Graffiti dying out as artists switch to social media, say academics

Graffiti dying out as artists switch to social media, say academics

Graffiti is disappearing from Britain’s streets as young men turn to social media to make a name for themselves, according to research.

A sociologist says former street artists are now sharing work on Internet sites rather than public buildings, reporting “the rich kids of Instagram have killed the graffiti writer”.

Academic Nicola Harding, who noted the trend by speaking to graffiti writers and scouring online images, is to reveal her findings today (WEDS) at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Manchester.

She found that, since the early 2000s, graffiti artists were increasingly writing on council-run “legal walls” where street art was allowed and then getting interest by sharing this work online.

In this way they avoid the risk of arrest or injury that spraying graffiti near train lines or other off-limits places could bring, she said. It also means they have no need to deface buildings with their “tags” in order to build a reputation.

“Contemporary graffiti writing is changing – it is no longer an activity that is played out in urban environments, but also on the internet,” she said.

But only better-off graffiti writers could afford the tools to create a large effective online presence, said Ms Harding, of Manchester Metropolitan University.

“Graffiti has been a way for young men of low socio-economic status to take risks to achieve sub-cultural kudos. But now better-off artists are able to … bypass the risk associated with urban graffiti writing. In this way the rich kids of Instagram have killed the graffiti writer.”

Random Customer Surprises Popeyes Employee by Paying for Her Nursing School Education

Random Customer Surprises Popeyes Employee by Paying for Her Nursing School Education

One Popeyes employee in Kansas City received the surprise of her life when a customer raised $14,000 for her to attend nursing school and pursue her dreams.

Donald Carter, a retired Kansas City cop, explains that he ordered some fried chicken at the drive-thru from employee Shajuana Mays and noted the “spark” of determination from the “polite and respectful” young woman.

“As I messily crunch on some really untasty fried chicken, I get this idea,” Carter said. “What if I got some friends together and we put this girl through school to get her CNA license?”

That’s exactly what he did. Carter set up a GoFundMe page and over the course of a little over a week, raised $14,300, about ten times the amount it costs to take a CNA Course, pay for taking the test, and get a license. The extra funds could help her become an RN, which requires more education and will eventually pay a higher salary.

“You kind people who are reading this helped it, made it happen,” Donald said on the GoFundMe page. “You are still making it happen. You are the ones who are changing the life of one young lady and the lives of others and your own life in the process. You are changing the world — your world.”

Watch the video of Mays’ reaction below:

India’s forest cover increasing, better than world average, says Union environment secretary – Times of India

India’s forest cover increasing, better than world average, says Union environment secretary – Times of India

DEHRADUN: Ajay Narayan Jha, secretary, ministry of environment and forests , said at the inauguration of the 19th Commonwealth forestry conference that began at the Forest Research Institute Dehradun , on Monday, that India’s forest cover has improved in comparison to the world average. “The world over, average per capita forest cover has declined from 0.8 ha to 0.6 ha per person but in India, a net increase of 1.82% forest cover has been registered in the past 30 years,” Jha said.He pointed out that the country had 24% forest cover with 7 billion tonnes of carbon sink — a natural reservoir that absorbs carbon and helps counter the effects of global warming. “We have to add 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes to the carbon sink by 2030. This will be done by planting trees outside the forests near highways or in agro-forestry sector,” the secretary said. Former director general of forests SS Negi who was also present at the conference, said that the target of increasing the sink would be met by growing 100 crore trees over a period of ten years. “Around 1000 trees would be planted on one hectare outside the forests,” he said.Earlier, while inaugurating the 5-day long conference which was attended by around 500 delegates, Uttarakhand governor KK Paul said that various stakeholders must work together to tackle deforestation “Protection of forests is important for reducing disaster risk and greenhouse emissions. Governments, the private sector, local authorities, NGOs, and indigenous people — all need to work for it. Recent research has shown that the cash and non-cash incomes of the rural poor depend to a very high degree on what the forestry and environmental professionals now call the ‘ecosystem services’ provided by varied forests. Protecting forests, therefore, not only makes sense for reducing disaster risk and greenhouse emissions; it also makes pro-poor sense,” the governor said.Anil Madhav Dave, union environment minister through video conferencing, expressed hope that the deliberations would lead to “carving out the roadmap to support holistic developmental agenda and establishing links between forests and communities.”Addressing the gathering, John Innes, chairman, standing committee on commonwealth forestry reminisced that the conference had come back to India after almost 50 years. “It is a matter of coincidence that the forestry sector was changing at that point of time then and is again on the verge of change, given the challenges of climate change and meeting the sustainable developmental agenda .”

