Friday, 8 December 2017

Simon Cowell insults a fan in New York City

- Simon Cowell politely writes an insulting message above his autograph at the request of a sarcastic fan. Visit our blog, we update daily! Follow us on Twitter! @stupidfamous Like us on Facebook! Twitter @stupidfamous ► Instagram @stupidfamouspeople ► Facebook ► Tumblr ► Google+ ► ----------------------------------------­­--- Thanks for watching SFP! - Trending Celebrity Gossip & News

Halloween 2017: The reasons we celebrate today and why children trick-or-treat

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What is Halloween?

Well, Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of All Hallows' Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a spooky celebration observed every year in a number of countries on October 31 - the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day, also known as All Saints' Day. In 2017, Halloween falls on a Tuesday.

The Americanised (Americanized?) Halloween that we experience today actually originated in the Celtic fringes of Britain, and was adapted over the decades by Christian traditions, immigrants' conventions and an insatiable desire for sweets.

The origin of the festival is disputed, and there are both pagan and Christian practices that have evolved into what Halloween is like today. Some believe it originates from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, meaning 'Summer's End' which celebrated the end of harvest season. Gaels believed that it was a time when the walls between our world and the next became thin and porous, allowing spirits to pass through, come back to life on the day and damage their crops. Places were set at the dinner table to appease and welcome the spirits. Gaels would also offer food and drink, and light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits.
The origins of trick or treating and dressing up were in the 16th century in Ireland, Scotland and Wales where people went door-to-door in costume asking for food in exchange for a poem or song. Many dressed up as souls of the dead and were understood to be protecting themselves from the spirits by impersonating them. More about that below. The Christian origin of the holiday is that it falls on the days before the feast of All Hallows, which was set in the eighth century to attempt to stamp out pagan celebrations. Christians would honour saints and pray for souls who have not yet reached heaven.

What has Halloween got to do with dressing up?

Celts dressed up in white with blackened faces during the festival of Samhain to trick the evil spirits that they believed would be roaming the earth before All Saints' Day on November 1st. By the 11th century, this had been adapted by the Church into a tradition called 'souling', which is seen as being the origin of trick-or-treating. Children go door-to-door, asking for soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of friends and relatives. They went dressed up as angels, demons or saints. The soul cakes were sweet, with a cross marked on top and when eaten they represented a soul being freed from purgatory.
Nicholas Rogers, a historian at York University says that when people prayed for the dead at Hallow Mass, they dressed up. When praying for fertile marriages, "the boy choristers in the churches dressed up as virgins. So there was a certain degree of cross dressing in the actual ceremony of All Hallow’s Eve.” In the 19th century, souling gave way to guising or mumming, when children would offer songs, poetry and jokes - instead of prayer - in exchange for fruit or money.

Halloween trick-or-treating

The phrase trick-or-treat was first used in America in 1927, with the traditions brought over to America by immigrants. Guising gave way to threatening pranks in exchange for sweets. After a brief lull during the sugar rations in World War Two, Halloween became a widespread holiday that revolved around children, with newly built suburbs providing a safe place for children to roam free. Costumes became more adventurous - in Victorian ages, they were influenced by gothic themes in literature, and dressed as bats and ghosts or what seemed exotic, such as an Egyptian pharoah. Later, costumes became influenced by pop culture, and became more sexualised in the 1970s. Many of us have fallen victim to a scary Halloween prank, or even played the nasty trickster ourselves. From jumping out of bushes dressed as zombies or spooking people in their sleep as ghosts - the terrifying list of possibilities is endless.

Why do we carve pumpkins?

The carving of pumpkins originates from the Samhain festival, when Gaels would carve turnips to ward off spirits and stop fairies from settling in houses.
A theory that explains the Americanised name Jack O'Lantern came from the folkloric story of Stingy Jack, who fooled the devil into buying him a drink. He was not let into heaven or hell - and when he died, the devil threw him a burning ember which he kept in a turnip. The influx of Irish immigrants in the 1840s to North America could not find any turnips to carve, as was tradition, so they used the more readily available pumpkin into which they carved scary faces. By the 1920s pumpkin carving was widespread across America, and Halloween was a big holiday with dressing up and trick-or-treating.

Six peculiar Halloween traditions

In Czech culture, chairs for deceased family members are placed by the fire on Halloween night alongside chairs for each living one. In Austria some people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed. It is believed that this will welcome dead souls back to Earth. Meanwhile in Germany, people hide their knives to make sure none of the returning spirits are harmed – or seek to harm them! Barnbrack, a fruitcake, is used as part of a fortune telling game in Ireland. Muslin-wrapped treats are baked inside. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means a prosperous year is on its way; a pea means the person will not marry that year; a stick means an unhappy marriage or dispute; a coin represents good fortune.
The city of Kawasaki in Japan holds an annual Halloween costume parade. More than 100,000 watch it and 2,500 people take part. In Manila, capital of the Philippines, pets get in on the action too. An annual costume contest aims to raise funds for animal welfare groups.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Meghan Markle hairstyle – a DIY step-by-step guide

featured imageOne of the many things 2017 will be known for is the engagement of the gorgeous Meghan Markle to Prince Harry. Their fairytale love story, the Prince’s proposal, their announcement of their marriage, their first interview together, their photo ops—everything about this couple is dreamy and magical. Among the many things that have fascinated us about this soon-to-be duchess, is her hair. Already her simple yet elegant loose curly hairstyle is becoming popular with women from across the world. So we got hairstylist Asgar Saboo to give us a step-by-step guide to get the Meghan Markle hair. Here it is: 1) Shampoo, condition and comb Shampoo and conditioning correctly are key! Using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner will help fight frizz, define the curls and keep them looking fresh and shiny for a prolonged period of time. A little goes a long way, so only apply a dime-sized amount of product to avoid drying out the hair. Allow the conditioner to sit for a few minutes in order to help detangle any knots. After you rinse out your conditioner, try gently brushing through your hair with a wide-toothed comb to get all of the tangles out. Brushing the hair when dry, especially for those with naturally curly hair can cause more frizz. 2) Towel drying It’s important not to be too rough when drying your hair straight after washing it. Before you get out of the shower, ring all of the excess water from your hair and begin drying. Rubbing your hair excessively is going to cause damage, so instead put your hair up in a towel and simply leave it be for 10-15. Try to use a towel with gentler fabrics, or a cotton t-shirt. For tangles, first, apply a de-tangling or conditioning spray. 3) Styling With the hair still slightly damp and combed out in thicker strands, it’s now time to add some curling mousse. Add a generous amount of mousse, roughly the size of a golf ball, from the root to tip and scrunch with your fingers. Make sure to use a product with some hold to it to ensure your curls last longer. If you are going to use a gel, the trick is to rub it in your hands and then lightly scrunch it up into your hair Repeat this until you coat all of your hair with mousse, tip your hair upside down and blow-dry until nearly dry. Once the hair is scrunched and separated, avoid touching it and let it completely dry naturally. Once your hair is totally dry, it may need a little spray or pomade to finish off the look.

