World Latest News

Lab grown cruelty free wagyu beef created by JUST! Would you eat lab grown beef?

World News Reddit - 52 min 21 sec ago

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 57%. (I'm a bot)

California-based food tech company JUST, the maker of a liquid vegan egg made from mung beans, has announced a clean meat partnership with Japanese beef producer, Toriyama and meat and seafood supplier, the Awano Food Group.

The historic collaboration will see to the production of cultured meat that looks, cooks, and tastes like Wagyu beef, a world-renowned variety of Japanese beef prized for its high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content.

JUST, which first announced its intention to produce cultured meat in June 2017, will develop clean Wagyu beef from Toriyama cattle cell lines, making use of the family-owned company's decades of experience.

"For decades, the Toriyama family has paired science and skill with a passion for achieving a superior flavor for all the meat they produce. Precious few have had the chance to experience umami Wagyu and we hope this partnership allows more restaurants to share Toriyama beef and its story in a new, exciting way," said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of JUST, in a statement.

"Wagyu is a symbolic ingredient in Japanese culinary culture and we are proud to honor this tradition for more than 30 years. Our embrace of science and technology has allowed us to produce unparalleled umami beef and the kind of technology developed by JUST has the potential to bring about a fascinating new era of more sustainable meat production," said Makoto Toriyama, CEO of Toriyama.

Bringing clean meat to market will not only spare the lives of animals killed for meat, but will also provide a more sustainable, healthier alternative to traditional meat.

Summary Source | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: meat#1 Toriyama#2 clean#3 beef#4 Wagyu#5

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Categories: World Latest News

Israeli killing of young Palestinian unlawful, video shows

World News Reddit - 52 min 44 sec ago

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 68%. (I'm a bot)

Ramallah - Video footage released on Tuesday showed the fatal shooting by Israeli forces of a mentally challenged Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank last week was unlawful and unjustified.

Away from soldiers when he was shot in the back of the head. Sourced from four security cameras at the scene by Israeli NGO B'tselem, the footage showed there was no disturbance or clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army when Habali was killed.

After the incident on December 4, Israeli forces declared they were responding to a "Violent disturbance of the peace", though the video contradicts them being in any danger.

At about midnight last Tuesday, 100 Israeli soldiers entered Tulkarem to conduct raids in various Palestinian homes.

More than two hours later, in a different part of the city, about 30 Israeli soldiers spread out in small teams across a-Nuzha Street and an alley near al-Fadiliyah Boys' High School.

Since 2000, the group has demanded investigations into 739 cases where Israeli forces killed or wounded Palestinians.

Summary Source | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: Israeli#1 soldiers#2 Palestinian#3 B'tselem#4 Habali#5

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Categories: World Latest News

Chinese telecom executive wanted by the U.S. granted bail by Canadian judge

World News Reddit - 53 min 7 sec ago

This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 51%. (I'm a bot)

In a case that has drawn international attention amid heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China, a Canadian judge granted bail Tuesday to a top Chinese telecom executive whom the U.S. has accused of trying to circumvent trade sanctions against Iran.Vancouver Justice William Ehreke granted conditional freedom for Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei and daughter of its founder, if she can post $10 million bail in Canadian funds - with at least $7 million Canadian in cash.

The 46-year-old executive was taken into custody by Canadian authorities, on behest of the U.S. on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver.

Canadian prosecutors on Friday first revealed details of the U.S. case against Meng, accusing her of misleading banks to believe her company had no connections to Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech, which allegedly tried to sell American computer equipment to an Iranian mobile phone company.

Meng told U.S. banks that the two companies are separate operations, but American investigators believe Skycom works as subsidiary of Huawei, according to Canadian prosecutors.

Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat who serves as a senior adviser to the International Crisis Group was taken into custody in Beijing, U.S. and Canadian authorities said.

"Unfortunately Canada is caught in the middle of this dispute between the U.S and China. Because China cannot kick the U.S. they turn to the next target."

