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29 March 2020

Coronavirus FAQs: Can People Without Symptoms Spread COVID-19? How Long Does it Live On Surfaces? What Cleaning Products Kill The Virus?

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Specimens await testing for COVID-19 at LifeLabs in Surrey, B.C.
Specimens await testing for COVID-19 at LifeLabs in Surrey, B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
As the coronavirus pandemic continues its spread, it has infected more than half a million people and killed tens of thousands on nearly every continent. With offices shut down, people staying at home and hospitals bracing for an influx of patients, many people are unsure of what’s safe and what’s not. 

Here are answers to some of the common questions people keep asking about coronavirus.

Can people without symptoms spread the virus?

The short answer appears to be yes, some infected individuals who have not shown symptoms can spread the virus and this remains an issue of great concern. This is why social or physical distancing is considered to be so critical to slowing or reducing the transmission of the virus.

Modelling studies in China and Japan, and testing of those on the Diamond Princess cruise ship suggest that a small number of people who are infected do not develop symptoms. We don’t know much about how infectious these asymptomatic individuals might be, that is, how likely they are to spread the disease.

Most studies done to date, often with small numbers of people, show that a person sheds more virus with the initial onset of symptoms — when they first start coughing (or sneezing), which can send the virus into the air in a fine spray. But a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine documented that some people with no or very mild symptoms can shed significant amount of virus. Children, who may not experience any symptoms or only very mild symptoms, may also be able to spread the infection.

One important caveat here is that symptoms are subjective. One may feel a bit off but give it little attention and not report it to a health-care provider or researcher. So it may be difficult to conclude in these studies that someone recorded as asymptomatic is truly so. Cultural factors may affect how and when people report symptoms or seek care.

How long does the virus stay on surfaces?

Can the coronavirus persist on the mail, produce at the supermarket, gas pumps and so on? A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the virus can survive for up to two or three days on some surfaces, particularly hard plastics and steel. It is also easier for people to pick up the virus if they touch these surfaces.

Stay home if you can. But if you use a shopping cart, wipe it down with disinfecting solution and clean your hands afterwards. (Pexels)
Stay home if you can. But if you use a shopping cart, wipe it down with disinfecting solution and clean your hands afterwards. (Pexels)
The most important issue here is to avoid touching things that many other people have touched recently — elevator buttons, grocery carts, door knobs and hand rails — or to wash one’s hands right away or use an effective hand sanitizing solution such as Purell.

Many grocery stores now provide wash stations and disinfecting solutions for wiping down carts. Use them!

The evidence at hand indicates that the virus degrades rapidly on porous surfaces such as cloth, paper and cardboard. So the risks for infection from handling paper and cardboard (mail and packages) may be low, but the same rules apply — after handling, wash your hands thoroughly.

It is important to remember that the main route of transmission will be directly from one person to another via coughing or sneezing.

Which chemicals kill the virus?

Any soap or detergent will destroy the virus, as will solutions of bleach and water, Clorox disinfectant wipes, Lysol brand cleaners, Purell, etc.

Here’s a full list.

Disinfect surfaces to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Disinfect surfaces to reduce the spread of coronavirus. (Shutterstock)

What does ‘stay at home’ mean?

Authorities use different terms to describe measures to keep people away from one another to avoid spreading the virus. You may hear “stay at home,” “shelter in place,” “self-isolation” and “quarantine.” All of them involve social or physical distancing to reduce rates of transmission.

Technically speaking, “quarantine” restricts the movement of of people who may have been exposed to the virus but do not have symptoms. The term comes from the plague era in Europe where ships were not allowed to dock for 40 days to demonstrate that their crews were free from the disease. Quarantine is most often used to describe the closure or isolation of geographic locales where a disease is spreading, as was the case in Wuhan, China, although the restrictions are being relaxed.

Perhaps because quarantine may be seen as invoking the coercive powers of the state or stigmatizing those living in affected locales, many public health officials avoid its use.

Canada, for example, focuses mainly on encouraging voluntary measures, distinguishing between “self-monitoring,” where one may have been exposed to the virus (perhaps someone at work felt ill) and is asked to monitor oneself for symptoms, and “self-isolation,” where one has no symptoms, but may have been exposed from travel outside their place of residence or from close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

Isolation” is for people who actually have the virus or suspect that they may be infected. Those with symptoms will be asked to isolate themselves in their homes, staying away from others as much as possible.