Which Celebs Do These Stars Want to Kiss Under the Mistletoe? - Becky G, Fifth Harmony, Lucy Hale

Which Celeb Had the Best Year? ►► More Celebrity News ►► If you had to be stuck under the mistletoe with one celebrity, who would it be? We asked stars like Becky G, Fifth Harmony, Lucy Hale, Bridgit Mendler, Rita Ora and more who would be their dream smooch. For More Clevver Visit: Website: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Keep up with us on Instagram: Add us to your circles on Google+: Tweet Me:

Why Marines Absolutely Love the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle

featured imageMarksmanship, the ability to shoot accurately and service targets with the minimum expenditure of ammunition, has always been part of the Marine Corps ethos. The adoption of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle over the older M249 Squad Automatic Weapon marks a return to that ethos across the service at the small unit level. More accurate and capable of accomplishing its mission with fewer expended rounds, the M27 is now being considered as the front-line rifle not only for a handful of squad members but across the Corps’ front line units. The Marine Corps, accustomed to heavy losses against strong enemy defenses and beach assaults, maintains robust, thirteen-man infantry squads. These squads further divide into three fire teams led by a single squad leader, each of which has two riflemen, a grenadier, and an automatic rifleman. Compared to a nine-man U.S. Army infantry squad, the Marine squad has four more personnel and a third rifle team. The result is increased flexibility and more tactical options for the squad leader.
The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle
The Marine Corps plans on fielding the M27 IAR more broadly in infantry units as early as 2018
For decades the fire team automatic rifleman has been equipped with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Originally developed by Fabrique Nationale as the MINIMI, the M249 was capable of laying down a large volume of fire, up to 900 rounds per minute, using 200 round belt-fed packs of ammunition. This made the M249 useful for suppressive fire, keeping the enemy’s head down while other fire teams closed with the enemy. The M249 was a Marine Corps staple through the 9/11 era.
As useful as the M249 was, it did have problems. A 2006 report conducted by the CNA Corporation found that among U.S. Army combat veterans, the M249 scored below average in third place (after the M16 rifle and M4 carbine, but generally ahead of the M9 pistol) in handling, accuracy, maintainability and corrosion resistance. Nearly 30 percent of troops issued the M249 reported experiencing a stoppage in contact with the enemy, and 35 percent expressed a lack of confidence in weapon reliability. Although a U.S. Army study, the weapons involved in the study were identical to those issued at the time by the U.S. Marines. The most glaring problem with the M249: it was never a good institutional fit for the Marine Corps. Although the weapon could hose down an enemy position with fire it wasn’t particularly useful for accurately engaging individual targets. The increase in ammo consumption meant an increase in carried ammunition weight. Ammunition consumption went up, the weight of carried ammunition went up, and accuracy went down—not an ideal situation for infantry. In 2010, the Marines introduced the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR). The IAR is based on the Heckler and Koch 416 rifle, which outwardly is very similar to the M4 carbine. Unlike the M4 carbine, the M27 uses the gas piston operating system, which uses a piston to drive the bolt. Instead of recycling hot, dirty propellent gases to cycle the weapon the M27 vents them, resulting in a cooler running, cleaner running, if slightly front-heavy rifle. The M27 differs in other ways. The rifle barrel is slightly longer and heavier than the M4 carbine, giving the M27 a slight range advantage over the carbine. The thicker M27 barrel can fire longer than the M4 before overheating, but will also disperse heat longer. The M27 is also much lighter, weighing nearly ten pounds fully loaded, versus twenty-two pounds fully loaded for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. This is an appreciable difference during long periods of carrying the weapon.
The main difference between the M27 and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, however, is accuracy. The M249 is first and foremost a machine gun and is accurate to about twelve minutes of angle, meaning rounds will hit within a foot of their target at 100 yards. The M27, on the other hand, is approximately a two minute of angle weapon, meaning it will land rounds within two inches of the target at 100 yards. In the hands of a trained automatic rifleman, this scales upward, so the M27 will deliver rounds within twelve inches of the target at 600 yards. Other factors further improve the M27’s accuracy. The weapon features a Harris folding bipod, giving it a stable shooting position while prone or from behind cover. It also features a Trijicon ACOG Squad Day Optic, which sports 3.5 power magnification and allows target identification and precision fire out to distances of up to 600 yards. The ACOG also incorporates a rugged miniaturized reflex (RMR) sight for close quarters shooting at 100 yards or less. The M27 is described by marines in the field as “two weapons in one”: a rifle capable of precision fire to eliminate individual targets but also capable of providing area suppression fire, like a SAW, if necessary. The difference is that the improved accuracy of the M27 leads to the need to fire fewer rounds to suppress a target, and less ammunition consumption in general. By contrast, the M249 it replaces is primarily an area suppression fire weapon with no precision fire capability. The M27 has become so well-liked in August 2017 the Marine Corps issued an intent notice to procure another 50,000 rifles—enough to equip every infantryman and automatic rifleman in front-line combat units. Such an upgrade would give the Marine Corps an impressive boost in aimed firepower and mark a return to the Corps’ tradition of marksmanship.

Jail in Hong Kong for booing China's national anthem

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Hong KongChina - Mocking China's national anthem in this semi-autonomous territory will soon be punishable by three years imprisonment following new legislation drafted by Beijing.

While the law must still be finalised, football fans have made a stand at recent games where the anthem - March of the Volunteers - was played.

A number of Hong Kong people have booed, held banners, and chanted "We are Hong Kong" despite claims by China's adviser to the special autonomous region, Elsie Leung, that the law could be applied retroactively.

The football pitch is an unlikely spot for a political match to go down, but in Hong Kong this is where opposition to the so called "anthem law" has been heard most fiercely. Student Kin Wa Chung was one of the attendees who booed and brought a "Hong Kong is not China" flag to recent matches. He explained through an interpreter that - following the ousting of four pro-democracy lawmakers in July - he felt like protest was the only way to speak out. "Since these people have been disqualified, we don't have a channel to raise our voice and express our views," he told Al Jazeera. Chung said the government doesn't hear the voice of the people, or listen to the reasons why the anthem was booed. He called this "a kind of oppression".
Kin Wa Chung was one of the people booing at recent matches [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]
While pro-establishment officials say the booing is disrespectful, those who demonstrate feel differently. "They are contradicting themselves and adding fuel to the fire. Instead of communicating with us, they pin the blame on us. They should be ashamed," said Chung. "I don't think we are disrespecting the country, because if the government or the country aren't some kind of representation of us, how can booing the national anthem be disrespectful? It's not representative of our voice." Chung said while it's a relatively small gesture, the anthem protests are reaching a wider audience. "If it was useless, you wouldn't be interviewing me," he said.

Outlawing boos

Under the governing "one country, two systems" formula, Hong Kong's legal system is separate from that of mainland China. The anthem legislation has already been approved by the National People's Congress and brought into effect on the mainland. But in Hong Kong, it must be locally drafted before it can be enacted as law and ultimately enforced. Initially agreeing with Leung's threat to backdate the legislation, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam later clarified this was unlikely. Despite uncertainty around retroactive enforcement, the boos continue. Pro-establishment politician Holden Chow said while protesters and their message only make up a minority in Hong Kong, he considers the booing concerning. "Those sort of behaviours certainly show disrespect to the national anthem and also shows some sort of disrespect to our own country. I think that provoked many people – including myself," he told Al Jazeera from his office in the Legislative Council Complex. "These sort of incidents would trigger concern in the mainland, because from the central government's perspective, or even from a Chinese perspective, you wouldn't like to see that sort of thing happening. You don't want people to insult your own country."
Pro-establishment politician Holden Chow says booing the anthem at football matches is disrespectful [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]
Chow said he views the booing as being entwined with calls for independence, something he staunchly opposes and considers a disruptive idea supported by few Hongkongers. "In this minority of [disobedient] people who are booing the national anthem, not only do they insult our own country, but also I think they would insult themselves … We won't accept or embrace or stand for that sort of behaviour. I think they are simply jeopardising our reputation." Chow added the vocal protest was "stirring up conflict between Hong Kong and the central government". "That does nothing good," he said, adding there is a place for demonstrations to be voiced within a "proper lawful assembly", but not on the soccer field. "That hijacks the entire sports game. People have to focus on the booing of the national anthem, and the Hong Kong team being penalised, and that's unfair to the team too," said Chow.