Summary Source | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: U.S#1 Canadian#2 China#3 Meng#4 New#5

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Categories: World Latest News

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou released on bail in Canada

BBC News - 55 min 31 sec ago
A Canadian court releases Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on bail, as the US seeks her extradition.
Categories: World Latest News

'Liverpool's season in perfect shape after Napoli win'

BBC News - 1 hour 8 min ago
Liverpool's win over Napoli to reach the Champions League knockout phase leaves their season in perfect shape.
Categories: World Latest News

Pressure mounting on Theresa May from Tory MPs

BBC News - 1 hour 18 min ago
Senior Brexiteers are increasingly confident they have enough support to trigger a no-confidence vote.
Categories: World Latest News

Salah goal sends Liverpool into Champions League last 16

BBC News - 1 hour 28 min ago
Mohamed Salah produces another moment of quality to fire Liverpool into the Champions League knockout phase and eliminate Napoli in the process.
Categories: World Latest News

Late Moura goal secures remarkable qualification for Spurs

BBC News - 1 hour 38 min ago
Tottenham achieved "mission impossible" by qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Categories: World Latest News

Grenfell Tower fire: Hearings 'may slip back to 2020'

BBC News - 1 hour 41 min ago
The inquiry chairman is to announce a new timetable as first phase of hearings into fire conclude.
Categories: World Latest News

Ian Paisley facing new questions over luxury Maldives holiday

BBC News - 2 hours 10 min ago
BBC Spotlight programme's evidence suggests the North Antrim MP did not declare a holiday to the Maldives in 2016.
Categories: World Latest News

Ferguson overhead kick gives Aberdeen injury-time win over Livingston

BBC News - 2 hours 21 min ago
Lewis Ferguson's stoppage-time overhead kick gives Aberdeen a dramatic win over Livingston and moves them back into the top six.
Categories: World Latest News

Delta changes the way fliers board planes

CNN World News - 3 hours 5 min ago
A new boarding process is coming to Delta Air Lines.
Categories: World Latest News

Pressure mounting on Theresa May from Tory MPs - BBC News

Google News - 3 hours 26 min ago
Pressure mounting on Theresa May from Tory MPs  BBC News

Tory Brexiteers are increasingly confident they have enough support to trigger a no-confidence vote in Theresa May as party leader. If 48 Conservative MPs ...

View full coverage on Google News
Categories: World Latest News

Strasbourg shooting: Two dead, 10 wounded and gunman at large

BBC News - 3 hours 34 min ago
French police say a gunman is still at large following a shooting near a Christmas market in the city.
Categories: World Latest News

Behind The Brand - Interview with Abraxian Glassware

World News Reddit - 3 hours 41 min ago

Intro:

Several months ago, when searching for world's best glass brands, we stumbled upon a true hidden gem. Abraxian is the name behind a group of talented glassblowers from southern England, who filled the gap in glass manufacturing by offering luxury pieces wrapped in a display worthy package.

When seeing their gorgeous water pipes we had to reach out to them, and they were just as passionate as we imagined them to be. This inspired us to set up an interview with Liam, Abraxian founder, who was more than happy to give us more insights about their beginnings, growth and future plans.

Read along if you want to find out how a small team of enthusiasts managed to create some of the most beautiful pieces we’ve ever seen.

What does Abraxian stand for?

Abraxian stands for Quality. Yes, this sounds rather cliché. Every company like's to say that they stand for Quality and integrity etc. But we really mean it when we say it. It's not just the quality of our products that is important to us, its the whole experience of shopping with us. We have put a lot of effort into the little things that make the big difference.

Presentation and customer care are hugely important to us. When you buy an Abraxian piece you are buying more than just a piece of glass. Your glass piece will arrive beautifully packaged in a robust foam lined storage box, including a full range of complementary accessories. You are also automatically enrolled in our "Legacy promise". This means that we will replace any of your glass accessories completely free of charge if they get damaged or broken (including shipping costs).

We have always said that the three pillar stones of Abraxian are Design, Function and Customer satisfaction. This is what matters to us. We love what we do and we know that it's the customers that make a company great.

When did you guys start? Where are you located?

Abraxian Glassware was officially founded in 2016 with the dream of creating a range of beautiful hand-crafted glass pieces that would stand out as something truly special. In order to do this, we had to find and build the best team possible. We quickly began the search for a team of glassblowers who shared our enthusiasm. After searching the country, we eventually found a group who clearly shared a mutual passion for the ethos of the company: quality and functionality. The team had years of combined experience in scientific glassblowing giving them an excellent understanding of the intricacies of borosilicate glass.

