The wait is finally over and the new season of Top Gear has landed on our TV screens complete with a new line up of hosts. Chris Harris is still there but is now joined by Paddy McGuiness and Freddy Flintoff.It’s always a gamble when a show changes the hosts and it doesn’t always pay off, remember the shouty Chris Evans after the departure of Clarkson and co? Thankfully, the producers in my opinion, with the addition of McGuiness and Flintoff have made a very good choice.McGuiness can be a bit shouty but no more so than usual and Flintoff brings a certain sincerity to the show that it has sometimes been lacking. More importantly, the boys appeared to really get on and genuinely have a laugh with each other.Credit: BBCThis episode sees the boys celebrating the first cars they ever owned. They are each given £4,000 to spend on a car that comes as close as possible to the first car they owned. They are then to meet up in Ethiopia to begin their challenge. McGuiness brings a Ford Escort Mark 2, Harris brings a Mini and Flintoff, believe it or not, brings a Porsche Boxter!The boys then set off on an epic journey across Ethiopia climbing over the Semien Mountain range, crossing the Danakil desert and ending up in the Afar Triangle which is thought to be the cradle of mankind. As you would expect from Top Gear the journey is broken up by a couple of mini challenges.Challenge one is a driving test around a quarry which results in a bit of cheating, a beached car and a very unhappy Freddy Flintoff who has to wear the losers jumper. The jumper is a heavy knit roll neck, perfect for the 40 degrees heat of Ethiopia! The second challenge involves a bit of blindfolded driving because why not!?Credit: BBCThe cars and presenters are really put through their paces on this challenge and I got the impression that it was a great bonding session for this new line-up. As always with the series, the location was captured beautifully and the guys were often in awe of the scenery.Also in the show, Chris puts the Ferrari 488 Pista and McLaren 600LT through their paces with one of them taking the crown as the new power lap leader but you’ll have to watch to find out which one.If this is setting the scene for what is to come in this series then I for one am very happy. McGuiness and Flintoff are a nice contrast to each other and to Chris Harris and together they make a very relatable, entertaining team. They were enjoyable to watch and even Paddy’s shouting didn’t detract too much.Top Gear is available to view on BBC 2 at 8pm every Sunday. If you’ve missed it you can always catch up on BBC iPlayer.
The Kombat League is now live in Mortal Kombat 11 and will give the more competitive players out there the chance to compete against each other to earn exclusive in-game rewards.In Kombat League, players compete in ranked matches during a four-week season to progress through nine tiers, climbing from the ranks of Apprentice to Elder God. Players will be rewarded with exclusive in-game items for each unlocked rank. Rewards are cumulative, with players earning all unlocked items up to the highest tier achieved in a given season. Players can also earn in-game items by playing in various daily and seasonal quests.View the Kombat League trailer below:Once a season expires, a new season starts immediately with new rewards and incentives to earn. The optimised matchmaking system in Kombat League will ensure players are matched with opponents at or near their same skill level. As part of the Kombat League update, a new meter has been added giving players a quick look at their odds of winning against an opponent at the beginning of each ranked match.Additionally, early access for Shang Tsung, the first of six playable fighters included in the Mortal Kombat 11 Kombat Pack, begins tomorrow for all Kombat Pack owners. The Kombat Pack is the best way to upgrade the Mortal Kombat 11 game experience with new downloadable content.
