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July 18 2011 2 18 /07 /July /2011 10:54

White City is a district in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, north to Sheperd's Bush. It has hosted some major events in the past including Olympic events and World Cup Soccer matches and today, it is the home of the BBC Television Centre.


Having been arable farmland up until 1908, White City was used for the Franco- British exhibition and the 1908 Olympic games. It hosted numerous exhibitions until 1912.

White City stadium

The famous White City stadium also existed in White City from 1908 until it was demolished in 1985 to make way for BBc's television centre. The stadium was initially built for the 1908 Olympics.

Olympic Marathon

Interestingly, the stadium was the finishing place of the 1908 Olympic Marathon which had started 26 miles and 265 yards away in Windsor. This distance became mandatory for marathons from this point onwards.

World cup

The stadium hosted a world cup match in 1966 and was briefly the home to local football club Queens Park Rangers.

Most recently, the White City area became a hallmark of shopping as Westfield Shopping mall opened up in 2008.


The Westfield group opened up a 270 store shopping centre in the White City area at a cost of £1.6 billion in October 2008. As a result, two new tube stations were opened up to accommodate the number of visitors to the shopping centres with Wood Lane opening on the Gammersmith and City line and Sheperd's Bush on the West London Line.

Criticism against the shopping centre

The shopping centre has suffered from criticism with critics saying that it is taking away trade from nearby Kensington High-Street, although the full impact of the shopping centre has yet to be realised.

White City made famous

White city pops up in popular culture from time to time. North of the shopping centre is a a bus depot which had previously been featured in the 1988 film, 'Who framed Roger Rabbit' as the Acme factory.

The Pogues had a song on their 1989 album, 'Peace and Love' entitled White City'. The song was about the demolition of the White City Stadium. Pete Townshend of 'The Who,' who is a former resident of Sheperd's Bush, had a solo album in 1985 entitled White City: A Novel in which he sung about a story that took place in the White City area.

BBC Television Centre side
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Published by James Hughes - in Geography
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July 18 2011 2 18 /07 /July /2011 07:35

The German national football team is one of the most successful national sides in world football, having had a history of being a split nation, being represented by East Germany, West Germany and Saarland throughout their footballing history. From October 1990, Germany merged as one football team though most of their success had come before this time to the West German side.

World cups


West Germany won the world cup on three occasions. The first occasion came in 1954, when the finals were held in Switzerland where the germans, who were underdogs, overcame Hungary to win the match 3 - 2.

Their second title came in 1974 on home soil, the West Germans overcame the Netherlands in the final 2-1, with German legend Gerd Muller scoring the winning goal.

Their last victory came in 1990 in Italy, when after famously knocking England out in the semi's on penalties, they beat Diego Maradona's reigning champions 1-0 in the final with Andreas Brehme scoring the game's only goal from the penalty spot.

As well as this, the Germans have finished runners up on four occasions with their last final appearence coming in South Korea in 2002, where they lost out to Brazil.

European championships


The German national team have also won the European championships on three seperate occasions. Their first victory came just prior to their second world cup win in 1972, when they overcame the Soviet Union 3 - 0 in the final which was held in Belguim.

Their second victory came eight years later in 1980 when the tournament was held in Italy. On this occasion, they defeated Belgium in the final by two goals to one. Their last victory came in England in 1996 when, after again famously defeating England on penalties, they defeated the Czech Republic in the final in extra-time with Oliver Bierhoff scoring a golden goal winner.

As well as these victories, the Germans have finished runners up on three other occasions with their last finals appearance coming in 2008, when they lost out to future world champion Spain.

Other statistics

According to FIFA, the German squad are currently ranked as the third best team in the world (as of July 2011). Their hughest FIFA ranking came in 1994 where they reached number one status. Their worst ranking came in 2006 where they, rather surprisingly, dropped to 22nd in the world.

American soccer player Eddie Lewis directs the ball forward with a P
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Published by James Hughes - in Football
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July 15 2011 6 15 /07 /July /2011 13:57

From the year 1930 up until 2006, you were always taught that there were nine planets in our solar system. Then, seemingly out of know where, scientists told us that in fact, there were only eight planets in our solar system and that Pluto was no longer considered a 'proper' planet but was now known as a dwarf planet. However, what exactly are dwarf planets and why are they not 'proper' planets?

What is a dwarf planet?

In simple terms, a dwarf planet is a body in the solar system which is massive enough to have its own gravitational pull but is not big enough to resist the gravitational pull of another object other than the sun. Although Pluto has a big enough gravitational pull to have its own satellite, Charon, its orbit is effected by the planet Neptune which causes it to orbit the sun elliptically as opposed to the circular orbit that the other planets have.