After several months of designs, prototypes and long nights we finished our first piece; The Meraki. Thanks to the elegant design and hard work of our artisans the Meraki caught the attention of our peers who all wanted their own. Abraxian was born. Gaining momentum with the success of our first product, we soon found our feet and began the inception of our second design, The Elysian. With its sleek lines and robust feel, it soon became a favorite amongst our customers.

At Abraxian we pride ourselves on usability and creating the highest quality products. As a result, we thought it vital to maximize the experience of our products by including every Abraxian piece with the Borosilicate Heat-Wand. This allows the user to activate their glassware with ease whilst avoiding the pollutants of a conventional wick or lighter. With each success, we’ve stepped closer to launching our passion into the mainstream market. Abraxian is here now, and we have so much more to come. Our main headquarters is a few miles outside of Brighton on the south coast of England.

When have you decided to start designing glassware? What was the moment when you realized that?

It was in late 2014, after ordering and receiving my latest glass purchase from a local headshop, a piece that had set me back several hundred pounds. I remember looking at the plain brown box filled with cheap polystyrene peanuts which contained the glass that somebody had attempted to wrap in bubble wrap. I only say "attempted" as more than half the glass was in fact not even covered.

I remember thinking to myself, this product just cost me the equivalent of a good quality watch or a nice new pair of shoes... How can these glass companies possibly take pride in their products when they make a beautiful piece of glass and then simply throw it in any old box that they had to hand?

I started thinking, through my own personal experience. The industry as a whole didn't seem to have much of a "luxury" aspect to it, yes some glass companies have tried to make the presentation of their products better but I still felt it could be done better.

I already had some good connections in the glass blowing industry and decided to give them a call and have a talk about the idea. They loved it. After many months of design, prototypes, testing we finally had the design for our first piece the Meraki. Abraxian was born.

What does your current product lineup look like?

Our current lineup is somewhat of a tip of the cap to the old school styles of glass where bongs were based on the shapes of glass you might find in a laboratory or scientific setting. We loved the conical shapes and the straight shooter designs so decided this would be a good place to start. We are still working hard and in early 2019 we are extremely excited to show the world our two latest additions to the Abraxian range, the "Nepenthe" and the "Atlas".

How does the creative process work in Abraxian? From ideas to the final product - what kind of tooling/manufacturing are you involved in?

We would start with a simple pen and paper (and a bit of imagination). We sketch out our designs and start from there. The next stage is to prototype the glass design. Our glassblowing team will begin with a piece of Borosilicate glass, the glass is clamped into a turning lathe which rotates the glass. Then they begin to subject the glass to extremely high temperatures in order to soften the glass and make it pliable using a large blowtorch. Once the glass is at the desired temperature - this is when the magic happens. Using their breathing they blow the glass, almost becoming one with the process.

When working with a tube style design such as our Elysian they must keep the pressure inside the tube consistent to stop the tube from simply collapsing into itself. This is achieved by putting rubber bungs in each end and maintaining a steady flow of air. It is quite an incredible art to watch.

Once the glass has been heated and shaped to the design, a small blow torch is brought out to add the details, i.e., the mouthpiece, the rush hole and female connection for the down stem. When they are happy with that, they will begin to shape the base. Depending on the design this can be a flat base such as the Elysian, or a conical base such as the Meraki. We blow a few sample units trying different variations here and there to make sure that the design looks great, and most importantly, smokes to the Abraxian standard.

Once we have locked down the design, we manufacture a couple of sample units that we give to our impartial testers. They will use the glass in their own settings and report to us on their experience. This is a great way to find and eliminate any possible oversights that we could have missed during the initial designs.

Once the design is the best it can be in both aesthetics and function, we will send the glass to our foam manufacture to have the tooling created for the protective foam insert that will sit in the box. After that, the glass is photographed and it is ready to hit the stores.

What does a typical day at the office look like?

Busy. But, always a lot of fun - it's certainly not your average nine to five! Every day there are new challenges, ideas, and always a lot of correspondence to catch up with. Whether we are taking orders, preparing orders, working with our marketers or discussing the latest designs, there is always plenty going on. The office is wall to wall with glass, new designs, old designs and crazy designs that we have deemed are a bit too much for the world... For now.

It's organized chaos, but we love it.

What are some of the biggest challenges in glassware manufacturing?