I’ve always hated wearing headphones at the gym or when running. They always fall out my ears or the wires get in the way. A couple of years ago I picked up a cheap pair of Bluetooth headphones which I found better but they were still connected to each other by a wire. They also continued to fall out my ears and had terrible battery life, not to mention endless connection problems.When I was given the opportunity to review the Creative Outlier Air I was interested to see how far the technology has come. The Outlier Air are Creative’s first shot at fully wireless in-ear headphones. They fall into the same category as Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds. A nice surprise is that they come in cheaper than both of those big names at a very reasonable £74.99 compared to the £159 and £139 of the Apple and Samsung offerings.When you buy a set of these, in the box you get the left and right earbuds, a neat charging case, an extra set of silicone tips, a USB-C cable and a small instruction manual. Everything looks a bit futuristic and I was impressed by the design of the earbuds and the charging case. The charging case is made of aluminium with curved edges and it has a lovely smooth premium feel. It weighs just 54g and fits easily into the palm of your hand. Dimensions-wise it comes in around 7.5cm x 4cm x 2.5cm which is a little chunky but I’ve had no issues at all carrying it around in my jeans pocket.It’s not immediately obvious what the case is and people I’ve shown it to have thought it might be a powerbank for my smartphone. That’s actually a decent guess because one end of the case has four LEDs and a USB-C connection. This is because inside is a rechargeable battery that keeps your earbuds topped up when you aren’t using them. Fully charged they last for up to 10 hours and the case stores an additional 20 hours worth of playtime.Credit: CreativeThe charging case can be fully charged in under two hours. Pushing the end of the case without the LEDs and charge port, slides out the earbud tray. Here you’ll find two magnetic slots to place the earbuds. They are very easy to pop in and take out, plus it stops them falling out should you open the case upside down.The first earbud that you take out of the case becomes the main one and pairs with your phone. The second one will then automatically pair. After pairing with my phone for the first time they just paired automatically each time and this worked flawlessly. When you place the buds back in the case they turn off and begin to charge. It’s possible to wear both buds together or just a single bud if you prefer.Popping them in your ears is simple enough and I found them to fit snugly. For me they just fit perfectly and remain comfortable during long sessions. The other thing that I was delighted about is that they just stay put. I didn’t have to constantly adjust or keep pushing back into my ears like most other headphones I’ve used over the years. These are also IPX5 rated which means they are sweatproof and can withstand rain.Each bud has an illuminated circle on the outside that lights up red or blue. The middle of these rings is a large push button that can be used to perform all the actions you’d expect such as play/pause, change volume and skip tracks. You can also use them to answer calls, with both buds featuring mics and playing the audio, or talk to your digital assistant such as Siri or Google. The buttons get the job done but can be a little awkward and although they were ok for me, I think some users might find pressing them can be uncomfortable.Credit: CreativeFor the price point, the audio quality of these earbuds is outstanding. They feature 5.6mm graphene drivers and support Bluetooth 5.0, aptX and AAC codecs. This means they use less energy than older versions of Bluetooth despite performing at least twice as fast. All kinds of audio I’ve thrown at them sound excellent with great bass and performance at different ranges. I’ve also had no issues with connection dropouts and audio has stayed in sync perfectly with video.Overall I’ve been incredibly impressed with the Creative Outlier Air. They perform as well as, if not better, than many wireless earbuds and at a much cheaper price point too. Creative have achieved something really special here and I really can’t recommend them enough if you’re in the market for some wireless earbuds.
Credit: The Folio SocietyRendezvous with Rama first appeared in print in 1973. It was author Arthur C. Clarke’s next project after 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Stanley Kubrick’s big screen adaptation brought to a much wider audience.Readers can find some of the themes that interested Clarke in 2001: A Space Odyssey examined further here. In Rendezvous with Rama, what appears to be an asteroid enters the solar system. Following a meteor’s catastrophic collision with earth some years earlier (spookily, Clarke’s chosen date is September 11th), earth’s defences are primed to react immediately to any perceived threat. A space craft is dispatched to investigate the object and report back to earth. It quickly becomes clear that ‘Rama’ is of alien origin, created by a highly technologically advanced civilisation. But why has it entered earth’s solar system? Who is on board? And does it mean any harm?I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time when I was twelve. I had expected the excitement of Star Wars but was left bored rigid. I gave the film another chance when I was sixteen, and the second time around it blew my mind, and became a firm favourite. The difference was expectation, as well as an increasing intellectual maturity and appreciation of scientific ideas. The same mindset is needed to appreciate Rendezvous with Rama. Clarke is forensic and thought-provoking in extrapolating into prose his themes of humankind’s cosmic insignificance, the limits of our knowledge and what it means to make first contact with a more advanced alien civilisation. But the characters are subservient to examining these concepts. If you prefer troubled, rounded characters who are psychologically