Teacher who asked students to predict their futures delivers their letters – 24 years later: Student wanted to be mother and teacher…she did it!

Teacher who asked students to predict their futures delivers their letters – 24 years later: Student wanted to be mother and teacher…she did it!

EAST MARLBOROUGH When Fred Stauffer was an environmental teacher at Unionville High School back in the 1990s, he came up with an original idea to give his students an assignment to write a letter to themselves, and predict what their future would be like.

That future, 24 years later, is here.

Last month, Stauffer, with the help of Megan Plunkett-Cromer, delivered letters from students in Stauffer’s 1993 and 1994 classes. Stauffer didn’t read them all, but some of the ones he did read were doom and gloom, others eerily prophetic.

“Some of the stories were interesting,” Stauffer said. “They were supposed to be kids writing letters to themselves. Some were doomsdayers, others were pretty positive. It was a lot of fun.”

who turned 40 in April and was a student in Stauffer’s class, was surprised when Stauffer showed up at her house unannounced. Stauffer found her home when he went to her parents’ house first, and they directed him to her house right down the street.

“He gave my letter to me,” she said. “I wrote about wanting four kids, about wanting a teaching job, and other family and personal things. It was cool.”

Plunkett-Cromer has four children now, and had taught in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District before retiring to take care of her children, but she remains a PTO president.

Stauffer then asked Plunkett-Cromer to help deliver the more than 70 letters, because it had become hard to track down students who no longer lived with their parents.

Dan Fogel said he doesn’t remember writing his letter in Stauffer’s environmental science class in 1994, but he was glad to see his letter when it got delivered.

“I said world hunger will be a worse problem and more people will be cold and sick and endangered species will be an issue, and there will be disease and war,” Fogel said. “But I also said I will be married with children and have a decent living and a nice job. That part came true.”

Stauffer said he remembers reading a letter from one female student who said she wanted to be an elementary school teacher in Unionville, wanted three children and wanted to name them Mark, Heather and John. She had four children, and never used the names she predicted, but ended up becoming a teacher at Chadds-Ford Elementary School.

Stuaffer said he quit the experiment after two years when he realized he could have a problem delivering so many letters years later. He said he enjoys retirement.

“One of the most rewarding things I have seen in retirement is to see (past students) doing great things with their lives, and what they have achieved,” Stauffer said. “Teachers influence lives.”

Many of the letters are delivered, though some are not.

Manatee no longer listed as endangered.

Manatee no longer listed as endangered.

The West Indian manatee will now be considered threatened — a marker of progress in the species’ recovery.

Officials have said that the “downlisting” does not change federal and state protections for the animals, which were put on the endangered list in March 1967. They say the move shows various partners have worked to increase the population numbers and protect habitat.

“While there is still more work to be done to fully recover manatee populations, particularly in the Caribbean, manatee numbers are increasing and we are actively working with partners to address threats,” Jim Kurth, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s acting director, said in a statement.