Shelter in place” simply means asking people to stay at home as much as possible. “Stay at home” requests are similar, but may be backed by more formal requirements, such as in Italy, where people may not leave their homes except to go out for essentials, such as food and medicine. Stay-at-home orders are usually accompanied by closures of restaurants, bars, gyms, cancelling of public events, etc., and may be backed by legal sanctions and fines.

Can COVID-19 cause long-term lung damage?

At this early stage of the pandemic there is no evidence to show that permanent or long-term lung damage is a common consequence of infection. A report from Hong Kong suggests short-term declines in lung function among those recovering from COVID-19.

An electron microscope image for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (in orange) emerging from a cell (grey) that had been cultured in the lab.
An electron microscope image for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (in orange) emerging from a cell (grey) that had been cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)
A recent report by Dr. Keith Mortman of George Washington University Hospital, circulated widely in the media, provides a graphic description of the extensive damage to the lung caused by COVID-19 in otherwise healthy patients.

However, these reports describe currently ill or newly recovered victims of the disease. It is still too soon to know whether the damage caused by the infection is permanent or long-term.

Can ibuprofen make COVID-19 worse?

This idea circulated on the internet for a few days, proposed initially by the French health minister, and based on some earlier studies of the impact of ibuprofen on respiratory infections. Initially the World Health Organization repeated this warning, but after examining the evidence it reversed its position, declaring that based on documented clinical experiences with patients, there is no evidence that ibuprofen makes the infection worse.

Does blood type matter?

A study of COVID-19 patients in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China who contracted COVID-19 suggested a higher proportion of infections among those who had blood type A. But the differences identified were relatively small and at this point would not have any impact on how we manage either the spread or treatment of the disease. But it is an interesting finding that requires further study.

About Today's Contributor:

Craig Janes, Professor and Director, School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo

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

26 March 2020

Toastmasters' 10 Tips for Successful Online Meetings

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Toastmasters’ 10 Tips for Successful Online Meetings
Toastmasters’ 10 Tips for Successful Online Meetings
During this evolving and unprecedented time when personal and professional lives have been disrupted, many people are finding new and innovative ways to stay connected. Whether it's through Zoom, Skype, WebEx or one of the other popular video-conferencing platforms, it's now easier than ever to communicate with people around the globe.

Members of Toastmasters International have been meeting face-to-face for more than 95 years, but due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), most meetings have been temporarily moved online. Many members have found online meetings to be a great way to stay connected, keep momentum going, and provide a much-needed sense of routine in a time when many people's lives are altered, and social distancing is widespread.

To help ensure your meeting is a success, Toastmasters International offers these 10 tips for an efficient and productive online meeting:

  • Select a video-conferencing platform, and do a test run prior to the meeting
  • Meeting organizers should send attendees a copy of the agenda in advance
  • Choose a quiet location before joining the meeting to reduce potential distractions for both yourself and other attendees
  • Arrive on time or let the organizer know ahead of time if you will be late or unable to attend
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking
  • Adjust your camera so you can be seen, and look into the camera—not the monitor—when speaking
  • Dress as you would for an in-person meeting
  • Be aware of your background and make sure it's appropriate
  • Stay focused and avoid checking email or perusing other materials unrelated to the meeting
  • Respect fellow attendees by refraining from distracting behavior like eating or chewing gum

"I have come to love online meetings more than in-person meetings," says Manoj Vasudevan of Singapore, Toastmasters' 2017 World Champion of Public Speaking. "I find online meetings to be more convenient, less expensive, and less disruptive to my schedule. They even allow me to meet more people without leaving home."