Glass is a tricky material to work with. It's extremely temperamental at times and can be a real challenge. You can finish a piece that looks fantastic, then on your last finishing touch we make one tiny mistake... and it's back to square one!

Your company's proudest moment?

The proudest moment for me was, without a doubt, the first time I was able to bring my closest friends together and unveil the first finished Abraxian piece. It was sitting beautifully in its clean black box, with the Abraxian logo embossed in gold across the top, and opening it up to display the glass with all its accessories cut into the soft foam. Seeing their faces stare with mouths open - this was worth all the hard work.

Could you share a great story involving the Abraxian brand? Customer success stories, manufacturing EUREKA moments - that kind of stuff.

One of my favorites was when a customer brought a glass piece from us. Several months after his purchase we received a very distraught call explaining that while cleaning his piece he had broken the down stem and was desperately seeking a replacement in time for the party he had been planning. He had invited his friends over for a get-together and was very upset that he might not have his Bong for the festivities. He explained he had been cleaning his glass in preparation as the party was the following day. We happily explained to him that through purchasing his Abraxian piece he was covered by the Abraxian legacy promise. This means that any glass accessories that get broken will be replaced free of charge. We immediately sent out his replacement, we tracked the parcel and were very happy to see the glass was delivered to him by noon the following day, meaning he had his glass in time for the party. The following day we received an ecstatic email thanking us profusely. Needless to say, it had been our pleasure.

How do you see the cannabis industry evolving in the next few years?

Being based in the UK, our government has made it very difficult. There has long been a stigma here around cannabis. I personally believe that through watching countries such as Canada, Uruguay, the Netherlands, and the certain US states things will begin to change. The stigma does seem to be fading away, we now know so much more about cannabis and the long-term effects. Governments that have either legalized or decriminalized cannabis have seen no major problems as a result and the money from cannabis tax brought in is simply incredible. In 2017 Colorado alone brought in over 200 million in tax on cannabis. That is quite remarkable.

I imagine that now the UK has begun to open the door to medicinal cannabis products this will begin to lower the stigma and hopefully at the very least open the debate regarding the recreational side of the market.

What are you hoping to achieve in those next few years?

We hope to establish the Abraxian brand as a true player in the glass industry. We are currently the only UK company doing what we do and we want to let the world know that the UK is here and we have a whole lot to give. As Mark Twain famously said: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog."

Are there any brands you look up to as a glassware manufacturer?

Absolutely, as a consumer I always loved glass shopping, looking at the new designs and brands on the scene! Brands like Roor, Gravlabs, G-spot, Illadelph... the list goes on. There are some truly fantastic glass brands out there with some hugely talented glassblowers.

What's in store for Abraxian customers in 2019? What should we look forward to?

2019 will see a huge expansion to the Abraxian range, we have so many new products planned, including new bongs, accessories, and pipes. 2019 is going to be a very exciting year and we can't wait to show you all what’s still to come.

--

We want to thank Liam and the Abraxian team for this interview.

PS - If you really want to see this interview in its natural habitat (on our blog, with pics and all) then, by all means, click here

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Categories: World Latest News

[FO4] The Legion Would Have Made a Great Nuka-World Raider Faction

World News Reddit - 3 hours 42 min ago

While it was never likely, this would have been a cool twist. I never liked the Pack so it would have been cool if the Legion remnants were the third gang in Nuka-World. The Legion could be led by a named legion member from Vegas, such as Vulpes Inculta. Perhaps Caesar Inculta? Members would consist of new recruits from the journey east, and veterans following the defeat at Hoover Dam. The sitting Caesar has potential for complex writing as well, as they have seen the legion rise, and be defeated, yet still persevere. I think this would have been a cool idea to work with.

Whether the courier sides with House, Yes Man, or the NCR is up to Bethesda, but NCR makes most sense to me. During the battle, the courier would convince Lanius to leave, as they legion would be spread too thin, as can happen in-game. Caesar (Sallows) would die from his tumor soon after, leaving Lanius as the leader. I would suggest they head east, and eventually team up with the other raiders and Gage to take over Nuka-World. I would suggest however, instead of Overboss Coulter, Overboss Lanius would be the leader. The Overboss power armor could be a modified version of his legate armor. This would take some re-writing of the conflict a little bit, and Gages character too, but I still think it would be a great improvement, without changing the overall gameplay.