'Respect earned, not demanded'

Claudia Mo is a pro-democracy politician who believes the legislation is purposefully forceful and at odds with Hong Kong's identity. The territory was under British rule from 1841 until 1997 when it was returned to China. "In the last 20 years, Hong Kong people have woken up to the fact that communism is really incongruous with the way we've been living in Hong Kong," Mo said. "To the Chinese, it's a huge loss of face: 'How dare the Hong Kong people, especially the young, display such a disrespect to the national anthem.' They want to make sure that if you're disobedient, you know the price to pay and that is they can put you in jail." While incarceration may be an effective scare tactic, Mo said this will not generate respect among those who want political change. "In English we say respect is something earned, not demanded. They think that once the law becomes law, everything will settle, and that's just idiotic on their part. And I don't think they are actually that idiotic. "They knew they couldn't win Hong Kong people back, especially the young, so they can only do it the harsh way. It's this parental attitude: 'I'm your mother, I'm your father. I'm the provider, so you better listen to what I have to say.'"
Pro-democracy politician Claudia Mo said the proposed law is 'just idiotic on their part' [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]
While the anthem law will not be drastically different from existing ones in Hong Kong that pertain to the national anthem and flag, there remains a sense of unease around the political rhetoric and harshness of the proposed jail term. Simon Young, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said if mainland laws are adopted locally they are subjected to a rigorous and lengthy process before being enacted. "It's very cumbersome but deliberately so because it's meant to protect the autonomy of Hong Kong," he said. Criminal provisions of the law cannot be applied retroactively, he added, and legislative clarity is essential. While the law has yet to be implemented, policing it could be a bigger challenge. "That's going to be very tricky," said Young. "The executive branch are going to have to make some very important decisions as to how this law is going to be enforced. There will certainly be people who will test it."


featured imageVibrant, stylish, well-organized, ancient and futuristic at the same time. This is Tokyo, a metropolis of 13 million people with an unexpected traditional side that makes it one of the most charming cities in the world. Tokyo is constantly changing and there are so many things to see and do that one trip is not enough to experience all the faces of the city. Here is our selection of top 10 things to see and do in Tokyo for first timers. Get ready to start dreaming your next adventure in the land of the rising sun! Watch the Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo:   1) Tokyo Metropolitan Government The building was designed by Kenzo Tange, and has been used as headquarters of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government since 1991. When it was built, it was the highest building in Japan with the height of 243m. Especially the building No1 has panoramic observatories on the north and south wing at the height of 202 meters on the 45th floor. It’s free of charge and from the north wing, if you are lucky (the weather is fine), you’ll see Mt. Fuji. There is a souvenir shop and café on the same floor. 2) Shimbashi traditional izakaya-pub Shimbashi is a town of Japanese salaried workers, as it’s near the business district. It features lots of izakaya, or Japanese traditional pubs, and after five o’clock, this town becomes lively with full of salaried workers who finished working and letting their stress out, complaining about their bosses or subordinates or even their companies, and then they go back to hard work tomorrow... The izakayas here mainly feature traditional Japanese dishes rather than Western, so it would be a good opportunity to have some Japanese foods, in addition to see Japanese workers lives. Unfortunately most of the pubs don’t have English menus, but you might find the experience very local! shimbashi 3) Harajuku (trends and crepes) In Harajuku, you can find almost everything about Tokyo’s pop culture and especially Takeshita dori is one of the hustle-bustle and noisy street in Tokyo. Regardless of the day of the week, there are full of visitors who are trying to find something interesting. One of the must-dos in Takeshita st. is to try Japanese crepe. It’s obviously from France originally, but Japanese crepes contain rich whipped creams, fruits, ice cream and even mochi-sticky rice cake as toppings. Since the first shop was open in 1977, Harajuku has been thought as a mecca for this Japanese crepes. Groups of people who are taking a big bite of crepe while walking in the street is a common sight here. Also what you’ll see in Harajuku are unique souveniers, character shops, cheap accessory and clothing shops and kawaii cafes... you name it! During the weekends, you can hardly move ahead with lots of tourists, but don’t rush, enjoy the noise too. What you are seeing is really Tokyo-ish. harajuku 4) Puri-Kura Puri-kura is a shorten word for Print Club in Japanese, which means a small photo booth and also the photo stickers produced by the machine. During the early stage when the machine appeared about 20 years ago, the special devise was to choose the background of some sightseeing spots behind you, and some stamps like heart or stars to put on the photos, but it’s drastically changing, and now we can try funny effects like drawing graffiti or messages on the photo, or you can modify your image such as making your legs slimmer, your eyes bigger and your lip colour brighter. It takes some steps to get a photo sticker, just try and let’s see how much prettier you could be by the magic of technology! 5) Snake café (Tokyo snake center) There are many themed cafes in Japan, for instance, cat café is one of the most famous ones, we also have another animal cafés such as rabbit café, owl café, hedgehog café, apart from animals, we have stationery café, maid café, butler’s café and knitting café. You name it! However, the most peculiar one should be a snake café. Since it opened this café is full of visitors from all over the world and got interviewed for TV many times. The system of this café goes like this: The entrance fee is \1,000 and it comes with one drink. You can choose a glass case with a snake, (which is called an attendant here) out of about 40 cases per person, and the snake will be with you on your table during your stay. You cannot touch one in your case, but if you are hoping to touch snakes, there is another chance for you. Once you decide you want to touch one, you’ll be led to a special seat and you can enjoy touching one of the snakes from different cases especially which are ready for welcoming you. You can have this touching snake session for 10 minutes, and it costs 540 yen per person. It’s surely unusual experience - touching snakes in Tokyo! Wanna try now? 6) Omoide Yokocho old street in Shinjuku The Japanese word “Yokocho” will be a key word to enjoy something local in Tokyo. Yokocho is literally side street, meaning back street or alley in Japanese, and you can see many these alleys in the centre in Tokyo. Most of them are the synonym of drinking places, in which small Japanese pubs and bars are lined, and usually they are old and have histories. Many yokochos date back in the postwar period, when Japan was very poor. There were many black markets which thrived at the time and many yokocho have the traces of the period, which makes the atmosphere unique. Omoide-Yokocho, Nonbei -Yokocho, Ebisu-Yokocho and Harmonica Yokocho are all in Tokyo. More than eighty pubs are crammed in the area, and the food provided there are mostly traditional Japanese foods such as Yakitori, soba, ramen and sushi. Visiting here serves you a dual purposes:to feel the good old atmosphere of Japanese post-war, Showa period, and of course to have delicious foods! omoido yokocho 7) Maid café/Izakaya (Japanese pub)  Akihabara is a mecca of electronic appliance stores, but also well known for geek culture such as anime, cosplay and Japanese idol(especially girls). The maid culture is one of them, which represents Akihabara, and there are many maid cafés and pubs where you can see maids who are serving foods and drinks. Some of the places have a performance of dancing and singing by the maids, and you can even take a photo with them. (Additional fee is needed) The foods have mostly “kawaii” decorations on the plate or food itself. It will surely be an unforgettable unique experience in Tokyo! maid cafe tokyo 8) Boat tour on the Sumida river from Asakusa to Odaiba. You might’ve not thought about seeing a part of Tokyo from a river, but it’s actually one of the fun attractions, in that you can see Tokyo from different angles. There is a big river called Sumida River, which has been very important for transport for more than 400 years. There are some boat companies and destinations. The one I recommend is to take a boat called “Himiko or Hotaluna” which takes you to Odaiba from Asakusa (Vice versa is possible). Himiko/Hotaluna are neo-futuristic shaped boats which were designed by Leiji Matsumoto. He is a great master of Japanese anime field, one of his great works is Galaxy Express 999. From this futuristic boat, you’ll see the both sides of Tokyo - something new and something old at a time, which is always appealing characteristic of Tokyo. sumida river boat ride 9) Shiodome and Ghibli clock Shiodome is now a business district which bears main offices of leading companies, such as TV company, telecommunication company, and airline company, but the area was originally wet land and during the Edo period (1603-1867),and it was landfilled as a part of the infrastructure development. After the development this area was the residence of the feudal lords. About 150 years ago, the first railway started running from this area to Yokohama. As well as being a business district, Shiodome is becoming an entertainment area, which entices tourists from home and abroad. One of the features in this area is Ghibli automaton clock, which was designed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s quite huge with the height of 12 meters and the width of 18 meters. The clock strikes four times a day (five times during the weekend) and draw many fans of Ghibli. It’s worth visiting and watching the motion of the clock, which draws you into a fantasy world. 10) Tokyo Tower night view Although Japan has a notable new tower called Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower is still a landmark of Tokyo and loved by tourists and Japanese people as well. Tokyo Tower is a radio transmitter which started operating in 1958, and it has witnessed the dramatic changes of Tokyo since then. Also for Japanese people, it’s a symbol of post war reconstruction. The role for radio transmitter has mostly been transferred to Tokyo Sky Tree now, but visiting Tokyo Tower is still one of the popular tourists sightseeing spot in Tokyo. There are two panoramic observatories on the height of 150m and 250m above the sea level, where you can command the view of Tokyo. Especially night view from here is something you shouldn’t miss. Of course the illumination of Tokyo Tower itself is stunning. Basically it’s orange and white, but it varies depending on promotions or events happening in the world. tokyo japan Now you know the Top 10 Things to do in Tokyo, so book your flight and enjoy this amazing City. Get Francesca from Hidden Italy Tours to help you to organize your Japanese trip.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Small apartments are still attracting big bucks from buyers

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BUYERS are still eager to get their hands on tiny apartments across Sydney and the Lower North Shore is no exception.