25 March 2020

Vinnie Favale's Tribute Video To Italy Goes Viral…In a Good Way [Video Included]

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Vinnie Favale's Tribute Video To Italy Goes Viral…In a Good Way
Vinnie Favale's Tribute Video To Italy Goes Viral…In a Good Way (screenshot)
When the videos of Italian's singing from their windows went viral last week, Vinnie Favale had a visceral reaction. A first generation American (his parents and two older brothers were born in Italy) Favale was deeply moved by the sight of Italians singing from their hearts in the face of adversity during the nationwide Coronavirus quarantine.
"I was raised on nothing but Italian music during my formative years." said Favale. "Music was a constant in our lives including helping us through some of the most the most heart breaking loses in our family."
Vinnie Favale's Tribute Video To Italy Goes Viral…In a Good Way
Vinnie Favale's Tribute Video To Italy Goes Viral…In a Good Way (screenshot)
With plenty of time on his hands, Favale produced a music video made up of some of the most moving images of Italians at their windows and balconies singing to each other. And he couldn't have picked a better song.
"One of my favorite Italian songs is "L'Italiano (Lasciatemi Cantare)" by Tuto Cutugno which was a big hit in Italy in 1983. I heard this song one day playing on the Italian radio station and fell in love with not only the beautiful melody but also with its sentiment. The singer is not bragging about being Italian, he's just laying out the day to day rituals of the Italian life and he can't help but exclaim, 'hey this is who I am and this is who we are and let me sing my song'."
So, when Favale saw all of the news clips of Italians singing from their windows, he knew he just had to put these two incredible things together.

The Video:

"I hope it will give people a small measure of comfort to see how other people are dealing with exactly what we are going through right now. We have a large family in Italy, including six nieces and nephews and hundreds for cousins. So far everyone is safe, and they are just as concerned for us as they are for themselves."
Vinnie Favale's Tribute Video To Italy Goes Viral…In a Good Way
Vinnie Favale (image via Twitter)

About Vinnie Favale:

(Via vinniefavale.com)
Vinnie Favale is a Producer, Writer, Director, Father and Husband [and not in that order!]. 

He has worked in the entertainment industry since 1979 [NBC, MTV, A&E, HBO, Comedy Central and CBS] and has just set out on his own with Favale Media. 

Click here for more information about Vinnie Favale
SOURCE: Favale Media


23 March 2020

Gather Online to Celebrate Grassroots Climate Action in a FREE Event April 10 - 18, 2020

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Gather Online to Celebrate Grassroots Climate Action in a FREE Event April 10 - 18, 2020
Gather Online to Celebrate Grassroots Climate Action in a FREE Event April 10 - 18, 2020
Green Team Academy is proud to present the 2nd Annual Online Earth Week Summit. The free event features a full week of live online workshops and virtual happy hours open to the public.
"Earth Day is such a special time for coming together to celebrate our love and care for our planet," said Joan Gregerson, Summit Organizer and Founder of Green Team Academy. "This year, it's especially important to be able to collaborate and celebrate together online."
Recent developments with the coronavirus are impacting the plans for celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. Millions of people had planned to gather at hundreds of in-person events around the world. Most of those events are now being canceled due to public health risks.
"We're excited to host an online event that features a diverse array of community leaders and experts making a difference in their communities and the world," said Gregerson.
Gather Online to Celebrate Grassroots Climate Action in a FREE Event April 10 - 18, 2020
Gather Online to Celebrate Grassroots Climate Action in a FREE Event April 10 - 18, 2020

Special features of the event include:

  • Keynote address by forester, educator and musician, Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley of Yale University, presenting on Relationships, History and Hip Hop Forestry;
  • Online workshops featuring grassroots climate action initiatives with community leaders and experts;
  • Virtual happy hours for sharing positivity, questions and ideas;
  • Ability to participate in the UN75 Global Consultation
Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley presents on Relationships, History and Hip Hop Forestry: Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion in the Environment
Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley presents on Relationships, History and Hip Hop Forestry: Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion in the Environment
See complete schedule and register for free at www.EarthWeekSummit.com.
Green Team Academy helps people get together, make a difference and feel better by starting and growing thriving green teams in their communities.
Joan Gregerson, founder of Green Team Academy, is the host of the 2nd Annual Online Earth Week Summit: Grassroots Climate Action Celebration
Joan Gregerson, founder of Green Team Academy, is the host of the 2nd Annual Online Earth Week Summit: Grassroots Climate Action Celebration
Joan Gregerson is the founder of the Green Team Academy and host of the Green Team Academy Podcast. Joan is a coach, course creator, author and inspirational speaker. 