The action came about a month after Florida officials said that for the third straight year, spotters counted more than 6,000 manatees. By contrast, just a few hundred manatees were counted in the 1970s, officials said. Christopher Burke, 9, pleaded for officials to keep the current status: “I’m so happy that manatee population is increasing! But at the same time hopping you will not stop protecting them! Please don’t down list manatees. I LOVE manatees and got my best friend to love them too.” The US Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages manatee refuges and sanctuaries, last year proposed reclassifying the West Indian manatee , which includes the Florida manatee. It received thousands of public comments — many opposing the change — before announcing its final decision. The Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as one currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. The Save the Manatee Club claims scientific evidence does not support the reclassification of the animals, which are nicknamed “sea cows” because of their aquatic plant diet. The club also said it is worried about the possible loosening of regulations in the Trump administration. “We believe this is a devastating blow to manatees,” Executive DIrector Patrick Rose said in a statement. The club has been concerned about the concentration of manatees during the winter outside power plants, particularly in the northern part of the state. That makes them too dependent on artificially warm water, the club says. While the number of counted manatees increased, so, too, did the losses to boat-inflicted injuries. Of 520 deaths last year, 104 were attributed to boats. That’s been of concern. Federal and state regulations target speeders in manatee zones and have a “positive impact,” Gil McRae, head of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, told CNN earlier this year. Christina Martin, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, said the decision to remove manatees from the endangered list was years overdue. “I am glad the federal government is finally formally acknowledging what its experts first recognized one decade ago: The manatee is on the mend and no longer in danger of extinction,” Martin said in a statement. “This is a victory for our client, Save Crystal River, Inc., a group that is restoring habitat in the river and pursues government accountability. This is also a victory for everyone who believes that the government must follow the requirements of the law. Manatees swarm at the Three Sisters Springs in Florida’s Crystal River. The US Fish and Wildlife Service said government, industry and residents are making a difference by reducing manatee deaths and increasing access to natural springs. Part of the government’s job, McRae said, is to make conservation improvements that get species reclassified as soon as possible. Still, animal groups say the species faces too many dangers. The Save the Manatee Club said it wants the US Fish and Wildlife Service to update its manatee recovery plan and bring back recovery teams. And the Center for Biological Diversity said the threats from boat strikes and habitat loss persist.

Nearly extinct tigers found breeding in Thai jungle

Nearly extinct tigers found breeding in Thai jungle

The critically endangered Indochinese tiger has been found to be breeding in a Thai jungle, providing hope for a subspecies whose total population may number only a couple of hundred.

Conservation authorities in Thailand, along with two international wildlife organisations, released photographs of new tiger cubs in the country’s east.

The images support a scientific survey that confirmed the existence of the world’s second breeding population. The other breeding ground is in the Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary in western Thailand.

The Department of National Parks of Thailand, the anti-trafficking group Freeland and Panthera, a wildcat conservation organisation, said only 221 Indochinese tigers were estimated to remain in just two Asian countries, Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar.

The group said it had been tracking the tiger population since 1999 and, for the first time last year, camera traps had photographed six cubs from four mothers.

“Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade stands as the gravest threat to the survival of the tiger, whose numbers in the wild have dwindled from 100,000 a century ago to 3,900 today,” the agencies said in a statement.

It noted the tigers’ “remarkable resilience given wildlife poaching and illegal rosewood logging” in the eastern jungle.

Indochinese tigers are smaller than the better-known Siberian or the Bengal subspecies, which is the most numerous with a total population estimated at 3,500.

Tigers, which once ranged across much of the region, are all but extinct in southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and much of Myanmar. Although there is no evidence of their medicinal effect, tiger bones are used in traditional Asian remedies such as “health tonics”.

Alan Rabinowitz, the chief executive officer of Panthera, said in a video call from New York that Thailand had “one of the best-protected and best tiger areas left in the world”.

“Thailand has shown that you can protect tigers and bring them back. They can do this now in the eastern forest complex as they have done in the western forest complex,” he added.

Panthera said on its website that only 8% of tiger sites had a confirmed breeding population, meaning the photos were “a huge – and rare – win”.

It said: “A breeding population here means that the future of this subspecies is less precarious and could potentially even expand – tigers here could disperse and repopulate Cambodia and Laos, where no breeding populations persist.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Domestic abuse survivor marries the first responder who came to her rescue.

Domestic abuse survivor marries the first responder who came to her rescue.

When Melissa Dohme Hill was 20 years old, she received a call from her high school ex-boyfriend asking to meet up one last time to gain closure. When she arrived, he pulled out a switchblade, stabbed her 32 times and left her bleeding by the side of the road.