Two properties — one, a studio in Cremorne and the other, a one-bedroom apartment in Crows Nest — have been listed with Richardson and Wrench Mosman. Agents Geoff Grist and Tanya Barrett have seen strong interest in both so far. However Mr Grist said the apartments were appealing to different buyer types. “The studio is appealing to people with super funds who don’t want to borrow money. They have the cash in their fund,” Mr Grist said. “They can get a good rental return, higher than on a one-bedroom over all.”
Inside 603/287 Military Rd, Cremorne.

Inside 603/287 Military Rd, Cremorne.Source:Supplied

CoreLogic's November NSW housing market update

  Mr Grist said there had also been interest from mum and dads looking to purchase the property for their children to live in. “The beauty of that studio in Cremorne is its location. There is a bus out the front that goes straight into town, there’s a concierge and security and it’s an easy living situation with the IGA in the same building.” He said the unit would have a rental price of about $360 per week. The studio at 603/287 Military Rd has a guide of $350,000 — $370,000.
The one-bedroom unit at 54/236 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest on the other hand has seen interest from owner-occupiers. It has a guide of $775,000 — $825,000. “It’s really unusual. It has a fantastic view across the Anzac Bridge and inner west and for that reason its attracting people who are really looking to live there,” Mr Grist said.
54/236 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest is a one-bedroom unit with a guide of $775,000 — $825,000

54/236 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest is a one-bedroom unit with a guide of $775,000 — $825,000Source:Supplied

The bedroom at 54/236 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest.

The bedroom at 54/236 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest.Source:Supplied

While he has noticed less people showing up to open homes of late, he said it meant only serious buyers were now house hunting. “I haven’t seen a big change in price. It’s more a case of people being realistic and that they just want to get on with it,” he said.

Bollywood & TV Celebs Screening Of SAB TV’s New Show ‘Partners’ Part 4

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From making soaps to learning dinning etiquette kids make most of their vacation

featured imageThane: After Diwali and Summer vacations when school reopens, most students get an assignment to write an essay on how did you send your vacation? Well, by engaging themselves in various activities and workshops, students have started making the most of their vacation time by learning something creative. From attending soap-making classes to warli paintings to learning the Mandala art form, some of the more intrepid are also taking tutions on dining and table etiquette and grooming sessions, to keep themselves occupied. City-based Pallavi Samant-Desai, who conducts various programs and workshops for children said, "Our soap-making classes are widely popular with the kids. Students who are eight and above are taught in batches of 10 so that even the teachers can give them full attention. All the supplies are provided and the art is taught step by step. From which essential oils to add, colors, shape, texture to give to the soap base, all these components make learning fun for the youngsters." Personality development and grooming classes for the young adults which include dinning etiquette and table manners were also one of the preferred options.

Kezia Dugdale evicted from I'm a Celeb jungle

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Kezia Dugdale said she went on I'm A Celebrity to challenge the myth that all politicians are "old, white, male, pale and stale".

The former Scottish Labour leader, known as Kez on the ITV show, was the second person to be evicted from the Australian jungle. She told presenters Ant and Dec she had hoped to show that not all politicians were like her fellow camper Stanley Johnson, who is Boris Johnson's father. The MSP lasted 11 days in the camp. Ms Dugdale faced a backlash after it emerged she was joining the reality show without permission from the Labour Party. The Edinburgh and Lothians MSP had asked for three weeks off from Holyrood business but did not reveal her plans to go on the show. New leader Richard Leonard initially had said he was "not persuaded" that his predecessor should be punished, despite his own "personal disappointment" and strong criticism from others in the party.

'I'm hungry'

Scottish Labour later announced that Ms Dugdale she would not be suspended from the party. However, she will be interviewed on her return to parliament and will "have the opportunity to present her account of events." Ms Dugdale was expected to be paid tens of thousands of pounds, part of which she said she would be donating to charity, along with her MSP's salary for the time she is away. In her exit interview she told Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly she had wanted to go on the show to talk about the things she cared about. She added: "And to take on the myth that every politician looks like Stanley - old, white, male, pale and stale. I wanted to show that there is a variety of people out there." The 36-year-old, who clapped and exclaimed "yes" when she was told her jungle stay was over, said she was feeling "right as rain" and did not mind being eliminated. She said she would have been happy to stay or go but said: "I'm hungry, I want a bacon roll, I want a nice cup of coffee." She added that she would like to see one of the women win the show.

10 Shy Celebs Who Aren’t As Innocent As They Seem

10 Innocent looking celebrities who aren't as sweet as they seem. Subscribe: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Videos you might like: 10 Disney Inspired Makeup Products You Can Buy RIGHT NOW 10 Disney Movie Songs Performed By Famous Pop Stars Description: People deal with fame differently, and most of the time we have a pretty good sense of how celebrities are in real life. But, are there celebrities who turn into completely different people when the cameras aren’t rolling? From a singer who wishes her fans would die, to an actor with a drinking problem, these are 10 shy celebs who aren’t as innocent as they seem! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our Social Media: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For more videos and articles visit:

IFFI 2017 Ceremony Goa | Red Carpet | Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Amitabh Bachchan

IFFI 2017 Ceremony Goa | Red Carpet | Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Amitabh Bachchan - Stay Tuned For More Bollywood News ☞ Check All Bollywood Latest Update on our Channel ☞ Subscribe to our Channel ☞ Like us on Facebook ☞ Follow us on Twitter ☞ Circle us on G+ ☞ Follow us on Instagram

Arg Pied For 2nd Time & Lies To His Back-Up Date?! | Celebs Go Dating

Arg gets pied for a 2nd time, lies to his back-up date and gets really nervous about the food! Watch the series on All 4:

Washington women may have found a blueprint for the season in blowout vs. Portland