Joan is the author of the upcoming book, Climate Action Breakthrough: How Anyone Can Start a Green Team and Make a Huge Eco-Impact Fast.

Related Stories:

21 March 2020

Coronavirus: For Performers In Lockdown, Online Is Becoming The New Live

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Closed for the duration: the Royal Opera House, London.
Closed for the duration: the Royal Opera House, London. (Willy Barton via Shutterstock)
 There’s still a great deal of uncertainty as to what impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on the UK’s cultural life. More and more people are now choosing to self-isolate and theatres, cinemas, clubs and concert halls are closing down for the duration with talk that an enforced lockdown is ever more imminent. 

While initially presented as voluntary, cancellations of performances, conferences and other events were formalised on March 16 by the UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson. Johnson advised citizens to “avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues” as part of a larger strategy to suppress the spread of coronavirus. People working in the arts sector are understandably concerned about what this might mean for the UK’s diverse community of artists and performers – as well as all those in the sector who support those performers.

The government has introduced some measures that aim to support the arts sector, both at a local and a national level. But a number of artists are trying to find ways to work from home by livestreaming their performances online. Such a shift forces artists to consider technological, economic and aesthetic issues – and may signal the dawning of a new era in live performance.

Have broadband, will perform

The livestreaming of artistic performances is not new – but until now the practice has not been a significant alternative to the live music economy at large. Perhaps the most common form of livestreaming has been through videos taken at gigs or festivals by audience members who want to share their experience of the live performance via footage shot on their smartphones.

But there have also been concentrated efforts by venues and artists to reach online audiences. A number of well-established organisations such as the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Shakespeare Company regularly complement existing performance series with livestreaming to reach wider audiences or as educational outreach.



Independent artists such as bass guitarist Steve Lawson, on the other hand, include livestreaming as part of a portfolio of online activity – which also include delivering lessons or masterclasses via video or the now-commonplace selling of albums online.

Virtual gigs

The vast amount of livestreaming that takes place in the arts sector is in parallel with (or contingent upon) face-to-face performance. There are signs that this is already changing as social restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic become more widespread.

In the US, Rolling Stone magazine has highlighted how larger bands and venues are working to quickly provide online alternatives to gigs and tours that have now been cancelled due to lockdowns.

The move towards online live performance is even attracting artists who might not be thought of as natural users of digital technology. As many New York City venues were closed in the week preceding St Patrick’s Day, musicians involved in the Irish trad scene formed Tune Supply – a platform by which they could provide “customised traditional music and dance performance and instruction delivered digitally for the socially distanced world”. 


Similarly, Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys livestreamed a concert from Boston on March 17 to make up for the first time in the band’s history that it hasn’t played on St Patrick’s Day.

As livestreaming concerts has historically been used to complement or advertise existing live events, the void left by the cancellation or indefinite postponement of these events forces online alternatives into greater importance. This shift in performance practice has logistical, financial, and artistic implications.

We have the technology

The infrastructure needed to livestream performances is readily available through consumer-level products. Modern smartphones are more than capable of generating high-definition videos, and the software needed to record and edit sound – something that was once the preserve of professional recording studios – has become relatively commonplace.

There’s obviously something of a learning curve involved in using this software adeptly, but there is a wealth of online resources for musicians to become more proficient producers. But beyond actually organising the performance, artists need to be able to ensure they have adequate bandwidth to transmit that performance to audiences. With increasing access to high-speed internet, the stage is set for potential viewers to access content with minimal lag and disruption.

Who’s making all the money?

Financially, artists will have to determine how they monetise these performances. Several models already exist to do so, each with unique features. Platforms such as YouTube allow artists to livestream performances and upload other videos, with income being generated through ad revenue. The amount of profit relies heavily on the amount of advertising and number of viewers – videos under ten minutes make, on average, about US$2.00 (£1.70) for every 1,000 views.

Twitch, on the other hand, works on a subscription basis – audiences pay set fees to access broadcasts of events. At the moment, this platform caters more towards professional online gaming, but there are also communities around the performing arts as well. Patreon also works on a subscription basis, but is more closely tied to crowdfunding. Generating work through the financial support of their audiences, artists often benefit from establishing positive relationships with them.