intriguing, then Arthur C Clarke is not the right author for you.On the other hand, if you’re looking for grand, powerful science-fiction tropes, Rendezvous with Rama is a rich and impressive work. Clarke’s elegant descriptive prose is just about light-touch enough to never weary with excessive detail, yet nuanced enough to plant firm images in the reader’s head. This is especially impressive when the humans reach and explore Rama, finding an opening and descending along a ladder to the uncharted territory of the giant vessel’s innards.Illustration © Matt Griffin from The Folio Society edition of Rendezvous with RamaThe book is not sterile of spirituality, and such shading helps to give it a more rounded view of the human condition. ‘Rama’ itself is named after the Hindu god that is considered the supreme being, and the humans have a reverence for the impressive unknown quantity they simultaneously admire and fear. The spacecraft sent to examine Rama is called ‘Endeavour’ – named after Captain Cook’s exploratory sailing ship that reached Australasia and made for the first European contact with a previously-unknown area of the world. Cook would, of course, later pay a heavy price for his encounters with other civilisations. The task of Commander Norton in Rendezvous with Rama is to keep every member of his crew alive throughout their reconnaissance mission.There are a few touches of inspired genius that help Rendezvous with Rama stand out as a terrific science-fiction read.The human crew of the Endeavour are accompanied by ‘simps’ – genetically modified chimpanzees. Clarke creates the Rama Committee and the United Planets – a human political organisation tasked with overseeing the mission. Naturally, it is crammed full of egos, and everyone walks on eggshells around the Hermian colonists – humans who live on the inhospitable planet of Mercury. The Endeavour crew coin the term ‘biots’ to describe the biological robots operating within Rama which make up the first tantalising encounter with alien life. All of these ideas are leaps of the imagination that are rooted in an understanding of humanity’s psychological need to search for new knowledge, which was understood and depicted as far back as the book of Genesis and the tree of knowledge.Illustration © Matt Griffin from The Folio Society edition of Rendezvous with RamaAmongst the far-reaching ideas, Clarke maintains an atmosphere of discovery but also menace, and keeps his reader thirsty for more revelations from the alien world he has created. It takes an author of considerable confidence to conclude the book in the way we leave Rendezvous with Rama, but it’s entirely consistent with Clarke’s literary style and his approach to storytelling. Even the final sentence is yet another way to toy with the reader that there may be more to come…This edition of Rendezvous with Rama is published in hardback and with slipcase by The Folio Society. It is an eye-catching addition to the bookcases of any Arthur C Clarke devotee. The striking cover image of Rama hanging hauntingly near the orbit of Jupiter, and the vivid full-colour illustrations within the pages, make for a luxurious copy of a celebrated science-fiction classic.The Folio Society edition of Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, introduced by John Clute and illustrated by Matt Griffin, is available exclusively from The Folio Society – www.FolioSociety.com.Publisher: The Folio Society Publication date: May 2020
Ingrid Andress has released her playful video for new song Waste of Lime.With a nod to The Beach Boys, Waste of Lime was written by Ingrid with frequent collaborators Derrick Southerland and Sam Ellis, and Shane McAnally. The video was directed via FaceTime by Lauren Dunn (G-Eazy, Lauv, Megan Thee Stallion).Ingrid was the only solo female debut to crack the Top 20 on the Country Airplay chart in 2019 and she scored a Platinum-certified number one hit with More Hearts Than Mine. Her current single The Stranger is at Country radio and hoping to replicate the success of its predecessor.Ingrid is also the first female Country artist named to Apple Music’s Up Next program. She has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers and TODAY.Earlier this year she toured with Keith Urban on select dates and helped kick off Dan + Shay’s The (Arena) Tour in March.
This year’s students of the TATI’s Bright Faces Summer Youth Leadership Program at the Miami Gardens City’s Progressive Young Adults Advisory Committee meeting with partner Father Horace Ward of Holy Family Episcopal Church Caribbean-American youth advocacy group, Transforming America Through Interaction, or TATI is accepting applications for their newly launched career mentorship program Bright Faces, in partnership with The Episcopal Church of Holy Family in Miami Gardens. “The objective of TATI’s Bright Faces,” says Tanya Ragbeer, President of TATI, Inc., “is to introduce the students to professionals who not only look and sound like them, but are also making strides in the community. It’s phenomenal to hear the stories of success, failure, struggles and triumph that were presented, and to see the responses of the students.“The program is designed to empower teens by introducing them to people that they normally would not have such intimate access to, and for them to learn first-hand from people in their chosen career fields.”The program is focused on, but not restricted to teens of Caribbean heritage, and this year’s activities included field trips to locations such as the Miami Gardens City Hall, WAVS 1170 AM Radio, and Weston Animal Hospital. Bright Faces students engage with professionals in Finance, Retail Sales, Wholesale Manufacturing and Distribution, Arts & Culture, Government, Media & Communications, Health, and Education. The program also includes personal development coaching activities lead by Life Coach Tanya Ragbeer, and is designed to create self-awareness.To register a student, to volunteer, or to donate towards the program funding, visit the website at: www.taticaribbean.com, or call 954-895-8384 for further details.
