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All Posts By Sean Marsh

The Stone Roses Triumphant Return!

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Iconic Manchester band The Stone Roses are back, and they have just completed four unforgettable homecoming nights at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

The Manchester music scene speaks for itself over the years, having produced the likes of The Smiths, Oasis and Happy Mondays to name a few, but arguably the most influential and iconic band that has risen from the city of Manchester since their formation in 1983 is The Stone Roses.

Ian Brown, John Squire, Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield and Alan ‘Reni’ Wren make up the much loved four piece whose only two albums to date were released in 1989 and 1994 just before the band officially announced their split in 1996. In 2012 the band returned to play again, with dates including three sold out shows at Heaton Park in Manchester as well as headline slots at T in the Park and V Festival.

However, the Roses returned to the wilderness following the string of performances between 2012 and 2013, before bursting back into the public eye at the end of 2015 when the bands trademark lemon symbol was plastered around Manchester city centre, followed by the news on social media of another return. This time the band were set to play 2 nights at the Etihad Stadium, which was increased to 4 following high demand, as well as once again headlining T in the Park in 2016.

This time they weren’t just back to play more shows, as they went on to release their first new music in over 20 years in the form of the two singles ‘All for One’ and ‘Beautiful Thing’, both containing the iconic Roses sound of the past as if they never went away. The much anticipated third album is expected to arrive later this year and after hearing the first two singles it looks like it wont disappoint.

The Stone Roses played to their sell out stadium crowds on Wednesday 15th June as well as the following Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with famous faces including David Beckham, Liam Gallagher, Dynamo and many more joining the floods of fans that poured into the Etihad for a night they certainly won’t forget. The band were on top form and were supported by the likes of The Courteeners, Public Enemy, The Coral and Blossoms amongst others making the shows even more incredible.

As soon as the sound of the track ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ was heard following the bands entrance to the stage, it was to be expected that flares would be set off all over the stadium, and this certainly signalled the bands return to the limelight in 2016. The gigs came in for rave reviews across the course of the four days, and with sceptics questioning whether they could really perform at the same level and produce as good a standard of music over 20 years on, they were certainly silenced by The Stone Roses last week. Roll on the next album and hopefully another tour, because the Roses are most certainly back with a bang.

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Twitter Snaps Up Magic Pony

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Social media giants Twitter have set about enhancing their live and video services by purchasing London based AI start-up company Magic Pony Technology for an estimated $150 million (equivalent to £102 million).

Magic Pony Technology is a company that has developed novel machine learning techniques for visual processing, which was founded just two years ago and uses machine learning to build improved systems for visual processing. Creating algorithms that can understand pictures is a speciality of Magic Pony, which will be very beneficial for Twitter as it continues its move into live streaming and moves away from its traditional chronological timeline.

This highlights Twitters ability to change and adapt to grow in an industry that requires fresh innovative ideas to succeed, and joining forces with Magic Pony will now improve the visual experiences that are delivered across their apps, according to the company. This is the third time Twitter have bought into a machine learning start-up, following the acquisitions of Madbits in 2014 which was followed by Whetlab in 2015.

Jack Dorsey, who is the chief executive of Twitter, has said, “Magic Pony’s technology would be used to enhance live and video offerings and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter. The team included 11 PHDs with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high performance computing and computational neuroscience.”

The news will see Magic Pony’s chief executive Rob Bishop move to San Francisco as part of the deal, and he has said, “The start up will help improve the viewing experience on Twitter. Joining forces with Twitter gives us the opportunity to bring the benefits of that research to hundreds of millions of people around the world.”

This appears to be a major investment for Twitter, with Magic Pony’s speed and efficiency the key to what has been setting the technology company apart from its competitors over the last couple of years, with its targets focusing desktop, mobile and web as well as live and video being a key part of its systems.

So this looks like it could only be a very successful move by Twitter teaming up with Magic Pony, with proven success in the past with a similar move by Google in 2014 when they joined forces with London based company DeepMind, which went on to be a great move for the company. So it looks like the future is even brighter for Twitter.

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China Powering World’s Fastest Supercomputer

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For the first time in history, the world’s fastest supercomputer is powered by Chinese-designed semiconductors, so what does the arrival of the Sunway TaihuLight mean to the US technology dominance?

A supercomputer is a particularly powerful mainframe computer with a high level computational capacity compared to a general-purpose computer, performing at or near the current highest operational rate for computers. They are usually used for scientific engineering applications that must handle very large databases or do a large amount of computation.

In a major breakthrough for Chinese technological developments, the Sunway TaihuLight triples the speed of its predecessor to the number one spot Tianhe-2, performing at 93 quadrillion calculations per second making it roughly five times more powerful than the fastest US system which has now dropped to the third best worldwide.

The newly developed supercomputer was created by the National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC), who are the organisation responsible for the Sunway BlueLight system which is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in Jinan.

The most impressive aspect of the Sunway TaihuLight is that it is a completely innovative idea from the Chinese and as it is built from Chinese semiconductors it means it is not based on any existing architecture and was built purely by themselves with Chinese processors, unlike China’s previous fastest supercomputer which consisted of US-made Intel processors.

The supercomputer has been built using domestic chip technology, and is a major breakthrough for China in their attempt to move away from their dependence on imported technology and their reliance on US semiconductor technology, as well as the countrys advances in technological creations.

Other chipmakers are now working with Chinese organisations to build processors over there, with companies such as Qualcomm Inc. and ARM Holdings PLC both now becoming involved in Chinese chip production. The latter’s products are the centre piece of most modern day smart phones, which shows that the big players in the industry are taking notice of the Chinese and their developments.

So will this major breakthrough for China mean that the US will need to play catch up if they are to continue to dominate the industry? We shall soon see.