That ‘live’ feeling

Beyond the technological and financial logistics of livestreaming performances is a greater aesthetic issue. Livestreaming technically provides all of the ingredients to allow live music to persist in an era of social distancing. Artists can still provide high-quality audio and visual experiences to their audiences and audiences can still enjoy new music or their favourite hits, all without leaving their comfort of their own homes.

Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled, despite it being the 50th year.
Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled, despite it being the 50th year. (marietta peros via Shutterstock).
What may be harder to replicate is that electric vibe of being with other people in that moment. The audience can make or break a gig – not necessarily through sheer numbers, but in terms of what the relationship between them, the artist, and the music is like. For performers, reproducing that “live” feeling out of context can be a significant challenge.

As increasing numbers of musicians and audiences adopt this way of making and enjoying music together, I suspect all participants will develop a new set of expectations around where aesthetic value is placed in the performance.

This unprecedented global crisis provides an opportunity for artists to develop new ways of working with audiences and content to replicate that sense of “liveness” and connectivity found in a concert hall. Who knows? This might become an enduring part of a new reality.

About Today's Contributor:

J Murphy McCaleb, Senior Lecturer of Music, York St John University

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

20 March 2020

EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival

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EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival
EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival (PRNewsfoto/EarthX)
EarthxFilm announced today that the fourth EarthxFilm festival will be reimagined to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day online with a selection from its 2020 Film, EarthXR and EDU lineups. EarthxFilm will join EarthX's 50th Earth Day Celebration with conferences and speakers, which will be livestreamed April 22-25.

Plans are in process for extended year-round programming, including a larger film festival in the fall, the EarthxGlobal Gala and the world premiere of The Way of the Rain – Hope For Earth, directed by Sibylle Szaggars Redford with a special narration – spoken word by Robert Redford.


EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival
EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival (screengrab)
The decision was shared in light of the rapidly developing news of COVID-19 and EarthxFilm's desire to put public safety first. 
EarthxFilm Co-Founder and President Michael Cain said, "This decision came after careful consideration and consultation with our team, partners, and city officials. We look forward to offering the audiences of Dallas another wonderful EarthxFilm slate of movies, XR experiences, educational opportunities and panels both online in April and in-person throughout the year in Dallas, and across the country and with international partners."
On April 22, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, EarthxFilm will also announce the films and filmmakers selected by this year's juries who will receive $20,000 in prize money. 
EarthxFilm Artistic Director David Holbrooke added, "We are immensely proud of the outstanding programming we assembled for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We think it's important to recognize the incredible work these filmmakers have achieved and will move ahead with our juried prizes to award the cash winnings that help make a difference for the filmmakers, many of whom are still telling their stories at this challenging time."
EarthxFilm Executive Producer, Paul Levatino says, "We are thrilled that the Good Pitch Local Texas, co-produced with Doc Society, will be rescheduled to coincide with our Fall Festival. The EarthxGlobalGala, which honors environmental heroes with the EarthxGlobal Impact Awards and features entertainers Skip Martin of Kool & The Gang, Bastards Of Soul and Compton Kidz Club, will also be rescheduled for fall."
"Leading to our fall festival, EarthXR will continue our commitment to year-round programming through international partnerships, including a green series with Guanajuato International Film Festival, Overview Collective + Garage Stories' series, and curation for the April online ARTS x SDGSs Festival, which brings together UN and non-profit leaders," says Tiffany Kieran, Director of XR Programming and Partnerships.
"We are also excited about our year-round immersive experiential location, opening in Dallas, Texas in 2020. It will feature the US debut of Wild Immersion endorsed by Jane Goodall - the first virtual wildlife reserve in the US to connect, educate, and protect our environment," said Kieran.
EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival
EarthxFilm and EarthXR Reimagine The 2020 EarthxFilm Festival (screengrab)
EarthxFilm Education is extending the #Planet911challenge youth film competition in collaboration with CreativeVisions and Instagram. The new deadline is April 8, and winning films will be screened online April 22 and in a theatre at one of the EarthX Half-Earth Day Events in October. 
Melanie Yonks, Director of Education and Outreach says, "We are working in collaboration with Planet911, Rock Your World, teachers and youth organizations to let them know about our online K-12 STEAM curriculum and to develop additional virtual and interactive opportunities for youth while they are in quarantine."
"Trammell Crow and I started this film festival because we saw how the world was being challenged environmentally. That hasn't changed and we remain committed as ever to this cause," concluded Cain. "We support the storytellers who have the power to change the world."

