Geocachers are the nicest people: My trip to the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event

first_imgShare with your Friends:More Can you spot the Geocaching HQ’er? (Hint: Look for the green sunglasses.)Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Paige Edmiston is a Communications Specialist for Geocaching HQ. She recently traveled to Hampton Roads, Virginia to attend the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event. Here’s her story.I was the lucky Geocaching HQ staff member who attended the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The event takes place at the crossroads of nature and early American history, where the best of both are highlighted through unique geocaching experiences. But that’s not what makes this event so special. This event is special because it has an extraordinary power to bring people together into community.At my first Geocaching Block Party, a geocacher gave me a pin that read “Geocachers are the nicest people.” I thought it was cute, so I’ve held onto it all these years. But now, for the first time, I think I fully understand the truth behind that statement. It only took 2400 miles, hundreds of geocachers, and a dance with Signal the Frog (more on that later) for me to finally “get it”.Geocachers really, truly are the nicest people you’ll ever meet.What I learned from the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event:My geocaching chauffeurs.You can show up knowing no one and leave with friends for life. In what world can you go to a party without knowing a single soul and immediately feel like part of the family? The geocaching world, that’s where. Heck, the geocachers at the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic made me feel welcome even before the event started. A lovely group of geocachers who had driven from Pennsylvania to Virginia for the event waited at the airport to greet me. Showing up at the farewell breakfast the morning after the big event felt like catching up with old friends.Geocachers are always prepared — and happy to share. Virginia has a few wonderful things Seattle doesn’t, and a few not-so-wonderful things: namely, chiggers and ticks. Luckily, a geocacher at the event had come prepared with enough bug spray to share with an unprepared Geocaching HQ’er. In addition to bug spray, the delightful event organizer Penguincacher equipped me with a yellow, trackable Jeep so that I could drive around in style. And yes, this Jeep was inspired by the Jeep Travel Bugs!Love is in the details. Sometimes, it’s the small things that reveal how kind, caring and, well, detail-oriented the people you meet along the geocaching trail can be. Just a few examples from Hampton Roads:A larger-than-life log book.The brains behind the log book. Think there’s enough room to sign your name?A contest filled with creative challenges designed to reveal the true “GeoSurvivors.” I’m happy to report my partner Maingray and I took second place. I think that means we would survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Maybe.The epic slow walk of GeoSurvivor (second place) champions. Photo by steve-n-kim.A special Lab Cache created to make me feel welcome.Note: Lackey, Virginia. Photo by Monkeybrad.And, of course, no portable toilet would be complete without a bouquet of flowers.An extra dose of geocaching love.And finally, being quirky is awesome. Geocaching is about exploration, adventure, and discovery, but it’s also about being a part of a community that challenges you to step outside your comfort zone and, at the same time, appreciates you just for being you. I never dreamed I would ever be in a position where I had the opportunity — and the support — to show the world my love of goofy dancing by tangoing with a giant Signal the Frog. Then again, I should have known: geocaching is always full of surprises. SharePrint RelatedFun with a Side of Mega-Event GeocachingSeptember 13, 2013In “Cache In Trash Out”14 Km Geocaching Hike Starting after 10pm – That’s PortugalJuly 15, 2014In “Local stories”What You’re Missing at a Mega-Event – The Brugse Beer IV Mega-Event VideoMay 13, 2014In “Française”last_img read more

It’s Not Just Coffee: Technology Now Fueling Massive Growth in Seattle

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#AI#Big Data#coffee#Entrepreneur#Growth Hacking#Salesforce#Seattle#startups#technology What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage John BoitnottCEO, Boitnott Consulting LLC Related Posts A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked at TV, print, radio and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s an advisor at StartupGrind and has written for BusinessInsider, Fortune, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Venturebeat. Follow the Puck Seattle has long been known for inciting the country’s coffee culture, but now that we’re all sufficiently caffeinated, these days it’s the technology scene that’s causing a buzz. Situated well north of the traditional tech enclave known as Silicon Valley, Seattle has come into its own as a magnet for innovative companies and a supportive community that’s mission-driven to improve the status quo.Seattle’s recent growth trajectory looks something like the Space Needle — tall and lean as it extends quietly into the open sky.Not a city to be pigeonholed, its growth represents a rainbow of industries. According to Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED), the city’s key industries now span from manufacturing, maritime, life sciences, and technology to green energy, music, entertainment, and hospitality. There’s just no way to put on a label on that kind of diversity.Seattle’s Super Sonic Technology According to a 2018 report from CBRE, no city has added more tech jobs in the last two years than Seattle. The greater Seattle area added 33,803 tech jobs in 2017 and 2016, outpacing even Silicon Valley (which came in second at 24,971 jobs added). While some of those numbers represent big firms expanding outside their HQ cities or new compelling jobs, roles and responsibilities within large corporations — the most significant area of growth is in startups and smaller businesses.The level of innovation is growing by the day, and several of these startups have achieved bonafide success — particularly in developing fields such as Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI).One such success story is Validar, an event marketing software company. “Quality data was a constant struggle,” says Validar CEO Victor Kippes. “So we decided to do something about it. Fortunately, the Seattle tech scene was on the rise, so there was some excitement and experience around town. It became the perfect backdrop for our success.”The technology revolution paved the way for other startups, too.Consider Yapta, for example, a travel management site that uses intelligent technology to help consumers streamline travel expenses and save money. Valerie Layman, Yapta’s Chief Product & Services Officer, believes Seattle’s reputation as a laidback city works in its favor: “Seattle’s reputation for being laidback is indicative of our willingness to collaborate and our desire to see others in the community succeed, versus the hyper-competitive edges we’ve seen from small businesses in Seattle is both impressive and inspiring.”Says Enrique Ortegon, SVP of SMB Sales at Salesforce, “Companies are breaking new ground in meaningful ways. It was an easy decision for Salesforce to direct more efforts here.” To that end, Salesforce is hosting one of its acclaimed Growth Camp events in Seattle on May 30 at Block 41. Any startup or small business looking for free help, advice, and resources is invited to attend.Higher Grounds: Escalating Performances Several high-growth startups are truly jolting the national scene. Leading that charge is Groopit, a Seattle-based software company that helps leaders engage teams outside their four walls. After twenty years at Microsoft building products used by hundreds of millions of users, Groopit Co-Founder and CEO Tammy Savage saw a void in how organizations manage indirect people.“The growth of cloud computing in Seattle has been impressive,” says Savage. “But at the end of the day, all this technology needs to help companies engage their networks to tackle the hardest problems that will bring the next wave of progress.” The surge of advancement can be seen in the Groopit app, which lets you manage teams outside your organization and collect the corresponding data.That data might be a corporation identifying the on-the-ground security issues — and a government asking citizens to help them understand a problem.A nonprofit tracking volunteer services has always been an issue for the volunteer and the for the company they’re serving. The community, public, and society want their stats to compare themselves against for self-improvement or productivity. And a company engaging key customers to expand their footprint is a must.Another rising startup is Dreambox Learning, an interactive AI-based student learning tool. Lorenzo Pasqualis, Dreambox’s VP of Engineering, believes the company’s success stems from a combination of two factors: Seattle’s willingness to think beyond what’s possible with new technology, plus its rapidly increasing concentration of engineering talent.Seattle’s savvy talent engineering business talent has the expertise and capacity along with the skills to design and build those necessary solutions.Pasqualis conveys, “At Dreambox Learning, we constantly explore new frontiers of adaptive learning technology designed to personalize every student’s educational journey. Sure, most people see the value that technology adds to a school environment; however, they usually don’t realize how rapidly evolving disciplines such as AI, machine learning, and cloud computing can increase the value students achieve from the limited time they spend using technology.”Seattle’s Best: A New Breed of Empathetic Entrepreneurs But Seattle’s emergence as a technology hotbed isn’t confined to corporate applications and big data. There’s a growing subset of entrepreneurs who are passionate about helping others — and creating businesses to prove it.Among these skilled entrepreneurs is Dani Cone, the founder of Cone & Steiner General and Fuel Coffee. Cone is the chair of the Seattle Entrepreneurship Committee for the Greater Seattle Business Association — the largest LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce in North America. He is passionate about equality and inclusion and believes community is what sets Seattle apart: “Seattle’s such a strong and vibrant city, economically and socially.“At its roots are the people who build everything from airplanes to tech, people who believe that the impossible is possible, and people who believe in community. Community is what drives me each day to create spaces where ideas are shared, and people come together over good food and drink.”Another enviable expert is Saif Hakim, Vice President and Senior Business Lender at Craft3; a regional nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Craft3 extends loans to strengthen the local economies in both Oregon and Washington.After nearly two decades in commercial banking in the Puget Sound Area, Hakim saw the discrepancies in those who are able to achieve funding.Now at Craft3, he’s able to target an underserved population, including startups and growing businesses that are not traditionally ready for bank capital. “It just felt right to move into a more flexible area of lending,” says Hakim. “The Pacific-Northwest is inspiring in so many ways, and Craft3 is really focused on doing everything we can to make this a vibrant, growing area of the country.”Fueling Up: Seattle Runs on TechnologySeattle may be famous for rainy days and coffee, but today’s entrepreneurs and tech startups are working hard to change that association. Is Seattle posed to be the country’s new Tech Town? All signs point to the affirmative. Maybe that free Salesforce Growth Camp conference can help you get in on the action.last_img read more

Odisha villagers in panic after wolves kill sheep

first_imgThe killing of dozens of sheep possibly by a pack of wolves in Niali and adjacent areas of Odisha’s Cuttack district has triggered panic among villagers, who have been spending sleepless nights for over two weeks now.Despite the Forest department personnel attributing these deaths to attack by wild animals, villagers suspect that a ‘mysterious creature’ is behind the killings. The Cuttack Rural Police have asked villagers to form defence committees comprising volunteers and police personnel to check such attacks.The Animal Disease Research Institute, Odisha, has collected samples of sheep carcasses for study. In most of the carcasses, intestines had bulged out while the liver was not in place, indicating attacks by wild animals. Fisheries and Animal Resource Development Minister Damodar Rout said there were reports of 150 sheep being killed by wild animals. “Wolves are present near the Vanaragarh forest patch close to Niali. Sheep has no defence mechanism. Wolves are devouring its liver because it is soft,” said Prasanta Kumar Mishra, Divisional Forest Officer of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar city division.Two traps set“To dispel doubts, we have set up two traps. From the pug marks, we have identified the animals to be wolves,” said Mr. Mishra. The forest department is now considering installing cameras.“We have advised villagers to keep the sheep in well protected sheds. As the sheep are left in the open, it becomes easy for the wolves to attack them,” the City Division DFO said.last_img read more

Maharashtra tops in justice delivery

first_imgMaharashtra has topped the list of 18 large-medium States in the overall first-ever ranking of Indian States on justice delivery, followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana. In this category, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom, while among the list of seven smaller States, Goa leads the group.This is according to the India Justice Report 2019, released on Thursday by the Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, among others.Public dataThe report has been prepared based on publicly available data of different government entities on the four pillars of justice delivery — police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.Releasing the report, Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur called it a pioneering study and said: “The findings establish beyond doubt very serious lacunae in our justice delivery system. It is an excellent effort to mainstream the issues concerning our justice system, which in fact affect every aspect of society, governance and the economy.” He added that judiciary and the government should take note of the significant findings, and the States too should act to urgently plug the gaps in the management of the police, prisons, forensics, justice delivery, provision of legal aid, and the filling up of vacancies.The report highlights the fact that even the best performing States scored less than 60% in their performance on capacity across the police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.The country has about 18,200 judges with about 23% sanctioned posts vacant, notes the report, adding that women are poorly represented in these pillars, constituting just 7% of the police.“Prisons are over-occupied at 114%, where 68% are undertrials awaiting investigation, inquiry or trial. Regarding budgets, most States are not able to fully utilise the funds given to them by the Centre, while the increase in spending on the police, prisons and judiciary does not keep pace with the overall increase in State expenditure,” the report said.Budget constraintsIt added that some pillars also remain affected by low budgets. For instance, India’s per capita spend on free legal aid is 75 paise per annum, the report said.The report looked at data indicators from the four pillars, covering themes like infrastructure, human resources, diversity (gender, Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Other Backward Class), budgets, workload and trends over the last five years.‘Grim picture’“Collectively, the data paints a grim picture. It highlights that each individual sub-system is starved for budgets, manpower and infrastructure; no State is fully compliant with the standards it has set for itself. Governments are content to create ad hoc and patchwork remedies to cure deeply embedded systemic failures. Inevitably, the burden of all this falls on the public,’’ noted Maja Daruwala, chief editor, India Justice Report.last_img read more

In the air

first_imgSpring to attentionNothing says spring more than flowers. For those who don’t have access to fresh flowers or the time to create interesting arrangements, floral-themed furniture, furnishings and accessories are the answer. Since this is the time to lighten things up, replace the heavy drapes on the windows with airy sheers and woollen carpets with light dhurries and rugs. Bring in green plants and flowering pots. Upholster or slip-cover the sofas with pale tones and florals. For most impact, bring in a colourful piece of furniture as an accent piece. Our pick is the art deco-inspired chair designed by Ken Scott for Altamoda Italia. Scott’s Baboll chair on a pedestal exudes drama with pretty peonies and roses in radiant hues. Equally compelling is the Philippines-based designer Kenneth Cobonpue’s Bloom easy chair. Available in Delhi at Idus, this flower-shaped chair is made of microfibres stitched over a resin top that’s fixed atop a steel base. Available in the pleasing shades of moss green, lime green, yellow and muted red, it breathes life into winter-weary rooms.Jungle retreatHere’s a new-age spin on the stuffed animals that one found on the walls of old lodges and hunting homes. Animal heads are the inspiration for a series of limited-edition wall clocks designed by Israeli boutique Animi Causa. Wildlife lovers can take their pick from deer, giraffe, bear and walrus. Made of wood, these Jungle Clocks look best on textured walls. Order from www.animicausa.comTelly talesGame for some retro chic? In its new avatar, the idiot box has stepped back a few decades to flaunt a cool tangerine-and-white exterior and knob-style controls. Spicing up your interior scene, the ultra slim 14-inch LG Tubu comes packed with features. The knob controls help you adjust the volume and surf channels with a simple twist while the extendable rabbit-ear antenna and detachable chrome legs give it a fun look. Priced affordably at Rs 6,990, this is one accessory that promises never to date.Boot campIt’s a brolly stand that knows how to grab attention. Shaped like a trio of cowboy boots, this functional item doubles up as a glamorous accent piece. The faux-Verdigris finished stand, with antique brass accent and ornate thread detailing, comes from the stable of US-based brand Maitland-Smith. Domestic buyers can pick it up from the tony International Furniture Brands stores. The price of this cool lifestyle product is pegged at a steep Rs 54,240, but you will not find a more swish accessory for your parasols or your home.Colour codedInterior designers have long sworn by the ‘bright is right’ maxim. Take a cue from that and introduce colour into your washrooms. Get yourself a pedestal basin created by designer-architect Alessandro Mendini for Italian bathroom major Ceramica Flaminia and add zing to your loo. The squareshaped, free-standing Monowash basin (made from a single ceramic block) has a modern motif etched in bold colours like red, yellow, pink and lilac. Tapering slightly at the base, the basin comes outfitted with a chrome-finished faucet.Let there be lightStop taking shots in the dark and get home the Funghi, a wacky table lamp from Eurolite Studio, a brand known for cutting-edge lighting fixtures and installations. Designed by Thibaut Desombre, the lamp resembles a mushroom and is made of mouth-blown glass (that’s formed by breathing fiercely down a blow pipe into a molten glass blob and then re-shaped until it’s totally flat). Sporting an opal-red colour, this delectable piece is priced at Rs 7,500.Sit prettyAt the higher end of the style spectrum stands the Pipeline Sofa by American furniture designer Harry Allen. Made of four pipe-shaped components, the futuristic piece is upholstered with polyurethane over Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and a solid wood frame. Polished aluminium legs form its base and it can be configured creatively in numerous ways for group-seating.advertisementlast_img read more