Dwarf planets

There are four other dwarf planets in our solar system which were previously considered to be asteroids and they are called, Ceres, Haumea, Makemake and Eris. Interestingly, Pluto is not even the biggest of the dwarf planets. Ceres is and is also the closest dwarf planet to Earth as it lies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

In fact, Pluto is not even the second biggest dwarf planet because Eris is ever so slightly larger. Eris lies along with Pluto and the other three dwarf planets in the Jupiter belt which orbits the Sun beyond Neptune, the eighth planet.

Planet Orbits
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Published by James Hughes - in Space & Astronomy
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July 15 2011 6 15 /07 /July /2011 13:39

In 2010, Apple released its revolutionary new iPad. It looked like a giant iPhone but it was most definitely much more than this. In 2011, Apple took this one step further and released the iPad's follow up, the iPad 2. It has not been out for long and there is so much to say about it. However, here is a brief review of the aesthetics of the new Pad 2.


Despite the rumours of the Ipad 2 being thinner than a newspaper and weighing as light as a feather, the reality is that it is only slightly smaller than the original iPad although it is thinner than the most recent iPhone, the iPhone 4.

It stands at 241mm tall, 186mm wide and is only 8.6mm thick. Due to its new curved edge, it is easier to grasp than the iPad. So, the size is not a lot different but those who were saying that it will be as light as a feather are not too far wrong. It is a massive 80g lighter than the iPad and comes in at just 680 grams despite having a metal back thus making all of its competitirs now look overweight and out dated. Aesthestically, the iPad 2 is brilliant.


As well as being asthetically pleasing, we should talk about the overall quality of the iPad 2. The touch screen is still as good as ever. Although if you have not used such a thing before, it can take some time getting used to it. If you do struggle to get used to it, you can always purchase an Apple keyboard. A nice new touch is how quick it is to turn on. All you have to do is open the cover tand the device automatically powers up. It the device now has two cameras which allow you to do various things, such as Skype or make your own videos.


A couple of downsides to the device is that is has no USB port and it will not run flash which makes using gaming websites a difficulty but overall, the iPad 2 is a step up from its predecessor.

Starting prices for the iPad 2 come in at a reasonable £399 and jumps up to £659 for the 64gb w-fi 3g version (price seen on 14.07.2011).

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Published by James Hughes - in Mobile communications
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July 15 2011 6 15 /07 /July /2011 10:53

Talksport is a live radio station that is owned by UTV radio and is one of the United Kingdom's three terrestrial analogue independent national radio broadcasters, offering a sports and talk radio service broadcast, from London to the United Kingdom. Its content includes sports phone-ins and discussions, live sports commentaries and general phone-in discussions. You will learn more about Talksport radio in this article.

Early years


Talksport radio is transmitted on 1089 and 1053 kHz across the UK and digitally via DAB digital radio, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat and TalkTalk TV. Talksport is also streamed online, however, due to rights restrictions on live coverage, some live sport commentaries are not available online


Its content includes sports phone-ins and discussions, live sports commentaries and general phone-in discussions. It is transmitted on 1089 and 1053 kHz across the UK and digitally via DAB digital radio, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, Freesat and TalkTalk TV.


Talksport first aired in 1995 under the 'Talkradio' name. In 2000, the station was rebranded as Talksport and became the U.K's first national commercial sports radio station. It mainly focused its attention on football and purchased the rights to broadcast various football competitions as well as England cricket tours, Rugby tours and Boxing world title fights. They also revamped their presenters with top names such as Alan Brazil, Peter Shilton, Brian Moore and Geofeery Boycott joined the team as well.

Radio programs

Talksport’s programming consists of sports talk and sport news, live coverage, discussion and phone-in debate for the majority of the day but diversifies into more general discussion and phone-in debate during the evenings.

Week days

The week day starts with a daily breakfast show, currently hosted by Alan Brazil before moving on to a more general discussion programmes throughout the day. The station recently took on former Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys following their sacking from Sky. The Drive Time show is regularly hosted by Adrian Durham and Darren Gough who round up the days sports news.


TalkSport dedicates its weekends to full coverage of the weekends sports bringing live commentaries from various games, as well as news and latest scores from all around the country on match days.

Live sports coverage

TalkSport currently has rights to broadcast matches, which fans can listen to live from the Premier league, the Football League, the Carling Cup, the Champions league, the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championships and the Rugby World Cup. Expert commentary on matches are provided by former professionals such as Stan Collymore, Matt Holland and Micky Quinn to name but a few.

Bald businessman listening to a boom box
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Published by James Hughes - in Football
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July 14 2011 5 14 /07 /July /2011 06:12

Planning a successful hen night is not nearly as easy as you might think. If you are not careful and do not plan the event well enough ,you could well end up having a stinker! To avoid this, we recommend that you give it a great deal of thought and planning to make sure that you get your hen night right. Here are a few questions we would recommend you ask yourself before you decide on anything for your hen do:

Who and how many people are you going to invite?