featured imageConsistency has been virtually nonexistent for the Washington women’s basketball team, which has alternated wins and losses all season. First-year coach Jody Wynn has changed the starting lineup in six of seven games, including Sunday’s 93-67 nonconference victory over Portland.
The 26-point blowout — the most lopsided win of the season for the Huskies (4-3) who won consecutive games for the first time this season — proved to be a blueprint of the schemes Wynn is trying to implement.
Washington’s trapping defense collected nine steals and forced 26 turnovers, which led to 29 points.
The Huskies had more rebounds (43-29), assists (25-13), points in the paint (46-34) and points off the bench (50-27) than the Pilots. A school-record seven UW players scored in double figures while everyone who played logged a minimum of 11 minutes and finished with at least two points in a season-high scoring display for the Huskies. “We tell them that on any given night it could be somebody else,” Wynn said. “Somebody could be our leading scorer. We don’t really talk about who’s scoring and who’s not.
“But to have seven players in double figures and to share the ball as well as we did tonight and play unselfishly. We could have had kids take shots, but they made that extra pass wide open to another teammate and that’s beautiful basketball.” The Huskies have made considerable progress since a season-opening 79-59 defeat against Idaho State. Their only other losses have been against No. 2 Texas and No. 9 Ohio State. Wynn, who sometimes substitutes five players at a time, relies on a balanced offensive attack in which five players have led Washington in scoring this season. Amber Melgoza (14 points) and Mai-Loni Henson (14 points and 10 rebounds) led the way Sunday in front of 1,410 at Alaska Airlines. But the sum was far greater than the parts for UW, which received 12 points from Kierra Collier, Alexis Griggsby and Missy Peterson. Jenna Moser added 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds while Khayla Rooks finished with 10 points.
“It’s just being ready at all times,” Henson said. “It could change every night. Some person could be feeling the hot hand at any given point. We’re going to be there for each other and rely on each other.” Washington dashed out to a 22-16 lead after the first period and were ahead 39-29 at halftime.
The Huskies put the game away in the third period when they outscored the Pilots 32-19. Washington sank 6 of 9 three-pointers in the period, including two each from Griggsby and Rooks. “It was close at halftime, but when we came out we knew that we needed to work a little harder and be a little better,” Melgoza said. “We needed to do the extra things and we did. We were more poised.”
Washington led 39-33 with 9:03 left in the third and went up by 25 points (68-43) before taking a 71-48 lead into the fourth. Portland (3-4), which received 18 points from guard Darian Slaga, never got closer than 21 points the rest of the way. Washington converted 12 of 33 three-pointers and shot 49.4 percent from the floor. The Huskies travel to Boise State on Thursday, and they have four games remaining before their Dec. 29 Pac-12 opener at defending regular-season champion Oregon State. “I don’t expect us to blow through the next few games,” Wynn said. “Every game is a different story. Every game presents its different and unique challenges, but I’m really happy with the unselfish style of basketball that we’re playing.

3D Printing In Luxury Fashion: Revolution Or Evolution?

featured image3D printing has been described as nothing short of a new industrial revolution that holds potential for major innovation in terms of business models and consumption patterns. This technological development is part of the 4thindustrial revolution that is characterized by a range of new technologies fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all industries including luxury fashion. 3D printing has been specifically helped by advances in material science, digital design and on-demand production capabilities. There are three main technologies behind 3D printing. The most common is FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling), where a nozzle deposits layers of melted filaments one after the other at a temperature of around 200 degrees Celsius. The science aside, is 3D printing a game changer that is disrupting luxury fashion the way e-commerce has disrupted retail businesses? What are the challenges it poses to the luxury business? What are its limitations? And how can the luxury business capitalize on its potential? Challenges to the luxury business Probably the biggest challenge that 3D printing poses to the luxury business is intellectual property (IP) infringement and counterfeiting. Luxury fashion greatly relies on IP to legally protect the creative ideas, designs and products of a designer or brand in the form of copyrights, trademarks or patents. Without IP protection, creativity and innovation would suffer, and there would be negligible brand value and customer loyalty.
With global imports of counterfeit goods already estimated to be worth $500 billion a year, it is likely 3D printing will only add to that figure. The growing threat of counterfeit 3D printing stems from the increasing availability of cheap 3D printers, printing materials and design specifications for items ranging from bags, apparel and jewellery. Countermeasures such as microchips in genuine items are possible solutions, but counterfeiting will remain a problem as long as there is market demand. 3D printing also challenges existing luxury retail models. With consumers able to play a more active role in the design and creation of their products, industry functions such as high-quality production chains, omni-channel retailing and that exclusive store experience have been called into question. Luxury brands risk losing significant market presence if these aspects of their business are curtailed.
Limitations of 3D printing 3D printing has not had a uniform impact on the luxury business. The technology is better suited to hard materials over soft ones, and geometrical over organic shapes. At present, 3D printing appears better suited for accessories such as jewellery, eyewear and watches. Even in the case of a high-end 3D printing jewellery studio like VOJD Studios in Berlin which works with the likes of Alexander McQueen and LOEWE, the finishing of 3D printed products entails precise manual work and traditional craftsmanship. As for 3D printing at home, as novel and convenient as it might be, there are limits when it comes to luxury products. In today’s experience economy, 3D printing cannot replicate the experience of buying a luxury product in a store along with the opportunity to be part of a brand’s philosophy or appreciate its fine craftsmanship. The evolution of materials for fabrics in 3D printing has been slow and there remains a trade-off between stiffness, robustness and comfort. Because the technology involves fusing layers of melted plastic one on top of another, a 3D printed fabric does not behave the way a woven textile adapts its shape to the body. At present, 3D printing for fabrics is unlikely to disrupt the luxury apparel segment, which is projected to grow from US$1.8 billion to $60.7 billion between 2015 and 2024.
Evolving fashion tapestry That does not mean 3D printing should be written off. One brand that has managed to buck the trend is Danit Peleg, an Israeli company that has gained a following for its wearable designs. In Asia, Malaysian designer Melina Looi’sinvolvement in Asia’s first 3D printed fashion show could be the start of a new wave of fashion that embraces the technology in this region. Rather than being blinded by the hype or dismissing it, luxury players should embrace 3D printing as part of an evolving fashion tapestry that allows them to innovate with new materials and designs, and create new concepts and processes to captivate sophisticated tastes. Luxury brands can harness 3D printing’s ability to customise products to appeal to the affluent customer who seeks to express her individuality. Industry players also envision a trend of hybridization where 3D printing technology is coupled with traditional methods to produce hybrid creations that reflect the best of both worlds. In the age of disruption, the gradual rather than sudden induction of 3D printing into the fashion tapestry affords luxury brands the opportunity to shape it in their own image.

Top stories: Two new letters for the genetic code, stat checking psychology, and the formerly abominable snowman

Scientists just added two functional letters to the genetic code All life forms on Earth use the same genetic alphabet of the bases A, T, C, and G—nitrogen-containing compounds that constitute the building blocks of DNA and spell out the instructions for making proteins. Now, scientists have developed the first bacterium to use extra letters, or unnatural bases, to build proteins. The traditional four DNA bases code for 20 amino acids, but the addition of new letters X and Y could produce up to 152 amino acids, which might become building blocks for new drugs and novel materials, the scientists say. China’s dark matter space probe detects tantalizing signal
A long-standing challenge in physics has been finding evidence for dark matter, the stuff presumed to make up a substantial chunk of the mass of the universe. Its existence seems to be responsible for the structure of the universe and the formation and evolution of galaxies. But physicists have yet to observe this mysterious material. Results reported Wednesday by a China-led space science mission provide a tantalizing hint—but not firm evidence—for dark matter. Controversial software is proving surprisingly accurate at spotting errors in psychology papers When Dutch researchers developed an open-source algorithm named statcheck to flag statistical errors in psychology papers, it received mixed reactions from the research community—especially after the free tool found that tens of thousands of published papers contained statistical inconsistencies. Some scientists have called these studies a “form of harassment,” and others have questioned the accuracy of the tool itself. Now, a new study by statcheck’s developers—posted to a preprint server this week—suggests their algorithm gets it right in more than 95% of cases. Expect that result to be checked. Ancient flying reptiles cared for their young, fossil trove suggests A spectacular fossil find is providing tantalizing new clues about the habits of pterosaurs, ancient flying reptiles that lived at the same times as dinosaurs. The cache of more than 200 fossil eggs found with bones of juvenile and adult animals in northwestern China suggests to some researchers that pterosaur parents may have cared for their newly hatched young. In a paper published Thursday in Science, researchers report that a 3-meter-square chunk of rock they excavated contains 16 eggs with the fossilized bones of developing embryos. So much for the abominable snowman. Study finds ‘yeti’ DNA belongs to bears Hikers in Tibet and the Himalayas need not fear the monstrous yeti—but they’d darn well better carry bear spray. Previous genetic analyses of a couple of “yeti” hair samples collected in India and Bhutan suggested that a stretch of their mitochondrial DNA resembled that of polar bears. That finding hinted that a previously unknown type of bear, possibly a hybrid between polar bears and brown bears, could be roaming the Himalayas. Now, DNA analyses of nine samples purported to be from the “abominable snowman” reveal that eight actually came from various species of bears native to the area.