I think this would have been a cool way to link New Vegas and 4, and help to clarify the canon ending of Vegas, and just make a lot of people happy.

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Categories: World Latest News

Working Pianist Jam

World News Reddit - 3 hours 44 min ago

Alright, this is coming very late because I've been absolutely swamped with work between crazy advent time as an interim church pianist, and other Christmas gigs... then getting asked to accompany school music program with 3 days notice last week (!!!). But anyway, here's at least part of my idea for an addendum to the Piano Jam targeted at working pianist skills. I wasn't able to cover all of the material I would've liked to, but I got a lot of it, and honestly, the more important bits in my opinion. For anyone unaware, these are some of the types of things I regularly am asked to do as a working musician. In fact, many of the selections below are literally things on my plate right now.

You won't really find too many pieces that you'll be ready to perform for anyone, but that's sort of the point. Being a working pianist (and becoming a better pianist in general) is about skills, not songs. When you have the skills, you can quickly apply them to learn as many songs as you like, but the goal of practice should always been on the skills. And unfortunately, working directly on these types of skills doesn't always leave you with something impressive to play at the drop of a hat for an impromptu concert. It does however make you a versatile and flexible musician who people like to work with because you so rarely say "no, I can't do that."

And while it sucks that I'm so late in getting this off the ground, in some ways it's fitting. The refrain you'll see repeated again and again below is about how little time you have in real world situations to prepare all of this. Even if I did everything from every category, that's only a fraction of what I'm currently preparing weekly. That's not to make anyone feel bad, but just a wake up call to anyone who isn't really aware of what piano work looks like and usually has a lot of time to prepare very few pieces.

Don't feel discouraged, but instead pick a category to really dive into. If you're ambitious, do more. This is mostly about becoming aware of some of your own weaknesses and then correcting them. So often people don't work on something partially because they don't even know to work on it.

I suppose for now, (until I get a better suggestion for a tag) just tag your post with [Working Pianist Jam]. And in general, any feedback is appreciated.

Hymns

I found an online hymnal source for this.

13 - O Come O Come Emmanuel 24 - Away in a Manger 30 - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

The goal here is to play them all back to back with smooth transitions. They are are in different keys, so some light modulating may be required. A very simple modulation device that works for almost all key differences is to play hang out on the I chord of the key you just finished... then play your current I over a pedal point of the V in the new key... then move to the V of the new key... then start the new piece. There are a million ways to modulated that are more interesting. Go be resourceful. Look up something on Youtube. Find something that I don't even know. Half of the goal here is to plant a seed of skills that you might not realize you need so you can start finding ways to improve them yourself.

Also, feel free to simplify all day long. In most church services it only really matters that you give the melody clearly, particularly for less familiar tunes. Likewise, you might want to make it more interesting. Away in a Manger is pretty dull with just static left hand octaves and could be arpeggiated. Write in chords above the hymns if you like (I often will). You can even reharmonize, though be mindful that if you were doing this in a church for congregational singing, going too far with a reharm could really confuse people. Also, for those who read music and might actually want to sing parts from their hymnal, getting too crazy can make it frustrating for them.

The other thing is... you could just ignore my resource. Go find a lead sheet if you like. Hell, it technically doesn't even have to be in the same keys I provided. A congregation can't tell what key you're in and if it doesn't match the hymnal (though rhythms and such should match). You could technically "cheat" all of the key changes and just find them all in the same key. There is no real cheating as a working pianist. You're just being resourceful. You just have to know where the line is. Also, keep in mind vocal ranges that are reasonable for hitting the most number of people. If you get above E5 or below C4 you have a good chance of losing a lot people. You want people of all parts (SATB) to be able to sing the melody.

Formal Accompaniment

Here's a portion of an arrangement of Mary, Did You Know? for flute and piano arranged by Joel Raney. The book is sadly out of print and hard copies are hard to find inexpensively. You can purchase the whole book here in PDF format. My wife really enjoys the flute parts. They aren't too hard, but they sound flashy. Likewise, the piano parts are very reasonable, but still sound more difficult than they are.

I'm actually playing this piece this Sunday. I have a week. It's 5 pages. I also have 12 hymns, 20 pages of liturgy, an offering, a postlude, and a choral octavo to perform without about he same amount of warning. I bring that up to put this sort of thing in context. I harp on it constantly, but people spend a lot of time on single pieces, but you just can't do that in the real world. You get short notice and lots of music. If you can't learn just these two pages in a week, you need to evaluate where you are and develop strategies to be able to do so.

