programme leader at GRID-Arendal, contributed to this article.The Conversation
Heidi Pearson, Associate Professor of Marine Biology, University of Alaska Southeast

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

16 April 2019

Is a Holiday Home a Good Investment?

A holiday home
A holiday home (Image via Pixabay)
If you are looking to generate a second income, as many people are, then buying a holiday home could be a good option for you. It needs to be seen as more of an investment, that’s for sure, but it can be a good income generator and help to pay for itself. Plus, it means that there will always be somewhere for you to travel to, as well as being able to rent out to others. When it comes to owning a second home, or a holiday home, then you may be left wondering about the practicalities of it all and thinking about realistically, how much money you could earn.
If that sounds like you, intrigued but unsure, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some answers to help guide you in making a holiday home decision, and looking at realistically what kind of money you could be looking at.

What are the best options for raising capital for a holiday home?

The majority of people are likely to choose a mortgage to help with the purchase of a holiday home, simply because a lot of people are unlikely to just have several thousands of pounds just hanging around. Holiday home mortgages tend to differ slightly from standard residential mortgages so they could definitely be worth looking into. There are, of course, options like equity release and so on.

Why Do Homeowners Let out their Homes?

Because there have been some changing tax rules around buy-to-let properties that have put people looking to invest off, short-term holiday homes to rent are becoming an increasingly attractive option, especially when compared to a long-term let option. And with sites like Airbnb on the rise, it does help to make it easier to list your property and get a second home to rent out.

But the thought of running a holiday home may sound quite stressful and a little too much like hard work. The good news is that you don’t have to do it yourself. Of course, there will be costs associated with it, but you could use a management team to run it for you.

What is the Expected Return on Investment (ROI)?

At the end of the day, the decision to get a second property can be quite a big one, so naturally, checking that you will be able to make money from it is what you will be wanting to do. How good of an investment is a holiday home? On average, it has been found that you can make around £18,000 annually through people booking to stay in the rental. But there are massive factors that can impact how much you are able to charge people, and other things like extras. The things that can make a difference, and help you to charge more (or less) are:

A summer house
A summer house (image via Pixabay)

  • The location of the property. There will be people looking for rentals in all sorts of locations. But you can make a lot more money through a central city location, as well as one that is close to certain tourist spots like the beach. So if you’re on the lookout for a new property launch 2019, then look out for the ones in the best locations (whether that is suited for tourist or business people is up to you).
  • On a similar note, the type of guests that you want to have will play a role in what you can charge. If you want to keep things pretty basic and just have families with children there, then you will make money, but perhaps not as much as a couple or business group that are looking for something more luxurious. So think carefully about the pros and cons of the guests that you’d want to stay in the home.
  • The features of the property are going to play a role in what money you can make. A property abroad with a swimming pool is going to be able to charge more than the house next door to it that doesn’t have one. So what features appeal, and what features would your ideal guests want?
  • The number of rooms in the home is an obvious one, but an important thing to think about nonetheless. You can charge more generally, in a large home compared to a small one bedroomed one.

Maximise Your Income

When you’ve bought your holiday home, making sure that it doesn’t cost you more than you can make from it is going to be one of the main goals. So you will be looking to make a good income from it. There are some trends that can certainly help to give your revenue a boost.

There are things, as mentioned above, that can help your income to be higher, by the things that your home has. If there is a pool or a hot tub, then research shows that it would be likely to earn more than half of what a home without could earn. So although there may be an upfront cost for those kinds of thing, it can help you to earn more in the long run. Small things like making sure that you have wifi is going to add extra cash too. If there is a choice between somewhere with wifi that costs a little extra compared to somewhere without, a lot of people are going to choose the former option.

Home comforts are also something that is attractive to travellers when they’re looking for somewhere to stay. That could mean providing a few bits and pieces in a welcome pack, having things that they’d need like highchairs, as well as offering a home that is pet-friendly, can all be good ideas.