10 Pairs of Celebrity Frenemies

Taylor Swift vs Katy Perry Diss Track! ►► More Celebrity News ►► Drama King: Nicki Minaj's Outrageous Video ►► Celebs who’ve Dissed Ariana Grande ►► And that, my friends, is one of the first mainstream documented uses of the word frenemy. Ya know. Friend + Enemy = Frenemy! And ever since Carrie Bradshaw uttered the clever amalgam of language, the word has not only become part of our cultural lexicon, but we’ve seen this kind of relationship pop up allll over the place – especially when it comes to celebrities. And even though we like to imagine celeb BFFs being inseparable and perfect, let’s not forget – they’re human too, so they’re bound to run into some friendships that will turn sour. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera – we’ve been dealing with “frenemies” for quite some time. 1. Taylor Swift and Katy Perry 2. Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez 3. Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift 4. Victoria Justice and Ariana Grande 5. Ed Sheeran and Niall Horan 6. Ariana Grande and Jennette McCurdy 7. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus 8. Selena Gomes and the Jenners 9. Michael Clifford and Luke Hemmings 10. Lea Michelle and Naya Rivera For More Clevver Visit: Website: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Keep up with us on Instagram: Add us to your circles on Google+: Tweet Me:

The Empty Storefronts in New York City

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Wishing for the halcyon days of yore when mom-and-pop shops dotted New York City doesn’t explain or address today’s retail realities.

Among the varied reasons to consider: Retail space inventory is rising, demand is falling and online purchases are undermining the economic viability of brick-and-mortar stores across America.

Local government has increased the burdens on retail stores: rising real property taxes, the New York commercial rent tax, living-wage requirements, paid sick leave and byzantine land use regulations.

It would be ironic, and legally dubious, to add to these costs by taxing vacant storefronts. The overwhelming majority of landlords would love a rent-paying tenant to occupy their retail space instead of leaving it vacant. It is the economically rational thing to do.

Market forces are adjusting and prices are falling. In fact, the Real Estate Board of New York’s latest retail report shows rents softening by 25 percent along the same Bleecker Street corridor cited by The Times.

Public and private sectors should face facts and work collaboratively to bolster the retail market.

Blaming landlords for high rents in New York City is a political judgment, not an economic one. At least half the rent being paid by anyone (either residential or commercial) is passed through directly by the landlord to the city for real estate taxes, water and sewer charges and miscellaneous fees.

In many instances, the rest of the rent is applied by the landlord to utility costs, fuel costs, insurance costs, and miscellaneous repairs and maintenance. It is a fortunate landlord who gets to retain more than 10 percent of the actual rent payment.

Before blaming “greedy” landlords “mightily for this blight,” remember that this is a complex issue that has become political fodder in a city where tenants have an overwhelming political majority.

A plague of empty storefronts disfigures villages, towns and cities from sea to shining sea. Predatory online pricing, not “online shopping,” is the primary source of this problem, as retail stores cannot afford to sell goods at cost or below.

Federal and state antitrust enforcement against predatory sellers would help preserve a healthy mix of brick-and-mortar retail stores.

The second serious problem, as you rightly point out, is the greed of landlords who force successful retailers out of sustainable spaces in search of richer tenants, who rarely turn up.

Reversing this trend will require a system of tax penalties, credits or rent regulation in coordination with state, county and city governments.


The writer is a book publishers’ representative who sells to brick-and-mortar bookstores.

To the Editor:

Your editorial suggests several reasons for empty storefronts in New York City: rising rents, the growth of online shopping and the city’s onerous tax burden.

But you don’t mention another obvious culprit: the set of labor laws and other mandates that the city has imposed. A partial list includes a city-supported minimum-wage mandate, a paid-sick-leave mandate, a recently passed employee scheduling mandate, labeling requirements and many more.

Each time the city imposes these laws, business owners warn that these laws can harm businesses — mostly by raising costs above what shoppers can afford. Rarely does one law cause a business to go under. But the cumulative effect is a major reason there are so many empty storefronts.

As the owner of a closed restaurant put it, “We do the numbers, and they don’t work anymore.”

It is important to understand the devastating impact of these laws on otherwise viable businesses. Rolling them back is one way to enable entrepreneurs with very little in the bank to profitably run the businesses that once filled now-empty storefronts.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Top 10 Hottest Pics Of Celebs In Yoga Pants

Top 10 Hottest Pics Of Celebs In Yoga Pants 10 Pics Of Celebs In Yoga Pants 1. Kaley Cuoco 2. Kelly Brook 3. Ronda Rousey & Carmen Electra 4. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley 5. Megan Fox 6. Gigi Hadid 7. Kendall Jenner 8. Candice Swanepoel 9. Sofia Vergara 10. Jennifer Lopez

Friday, 24 November 2017

Pokémon Go's Tyrogue and how to evolve into Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan

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Like Magby, Pichu, Smoochum and other Babies, it evolves into other established Pokémon - but instead of one linear evolution, there are a total of three available, one of which is a new Gen 2 type, Hitmontop. While on the surface it sounds like the Eevee evolutions, how you get from Tyrogue to Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee and Hitmontop works a little differently and requires a dose of luck. First, you need to get a Tyrogue by hatching a 5km Egg. If you're playing just after the update has gone live, remember that Gen 2 Pokémon will only appear in Eggs collected after the update has gone live, so keep walking and hatching until one emerges.

How to evolve Tyrogue into Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan

Once you have a Tyrogue, how it evolves from into the three fighting types depends on its stats:
  • If Attack is higher than other stats, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmonlee
  • If Defence is higher than other stats, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmonchan
  • If Stamina / HP is higher than other stats, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmontop
If the stats are the same - for example, all are a maximum of 15 - then the evolution will be random. If two are the same, then it'll choose between two of those possible evolutions at random. So if Attack and Defence match, it'll evolve into either Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan. This is based on preliminary findings from the community of researchers over at The Silph Road sub-Reddit, who polled users on their stats and eventual evolutions.

How to find out Tyrogue's stats

How you find its hidden stats - or IVs - can be done in one of two ways. One is by using the in-game Appraisal tool, which you can access by viewing the Pokémon and selecting the menu icon in the bottom right corner. Your team leader will then tell you about its potential in battle, and it's most impressive stat out of its Attack, Defence and Stamina. If you want a more precise reading, then you can find out its specific stats by finding out about its CP values and using an IV calculator. Our CP meaning and values article explains how these stats work, as well as several suggestions for IV calculators.

What else you need to know about Tyrogue, Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan

  • Unfortunately, the stats your Tyrogue will have is seemingly based on luck. While Pokemon hatching from Eggs have a higher chance of getting strong stats / IVs than those found in the wild, where its strengths lie - in Attack, Defence or Stamina - is random. It's simply a case of having to keep collecting Tyrogues until you get the evolution you need.
  • If you're struggling with this method, remember you can find all three evolutions Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan in the wild, according to Reddit. They're particularly rare, however, so you're lucky enough to hatch a Tyrogue with the stats you need, then do that.
  • As of the Gen 2 Johto update, Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan Candy is now named Tyrogue Candy, after its first evolution, in line with other Candy naming conventions.
  • You need 25 Candy to evolve Tyrogue.
  • If you set any of these as your Buddy Pokémon, Candy will drop every 5km.
  • If think these fighting specialists make for great gym Pokemon, you'd be wrong - at the time of writing, based on raw stats in our best Pokémon list, Hitmonlee's attack is the 25th highest in the game, while Hitmontop and Hitmonchan have the 22nd and 24th highest defence.
  • If you are taking these Fighting Types to the Gym, remember they are weak to Flying, Psychic and Fairy Pokémon.
  • The way these three Pokemon evolve from Tyrogue is not unlike the main games; for Hitmonlee, Attack must be higher than Defence, for Hitmonchan, Defence must be higher than Attack, and for Hitmontop, both stats must be the same.

