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April 21, 2018

The 9 most important things in the new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer

It’s one of the most anticipated games of 2015, and the latest instalment of the Arkham series of Batman games from Rocksteady studios – Batman: Arkham Knight, has a new trailer.

Once your excitement has died down a little bit, here are the nine most important things we spotted in the new teaser.

1. All the bad guys

Harley Quinn, Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow… they’re all back. And from what the narration tells us they’re teaming up to finish off the Dark Knight and his beloved Gotham once and for all.

2. Scarecrow’s accomplice

One of the first shots we see of Scarecrow – who appears to be the central villain this time around – sees him with a fairly kitted out accomplice. Who could that be? Azrael – the mysterious figure from Arkham City who told Batman they would meet again? In Gotham lore Azrael transforms from villain to hero, so could this be a major story arc in Arkham Knight?

3. Jetpacks

Arkham Knight looks like it may pose Batman some new threats, and one of those is the always awkward bad-guy-with-jetpack-carrying-machine-gun threat. Good luck, Bruce.

4. Poison Ivy is our narrator

In one of those inexplicable moments of exposition, we discover that the narrator for the early part of the trailer was Poison Ivy, who seems to be filling in Batman on what Scarecrow and co are up to.

5. Scarecrow is tech-ed up

We also get a flash of what appears to be some sort of exo-skeleton Scarecrow is wearing. It looks to be a way of quickly administering his Fear Toxin. Either that or he wants a part in the next Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

6. Gotham looks stunning – but abandoned by most

The Gotham City in Arkham Knight is one ravaged by fear. Scarecrow and his cronies appear to have taken control of it, with only the Gotham Police Department and Batman sticking around, with the rest of the city’s residents having wisely chosen to evacuate. It still looks gorgeous though.

7. Jim Gordon

Of course the fearless police commissioner is still on the scene, leading Gotham’s beleaguered police force against the criminal underworld.

8. Big takedowns are still central to gameplay

The bulk of the in-game action we see revolves around the trademark takedowns and combat moves that have made this franchise so playable in the past. That is most definitely still the case here, with plenty of combo attacks on show.

9. The Batmobile

We already knew that Arkham Knight marked the debut of the Batmobile as a playable part of the game, and we see another flash of a chase here. But more strikingly, we see the Batmobile providing ‘assists’ to Batman during combat scenes – stunning enemies in mid-air to finish them off. Now that is some combination.

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The 9 most important things in the new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer

Teens create 'goatscaping' venture to clear park's poison ivy

A group of Boston teens are monitoring a team of goats to clean up poison ivy in a city park. (Sourece: WCVB/CNN)A group of Boston teens are monitoring a team of goats to clean up poison ivy in a city park. (Sourece: WCVB/CNN)

BOSTON (WCVB/CNN) – Boston is enlisting the aid of some four-legged helpers to combat the city’s nastiest weed problems.

They’re out to make Boston a nicer place to live, one chomp at a time.

“We actually have goats right now at this very moment eating poison ivy and hopefully this will open up this space to be more accessible green area,” interim parks Commissioner Chris Cook said.

“Goatscaping” is underway by the Neponset River in Hyde Park. It’s an area Boston city maintenance groups and volunteers can’t access because it’s overrun by poison ivy.

Apparently the poison ivy is a delicacy for the four goats who just arrived to the park. The “goatscaping” will go on for eight weeks, and they have a lot of work to do.

Grant money will cover the $3,000 costs, and teens in the Hyde Park Green Team helped convince Boston’s mayor it was a good idea.

“We proposed our idea of having goats and he thought it was pretty cool b/c it was the first time in Boston,” Jolanda Douyon of the Hyde Park Green Team said.

The Green Team will help care for the four-legged helpers during their stay at the West Street Urban Wild.

“The ‘goatscaping’ company will fence in a half-acre at a time with an electrified fence that is solar powered. It’s not harmful to humans. It’s really meant to keep coyotes out and goats in,” said Patricia Alverez of Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation.

The city says it’s fine for the public to view the goats, but don’t pet them – they’re covered in poison ivy oils.

According to the Boston Globe, the $2,800 cost to rent the goats is being covered by grants.

Copyright 2014 WCVB via CNN. All rights reserved.

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Teens create 'goatscaping' venture to clear park's poison ivy

Boston Enlists Goats To Combat Poison Ivy

BOSTON — Boston is enlisting goats to combat poison ivy and other invasive plants in a city park.

On Wednesday, four goats began their eight-week stay at an “urban wild” along the Neponset River in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

The goats are expected to feed on poison ivy, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, and other invasive plant species.

Mayor Martin Walsh’s administration says the public can view the goats, which will be housed behind a low-voltage, solar-powered electric fence to keep coyotes out. But city officials warn visitors should not pet the animals since they will likely have poison ivy oils on their fur.

The city says “goatscaping” is currently used on Boston’s Harbor Islands as well as in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

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Boston Enlists Goats To Combat Poison Ivy

Bollywood Veggies – Singapore's very own farm and countryside


A Guide to Bollywood Veggies

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1513-Copy.JPGBollywood Veggies

This week, as part of our Singapore exploration series, we’ve made the trip the Bollywood Veggies to see if its worth the visit for Singaporeans.

