Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019
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Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019

Monday, March 25, 2019

From March 15 to 17, the Canadian city of Toronto played host to the tenth Furnal Equinox, an annual event dedicated to the “furry fandom.” Wikinews attended. Programming ranged from music to gender, science to art, covering dozens of aspects of the varied subculture. The event’s featured guests were visual artists Moth Monarch and Cat-Monk Shiro, as well as the co-owners of US fursuit costume builders Don’t Hug Cacti.

The event raised nearly CDN$11,000 for Pet Patrol, a non-profit rescue organization in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, run by volunteers. This exceeded their goal of $10,000, the funds needed to finish a rural sanctuary. The furry community is well-known for their charitable efforts. Along with direct donations, the funds were raised through a charity auction offering original artwork, and a fursuit design by guests of honour “Don’t Hug Cacti.” Last year, Furnal Equinox raised funds for a farm animal sanctuary.

While only 10–15% of people within the fandom own a fursuit according to a 2011 study, event organizers reported this year 908 of the 2240 attendees at Furnal Equinox brought at least one elaborate outfit to the event. The outfits are usually based on original characters, known as “fursonas”.

Guests of Honour Cherie and Sean O’Donnell, known within the community as “Lucky and Skuff Coyote”, held a session on fursuit construction on Saturday afternoon. The married couple are among the most prominent builders in the fandom, under the name Don’t Hug Cacti. The scale of their business was evident, as Sean had made over a thousand pairs of “handpaws”, costume gloves.

The couple encouraged attendees to continue developing their technique, sharing that all professional fursuit makers had developed different techniques. They felt that they learned more from failed projects than successful ones, citing the Chuck Jones quote that “every artist has thousands of bad drawings,” and that you have to work through them to achieve. Cherie, known as Lucky, recalled receiving a Sylvester the Cat plush toy from a Six Flags theme park at age 10. She promptly hollowed the toy out, turning it into a costume. Creating a costume isn’t without its hazards: the company uses 450°F (232°C) glue guns. They’re “like sticking your hand in an oven.”

Other programming included improv comedy, dances, life drawing of fursuiters, a review of scientific research by a research group at four universities called FurScience, a pin collector’s social, and workshops in writing.

The “Dealer’s Den” hall was expanded this year, with even more retailers and artists. While many offered “furry” versions of traditional products, at least one business focused on “pushing the boundaries of fursuit technology.” Along with 3D printing a bone-shaped name tag when Wikinews visited, Grivik was demonstrating miniature computer screens that could be used as “eyes” for a fursuit. The electronic displays projected an animation of eyes looking around, blinking occasionally. The maker has also developed “a way to install a camera inside suit heads, to improve fursuiter visibility.” He hopes the tech would reduce suiting risks and accidents. Without the need for eyeholes, fursuit makers would have “more options for building different eyestyles.”

Category:August 3, 2010
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Nicolaus Copernicus buried again
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Nicolaus Copernicus buried again

Monday, May 24, 2010

Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was buried for the second time yesterday, in the Catholic church of Frombork, Poland. Copernicus is considered the founder of modern astronomy, and known for declaring that the Earth revolved around the Sun, contrary to popular belief at the time.

His body was discovered and exhumed in 2005 by Polish archaeologists in a nameless tomb in the same church. After the extraction, the body was sent for DNA testing, which confirmed it was Copernicus, who died in 1543.

His funeral was presided over by Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk. In his time, Copernicus was considered a heretic due to his theory, which was published shortly before his death.

He studied in the Kraków University and in the Bologne University. In his work De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium he demonstrated, through mathematical and astronomical calculations, that the planets –including Earth– rotated around the Sun.

John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years
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John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.

Home of controversial book publisher set ablaze
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Home of controversial book publisher set ablaze

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Four people have been arrested on terrorism charges in Islington, London, England, after a suspected petrol bombing on the house of Martin Rynja, owner of book publishing company Gibson Square.

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His company recently sparked controversy after buying the rights to publish The Jewel of Medina, a work of fiction by Sherry Jones depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad and his child bride, Aisha.

The bombing, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, led to the evacuation of the £2.5 million property in Lonsdale Square. Three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were arrested at 2:25am BST by armed officers, two in Lonsdale Square, and one after being stopped near Angel tube station.

Police comments suggested that the trio had been under surveillance, and that they had advance knowledge of the plot and simply waited for the arsonists to strike, before arresting them.