6 Content Strategies to Boost Your Digital PR & Link Building Success

featured imageWhen it comes to link building, most SEO professionals agree: content is king. Cliched as the phrase is, the idea that we can build links or gain coverage without having something valuable to say is, frankly, preposterous. But while many conferences and articles over the past couple of years have instilled the values of great content, few have talked practically about what that looks like – or how we can use it to supercharge our content promotion efforts, too. Here are six kick-ass content strategies you can incorporate into your strategy for optimal off-page success. Content Strategies for Digital PR Success | SEJ

1. Use What You’ve Got

Whether you’re working agency side or in-house, knowing what assets you have at your disposal can reveal a goldmine of digital PR and link building opportunities, just waiting to be exploited. It’s well worth taking the time to dig into what already exists, and to speak to the people around the business who are willing to be figureheads and to comment on issues or topics that can help you gain features.

Use Hobbies & Unique Interests

Got a marketing manager who loves jumping out of airplanes? You need to know about it! This knowledge can lead to some fantastic comment (and link) opportunities for minimal effort. Take this example here: Content Strategy - Use Interesting Hobbies | SEJ

Become the Expert

If you/your client can identify an area in which they want to be thought leaders, all the better. Create a profile as an “expert” and you’ll be able to respond to journalist requests and put yourself/your client forward when opportunities arise. In this example, the client was keen to be known as a leader in manufacturing and by keeping a calendar which showed when key manufacturing data and events would take place, it was possible to get them featured by the BBC and a range of other linking publications: Content Strategy - Be the Expert | SEJ

Mine Existing Data Sources

Data is still an incredibly powerful source of new content and PR hooks. You (or your client) may hold more data than you realize. If you have internal data sources – anything from customer numbers to data that forms part of your product offering – you can use it to craft a story or content campaign that is both newsworthy and compelling. In this example, the company’s product is data, so using that data overlaid with a topic news story (football in the UK) led to a creative content piece that attracted traffic, links and news features: Content Strategy - Mine Existing Data | SEJ

2. Borrow from Others

As creatives, we should be able to make content that is engaging, compelling and that can attract links, no matter what industry or vertical we’re working in. One way to achieve this is to borrow from others. Now, before we get into a duplicate content discussion, let’s be clear: this is about using publicly available data and other marketing collateral, but giving it a new spin.

Office for National Statistics

Check out the Office for National Statistics for UK based data that’s freely available and accessible to anyone. The reality is that the majority of this data goes untapped, leaving a huge opportunity for you to capitalize on the information therein and to use it in your own campaigns. When a small business website wanted to build links but lacked information to use internally, they found a table of information within a 136-page government report that would be of great interest to their audience. This data, which showed where investments into small businesses had been made around the country, was visualized in a simple graphic and achieved visits and links from their target publications: Content Strategy - Borrow From Others | SEJ


Wikipedia can also be a goldmine of new content and PR hooks. That, too, is publicly available – and free! In this example, data on Dragons’ Den investments taken from Wikipedia was visualized in an infographic and news stories based on that data were used to gain a wide range of new links and placements around industry press and business publications: Content Strategy - Use Wikipedia Data | SEJ

Don’t Neglect Offline Marketing

In today’s digital world, it can be easy for us to forget that marketing exists beyond the realms of our laptops and internet devices. In fact, it’s that offline marketing that can inspire online campaigns – helping you to gain more links and coverage, and supporting the success of the campaign overall. By creating a cohesive online/offline marketing plan, you may find opportunities to integrate the two. In the example below, an offline dinosaur exhibit inspired an online dinosaur drawing competition that gained links, features, and some cute pictures from kids of all ages! Content Strategy - Use Offline Marketing | SEJ

3. Hack the Press

This tactic is all about understanding what the press are looking for, and giving it to them! PR hacking is all about understanding what content travels well and what journalists are likely to appreciate. There are certain content formats that are always well received, and we can make use of those in our strategies for coverage opportunities.

Be Ready to Comment on Topical (and Non-topical) Stories

Journalists love to give a human angle, and comments are a great way for them to do this. If you know that something is coming up that will be relevant to your industry, preparing a comment in advance will mean you can jump straight on it as soon as the story breaks. You can make this process even easier by planning a PR calendar and noting down anything that could be a hook, including new data releases, political updates or even national and international awareness days.

What’s Been Covered Once Will Be Covered Again

It’s important to recognize the stories or content topics that work – and build on them. It’s far too common that an idea be struck down simply because someone else has done it already. Try to think “have they done it as well as they could have done?” and, more importantly, “could I do it better?” If a story has performed well in terms of reach and engagement, it’s more likely the journalist will use something similar again. You can boost this by using tools like BuzzSumo to show the journalist how well the story traveled last time, and therefore to incentivize them to use your take on it.

Journalists Love Data

If we’re talking about getting PR coverage, there are few better tools at your disposal than data. We’ve already touched on how valuable an asset data can be, but applying it to a news story and presenting it to the journalist to use in a visually appealing way can reap huge rewards. Be aware of trending topics and be ready to provide data you have if it’s relevant and of genuine value. This also means being prepared where possible. If you know a story will be breaking, look for opportunities to gather the data in advance so you’re ready to pounce.

4. Make News From Nothing

The idea of “making news from nothing” is all about being able to spot things that have the potential to be topical or sharable, and hooking onto it in a new and creative way.

A New Angle

Tapping into an existing news story can be an easy win when it comes to PR coverage and links. By spotting what’s being talked about in your niche or industry, you can create something new by simply identifying a unique angle. When we saw that Nottingham’s house prices were lower than many others in the UK, we quickly pulled together comments from Nottingham business owners to talk about the effect house prices have on attracting new talent to the area. It was an angle that hadn’t been covered before, and it meant new links and features for our clients, by creating news from nothing. Content Strategy - Hack the Press | SEJ This example was inspired by something that was already happening. But what if there’s nothing currently happening that you can use? Or you want to tell a different story?

Brand New Content

This is where you can really affect the news, by creating stories that align with what you want to tell. For example, when we worked on a survey based campaign for our client, every single question we asked as part of our survey had a clear PR story in mind (that would be a story no matter which way people answered) and the result was 48 separate press releases and more than 100 mentions and links from around the web. When attempting to create news from nothing, consider the story you want to tell and how best to get to that point. Surveys are still a great source of news from nothing. We recommend tools including YouGov, Google Surveys, and even forums like Reddit as a source for inspiration and content.

5. Find Content in Forums

Forums, as noted already, are a great source of inspiration. People love to talk, and when you can tap into those conversations, you have the potential to create highly sharable, great content.

Ask Reddit

Ask Reddit is one place we love to look for new content ideas. The questions people ask are sometimes hilarious, sometimes insightful, sometimes newsworthy in their own right. You might create content based on what people are already asking or, if need be, create your own questions and gather feedback that way. Subreddits are also valuable when seeking topic-specific feedback.

Social Listening

Social listening is also worth investing some time in, especially if social reach is one of your KPIs. We recently started using BuzzSumo to find content that’s already traveling well. There are free versions that will give you access to this information. We also like to use Hootsuite, where mining for PR opportunities can be done in various ways. (We’ve also heard good things about Crimson Hexagon, though we’ve yet to try it ourselves.) What you’re looking for on social media is topics that are interesting to people, and that are being shared. If you can identify the influencers in that niche, you may choose to reach out to those people for further insight, or try to build relationships with them as a means of spreading your content once it’s live.