Hen weekends are events which require a fair number of people to get them going. However, if you invite too many people, the hen group will splinter. It is recommended that you invite as many of the bride’s good mates as far as possible whilst really cutting down the number of acquaintances. Anywhere between 8-20 people attending a hen night is a good number. However, this will really depend on how many good mates the bride has.

Where and when should you go?

A hen night being held the night before the wedding is a really bad idea. This much, we presume, you have probably figured out. A hen do anywhere from two to five weeks before the actual wedding is fine. We would recommend that the hen do is less of a hen night and more of a hen weekend.

This will give you time to really get in to the hen night party spirit. We would also suggest that you and the girls do your partying away from home (for obvious reasons). By incorporating a daytime activity (either pampering or something more active) in to your hen weekend, you will ensure that the group does not get drunk too quickly. It will also allow any members of the group who do not know each other to be able to meet properly and help bond the hen weekend group.

How should you arrange it?

Ideally, start getting numbers together five months before the hen night and start collecting money as soon as possible (once you have decided who to invite and where to go). Otherwise, you will find that a load of people drop out from the hen night at the last minute.

Next, contact a specialist who can get you the best hotels, activities and nightlife as it is a lot of work to do it all on your own. Once this is all done and arranged, have a ball of weekend and enjoy yourselves!

A woman dances on the bar at a Hen party in San Francisco, USA. | Sou
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Published by James Hughes - in Nightclubs
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July 13 2011 4 13 /07 /July /2011 14:00

First class stamps are put on to items of mail that customers wish to have delivered to their desired destination the following working day. They have been around for well over 150 years and have varied greatly in cost, although they have always been relatively cheap given the mind-blowing distances and speed in which some post travels. This article gives you more information about the first class stamps.


The first stamp, as we think of stamps today, was the Penny Black, a British stamp featuring Queen Victoria, which was issued in 1840. With its introduction, the postage fee was now to be paid by the sender and not the recipient as had previously been the case.

Introduction of first class stamps

The introduction of the first class stamp significantly increased the number of letters that were sent in the U.K. Before 1839, the number of letters sent was 76 million. By 1850, this had increased fivefold to 350 million, continued to grow rapidly thereafter and was maintained at this high level for well over a century.

Decline of first class stamps

The decline of the first class stamp began towards the end of the 20th century with the introduction of the internet and email to the mass market as people began to be able to send messages to each other, not only for free, but a lot more quickly.

Prices of the first class stamp

In the present day, the cost of a standard sized first class stamp is currently 46p with a large stamp costing 56p. The very first Penny Black stamp in 1840 cost, unsurprisingly, a penny and this price remained for a large number of years, meaning that in 160 years, stamp costs have increased by 46%!

Interesting facts


The UK is the only country not to identify itself by name on its first class, or any other of its postal stamps. This has always been the case and instead the stamp is internationally recognised by the image of the monarchs head in the centre of it.

The Royal Mail has very rarely made any money on its stamped mail service due to the low price they sell it for. For example, in the financial year spanning from 2007- 2008, the loss on stamped mail totalled a massive £178 millions.

Final word

It doesn't matter how old a first class stamp is, if it is a first class stamp then it can still be used to send mail.

Pillar to Post: 08/10/2002
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Published by James Hughes - in Arts & Crafts
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July 13 2011 4 13 /07 /July /2011 12:02

The Early Learning Centre is a British chain of shops that specialises in selling toys aimed at very young children. This article helps you to be well-acquainted to the Early Learning Centre.

History of the store


The company was originally set up as a mail order company in 1974 in Swindon but, due to its early success, it quickly went on to set up a further ten shops by 1980. In 1980, the company went on to open a number of 'nursery stores' which specialised in selling equipment aimed at children of a nursery age with things such as pushchairs and cots available. After various takeovers in the late 90's and the early 00's, the Early Learning Centre is now owned by Mothercare and has almost 300 stores worldwide, with around 215 of them in the U.K.


Function of the Early Learning Centre

The Early Learning Centre make and sell 80% of their own products which means that just about everything they sell carries the ELC branding. They are best known for selling toys made of wood, mostly plywood or Chinese Maple. The toys are primarily designed for children's playing pleasure, but there is also an emphasis put on making educational toys for children and in aiding their development in to pre- school.

Toys' durability

The Early Learning Centre design their toys to withstand heavy knocks and therefore use various techniques in their manufacturing process to make them as durable as possible whilst still remaining safe to play with. Such techniques include ultra-sonic welding and the use of virgin plastics.

Other products

As well as these durable items, the Early Learning Centre also sells educational books, CDs and DVDs as well and have a long running agreement to sell toys from the Thomas and Friends range.

The store also has agreements with a few other stores, such as Boots and Sainsbury's to sell their toys.

Online store

As well as now having multiple stores worldwide, the Early Learning Centre now has an extensive online store with all of their products available to buy with the company offering free delivery on all orders placed over £50. The website also offers 'top offers' on a weekly basis in which they slash the prices of multiple prices in half. The Early Learning Centre also have an extensive catalogue in which all of their products are listed with detailed descriptions. They are also available to follow on the social networking site Twitter.

EUW! Not the early learning centre too?!
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Published by James Hughes - in Toys & gifts
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July 11 2011 2 11 /07 /July /2011 09:31

Jeffrey William Robinson Dunham , more famously known as simply Jeff Dunham, is an American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian who has appeared on numerous television shows in the U.S. His most famous puppeted characters include Walter the old man, Peanut the puppet and Jose Jalapeno on a stick.

Early career

Jeff Dunham was born on the 18th of April, 1962, in Dallas, Texas. He was an only child and was raised by adopted parents in a fairly affluent part of Dallas . He began ventriloquism at the age of eight, when his parents gave him a Mortimer Snerd dummy for Christmas and an accompanying how-to record album.

From this moment onwards, he put everything into practising and rehearsing his first act. His earliest shows came as a teenager in local churches and schools before he went on to perform at local banquets in front of some local celebrities.


Dunham's earliest television exposure was doing commercials for Datsun dealerships while he was in high school. He graduated from Baylor University in 1986 and then went on to make his debut on The Tonight Show with Jonny Carsin in 1990.

At the end of his act, he was invited to sit on Jonny Carson's couch, which was considered to be a mark of approval. On 18 July 2003, Dunham made his first solo appearance on Comedy Central Presents. During his half-hour piece, he showcased José Jalapeño on a Stick, Walter, an early version of Melvin the Superhero Guy and Peanut, whom Dunham had begun to merchandise into a line of dolls.

Comedy Central

In 2006, Comedy Central gave Dunham his first one-hour special, which drew in two million viewers when it aired, cementing Dunham's stardom. It was available on DVD in September 2007. Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special was taped in 2008, and premièred on Comedy Central on the16th November 2008. It was watched by 6.6 million people. The special's première was the highest rated telecast in Comedy Central's history.

In March 2009, Dunham signed a multi-platform deal with Comedy Central. It included a fourth stand-up special to air in 2010, DVDs, a consumer products partnership, a 60-city tour beginning in September 2010, and an order for a television series which premièred on 22 October 2009, but was cancelled after just one season.

Personal life today

In November 2008, Dunham separated from his wife Paige, after 14 years of marriage. The couple has three daughters - Bree, Ashlyn and Kenna.

In addition to building the dummies he uses in his act, Dunham also restores antique ones as a hobby when he is away from the stage.

Ventriloquist Wayne Francis calls attention to the photographer as he ventriloquist's dummy
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Published by James Hughes - in Celebrities
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July 9 2011 7 09 /07 /July /2011 11:12

The best problem solving games are usually related to Maths and Science. Some others are brain-teaser word problems, and puzzles involving hidden objects. This article will talk on the top five problem solving games.


Sudoku is a logic-based number-placement puzzle game. The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits, so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid contains all of the digits from 1 to 9.

Puzzle setter

The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which typically has a unique solution. Completed puzzles are always a type of Latin square with an additional constraint on the contents of individual regions.

For example, the same single integer may not appear twice in the same 9x9 playing board row or column, or in any of the nine 3x3 sub-regions of the 9x9 playing board. It became an international hit in 2005.


A crossword is a word puzzle that normally takes the form of a square or rectangular grid of white and shaded squares. The goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues which lead to the answers.

Rubix Cube

In a classic Rubik's Cube, each of the six faces is covered by nine stickers, among six solid colours (traditionally white, red, blue, orange, green and yellow).

Pivot mechanism

A pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must be a solid colour. In 2010, the Rubix cube celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Team building problem solving games

Toxic waste

It is a popular, engaging small group activity. Equipped with a bungee cord and rope, a group must work out how to transport a bucket of "Toxic Waste" and tip it into the neutralisation bucket. It can be used to highlight almost any aspect of teamwork or leadership.


It is another good exercise for building a team. Objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place. In pairs, one person verbally guides his/her partner, a blindfolded person, through the minefield.

If the blindfolded person steps on one of the mines, then they are eliminated. The first team to reach the end of the designated area unscathed is the winner.

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Published by James Hughes - in Gaming
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