On Saturday, a woman was arrested for obstructing police during their searches of four addresses – two in Walthamstow, and two in Ilford and Forest Gate.

Speaking earlier this month, Mr Rynja said that “The Jewel of Medina has become an important barometer of our time. As an independent publishing company, we feel strongly that we should not be afraid of the consequences of debate.” Ms Jones commented that she did not intend for her novel to be offensive to Islam. She noted that she “[has] deliberately and consciously written respectfully about Islam and Muhammad.” She “envisaged that [her] book would be a bridge builder” between Islam and the western world.

New Jersey to consider bikini waxing ban
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New Jersey to consider bikini waxing ban

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Jersey is considering a state-wide ban on Brazilian waxes, the removal of hair from the bikini area.

Although genital waxing has never really been allowed in the state, the New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling plans to propose a ban with more specific legal wording, in response to two women who reported being injured during a wax. The board will consider the proposal at their next meeting on April 14.

If the measure passes, New Jersey may become the only US state to ban the practice outright.

Although millions of Americans engage in bikini waxes, which generally cost between $50 and $60 per session, the practice comes with risks. Skin care experts say the hot wax can irritate delicate skin in the bikini area, and result in infections, ingrown hairs and rashes.

Waxing on the face, neck, abdomen, legs and arms would continue to be permitted in the state under the proposed ban. Although New Jersey statutes have always banned bikini waxing, the laws were unclear and seldom enforced.

As a result, many salons from around the state have offered bikini waxing for years. Many salon owners spoke out against the proposed ban, which they said would severely damage their business.

“I really don’t know if the state can stop it at this point,” said Valentia Chistova, owner of the Monmouth County salon Brazil. “I know a lot of women who are really hooked.”

 This story has updates See New Jersey backpedals on proposed bikini waxing ban 

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kate Holloway is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Trinity-Spadina riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Eight killed in Virginia shooting, suspect surrenders
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Eight killed in Virginia shooting, suspect surrenders

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Four adults, three teens and a child—both men and women—were murdered on Tuesday morning in a mass shooting in Appomattox, Virginia. According to police sources, three of the bodies were found inside a home, and the other four directly outside it.

Later in the day, civilians came upon an eighth victim in serious condition on the side of a road—which led to police being called. However, the man died en route to the hospital. Soon after, authorities identified the alleged shooter as Christopher Speight, aged 39, whom state and local police working in conjunction with the National Guard had surrounded in nearby woods.

The rural area was under an almost complete lock down as a perimeter was established that included hundreds of law enforcement officers and soldiers patrolling the area for the suspect. While being pursued, Speight is said to have fired multiple high-powered rounds at a state helicopter. Although there were no reported injuries, the bullets did rupture the fuel tank forcing it to land.

After an entire night of playing cat and mouse games with police, Christopher Speight surrendered to police of his own volition early Wednesday morning unarmed but wearing a bulletproof vest. Following this, police searched his Appomattox residence where they discovered several explosive devices on the premises.

In a statement to the media, Tom Molinar of Virginia State Police said that bomb technicians and canine units were on the scene. He went on to say that the situation was now under complete control, and that the proper authorities were safely detonating said devices as he spoke.

Christopher Speight is currently being housed in a local jail until charges are officially filed. The Appomattox Sheriff said that although motives for Speight’s action are for now unknown, it is believed that he acted alone.

50 arrested ahead of Swaziland democracy protests
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50 arrested ahead of Swaziland democracy protests

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Around 50 people have been arrested ahead of a planned human rights protest in Swaziland. The protest had been planned against the monarchy of Swaziland to call attention to the country’s alleged lack of human rights. Many of those arrested have been released but several people remain in custody.

The King of Swaziland, Mswati III, has come under pressure for living in luxury with his thirteen wives while many Swazi people are on the poverty line. He has also faced criticism for having a high number of sexual partners, when 26% of 15 to 49 year olds are HIV positive.

Several South African trade unionists were included in the protesters arrested. A spokesman for Cosatu, the South African trade union federation, said that two of the unionists had not been released and their current whereabouts are unknown.

Human rights group Amnesty International has commented on the events saying that, “The arbitrary arrest of these political activists, lawyers, trade unionists and journalists is nothing short of police harassment and intimidation.”

Swaziland is the last country in Africa to hold an absolute monarchy.