If you are able to work out the finances and put a plan in place, then a holiday rental could be a great investment for your future, as well as something that you could do for work if you’re able to take over the management of it all by yourself. It just takes a leap; finding the right property is the first step, and then you can go from there.

Announcing GearStorm: Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Military Sim - Outside the Sandbox

Iron City Games has announced their new dystopian Sci-Fi Military Simulation FPS, GearStorm, which will release on Steam for PC in summer, 2019. Set on a distant planet in a zombie infested, post-apocalyptic future; players wage war amidst the devastation caused by the biological catastrophe known as the Phage.

GearStorm is a hardcore Sci-Fi military simulation set in a huge, persistent, destructible, open world with crafting, mining, harvesting, base building, and survival features. It's filled with next-generation combat components like player and AI damage consequences, diverse field-configurable weapons and equipment, squad support, vehicles with cockpit instruments and damage systems, stealth, and many more, including advanced AI enemies, who coordinate their attacks and take advantage of cover.

GearStorm gives players and admins unprecedented control over their environment and gaming experience. The game puts the future of the planet in the player's hands with its completely destructible terrain, quest-writing systems, and living alien world full of dynamic AI factions for you to fight alongside or against. Admins will have even greater control by being able to set weapon range and damage, weather, time of day, AI difficulty, spawning items, and base-building capabilities.

"People said not to try to do everything in one game, but we spent the last 5 years tirelessly building every feature we always wanted into the ultimate 'everything' game and now we are proud to finally share it with the world."

Brian Rivers and Shawn Ellis, Co-founders, Iron City Games
Whether you want team battles over the resources of the planet, or a story-packed colony-building experience, or a persistent player vs player environment that you can customize, this game has you covered. GearStorm isn't just another survival game, or a base-builder, or a sci-fi shooter, or a's all of them and more.


SOURCE: Iron City Games, LLC

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15 April 2019

Developing An Android App

A smartphone with screen horizontal
A smartphone with screen horizontal (Via Pixabay)
There is no doubt about it; Android smartphones have become extremely popular over the past few years. The main reason for this is because of the vast range of exciting and innovative apps that the Android system boasts. There is so much that can be done from simply downloading different apps from the app store, such as; game playing, map reading, video editing, image sharing, music listening, weather reading and note-taking. But, has anybody ever wondered about how they can develop and program an app themselves?

This blog post will reveal exactly how to do just that by taking people through a step by step guide…

Step one – Make sure you have got a high-speed internet connection

Anybody who wants to develop and program an app will obviously need a high-speed internet connection. A weak connection will simply not be enough as it will keep faltering during the development of the app.

Step two – Install the latest version of Java

It is crucial to install the latest version of Java onto the computer in use, as if the individual developing the app does not have it at present they will be prompted to download it at some point during the process anyway.

Step three – Install the Android Software Development Kit

In order to develop and program an app for Android, one will need to download the appropriate Android Software Development Kit for their operating system from the following website link here. The Android Software Development Kit is essential because it allows an individual to author an Android application. Once the folder has been downloaded the individual in question must open the file labelled as ‘Android’. Then they must click on ‘Available Packages’. Click on all of the packages and then click on ‘Install Selected’. After this a box will appear, select ‘Accept All’ and then a final box will come up and click on ‘Install’. And that is step three complete!

Step four – Install Processing

The next step is to go online and download the latest version of Processing, however, make sure that it is one which is compatible with Android. And of course; make sure that the option download is one that is compatible with the operating system it is going to be used on.

Step five – Develop an app!

Here comes the fun part, the reason everyone is reading this page – time to develop an app for an Android system phone. Before you start to engage in the development process, it is highly advisable that they take the time in order to do a little bit of background research. As you are going to use the Processing system, it is crucial to read up on the basics in order to know how to utilize the program. Otherwise, you will simply be at a loss. The Processing software that has been installed should have an ‘Android Mode’ whereby individuals can view what they have developed and, of course, publish it when the time is right. Needless to say, if you are having an app developed for business purposes and you haven’t got all of the time in the world to mess around, you may want to hire a professional for this part. This is also important because they will handle all security elements, for example, ensuring KYC compliance with a seamless customer experience so that the risk of identity theft is minimised as much as possible.

