Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seagulls Stealing Ice Cream in Britain's Seaside

Maurading seagulls that are blighting Britain's seaside resorts are starting to get picky about the kind of ice cream they are willing to steal. With their noisy calls and voracious appetite they are a distinctive feature of the British seaside.

But relations between humans and seagulls are becoming fraught. Holidaymakers have complained of being "mugged" by fearless seagulls stealing chips, sandwiches and ice cream. Resorts are considering ways to curb gull populations, including the use of squadrons of falcons and hawks. One council is imposing fines up to £2,500 on people caught feeding the birds.

Sunbather Georgia Coops, 45, a gardener on holiday from London, reported that her son Oliver, 10, had had his ice cream stolen.

"It was a chocolate ice cream and he is convinced that they like those ones the best," she said.

"We bring this tent to the beach so the kids can eat their food in it. It's just too dangerous to sit outside and eat."

This protective trait has been exploited for 10 years by Maria Chaffin, of Carbis Bay, near St Ives.

"We have had two seagulls, Simone and Garfunkel, for 10 years," she said. "We feed them so they keep the others away.

"They are very territorial and if other seagulls come on our roof, they are seen off in no uncertain terms. I think they are beautiful creatures."

But others in St Ives, such as chef Michael Smith, who owns the Porthminster Beach Cafe, are less enamored.

Mr. Smith estimated that up to £3,000-worth of food had been stolen from his roof terrace so far this year by gulls, which he said were "becoming more cunning and conniving".

Under pressure from local businesses, St Ives town council has deployed birds of prey, which tend to scare off rather than kill seagulls. It has hired falconers at £1,000 a week and is now considering spending £6,000 to buy its own birds of prey.

This could become a more widespread method of control, particularly if Natural England decides next year to remove herring gulls and black-backed gulls from a list of birds which can be culled under license, because of concern about the species' declining population levels.

Expert Peter Rock, who became Britain's first full-time professional urban gull-watcher in 2002, said stealing food from humans was "a learned behavior" passed on from parents to offspring.

"They do it terribly well in St Ives. They do it in Jersey, a little bit in North Wales and they do it in Torbay, but you don't see that in any other urban colonies," he said.

Mr. Rock suggested a very simple solution. "How to deal with it?" he asked. "Protect your food." Anyway take a look at some more photos taken at Britain's Seaside...

30 Creative Facebook Timeline Covers

The introduction of the Facebook Timeline has created a lot of controversy, but it also resulted in lots of creative timeline covers. I’ll admit, I wasn’t happy about the change at first – not only our Facebook page became ugly without the cover picture, it also meant that we have to create one for ourselves.

But, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. However, if you aren’t so lucky you probably need some inspiration first. That’s why we bring you 30 incredible examples of Facebook Cover photos. If you have a creative timeline cover yourself, feel free to post it in the comments below!

1. Ekkapong Techawongthaworn

2. James Jackson

3. Anonymous Facebook User

4. Jörgen Bröms

5. Richard Kårström

6. Graziano Vincini

7. Hampus Engström

8. Ekkapong Techawongthaworn

9. Bernard Fischer

10. Rafa Ferro

11. Krister Nielsen

12. Gabriel Masliah

13. Ally Moffatt

14. Antonio Fadda

15. Emanuele Bartolomucci

16. Giuseppe Draicchio

17. Fabio Maravilla

18. Andin Hoti

19. Kay Int Veen

20. Krizel Corpuz

21. Myriam Heneine

22. Sudipto Mahato

23. Eduardo Calvo

24. Sune Adler Miltersen

25. Mohammad L. Azzam

26. Pao Abella

27. Ivan Marino

28. Ori Hasson

29. Sune Adler Miltersen

30. Enri Pedernera

Hyper-realistic Sculptures by Marc Sijan

Milwaukee based artist Marc Sijan's Super realistic sculptures are "homages to humanity's fascination with its own forms - a fascination which has compelled artists throughout the millennia to mirror life in virtually every medium." Sijan's figures are incredibly lifelike, sensuous and graceful. In fact, they are so lifelike, they seem always on the verge of movement, a mere instant away from action. The pores in the skin, the tiny hairs, and veins; even the bald spots, the blemishes, the individual shapes of the faces that make human beings so similar, yet so unique: These are the essence of what makes Marc Sijan's work so arresting.

Sijan first works from live models, to produce a negative mold in plaster, and sculpts the interior with special tools and a magnifying glass to assure accurate detail. Then, he casts the figure in a polyester resin. To achieve realistic flesh tones, Sijan applies 25 coats of paint and adds varnish. Sijan uses oil paint in the final stages of the work. Now take a look at some more stunning hyper-realistic sculpture by Marc Sijan.