This is honestly on the easy end for stuff I would tend toward and it's mostly because the accompanimental stuff is really easy if you're good at chords and chunking them together mentally. Almost everything in this accompaniment will be piss easy if you have the skills I tried to address in when I started working on my Systematic Approach to Chord Mastery. If you're having trouble, try working through that. Just realize that virtually everything in this accompaniment is some broken version of some chord inversion.

Additionally, you can simplify. If you know the chords, write them in. In the heat of the moment all you really need to do is provide harmonic backdrop. If that means simplifying a whole section to just some basic bitch arpeggios, then go for it. The audience really can't tell and knowing that is very important for you to be able to triage when you have a ton of music and not enough time to work out some devilishly difficult figure.

Choral Rehearsal

I've scanned in two pages from piece I did recently. The goal here is just to play parts. The reality is, in a rehearsal setting, you often will have been given this piece minutes before being asked to play parts. Often you'll just be asked to sightread all of the parts to give the choir an idea of how their parts sound. Better choirs you might just be reading the accompaniment, but less experienced choirs it will often be parts. And the rub there is that they are the ones that need the most help. This is a place where you can't just fake it. You can't make things up and your mistakes will grind rehearsal to a halt. This is probably one of the most high pressure things I personally get asked to do as my sightreading isn't as tight as I'd like it to be.

You can try just reading SA and then TB, but you might want to try reading different combinations. If you're brave, record your first time reading each iteration (starting in bar 31, pickup to 32). Also, this is one of the easier things you might be given.

I wouldn't subject anyone to this, but for reference, here is a much harder read. Open score, tenor in treble (8vb), and the parts make a bit of canon. It's pretty common for canon parts to walk all over each other and sopranos to end up under altos. It can mess with your head.

Informal Accompaniment

Accompany "What Child is This" (the tune of Greensleeves) in the key of Eb. This is a very real type of request I get often enough. A song... and a key. It's up to you to find the resources to make it work. You can find a lead sheet or you can transcribe a version and make your own chord sheet. You could just play it by ear. This could be fun if you "show your work" though. It's unfortunate that I'm too strapped for time to make a solo version of this for you to play with (especially one where I skip beats or something). A huge part of the skill in this is being able to catch the soloist who drops some words or something. There's also an interplay of style and dynamics when playing with a real musician live that's really hard to practice outside of that scenario.

That said, do keep in mind you're playing accompaniment... not a solo. No melody. This needs to be a harmonic backdrop. Try to use both hands to create some good momentum and rhythmic drive. If you want to sing or you're able to play another instrument and want to multi-track, go for it.

Ear Work

Okay, this one is just mean if anyone wants to try it. This is a terrible (audio quality) recording of someone's Choral Christmas concert. I don't recognize the tune. It's not something you can just google a lead sheet for most likely. But I've literally gotten this type of request multiple times in the past. Accompany this.

To make it worse, the accompaniment in the video has bass and drums, so even if you could hear the piano clearly, just playing the piano part isn't enough. You need to give it the feel of this rhythm combo all by yourself as much as possible. For the most part this is another harmonic backdrop situation with the added caveat that you need a clear intro that state the melody as in the video. I wouldn't say accompany the whole thing. It's a lot of work, but try to get 16-32 bars (it's repetitive anyway).

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Categories: World Latest News

Behind The Brand - Interview with Abraxian Glassware

World News Reddit - 3 hours 45 min ago

Intro:

Several months ago, when searching for world's best glass brands, we stumbled upon a true hidden gem. Abraxian is the name behind a group of talented glassblowers from southern England, who filled the gap in glass manufacturing by offering luxury pieces wrapped in a display worthy package.

When seeing their gorgeous water pipes we had to reach out to them, and they were just as passionate as we imagined them to be. This inspired us to set up an interview with Liam, Abraxian founder, who was more than happy to give us more insights about their beginnings, growth and future plans.

Read along if you want to find out how a small team of enthusiasts managed to create some of the most beautiful pieces we’ve ever seen.

What does Abraxian stand for?