Step six – Step up a smartphone for app running

Before one gets to the final part of the guide they will need to ensure that the smartphone they are using is set up in order to run the app. This is simple to do. Go to the device in question, go to settings, select applications and then click on the development menu option.

Step seven – Run the app

The moment of truth! Time to run the app! To do this all that one needs to do is connect the Android device in question then select the following from the menu bar: ‘Sketch > Present’.
Hopefully, this step by step guide will have helped individuals on their app making mission. The only question that remains is; what app will we witness being developed next?

12 April 2019

"Oberlin's Anomaly" Released, Sci Fi Novel Unmasks Alien Intervention

"Oberlin's Anomaly" - Book Cover
"Oberlin's Anomaly" - Book Cover
Did you ever wonder if our human ancestors came down from the trees, crawled out the caves, and created civilization all on their own? Or did they have some help? 

The gripping new science fiction novel from L Chance Shiver reveals the alien cause of early man's acceleration from Neanderthal to Einstein
Oberlin's Anomaly's main character, Jack Starkey, still struggling with clinical depression arising out of the deaths of his wife and son, is caught up in a secret war that threatens life on earth. 

Proteus, a benign alien entity, awakens Jack to his true identity after a violent attack on his life begins an astounding mental and physical metamorphosis. 

  • A series of historical flashbacks demonstrate Proteus' pivotal influence on the rise of man from earliest times. 
Jack joins Proteus and his cadre of extraordinary and diverse Warriors in an ancient, clandestine conflict. Proteus' Warriors battle against a malign alien species and their abduction of pregnant humans to create slaves for their purposes, defending the future of mankind.

Oberlin's Anomaly is L Chance Shiver's riveting, eloquent embodiment of an alien world within our own. "Taken" might be another title for Shiver's thoughtful page-turner, because that's what readers will be from page one. 

Tommy Hays, author of The Pleasure Was Mine
L Chance Shiver
L Chance Shiver (image via

About The Author:

L Chance Shiver is a Science Fiction writer now living on a small mountain near Asheville, North Carolina. Native to Washington, DC, he is deeply tied to Washington and particularly the area surrounding Rock Creek, the Potomac River, and the C&O Canal National Park and these settings figure prominently in Oberlin's Anomaly

When not writing, Chance and his wife Susette tour the South East playing early country and old-time music. 

Chance has been a part of the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC Asheville, and has been published by the Great Smokies Review.

  • Order Oberlin's Anomaly now at your local independent bookstore or online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere in paperback or eBook.

11 April 2019

Winter Is Here … 'Game Of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition' Arrives in Belfast with Exclusive Additions

Michele Clapton at 'Game Of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition' at TEC in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Michele Clapton at 'Game Of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition' at TEC in Belfast, Northern Ireland
To celebrate, 'Game Of Thrones' actors, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ian Beattie and Liam Cunningham, alongside award-winning costume designer Michele Clapton, were the first to experience the dramatic exhibition, which features costumes, authentic props and majestic settings from all seven seasons, as well as the Winterfell Crypt and Dragon Skull Pit, which have been exclusively added for Northern Ireland.

Designed specially by GES Events in collaboration with HBO Licensing and Retail, the must-see exhibition is the largest public display to date and offers fans an interactive and immersive Game Of Thrones experience like no other.

From 11th April through to 1st September 2019, fans can have an up-close and personal look at the ancient dragon skulls, ranging in size from about that of an apple to the one belonging to Balerion the Dread, which decorated the throne room in the Red Keep until King Robert Baratheon had them hidden away in the catacombs.