Australia Votes 2007: Labor releases tax plan
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Australia Votes 2007: Labor releases tax plan

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Election 2007

Labor has released its tax plan, following the announcement from the Liberal/National coalition that they would provide tax cuts costing AU$34 billion if re-elected. The government has placed pressure on Labor since their announcement on Monday, urging Mr Rudd to release the opposition’s tax plan.

Under Labor’s system, the government’s planned tax cuts for Australians earning more than $180,000 per year would be scrapped, saving $3 billion. The savings would be spent on health and education for working families.

Speaking in Canberra today, Mr Rudd announced that if elected he would spend $2.3 billion on tax rebates for parents with children in primary and secondary schools. The refunds would be available to those who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit A. Mr Rudd claims the plan would be available to around two million children.

A Rudd government would offer a 50 percent education rebate to parents, up to $750 per child for primary school aged children and up to $1500 for children in secondary school. The rebate could be used for a variety of purchases but not for school fees. Mr Rudd said the rebate would help to equip children for the digital age.

“If mum and dad are spending money on buying a laptop, spending money on buying a home computer, spending money on … purchasing internet connection, education software printers and books, those expenditures, (they) will be eligible to claim the 50 per cent education tax refund that we are putting forward,” Mr Rudd said.

“We need to equip our young people with the skills necessary to participate in the digital economy of the 21st century.”

Mr Rudd vigorously denied that he rushed the plan out after the government’s announcement. “We have been working on this education tax refund for the better part of four, five months,” Mr Rudd told reporters.

Labor would spend $400 million of the savings on Labor’s national health reform plan, while the remaining $200 million would go to the budget surplus.

Under the health reform plan, an elective surgery strategy would be implemented with the aim of reducing waiting times. Mr Rudd said the waiting times experienced by some Australians were unacceptable.

“We intend … to establish through the use of other funds as well a plan which would create a national elective-surgery strategy to reduce waiting times across the nation,” Mr Rudd said.

About 25,000 Australians are on waiting lists for elective surgery despite having passed the clinically acceptable waiting period, he said.

“That’s unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Rudd also said that Labor would embrace tax reform by flattening the number of tax rates from four to three, at 15, 30 and 40 percent by 2012-13. This contrasts to the government’s planned tax cuts bringing rates to 15, 30, 25 and 40 percent.

If Labor is elected, those paying the highest tax rate would pay around $10 a week more than they would under a Howard government. Mr Rudd said that he was not waging a class war and believed those paying the top tax rate wouldn’t mind investing in the country.

“If you’re on $180 grand and more, as people like myself are, I don’t think you really need it just now,” said Mr Rudd.

“What I say instead is that most people in that bracket wouldn’t mind an investment going into bridging the digital divide for the whole country.”

“If we were waging some sort of class warfare, we wouldn’t be in the business of outlining the long term goals that we’ve put forward – a flattening, prospectively, of the tax system down to three rates rather than four with a top marginal tax rate of 40.”

The government has criticised the plan, with Treasurer Peter Costello claiming that Mr Rudd copied “91.5 percent” of their tax policy. He accused the opposition of never having a tax plan.

“Mr Rudd talks about education – if he’d have brought his exam paper in after copying 91.5 per cent of the answers from the student sitting next to him, he would have got an F for fail.”

The Treasurer said that it would be unlikely that a Rudd government could deliver tax cuts as it could not manage the economy well enough to deliver them.

“Unless you can manage the Australian economy, these tax cuts will not be deliverable,” he said.

“Mr Rudd and Mr Swan do not understand the Australian economy. This is entirely clear from the fact they have spent four days copying 91.5 per cent of our tax plan.”

Mr Costello said that a Rudd government would have a dilemma if elected, in that he could not follow the coalition’s policies.

“He never had a tax policy,” Mr Costello said.

“He hadn’t done the work, five days after our tax policy, his great contribution to the tax debate in this country is to say ‘me too, but’.”

“The trouble with ‘me too, but’ is, it’s OK for Mr Rudd to say ‘me too, I’ll be like Howard and Costello and adopt their policies’, but if he gets in Howard and Costello won’t be there writing the policies.”

Mr Costello said that when Kevin Rudd runs out of ideas, the union movement would step in to provide guidance. “So who is going to say ‘me to, but’ to them? I think the union movement will be giving him a few ideas,” said Mr Costello.

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