Abraxian stands for Quality. Yes, this sounds rather cliché. Every company like's to say that they stand for Quality and integrity etc. But we really mean it when we say it. It's not just the quality of our products that is important to us, its the whole experience of shopping with us. We have put a lot of effort into the little things that make the big difference.

Presentation and customer care are hugely important to us. When you buy an Abraxian piece you are buying more than just a piece of glass. Your glass piece will arrive beautifully packaged in a robust foam lined storage box, including a full range of complementary accessories. You are also automatically enrolled in our "Legacy promise". This means that we will replace any of your glass accessories completely free of charge if they get damaged or broken (including shipping costs).

We have always said that the three pillar stones of Abraxian are Design, Function and Customer satisfaction. This is what matters to us. We love what we do and we know that it's the customers that make a company great.

When did you guys start? Where are you located?

Abraxian Glassware was officially founded in 2016 with the dream of creating a range of beautiful hand-crafted glass pieces that would stand out as something truly special. In order to do this, we had to find and build the best team possible. We quickly began the search for a team of glassblowers who shared our enthusiasm. After searching the country, we eventually found a group who clearly shared a mutual passion for the ethos of the company: quality and functionality. The team had years of combined experience in scientific glassblowing giving them an excellent understanding of the intricacies of borosilicate glass.

After several months of designs, prototypes and long nights we finished our first piece; The Meraki. Thanks to the elegant design and hard work of our artisans the Meraki caught the attention of our peers who all wanted their own. Abraxian was born. Gaining momentum with the success of our first product, we soon found our feet and began the inception of our second design, The Elysian. With its sleek lines and robust feel, it soon became a favorite amongst our customers.

At Abraxian we pride ourselves on usability and creating the highest quality products. As a result, we thought it vital to maximize the experience of our products by including every Abraxian piece with the Borosilicate Heat-Wand. This allows the user to activate their glassware with ease whilst avoiding the pollutants of a conventional wick or lighter. With each success, we’ve stepped closer to launching our passion into the mainstream market. Abraxian is here now, and we have so much more to come. Our main headquarters is a few miles outside of Brighton on the south coast of England.

When have you decided to start designing glassware? What was the moment when you realized that?

It was in late 2014, after ordering and receiving my latest glass purchase from a local headshop, a piece that had set me back several hundred pounds. I remember looking at the plain brown box filled with cheap polystyrene peanuts which contained the glass that somebody had attempted to wrap in bubble wrap. I only say "attempted" as more than half the glass was in fact not even covered.

I remember thinking to myself, this product just cost me the equivalent of a good quality watch or a nice new pair of shoes... How can these glass companies possibly take pride in their products when they make a beautiful piece of glass and then simply throw it in any old box that they had to hand?

I started thinking, through my own personal experience. The industry as a whole didn't seem to have much of a "luxury" aspect to it, yes some glass companies have tried to make the presentation of their products better but I still felt it could be done better.

I already had some good connections in the glass blowing industry and decided to give them a call and have a talk about the idea. They loved it. After many months of design, prototypes, testing we finally had the design for our first piece the Meraki. Abraxian was born.

What does your current product lineup look like?

Our current lineup is somewhat of a tip of the cap to the old school styles of glass where bongs were based on the shapes of glass you might find in a laboratory or scientific setting. We loved the conical shapes and the straight shooter designs so decided this would be a good place to start. We are still working hard and in early 2019 we are extremely excited to show the world our two latest additions to the Abraxian range, the "Nepenthe" and the "Atlas".

How does the creative process work in Abraxian? From ideas to the final product - what kind of tooling/manufacturing are you involved in?

We would start with a simple pen and paper (and a bit of imagination). We sketch out our designs and start from there. The next stage is to prototype the glass design. Our glassblowing team will begin with a piece of Borosilicate glass, the glass is clamped into a turning lathe which rotates the glass. Then they begin to subject the glass to extremely high temperatures in order to soften the glass and make it pliable using a large blowtorch. Once the glass is at the desired temperature - this is when the magic happens. Using their breathing they blow the glass, almost becoming one with the process.

When working with a tube style design such as our Elysian they must keep the pressure inside the tube consistent to stop the tube from simply collapsing into itself. This is achieved by putting rubber bungs in each end and maintaining a steady flow of air. It is quite an incredible art to watch.