Isaac Hempstead Wright
Isaac Hempstead Wright
Visitors can also see publicly for the first time the vast and sacred crypt of Winterfell, guarded by stone direwolves, to pay their respects to six of the Stark ancestors as well as explore the settings and view authentic artefacts from:

  • The wintry landscapes of the North
  • The tree-lined pathway of the Kingsroad
  • The regal settings of King's Landing
  • The conquered city of Meereen with its garrisons of Unsullied warriors and the loyalists of House Targaryen
  • Iconic settings like the House of Black and White
  • The home of the Night's Watch --- Castle Black
  • The frozen lands Beyond the Wall
  • The show stopping centerpiece of the exhibition, the Iron Throne Room
Ian Beattie
Ian Beattie

TEC Belfast
17 Queen's Road
County Antrim

Hours of Operation
April, May
Monday – Sunday 10am – 7pm

June, July, August
Monday – Sunday 9am – 8pm

Ticket Prices
April and May
Monday – Thursday
Adult (13+) £15
Carer Free

Friday – Sunday
Adult (13+) £17.50
Carer Free

June, July, August
Monday – Sunday
Adult (13+) £17.50
Carer Free

Liam Cunningham

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10 April 2019

'Tolkien,' From Fox Searchlight Pictures, Premieres as a One-Night LIVE Cinema Event on May 7

Tolkien: Live From the Montclair Film Festival With Stephen Colbert
Tolkien: Live From the Montclair Film Festival With Stephen Colbert
Fathom Events partners with Fox Searchlight Pictures for the theatrical debut of "Tolkien," giving audiences the chance to see this much-anticipated film on May 7 ahead of its theatrical nationwide release on May 10. 

The Fathom cinema event will also feature an exclusive live Q&A with stars Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins and director Dome Karukoski, moderated by Tolkien super-fan Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. 

"Tolkien" tells the story of how J. R. R. Tolkien transformed from a lonely orphan into one of the great storytellers of all time — a story that is itself an enchanting tale lit with the power of imagination, the bonds of fellowship and the forging of purpose in the fires of love and war.

Fathom Events and Fox Searchlight Pictures present this special event in hundreds of U.S. movie theaters for one night on Tuesday, May 7, ahead of the film's theatrical nationwide release on May 10, through Fathom's Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). 

  • For a complete list of screening times and theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).
"Tolkien" explores the formative years of the renowned author's life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school. Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including Tolkien's tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart. 

  • All of these experiences would later inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-earth novels.
"We're thrilled to partner with Fathom Events and the Montclair Film Festival for this very special 'Tolkien' event," said Frank Rodriguez, SVP General Sales Manager, Fox Searchlight Pictures. "To be able to share this film about one of the greatest storytellers of all time with movie fans across the country through a conversation with Tolkien aficionado Stephen Colbert truly makes it a one-of-a-kind event not to be missed."
Directed by Dome Karukoski ("Tom Of Finland"), "Tolkien" is written by David Gleeson ("Cowboys & Angels") and Stephen Beresford ("Pride"), and stars Nicholas Hoult ("The Favourite") as J.R.R. Tolkien with Lily Collins ("Okja") as his future wife and muse Edith. 

The film also stars Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Derek Jacobi, Harry Gilby, Adam Bregman, Albie Marber, Ty Tennant, Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O'Reilly and Pam Ferris. 

"Tolkien" is produced by Peter Chernin, p.g.a., Jenno Topping, p.g.a., David Ready, p.g.a., and Kris Thykier p.g.a.
"We're so excited to bring the premiere of 'Tolkien' to audiences across the country," said Tom Lucas, Fathom Events VP of Studio Relations. "Fathom operates the world's largest live cinema network, which allows us to create live premiere events like this one that are unmatched in the industry."

  • Tickets for "Tolkien: Live From the Montclair Film Festival With Stephen Colbert" can be purchased at and participating theater box offices nationwide.

SOURCE: Fathom Events

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