6. Multiply Your Content

The final strategy is more of a way of thinking about your content. It’s about getting as much “bang for your buck” as possible. When we invest in creating content, we want to get as much interaction and engagement as possible. One way is to create one piece, that is itself highly sharable and can gain links through a solid outreach strategy. Another way is to consider how we can “multiply” that content. That could be through finding different angles. When we conducted a survey with our client, each respondent was asked to give their business size, location, and industry, which means every story could be spun and segmented by those metrics. Multiplication could also come through the addition of new content over time. For example, when our client conducted research to prove the effects of hard water on skin conditions, we were able to gain widespread coverage of the story itself. When it came to multiplication, we considered all the elements of the study and now have a plan in place to create supplementary content that will enable us to outreach again with new angles on the story. There are various campaigns which have created two clear “bites at the cherry” through their design. One such piece, created for Halfords by Branded3, asked users to complete a set of questions pertaining to their driving abilities. This was the only thing they promoted in stage one, where the survey in itself was enough to gain coverage and engagement. With the survey completed, they then had the data generated to use to create more stories and coverage in stage two of their promotion. Content Strategy - Interactive Content Marketing | SEJ

The Secret to Great Content

So, what’s the secret to great content? We’ll never know for sure. It may sound fluffy, but great content is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why a really solid understanding of your target (the audience who consumes the content and the publications that feature it) is so essential to your campaign’s success. By considering these six content strategies, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that attracts, engages, and converts.

5 Ways You Can Build Links Like a PR Pro

featured imageor years, I’ve been saying that public relations practitioners should make the best search engine optimization professionals. In fact, I even wrote about it 10 years ago. Little has changed since then. The premise is simple: Search engines like quality links. Public relations professionals work every day to get their clients mentioned in the press. In most cases, the press will provide links in these mentions. These links are far more valuable than any links you can get from other sources. Building links is the hardest part of search engine optimization (I’m sure some will argue after me on this point – well, prove me wrong). So if public relations professionals can do the hardest part of SEO, they should be the best SEOs. But with few exceptions, they aren’t. There are many reasons that PR folks don’t like SEO. They think it’s just for techies; they don’t want to be seen as an SEO; but mostly they don’t realize the value links can have for their clients or organizations. But many PR professionals are changing their attitude toward SEO and embracing search. Others, though, are happy to pitch away, worrying more about the ink than the link. But as a search engine marketer, you have an advantage. You can do what PR professionals do, even if they can’t do what you do. Here are five ways you can build links using the time-worn media relations techniques that have been practiced for years by PR pros.

1. Find Your Influencers & Create Relationships With Them

SEO professionals are typically tech-minded. SEOs typically work to create scalable solutions that automate everything. No exception in link building. From e-mail scraping tools to private blog networks, SEOs will jump on any link building tool which promises to create links en masse that they control. Well, at least until Google bans those techniques and the tools start getting websites into trouble. I can tell you from experience that successful link building is more about quality than quantity. I’d rather have one link from the Wall Street Journal than 1,000 links from Joe Schmoe’s blog. But a link from the Wall Street Journal is difficult to obtain. You don’t have to go that big. Finding the influencers in the niche you are working in isn’t hard. It just takes time and research. Once you find those influencers, engage them. Not by spamming them asking for a link. Really read what they are saying. Comment. Send influencers helpful articles that have nothing to do with your site. When the time is right, they’ll be more apt to link to what you want them to, even if it’s not quite a fit. It’s the law of reciprocity – if you do something for the influencer, they will feel that they need to help you out. PRO TIP: Whenever possible, meet with influencers in person. Buying a journalist or blogger a beer typically has a very high ROI. PRO TIP #2: Limit your reach. This sounds counter-intuitive, but if you target everyone, you target no one. Identifying the top 10 or 15 best influencers and cultivating relationships with those folks is, in most cases, far more effective than trying to interact with 100 influencers. Everyone has limited resources. Use yours wisely. SEO PRO TIP: When looking at influencers, look at their search presence. If a decent influencer has a bad search presence, offer them some tips for free. Depending on the influencers, it can be profitable to even offer to fix their site for free. I can say, however, that I’ve turned influencers into clients with this tactic. Again, law of reciprocity.

2. Look for Opportunities That Tie Into Current Events

Many SEO pros already do this, to an extent. But most write an article around something timely and then pitch it. For many of the top sites, that’s too late. Have your experts ready to go quickly. When a news story that affects your niche hits, have your list ready and offer expert commentary. Expert commentary almost always comes with a mention and a link. PRO TIP: Set up Google Alerts around key topics and people in your industry. That way you can know when a big story hits. PRO TIP #2: Practice getting the word out. Create “fire drills” with your team and client and act like a big news story just hit. This is a good way to get your team and client onboard with what you are doing so you don’t get blank stares or flat or refusal to participate when the real thing hits. This is especially important for SEOs who work with other PR professionals. Get the other PR pros involved in the process. That way they don’t feel like you are taking over their job – a common problem for SEOs who practice PR tactics for link building purposes. BONUS PRO TIP: Make sure you have your lists ready as much ahead of time as possible. SEO TIP: In most of these cases, it’s OK to ask if you get a link expert commentary. You don’t need to demand one. In most cases, you’ll get one, but influencers sometimes forget. Better to ask before their story goes out rather than trying to get the link from them later.

3. Use Press Releases for Big News

A few years back, SEOs almost ruined the press release. We found out that a tool that has been used for decades by PR pros also worked to create links on a ton of sites. And so we use them, abused them, and almost “losed” them. Today there is still some abuse of press releases, but most legitimate services have increased their prices so that sending out a press release is not practical for every little piece of news. But when you have something big to say? The links are still there. But they don’t come from the syndication. In fact, most of the links that are syndicated are now nofollowed or carry no value. Like you (see tip #2), influencers are monitoring for new stories. They will see your press release. If you don’t get any calls, that means you either used the wrong service, didn’t use the right keywords in the release, or your news wasn’t big enough. PRO TIP: The “emabargoed” release, or a release that goes out to a few influencers before it is syndicated, is a great way to get an influencer’s attention. If you have one that you really want a link from, send them the press release beforehand and ask them not to put anything out about it until it goes live – but make sure to tell them when it goes live. In some cases, you can even let them break the story, which influencers love to do. PRO TIP #2: If you don’t embargo (or more likely don’t embargo to everyone), you can send links to your release in the sites that pick up the release through your wire service of choice. If you send a link from the Houston Chronicle or even the influencer’s local paper that has your news in it, you’ll get their attention. SEO TIP: If you work with a PR firm, ask to see their releases before they put them on the wire. That way you can insure that the keywords you want in there are actually in there. PR folks love language, and sometimes use different words than what is searched. Showing them the light in regards to specific keywords is a win for everyone.

4. Look at HARO

Help a Reporter Out was founded by Peter Shankman initially as a Facebook group to help reporters find sources for stories. Shankman knew that most reporters are looking for sources, and PR pros are looking to provide sources. The Facebook group was such a hit he turned it into an e-mail list. Then Cision bought the whole thing for several million dollars. Today there are still tons of journalists and other influencers asking for sources for stories. There is a veritable linking gold mine in every issue of HARO. And there are three issues per day. PRO TIP: It takes some time to really read through HARO every day. If you can, assign someone on your team to be responsible for looking through each issue to see if there is anything relevant for your client or your company. PRO TIP #2: Follow HARO on Twitter at @helpareporter to see urgent requests from journalists. SEO TIP: There are frequent questions from reporters around search related subjects. Don’t forget to check it for yourself.

5. Research Your Niche

Most PR pros are news junkies. Many came into the profession from a journalism background. Good PR pros always know what is going in their niche – from the latest rumors down to the competitor offerings. Most SEOs I know are news junkies when it comes to SEO, but not when it comes to their clients. SEOs miss out on so many link building opportunities when they don’t know the industry they are working in. For our clients, we try to become experts in their field. We may never know the business as well as the client does, but we can certainly become proficient enough to identify linking opportunities we would never find if we didn’t know the industry. PRO TIP: If there are publicly traded companies in your niche, read their earnings reports. You can learn a lot from earnings reports, and your influencers may not be reading them, so letting them know what’s up is a way to further the relationship. PRO TIP #2: If your niche is wide, try to narrow it. The more you can narrow the niche, the easier it is to become an expert. And once you learn one aspect of your niche, it’s usually easier to expand to broader topics. SEO TIP: Keep tabs on what your competitors are doing in search, what’s working for them, and what isn’t working. Don’t forget to look at their backlinks. By doing this, you will become better at optimizing your own sites.