With the daily hustle and bustle of city life in Singapore, we often lament on the lack of weekend getaway spots in Singapore where we can just unwind and recharge ourselves. Well, wonder no more, for we are here to introduce a potential hidden gem nestled in the Kranji countryside, surrounded by fresh air as well as various tangibles and intangibles that can’t be found back in the city.

About Bollywood Veggies

Bollywood Veggies is a sanctuary away from the bustle of the Little Red Dot. Set in the rustic environment of the Northwest Kranji countryside, visiting is a step back to Singapore’s lush history.

This haven was started by Mrs. Ivy Singh-Lim and Mr. Lim Ho Seng, two people who worked in the corporate world for many years. Instead of retiring, they decided to invest in farming. With the help of then Minister of State for National Development Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, these two farm-preneurs realised their vision of life on a functioning farm in Singapore. In 2000, their 10-acre farm opened its gates to the public.

The name “Bollywood” comes from Ivy’s heritage and her love of singing and dancing. Over the years, the farm has evolved into a successful attraction, with more than 100 varieties of plants being grown on the farm, including native fruits that are rarely used in popular foods today. Here’s a fun fact: Bollywood Veggies is the largest producer of bananas in Singapore, and they have a large variety of bananas which is hard to find elsewhere.

Exploring Bollywood Veggies

We were greeted by cheerful staff and vibrant greenery all around the moment we entered. An interesting note is how the couple has made a point to hire many special and disadvantaged people, especially local Singaporeans, to help them operate the farm and bistro. They wanted to help provide them with work opportunities.

I had the chance to meet one of the warriors, May, who welcomed us at the entrance and introduced us to the place. May also has her own pushcart where she sells farm produce and little handmade trinkets made by her, so do support her if you pass by her cart!

The farm is run using sustainable methods with no pesticides nor fertilizers used on site, effectively making it an organic, planet-friendly operation. It makes use of resource-saving techniques such as rain-collection ponds, irrigation canals and chemical-free agriculture.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1520-Copy.JPGOne of the structures at the entranceOne of the structures at the entrance welcoming us in.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1522-Copy.JPGSignboard-1b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1654-Copy.JPGSignboard-2

I like how there were little wooden signboards with nice messages around the farm, giving the place a sense of positivity and vibrancy. The whole place was very peaceful and quiet, which added to the pleasant atmosphere of the farm.

We visited the farm on the day it finally rained after Singapore’s longest dry spell. I’m sure the rain was a huge respite from the unrelenting heat for both us humans and the plants. The cooling weather made our little tour much more enjoyable.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1542-Copy.JPGA small brinjalA small brinjal.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1543-Copy.JPGPai-TsaiI’m not a big fan of Pai-Tsai but these looked so fresh and yummy that I felt so tempted to munch them raw.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1548-Copy.JPGHuge limeI’ve never seen a lime so huge before!

One aspect that I love about Bollywood Veggies is how they impart educational titbits about their farm and produce in a fun and natural way. Or maybe it’s just me, since I’m severely lacking in the botanical knowledge department, but I learnt a lot of things which I never knew about before my trip to Bollywood Veggies.

They’ll probably make a good excursion spot for students who can learn more about farming and conservation in a real farming environment. It will also be a refreshing spot for parents who want to take their children on an educational trip or to let their children get up close with botanical nature.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1552-Copy.JPGA pineapple.JPGLearning the process of how a pineapple grows.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1568-Copy.JPGTiny starfruitsTiny starfruits which look kind of cute.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1570-Copy.JPGA cocoa fruitI know about Cocoa seeds but never knew its fruit looked like this! b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1586-Copy.JPGSugarcanesb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1530-Copy.JPGAloe vera plantb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1555-Copy.JPGSpot the animalCan you spot an animal in the picture above?b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1558-Copy.JPGHere it is!
Here it is!

The farm also had a myriad flowers blooming, adding colour and vibrancy to the lush greenery.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1526-Copy.JPGPurple flowersb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1587-Copy.JPGJapanese Ixorasb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1598-Copy.JPGWhite flower
Other than the usual flora and fauna, I spotted a few trees with interesting names too.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1608-Copy.JPGHere it is!b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1615-Copy.JPGDrumstick Tree

I am not sure what these trees are, but a drumstick tree sounds extremely appetising to me. Seeing this tree reminded me of my growling stomach, so we decided to check out the Poison Ivy bistro.b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1668-Copy.JPGThe menuIt was nearing closing time by the time we visited the place, so we decided to only get some finger food and drinks. I got the Aloe Vera drink, which was really refreshing with huge chunks of aloe vera from their very own farm.

Poison Ivy offers healthy, delicious and filling dishes which are suitable for friends and families. The next time I come back here, I’m definitely going to try their famous Warrior’s Platter! You also definitely want to order the Jackfruit Lemak which was featured in our list of Best Singaporean dishes to eat in 2014.