She would have died there had it not been for Cameron Hill who was one of the first paramedics to arrive.

Five years later, the two are married.

“I would never want to go through the horrific attack again, but with where I am today, I wouldn’t change it,” Dohme Hill told CNN. “I would have never met Cameron, so I believe it was fate that brought us together.”

After the attack in 2012, Dohme Hill flatlined four times. She lost so much blood that she went into a coma and suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed. Many of her facial nerves were severed and she was left unable to speak or smile.

“I believe it was fate that brought us together,” Dohme Hill told CNN Cameron Hill was one of the first responders who found her and put her in a helicopter to the trauma center. A year later, the two met at a luncheon. They started dating two months after that. He proposed in 2015 at a baseball game, and the two were married this month in front of many of the first responders and doctors who’d helped Dohme Hill survive her attack. She now works as an advocate against domestic violence at Hands Across the Bay “My message to anyone hiding in silence…If you are currently being abused, know that you are not alone, and it is not your fault,” Dohme Hill told CNN. “Please reach out to your local domestic violence center for assistance on how to safely end the relationship, because ending an abusive relationship can be very dangerous.”

Meet the Boston doctor making house calls to the homeless

Meet the Boston doctor making house calls to the homeless

BOSTON — It’s Friday morning in Boston, which means Dr. Jim O’Connell is making his rounds.

He might be a little more comfortable inside a warm exam room, but that’s not where his patients are. O’Connell is Boston’s only doctor left still making house calls to the homeless.

Nearly 600,000 Americans are homeless, and many have health problems with no access to care. O’Connell and his nationally renowned team of “street doctors” are doing something about it, treating about 700 regular patients.

O’Connell and his team of psychologists and social workers spend their days walking around downtown where his patients live — in parks, under bridges and on the outskirts of town.

During his morning rounds, O’Connell himself usually sees about 20 patients. He knows where most of his patients sleep and knows who to ask if they are missing.

“I feel like I’m a country doctor in the middle of the city, you know?” he said.

O’Connell went to Harvard Medical School at the age of 30. After finishing his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, he was on his way to a prestigious oncology fellowship when the city of Boston received a grant, along with 18 other cities, to improve their health care system for the homeless.

At the suggestion of his chief, O’Connell took what was supposed to be a one-year position as the founding doctor of the new health care program for Boston’s homeless. That turned into a 32-year career as head of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, now the country’s largest of its kind.

“You start to realize, ‘You know what, I’m just a doctor. And what I can do is I can get to know you and ease your suffering, just as I would as an oncologist,’” O’Connell said. “You could not find a more grateful population.”

O’Connell dispenses just about everything, from stitches for an arm to surgery for the soul. If patients can’t be treated on the street, O’Connell finds them a temporary treatment bed in a shelter.

O’Connell also sees patients at McInnis House, the main shelter of BHCHP. Patients sometimes stay for an extended period of time while they receive treatment.

“He’s like Jesus,” one of his patients said.

“This man is unbelievable!” another remarked. “This is my doctor. He’s been my doctor for life.”

O’Connell said he doesn’t think about what life would be like as a highly paid oncologist.

“I never think about it anymore,” he said.

Some things are more valuable than money. Just ask the man who gets everything from patients who have nothing at all to give.

Beyoncé follows Chance The Rapper’s footsteps. Donates $1 Million to Brooklyn Public Schools.

Beyoncé follows Chance The Rapper’s footsteps. Donates $1 Million to Brooklyn Public Schools.

Chance The Rapper had recently announced that he was donating $1 Million to the Chicago Public Schools. Very soon Beyoncé has followed suit by announcing that she too was donating $1 Million to Brooklyn Public Schools. She has not spoken to any Govt. Officials yet, but said that the kids in Brooklyn deserved a better future and she would do what she can to use her fame and fortune to ensure that every kid in Brooklyn gets a proper education.The rise in Education standards could drastically bring down the crime rate and increase employment level skills for a better future of the community.Beyoncé said that she would try and rope in more celebrities for the cause including her husband Jay Z.Early this month, Chance the Rapper had held a press conference to announce that he was donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools.