The Loch Ness Monster is worth $54 million to the Scottish economy

Real or not, the Loch Ness Monster brings in $54 million to the Scottish economy each year, an increase of $14.4 million from four years ago. The data comes from accountant Gary Campbell who also happens to be the official keeper of the Nessie sightings register. From the UK Press and Journal:

“We analysed the number of people that visit the attractions around the loch, along with those who took to the water to try to get a closer look for Nessie and then took other research into tourism spend on overnight accommodation and food,” said Mr Campbell.

“We then added in the day trippers and from this we conservatively estimate that the draw of the monster is adding £40.7m to the local economy each year...."

The research has been endorsed by tourism ambassador and director of Loch Ness Marketing, Willie Cameron.

“From my perspective and from the numbers and spend we see at the loch, I’d say that this is a very conservative estimate but at over £40m per annum, it shows that Scotland’s rural economy can make a significant contribution to the health of the overall Scottish economy,” he said.

Image: "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax. Read the rest

Weekend Tunes: Salsa Celtica--Pa'l Rumberos

Sometimes, the most delightful musical discoveries happen completely by accident: a song you hear at a party or catch the tail end of on the radio without the DJ bothering to tell you what it's called can wind up being one of the tunes that's always lurking on the cusp of your mind. This was the case for me with Salsa Celtica.

I was listening to Eliza Carthy sing The Grey Cockerel, and happened to glance at my phone's display while the music was playing. Salsa Celtica was credited as Carthy's collaborator on the track. Digging their sound, I googled the name. Boom: they'd a ton of albums to their credit. The title of one of their records, El Agua De La Vida, made me laugh. The translation: The water of life. In Gaeilge (Irish,) the translation of this is uisce beatha (uisge beatha in Gaelic.) It means 'whiskey.' It's one of the phrases that many tourists returning Ireland or Scotland is likely to have picked up during their time on holiday.

This, it seemed to me, was a band that could teach a master class in taking the piss.

Salsa Celtica has been spinning out dancable Celtic-infused Cuban music since the 1990s. I've yet to fall out of love with any of their albums. Read the rest

Buskers are the only performers making money at the Edinburgh Fringe. Here's how.

So. You're trudging down the Royal Mile taking it all in. The World's largest festival of the performing arts, and in such a beautiful city, too. Detestably young actors with a dream in their heart and Starbucks in their veins approach from every angle, lunging flyers at you like fencers thrusting a blade. You dodge, parry, apologise and avoid – priding yourself on your fringe street savvy. But then your attention is piqued by a noise. The unmistakable sound of genuine spontaneous fun. Your lizard brain makes you perk up like a meerkat, on the balls of your feet, trying to get a look at what might be occurring ahead. There's a crowd. Could be anything. Could be something. You add yourself to their number, pushing in a little. Someone's doing something. Looks like you missed whatever amazing feat caused the crowd to erupt like that, but lets stick around to see what happens next, right?

Nope: Mayonnaise ice cream

What the hell, Scotland? Why would you ruin perfectly good ice cream by putting the devil's condiment -- mayonnaise -- into it?!

Artisanal ice cream shop ICE Falkirk, the creators of Mayonnaise Ice Cream, have some 'splaining to do.

image via ICEFalkirk, used with permission

(Delish) Read the rest

Scotland's official plan if the Loch Ness Monster is found

In 2001, the Scottish Natural Heritage drew up a plan of action if the Loch Ness Monster were ever to be found. The code-of-practice is in the news again due to a a recent big effort to collect skin and scale samples from Loch Ness and compare those DNA sequences against known animals. From the BBC News:

It stipulates that a DNA sample should be taken from any new creature, and then it should be released back into the loch...

Nick Halfhide, of SNH, an organisation that promotes Scottish wildlife and natural habitats, said the 17-year-old code of practice remained relevant today.

He said: "There was a lot of activity on the loch at the time about Nessie.

"So, partly serious and partly for a bit of fun, we drew up a contingency plan about how we would help Nessie if and when she was found."

Mr Halfhide said: "Some of the lessons we learned then have been relevant when we have reintroduced species like sea eagles, and were used when, a couple of years ago, four new species were found in the sea off the west coast."

Above, "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax. Read the rest

Start your monday with this enormous Scottish foghorn

The foghorn at Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands of Scotland is powered by more than one 44hp Kelvin K-Series diesel engines, powering the Alley and MacLellan compressors which blow the horn itself.