Once the glass has been heated and shaped to the design, a small blow torch is brought out to add the details, i.e., the mouthpiece, the rush hole and female connection for the down stem. When they are happy with that, they will begin to shape the base. Depending on the design this can be a flat base such as the Elysian, or a conical base such as the Meraki. We blow a few sample units trying different variations here and there to make sure that the design looks great, and most importantly, smokes to the Abraxian standard.

Once we have locked down the design, we manufacture a couple of sample units that we give to our impartial testers. They will use the glass in their own settings and report to us on their experience. This is a great way to find and eliminate any possible oversights that we could have missed during the initial designs.

Once the design is the best it can be in both aesthetics and function, we will send the glass to our foam manufacture to have the tooling created for the protective foam insert that will sit in the box. After that, the glass is photographed and it is ready to hit the stores.

What does a typical day at the office look like?

Busy. But, always a lot of fun - it's certainly not your average nine to five! Every day there are new challenges, ideas, and always a lot of correspondence to catch up with. Whether we are taking orders, preparing orders, working with our marketers or discussing the latest designs, there is always plenty going on. The office is wall to wall with glass, new designs, old designs and crazy designs that we have deemed are a bit too much for the world... For now.

It's organized chaos, but we love it.

What are some of the biggest challenges in glassware manufacturing?

Glass is a tricky material to work with. It's extremely temperamental at times and can be a real challenge. You can finish a piece that looks fantastic, then on your last finishing touch we make one tiny mistake... and it's back to square one!

Your company's proudest moment?

The proudest moment for me was, without a doubt, the first time I was able to bring my closest friends together and unveil the first finished Abraxian piece. It was sitting beautifully in its clean black box, with the Abraxian logo embossed in gold across the top, and opening it up to display the glass with all its accessories cut into the soft foam. Seeing their faces stare with mouths open - this was worth all the hard work.

Could you share a great story involving the Abraxian brand? Customer success stories, manufacturing EUREKA moments - that kind of stuff.

One of my favorites was when a customer brought a glass piece from us. Several months after his purchase we received a very distraught call explaining that while cleaning his piece he had broken the down stem and was desperately seeking a replacement in time for the party he had been planning. He had invited his friends over for a get-together and was very upset that he might not have his Bong for the festivities. He explained he had been cleaning his glass in preparation as the party was the following day. We happily explained to him that through purchasing his Abraxian piece he was covered by the Abraxian legacy promise. This means that any glass accessories that get broken will be replaced free of charge. We immediately sent out his replacement, we tracked the parcel and were very happy to see the glass was delivered to him by noon the following day, meaning he had his glass in time for the party. The following day we received an ecstatic email thanking us profusely. Needless to say, it had been our pleasure.

How do you see the cannabis industry evolving in the next few years?

Being based in the UK, our government has made it very difficult. There has long been a stigma here around cannabis. I personally believe that through watching countries such as Canada, Uruguay, the Netherlands, and the certain US states things will begin to change. The stigma does seem to be fading away, we now know so much more about cannabis and the long-term effects. Governments that have either legalized or decriminalized cannabis have seen no major problems as a result and the money from cannabis tax brought in is simply incredible. In 2017 Colorado alone brought in over 200 million in tax on cannabis. That is quite remarkable.

I imagine that now the UK has begun to open the door to medicinal cannabis products this will begin to lower the stigma and hopefully at the very least open the debate regarding the recreational side of the market.

What are you hoping to achieve in those next few years?

We hope to establish the Abraxian brand as a true player in the glass industry. We are currently the only UK company doing what we do and we want to let the world know that the UK is here and we have a whole lot to give. As Mark Twain famously said: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog."

Are there any brands you look up to as a glassware manufacturer?

Absolutely, as a consumer I always loved glass shopping, looking at the new designs and brands on the scene! Brands like Roor, Gravlabs, G-spot, Illadelph... the list goes on. There are some truly fantastic glass brands out there with some hugely talented glassblowers.

What's in store for Abraxian customers in 2019? What should we look forward to?

2019 will see a huge expansion to the Abraxian range, we have so many new products planned, including new bongs, accessories, and pipes. 2019 is going to be a very exciting year and we can't wait to show you all what’s still to come.

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We want to thank Liam and the Abraxian team for this interview.

PS - If you really want to see this interview in its natural habitat (on our blog, with pics and all) then, by all means, click here

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