Bollywood Veggies Verdict

If Singapore ever had a countryside, this would be it. Bollywood Veggies provides a much-needed respite for people who are jaded by the mundane cycle of work-life back in the city. It provides a great opportunity to see a fresh side of the island, and enables people to rejuvenate their senses, connect with their friends and family, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Other than Bollywood Veggies, people can also visit the other farms in the vicinity, which is a refreshing change from facing the usual modern and minimalist concrete buildings in the city. The personality and charm of these places is something that is hard to find elsewhere in Singapore.

So go on, visit these places for a feel of natural beauty and warmth which exists right in Singapore’s own backyard.

Bollywood Veggies Address

Address: 100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Tel: +65 6898 5001
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun & PH, 9.00AM-6.30PM

How To Get There: Either drive there or take the shuttle bus form Kranji MRT Station. Details of the shuttle bus can be found here. Taking public transport is not advised as the bus stop is a long walk away.

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Bollywood Veggies – Singapore's very own farm and countryside

ORRIN MORRIS: Jewelweed can reduce itch caused by poison ivy

JEWELWEED Impatiens capensis

JEWELWEED Impatiens capensis

The announcement that the Messiah was born was made to a group of shepherds. If the story was fictional, the writer would certainly not have chosen the angelic announcement to be given to shepherds. Surely he would have chosen a group of religious leaders like priests or pharisees. On a less lofty level one might have chosen the text copiers, or scribes.

The choice of shepherds vindicates the authenticity of the Scriptural account since they were not the logical choice from a human perspective.

Furthermore, they were the most likely to be free from the hustle and bustle of city and farm chores and thus likely to pay attention to the angelic proclamation.

Finally, since they were among the least of occupations, the wording of the announcement struck an important note to their hearing.

The angels said, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10 KJV).” To all people, including the lowly shepherds. Indeed, the coming of the Messiah brings great joy and that joy is for all people.

JEWELWEED

Impatiens capensis

Jewelweed is a plant which has a name that is descriptive of its shape. The name has two possible origins, both from its appearance.

First, the blooms hang from the branch on slim stems, called pedicels, reminding one of a jewelry pendant. Second, one botanist noted that the leaves are “heavily glaucous,” thus repelling water. In a light rain, the droplets that don’t roll off glisten like tiny jewels.

Jewelweed thrives in moist places. This 3 to 6 feet tall plant appears as early as May and blooms until frost unless an extended dry spell kills it. The blooms in our area tend to be orangish-yellow with small brown spots. In the north Georgia mountains I have seen reddish-orange Jewelweeds.

The bloom is trumpet shaped with three lips. At the back is a curved spur.

A second name for jewelweed is touch-me-not. After pollination, the seed pod slowly forms with five sections. When it matures the slightest touch makes the case explode, projecting the seeds in all directions.

This plant has been a source of yellow dye since colonial times. The herbalist, Euell Gibbons, championed the juice for reducing the itch of poison ivy.

Our ancestors learned the value of jewelweed from American Indians throughout the Eastern tribes. They used it for a skin salve, treating athletes foot and fungi problems. One Delaware tribe made a poultice for wounds, according to Jack Sanders in his book, “Hedgemaids and Fairy Candles, The Lives and Lore of North American Wildflowers.”

May the good tidings of great joy be delivered to your family and community by your activities during this Advent season.

May the good tidings of this season be evident in all you do and say this holiday and throughout the coming year.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center St. in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.

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ORRIN MORRIS: Jewelweed can reduce itch caused by poison ivy

Pointers for preventing, treating poison ivy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Itching to know more about poison ivy? It’s the most common allergy with two out of three people being allergic to it.

For most of us, the rash occurs after we’ve been exposed to poison ivy at least once before in our lives.

Bruce Chladny of K-State Extension in Wyandotte County reminds us that the old adage, “Leaves of three, let it be,” definitely holds true.

“Not to confuse it with the five leaves of Virginia creeper. When you look at the plant, there’s three leaflets and that means it’s not good to touch,” says Chladny.

The rash ia an allergic reaction to the oil in the plant.

“So when the oil comes from the plant onto your skin, it gets into your skin and your body has that allergic reaction. It could either be through exposure as you walk through the garden…could be from touching a tool or some sort of machinery or something like that that had been in an infested areas.  Or off of pets,” says Chladny.

If you think you’ve been exposed to poison ivy, use soap and cold water quickly to remove the oil from the skin. Chladny says it’s important to use cold water because it keeps the pores of the skin closed.

You can’t get poison ivy from another person’s blister fluid. But Chladny says if there’s residual oil on someone’s skin and you touch that, you could get a rash.

To show you how powerful the oil is, five hundred people could itch just from the oil covering the head of a pin.

So how do you treat poison ivy? An over-the counter corticosteroid cream, calamine lotion, a cool bath with oatmeal or cool wet compresses. You may also want to try an antihistimine such as Benedryl to help you sleep.

See your doctor if the rash is widespread or on your face, if the blisters are oozing badly, or if the rash isn’t better after a few weeks.

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Pointers for preventing, treating poison ivy

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