"Just so's you know," writes JJ Jamieson, who posted this footage to YouTube, "the horn was originally much louder at the end, but YouTube's audio algorithm turned the volume down. I tried several versions but it wasn't having it." Read the rest

Scottish Tories defeat anti-money-laundering measure aimed at shutting down the Russian oligarch-Scotland pipeline

The Scottish Limited Partnership is a notorious financial secrecy vehicle that's been used to launder at least $80 billion, mostly from oligarchs and organised crime figures from the former USSR, in only four years. Read the rest

The UK is finally cracking down on its Russian money-laundry, but hasn't hired people to do the job

Scottish Limited Partnerships are a preferred money-laundering tool of the world's criminals, looters and oligarchs, especially favored by criminals from the former USSR, who have pumped an estimated $80B through them in the past four years alone. Read the rest

Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

Burglar doesn't realize he's being filmed

This burglar doesn't realize he's got about a minute to get his work done before the Scottish police turn up. It's interesting seeing British commenters complain that he was treated too roughly by them, while the American ones marvel that he wasn't executed on the spot.

My guess is the copper didn't see the crowbar until right on top of him in the cramped backyard, creating an opportunity for the burglar to strike and thereby necessitating a pre-emptive beating that sadly lacks the usual jaunty interaction between British police and suspect, the extended ironic ruminations on the nature of crime and the inevitability of justice, the perverse yet socially reinforcing affectations of honor and fair play, the tea and biscuits down the station, etc., that are the usual hallmarks of modern British policing and its interactions with the criminal element. Read the rest

Demolition of derelict robotic parking garages reveals entombed vehicles, trapped for 15 years

When the £5m Autosafe Skypark opened in Edinburgh, it was heralded as the UK's most technologically advanced car park, but in 2003, the owners went bankrupt and turned off the computers that controlled the lifts that raised and lowered cars into their bays. Read the rest

Scottish police confirm requests from world governments to find money laundered through "the UK's homegrown secrecy vehicle"

Scottish Limited Partnerships (previously) are notorious corporate entities whose true owners are easily disguised, making them perfect vehicles for money laundry. Read the rest

Forensic science envisages face of woman persecuted as witch 313 years ago

Her name was Lilias Adie, and she died in prison while waiting to be burned at the stake as a witch. Forensic artist Dr Christopher Rynn used the latest reconstructive methods to show us her face.

Lilias Adie was tortured in prison and it is believed she may have taken her own life.

Louise Yeoman said: "I think she was a very clever and inventive person.

"The point of the interrogation and its cruelties was to get names.

"But Lilias said that she couldn't give the names of other women at the witches' gatherings as they were masked like gentlewomen.

"She only gave names which were already known and kept up coming up with good reasons for not identifying other women for this horrendous treatment."

Read the rest

The Tories replaced benefits with "universal credit" and left a town to starve

In 2013, the Scottish city of Inverness had the unfortunate fate of being picked as the trial site for a pilot of "universal credit," one of the UK Conservative government's big ideas, in which the various benefits paid to low-income people were replaced with a single payment, centrally administered. Read the rest

The world's shortest commercial flight is just 80 seconds long

People visiting Scotland's Orkney Islands wanting to travel between Westray and Papa Westray -- islands a mere 1.7 miles apart from each other -- will most likely take a flight on an eight-seater plane. Clocking in at 80 seconds, the hop from island to island is the shortest scheduled passenger flight in the world.

The Scottish regional airline Loganair has been flying this route since 1967 and charges approximately £21 one-way ($28) for the service.

In this Great Big Story video, its head pilot Colin Mcallister says, "The flight is used almost as a bus service."

(reddit)

Read the rest

Look for Nessie on the Loch Ness livestream

Loch Ness Monster researcher Mikko Takala presents Nessie on the Net livestreams from cameras on Scotland's famed loch. Did I just see a tree branch or was it a plesiosaur?

Remember, what you're seeking may look something like this, the hoaxed "Surgeon's photograph" (1934):

Read the rest

Scottish government agencies move to block expansion of Trump's unprofitable golf courses

Trump's Scottish golf courses are hemorrhaging money (they lost $1.8M in 2015) and the only way they can be profitable is if they're allowed to expand, but that's almost certainly not going to happen. Read the rest

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