Related Videos:



About EarthxFilm:

EarthxFilm, co-founded by Trammell S. Crow and Michael Cain was launched in 2017 at the annual EarthX event to showcase the films and emerging media that explore environmental science, conservation, and climate change. In its mission to turn awareness into action through art and interactive media, the nonprofit partners and develops experiences with top environmental, film, and entertainment organizations across the globe. 

EarthxFilm presents year-round programs culminating in a 10-day festival yearly.

About EarthXR:

EarthXR, a subdivision of EarthxFilm, is dedicated to immersive and interactive storytelling designed to engage and inspire environmental awareness and action through emerging technology. 

At the EarthX events, it has hosted the world's largest lineup of eco-interactive programming, presenting scores of virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences.

About EarthX:

EarthX convenes the world's largest environmental expo, conference and film festival, and is a member of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Founded in 2011 by environmentalist and businessman Trammell S. Crow, the Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promotes environmental awareness and impact through conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. 

In 2019, the event drew over 177,000 attendees, 2,000 environmental business leaders, 700 exhibitors, 450 speakers, 63 films and 49 Eco-virtual reality experiences.

SOURCE: EarthX

19 March 2020

EarthX to Host Earthx2020 Virtually

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Earthx2020 in Partnership with the National Geographic Society will be held VIRTUALLY from April 22-27 to mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
Earthx2020 in Partnership with the National Geographic Society will be held VIRTUALLY from April 22-27 to mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. (image via EarthX)
In light of the rapidly developing news of COVID-19, CDC guidelines, and new City of Dallas requirements, EarthX will host its Earthx2020 Conferences and Film Festival virtually and cancel its Expo for the year. 

Most conferences will be presented virtually from April 23-25 and into May. EarthxEnergy's Responsible Energy Acquisition conference and the EarthxLaw conference will be held live in the fall. 

The 50th Earth Day Celebration will be livestreamed on April 22. The virtual experience will be layered with EarthxFilm Festival programming of select 2020 films, which will then present its physical Film Festival in the fall along with the EarthxGlobalGala and the world premiere of The Way of the Rain – Hope For Earth, directed by Sibylle Szaggars Redford with a special narration – spoken word by Robert Redford.
"EarthX continues to move our mission forward to connect, collaborate and celebrate. Our mission is relevant, and this global situation is a great example of how interconnected we are to each other and the planet," said Tony Keane, EarthX CEO.
EarthX places the health and safety of attendees, staff, and event participants as its highest priority and has taken these actions in compliance with the guidelines set forth by local, state, and federal government health agencies.
"Collaboration and connectedness are critical as we seek to further the National Geographic Society's mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world," said Michael L. Ulica, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society. "We look forward to continuing to partner with EarthX to reach new audiences through the Earthx2020 virtual experience."
"EarthX remains unwavering in its commitment to shed light on the environmental challenges facing our planet, and this recent crisis has been a testament to our strength in collectively spreading awareness and seeking solutions in the face of adversity," said Trammell S. Crow, Founder of EarthX. "We are all in this together."

About EarthX:

EarthX convenes the world's largest environmental expo, conference and film festival, and is a member of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature. Founded in 2011 by environmentalist and businessman Trammell S. Crow, the Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promotes environmental awareness and impact through conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. 

In 2019, the event drew over 177,000 attendees, 2,000 environmental business leaders, 700 exhibitors, 450 speakers, 63 films and 49 Eco-virtual reality experiences.

About The National Geographic Society:

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. 

Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content.

To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org

SOURCE: EarthX

18 March 2020

Black Desert Mobile Runs Pre-Registration Event For New Dark Knight Class

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Black Desert Mobile Runs Pre-Registration Event For New Dark Knight Class
Black Desert Mobile Runs Pre-Registration Event For New Dark Knight Class
Pearl Abyss today announced that Black Desert Mobile is running a pre-registration event for its upcoming Dark Knight class. Adventurers can now take an early look at Dark Knight, the seventh class and one of the most highly-anticipated classes to arrive in Black Desert Mobile.