Residents in Broward county seeking to complete their high school diplomas can now head to library, thanks to the new Career Online High school program, available throughout the county library system. The Broward program, which will offer high school degrees and career certifications, is one of 11 pilot projects being introduced by the state.To participate in the program, an individual must be at least age 19, a resident of Broward County, a member of the Library system, and completed at least Grade 9 in high school. Participants must also take and pass courses in Math, English Social Studies, Science, and a career elective. The course takes approximately 18 months and is available online daily. Under the program, full scholarships valuing $1,300 will also be offered to 75 county residents to complete their diplomas.In addition to the GED test, County librarian Matthew Union explained the pilot program will also provide career training electives in childcare and education, homeland security, transportation services, office management, retail customer service, food customer service, and general career preparation.The new program means good news for Martha Champion, who operates an adult career center in Miami that offers GED course and tests. Champion says her program has seen a “significant increase, of over 300 percent,” in individuals seeking to pursue their GED. “Unlike other tests that can be taken online, the GED tests cannot. This has created a choke in the high demand for the certificate.”Although 22-year-old Canute Smelly obtained his GED last May, he says he is most interested in the career-focused component of the online program.“I now have the GED, but I don’t have a career,” Smelly said. “I want to be an airport security officer, but need training. I would love to get into this new program and improve my qualifications.”
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz exacted some measure of revenge after cruising to a 2-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda’s Benna Boys at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday.The Antiguans had recently frustrated their Caribbean counterparts with a late goal for a 1-1 draw at Sabina Park when the teams faced off last month. On Sunday, however, the Antiguans were surprisingly far less effective at home as it was the higher ranked Reggae Boyz who dominated the fixture.After a first period that was low on quality chances, the game sprang into life when Antiguan striker Peter Byers flashed a fierce shot into the side netting in the 40th minute. However, Jamaica took the lead when a shot miscued by Chevonne Marsh found its way to Jamiel Hardware at the back post. Hardware played a pass back into the path of unmarked Peter-Lee Vassell at the penalty spot. Vassell calmly slotted past Antigua goalkeeper Brenton Parchment to give the visitors a 43rd minute lead.
On Thursday, Dr. Robert Runcie, Broward County School Board Superintendent made several stops the City of Lauderdale Lakes. During the Superintendent’s visit he met with Mayor Hazelle Rogers, City Manager Phil Alleyne, and additional staff to discuss the local schools and their safety in the City of Lauderdale Lakes. According to Mayor Hazelle Rogers, the City of Lauderdale Lakes is heavily involved with the Broward County Schools located within the City limits. City staff has been actively engaged in the schools noting their participation in the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship(NFTE) and the National Community Planning Month of programming. During the meeting the Mayor and Dr. Runcie spoke about additional funding sources for School Resource Officers(SRO) and the Guardian Program which will help offset the expense to provide trained SRO officers in each campus located in the “We Care” City. Extensive training being conducted Dr. Runcie spoke about the extensive amount of training that is being conducted to ensure the safest schools are provided to the children in Lauderdale Lakes and all of Broward County. Mayor Rogers discussed the legislative issues that will impact the City of Lauderdale Lakes and the importance of working in collaboration with the School Board and other entities to ensure the best results for all involved.The meeting concluded with a tour of the 2 Broward County Elementary Schools located in Lauderdale Lakes: Oriole Elementary and Park Lakes Elementary School. Dr. Runcie, Mayor Rogers and city staff had the opportunity to visit classrooms , speak with the Principals, and thoroughly enjoy a brief math lesson with an excellent group of fourth graders.
Jamaican authorities on Friday hinted at the possibility of introducing new measures from Monday next week, including curfew restrictions to deal with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) after indicating that the virus is now island-wide.Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at a virtual news conference is moving into the community transmission phase and that the virus can no longer be easily traced from one person to the other.Officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness have been holding talks with representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Tufton said Jamaicans should assume that everyone they come in contact with has the virus and should take on the individual responsibility of wearing masks and following protocols.On Thursday, the island reported that two more persons had died from the virus, pushing the total to 29, while 74 new positives cases had been recorded.The two latest COVID-19-related deaths are of an 81-year old female and a 35-year-old male who both had comorbidities, namely diabetes and hypertension.The island has also recorded one additional case of a coincidental death of a person confirmed with SARS-CoV-2. This is a case that was previously recorded as a death under investigation. The case is a 56-year-old male from Clarendon.The 74 new positives cases bring to 2,896 the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,873 being active cases.Tufton told reporters that over the next six to eight weeks, the population may see a steep rise in the COVID cases as more people are expected to seek medical attention in public and private institutions.He said this new phase of virus spread may mean more effective measures to reduce spread of the virus to protect the vulnerable population and that health teams are currently examining protocols that would be issued soon.Tufton said that the measures will be introduced as early as Monday and could include increased curfew restrictions islandwide, stay at home orders for the elderly as well as a re-emphasis on work from home orders in the private and public sector and further tightening on restrictions on public gatherings.CMC