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Diversity Highlighted In Marc Jacobs Campaign

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American fashion stylist Marc Jacobs has released his latest eclectic campaign for Autumn 2016, and has received widespread praise for responding to the diversity problems in the fashion industry once again.

It is an industry that has been commonly criticised for lack of diversity within models, and there has been calls for some time for this to be taken into account, whether it be racial, sexuality, age or gender diversity. Marc Jacobs now appears to be responding to this, in what could be a huge turning point in the fashion industry.

US hip hop artist Missy Elliot is leading the new campaign, and is somebody Marc Jacobs has admired for a long time as he describes himself as being ‘entranced by the genius rhythms and brilliant rhymes of Missy Elliot’. She is joined by 66 year old American actress Sissy Spacek, best know for he role in Carrie, who is again somebody Marc Jacobs has praised and described as ‘expanding, evolving and inspiring.’

Models John Tuite and Carlos Santolalla have also been signed up for the campaign, following the pair’s call for the fashion industry to change the way it treats homosexual male fashion stars after they were told to be ‘butch’ and to ‘act straight’ by their agents. They are in the shoot alongside singer Genesis P-Orridge and fellow models Binx Walton and Grace Bol amongst many more.

This is a clear response to claims surrounding diversity issues in fashion, with Elliot, Walton and Bol all being people of colour, Tuite and Santolalla being the first homosexual couple to be signed to an agency, Genesis identifying as a third gender and Spacek representing a variety of ages at 66 years old. Speaking on the topic of the diverse cast, Marc Jacobs said, “The cast represent a collective embodiment of love, honesty, integrity, courage, strength, curiosity and inspiration. Together, as one story, this collection is a reminder to question and challenge normal and to continue exploring and pushing boundaries.”

It seems like Jacobs is leading the way in the fashion industry in terms of promoting diversity amongst his models, and it isn’t the first time he has done so as in January he recruited Dan Donigan (better known as Milk in RuPaul’s Drag Race) for his campaign, which shows this isn’t a one off which is even more important. So is this an important time for the industry which may see a shift within attitudes in fashion? It certainly looks that way.

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St Andrews Dunvegan Hotel Up For Sale

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The infamous Dunvegan Hotel in Scotland has been placed up for sale by its owners Jack and Sheena Willoughby, so do you fancy purchasing a piece of golfing heritage?

Granted, you would have to be a millionaire to be able to buy the hotel that is priced at £2.9 million, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to afford such an illustrious, highly regarded building placed right next to the Old Course of St Andrews? The hotel has been owned for 22 years by husband and wife Jack and Sheena who are both keen golf fans, and they have played host to big names in golf such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as well as other famous celebrities in Sean Connery and Kevin Costner amongst many others.

There is no wonder that the Dunvegan Hotel attracts so many golfing fans (celebrity or not) into it based on the fact it is placed in Scotland, which of course is the birth place of the sport and where the modern game originated. It is described by the Golf Channel as ‘one of the best hangouts in the world of golf’, and you can be sure to find the unique warm golfing atmosphere in Dunvegan’s Golfer’s Corner Lounge Bar which is more widely known in the sporting world as golf’s 19th hole.

Over the years the hotel has received recognition after winning awards such as ‘Best Small Hotel of the Year’, and it really is the place to be when one of golf’s biggest tournaments comes to town, The Open. However it isn’t just The Open that attracts many customers into the hotel, due to its location being so close to the Old Course at St Andrews it will also be busy during the British Ladies Open as well as the Alfred Dunhill Cup amongst many more.

There is a chance that Jack and Sheena Willoughby may be interested in remaining as small stakeholders in the business, but either way whoever gets their hands on the hotel looks like they’ll be making a fantastic investment, and it would be the dream buy for any golf enthusiasts out there who have got the money to spend.

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SONY Reveal All At E3 Press Conference

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Gamers finally got to see what Sony have in store for them in the upcoming months at the annual E3 press conference, which included details on Spider-Man, God of War and the much anticipated Playstation VR amongst many other reveals.

There won’t be much news that will come from the 2016 E3 conference that will grab more attention than Insomniac Games confirming that the company is working on the new Spider-Man game as well as airing its first trailer. Despite the release date not being announced, excitement surrounding the game will surely be spreading as many people’s favourite Marvel hero is set to arrive on the PS4.

The popular God of War franchise will also be making a return, and although the game will be entitled ‘God of War’ rather than ‘God of War 4’, the creators have insisted it is not a reboot of a previous game. The trailer showed a much older Kratos accompanied by his son, and confirmed that the upcoming release will be based on Norse mythology.

So which other games were mentioned at E3? Well the shock of the night came when Hideo Kojima announced the result of his new studio’s partnership with Sony by announcing ‘Death Stranding’ which is set to star Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus. This will be Kojima’s first game release since leaving Konami, and he received a very warm welcome from the audience at the E3 conference as he simply announced, “I’m back”.

The much anticipated ‘The Last Guardian’ was also a hot topic, with fans set to finally get their hands on the game on October 25th later this year. The wait seems to have been forever since it first got announced in 2009, but the trailer is now out there for all to see after its first play at the E3 conference to give you a taste of what to expect.

What about the Playstation VR? It has been promised by Sony to provide a completely new and unique gaming experience with its virtual reality system, and people will be able to get their hands on the ambitious virtual reality headset on 13th October 2016. It will be available for £349.99 in the UK or £399.98 with the inclusion of the Playstation camera. Fans will also be pleased to know that the upcoming addition to the Resident Evil franchise will be available on VR from early 2017 when Resident Evil 7 is finally released.

So it’s an exciting time for both Sony and gamers following the E3 conference, with so many things to look forward to in the world of gaming.

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