Adventurers who log in and pre-register for the new Dark Knight class by March 24 will receive a Red Rose Chest and a Gold Rose Chest which can be opened on March 24. These items will give Adventurers exclusive rewards including Mystical grade items.

Black Desert Mobile's massive PvP feature, Siege War, has been updated. Siege War now has two time slots—7pm to 9pm and 9pm to 11pm—on each server. Adventurers who weren't able to participate in Siege Wars due to limited time slots now have more options to join the battlefield!

Moreover, camp structures can now be upgraded to a maximum level of 7. This gives Adventurers the ability to produce even more goods and operate at greater efficiency. In addition, the maximum amount of Boss Knowledge you can obtain has been increased, letting adventurers earn more special rewards.

About Black Desert

Black Desert is Pearl Abyss' open-world action MMORPG with cutting-edge visuals and skill-based combat that redefines the genre. With the most developed character customization system of any game currently on the market, users can break out of the norm and make unique characters that truly represent themselves. Its intuitive controls, beautifully designed world, and extensive lore will excite both newcomers and veterans of MMO games and action RPGs.

About Pearl Abyss

Best known for the MMORPG franchise Black Desert, Pearl Abyss is a leading developer in the game industry. Established in 2010, Pearl Abyss has since developed Black Desert for PC, mobile, and console, and is developing Shadow Arena for PC and console. 

All of Pearl Abyss' games are built on the company's own proprietary engine and are renowned for their cutting-edge graphics. 

The company is also developing Crimson Desert, DokeV, and PLAN 8 and is poised to continue its growth through 2020 and maintain its position as one of Asia's leaders in game development.

SOURCE: Pearl Abyss

17 March 2020

Aza Comics Superheroes, The Keepers, Help Relieve Cabin Fever

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Aza Comics Superheroes, The Keepers, Help Relieve Cabin Fever
Aza Comics
Aza Comics, known for its roster of multicultural female superheroes, is aiming to do all that it can to help save everyone from the Coronavirus blues. 

The company has assembled an assortment of online games, puzzles, superhero quizzes, music playlists, dance challenges, Women's History Month trivia and more to help entertain everyone as more and more people are finding it necessary to stay home due to the coronavirus. 
 "Schools are closing down, people are working from home, events are being cancelled...including our own events that we just announced. This thing is affecting all of us," says CEO and creator of Aza Comics, Jazmin Truesdale. "It's only a matter of time before we're all getting cabin fever sitting at home waiting this thing out."
Aza Comics is even hosting an online cosplay contest that adults and kids can participate in for prizes. People can dress up as Aza Characters or any other superhero that they wish, post images via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and tag Aza Comics. Participants with the best and most creative costumes can win gifts and cash prizes. 
 "It's like a virtual comic con that the world can participate in," says Truesdale. "I'm pretty excited to see what kinds of things people come up with. I mean, if we're all going to be stuck at home, we might as well make the most of it."
Aza Comics will also include tips for helping to fight the coronavirus as recommended by the CDC so that everyone can do their part and keep themselves and others safe. 

Aza Comics Superheroes, The Keepers, Help Relieve Cabin Fever
Aza Comics 
Games and entertainment will go live at 12am March 17th, 2020 via this link: azacomics.shop/blogs/news/aza-comics-home-fight-coronavirus

Aza Comics is a superhero brand based in Durham, North Carolina founded by serial entrepreneur and author Jazmin Truesdale. 

The company is known for its multicultural female superheroes and philanthropic initiatives that have been featured in Vogue, TIME, USA Today, and various other national and international publications.

SOURCE: Aza Comics

16 March 2020

Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode

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Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode
"The Cauldron" - London (image via thecauldron.io)
The startup technology company whose mission it is to "bring fantasy to life with science, technology, and design" has entered into Investment Stealth Mode for its community of fantasy fans.

The company, which became known around the world for its immersive Potions Experience that blends IoT magic wands with molecular cocktails, has welcomed over 300,000 guests in London, New York City, Edinburgh, and Dublin.


Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode
"The Cauldron" - New York City (image via thecauldron.io)
Details of the investment round have not yet been released, but the company is aiming to turn its customers into owners, and offer exclusive rewards and benefits alongside shareholder status. The Cauldron has simply put up a registration page for interested parties to be included in its Private Investment Mode. (Date TBA.)
The Cauldron has also recently announced its newest concept in London -- Superheroes Bar, a superheroes pop-up experience that brings customers into the world of heroes, villains, and the comic book multiverse in an immersive cocktail class.

About The Cauldron Entertainment Group:

The Cauldron venues are located in London, New York, Dublin and Edinburgh and provide a wizard-themed immersive cocktail-making experience where guests brew magical potions by using interactive magic wands and molecular mixology. 

It is a magical, immersive experience which celebrates concepts from fantasy novels and magical lore, all brought to life by science, technology and design.

Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode
"The Cauldron" (image via thecauldron.io)

About The Magic of Things:

The Magic of Things is the imagineering studio that produces The Cauldron Magical Experience and other immersive concepts that bring fantasy to life with science, technology, and design. 

The studio is a mix of hardware and software engineers, prop and set designers, and experts in hospitality that are creating the next concepts in food and beverage that blend technology with the guest experience. 

The studio is led by co- founders Matthew Cortland and David Duckworth.

Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode
The Magic of Things - banner (image via thecauldron.io)

More About Superheroes Bar:

'Superheroes Bar’, a new interactive cocktail experience located in East London, is due to open as a limited pop-up on March 26th for only three months.

This new creation is brought to you by the makers of The Cauldron, the well-known wizard-inspired cocktail experience. Ordinary mortals will be taken on an immersive comic book-inspired experience through the superhero multiverse, where they will discover and unleash their new found abilities to create super-charged drinks as they train to become the World’s #1 Hero.

Once guests enter the hidden lair in Dalston, they will be suited with a mask and cape, and free to set out on their journey through the bar’s comic-inspired world, collecting elemental ‘Stones of Power’ that are used in the drink-making process. Before allowing their powers to be unleashed, guests must first learn how to wield the ‘Beer Stone’, ‘Cocktail Stone’ or ‘Mocktail Stone’ to pour a welcome drink. 

Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode
'Superheroes Bar’ - Glove of Power
Once the stone of their choice has been mastered, superheroes in training are led to their own interactive workstation, where, in a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style experience, the decisions that guests make will impact which powers they develop. Each new adventure draws inspiration from a different comic book style; Noir, Anime, Golden Age and Silver Age.

Superheroes will test out these new powers by concocting three interactive cocktails, which are inspired by comic book tropes and molecular mixology. 

Wizard Startup "The Cauldron" Goes Into Investment Stealth Mode
'Superheroes Bar’
The Cauldron’s co-founders Matthew Cortland and David Duckworth designed ‘Superheroes Bar’ to surprise, delight, and strike at the heart of the comic fandom in London. While Duckworth leads cocktail creation and experimentation, Cortland brings his fascination and knowledge of science and technology, to create a one-of- a-kind interactive experience. 
Duckworth comments; “The menu at Superheroes Bar is the product of a team of expert mixologists and comic book geeks coming together to create an experience that will excite and astound fans of graphic novels and superheroes.” 
Cortland adds; “Just as we have created an immersive magical experience at The Cauldron, our in-house ideation studio, The Magic of Things, has brought the history of the comic book multiverse to life through interactive technology and science. As a result, there will be plenty of plot-twists for guests to enjoy."
  • The entire Superheroes experience can be non-alcoholic, gluten-free, and vegan friendly. All drinks are made to be multi-sensory, interactive and feature different effects, such as fire, UV, smoke and expansion.

  • Tickets for ‘Superheroes Bar’ can be purchased at www.superheroes.bar, and are available on a first come first serve basis. Tickets start at £29.99 and include all the materials and supplies, three cocktails and the immersive experience which lasts around 1hr 45min.
  • Disclaimer: Superheroes Bar is not associated or affiliated with any comic book, movie, entertainment franchise or any specific comic book or cinematic hero, villain, or character. This experience looks at classic comic book tropes and themes, and creates its own world of heroes, villains, and ordinary (but no less important) people. 
SOURCE: The Cauldron

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