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The simple way you can show solidarity with the UK’s foreign-born population

One of the ugliest side effects of the UK’s decision to leave the EU last week has been a sharp increase in reported hate crimes.

Vote Leave’s campaign was tainted by accusations of racist dog-whistling: a poster unveiled by Ukip featuring an edited photograph of refugees came under particularly heavy criticism for its likeness to Nazi propaganda.

And sadly, as Tory MP Simon Hoare put it in the Commons yesterday, a “racism genie” appears to have been let out of the bottle as a consequence.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said on Monday there had been a 57 per cent rise in reports to an online hate crime reporting site between Thursday and Sunday compared to a month ago.

The majority of attacks appear to be aimed at immigrants, or people perceived to be immigrants, and are along the lines of “We voted Leave, you’re going home”.

Evidence of verbal and physical abuse uploaded to social media has shocked many of us – including Allison, an American woman living in London.

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The Polish Social and Cultural Association in West London was painted with graffiti calling on Poles to leave the UK. June 27, 2016 – REUTERS/NEIL HALL

Allison told indy100 she was dismayed by the outpouring of racist abuse following the Leave vote. But she’s also come up with a clever way to tackle it.

She’s started a new campaign asking people to wear an empty safety pin as a badge to symbolise solidarity against racism – and let any potential targets know that the wearer is a friendly face.

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The literal ‘safety’ pin is inspired by the ‘I’ll ride with you’ campaign against Islamophobia in Australia following the Sydney cafe shootings in 2014.

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A similar scheme in Toronto

While it got a lot of traction online, it was hard to translate the sentiment into real situations. Allison hopes the neutral, obvious safety pins will be a sure signal to anyone worried that there are allies around.

Hopefully anyone targeted by abuse, including British people of colour, can take some comfort from the idea, she added.

Hundreds of people have gotten on board with #safetypin so far, and Allison hopes that a real-world effect is starting to trickle through – but raising awareness is key.

Allison has contacted community centres such as mosques to let them know about the plan and is trying to get some big names to help – so far, Nadiya Hussein of the Great British Bake Off has provided a signal post with a retweet to her 95,000 followers.

“Thousands of people who voted both ways have been horrified by this,” she said. “Regular people need to know that they can do something small about it.”

If you are a victim of or witness hate speech, remember you can:

  • Challenge it, both on the street and online
  • Make a recording with photos or video with your phone
  • Check the victim is OK
  • Report it to the police

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Belarusians create naked workplaces

Belarusians take naked pictures in workplaces and show the images on the web. But what is behind this unusual action?

Belarus is lead by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko State, and when the president says something Belarusians follow him. In a recent example, the Belarusians take a statement made by Lukashenk to its naked core.

One has to “go forth and work” said Lukashenko. Then let one of the economy better soon. He probably meant something like “roll up their sleeves”. But this is above all the young Belarusians matter and they take their president literally. Under the hashtag “take it off at work” (# ????????????????????) people have been taking photos of themselves on social networks like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where they are naked at work. The currently high temperatures in Belarus make it easier to take part in the action.

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People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.

The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.

He and colleague Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now of New York University, have demonstrated again and again that people are self-delusional when it comes to their own intellectual skills. Whether the researchers are testing people’s ability to rate the funniness of jokes, the correctness of grammar, or even their own performance in a game of chess, the duo has found that people always assess their own performance as “above average” — even people who, when tested, actually perform at the very bottom of the pile. [Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It]

We’re just as undiscerning about the skills of others as about ourselves. “To the extent that you are incompetent, you are a worse judge of incompetence in other people,” Dunning said. In one study, the researchers asked students to grade quizzes that tested for grammar skill. “We found that students who had done worse on the test itself gave more inaccurate grades to other students.” Essentially, they didn’t recognize the correct answer even when they saw it.

The reason for this disconnect is simple: “If you have gaps in your knowledge in a given area, then you’re not in a position to assess your own gaps or the gaps of others,” Dunning said. Strangely though, in these experiments, people tend to readily and accurately agree on who the worst performers are, while failing to recognize the best performers.

The most incompetent among us serve as canaries in the coal mine signifying a larger quandary in the concept of democracy; truly ignorant people may be the worst judges of candidates and ideas, Dunning said, but we all suffer from a degree of blindness stemming from our own personal lack of expertise.

Mato Nagel, a sociologist in Germany, recently implemented Dunning and Kruger’s theories by computer-simulating a democratic election. In his mathematical model of the election, he assumed that voters’ own leadership skills were distributed on a bell curve — some were really good leaders, some, really bad, but most were mediocre — and that each voter was incapable of recognizing the leadership skills of a political candidate as being better than his or her own. When such an election was simulated, candidates whose leadership skills were only slightly better than average always won.

Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they “effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.”

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Elliott Smith Devo tribute band

Elliott Smith in a 1994 Devo tribute band

In the early ’90s, before Elliott Smith was nominated for an Oscar and Chris Slusarenko played in Guided by Voices, they were just some guys knocking around Portland’s independent rock scene. Smith had just released his first solo album and was still in a band called Heatmiser. Slusarenko performed in a band called Sprinkler with his brother, Nate.

In 1994, the folks behind legendary Portland venue The X-Ray Cafe decided to have a talent show for the local music scene. The Brothers Slusarenko, Smith, and two other local musician friends—Sam Coomes of Quasi and Crackerbash’s Sean Croghan—thought it would be a gas to enter as a Devo tribute band. So they did. And the result was downright excellent.

Twenty-two years after the fact, the video of the performance has finally been digitized, and Chris Slusarenko’s current band, Eyelids, has put it on their YouTube channel. Take 20 minutes and bask in its glory.

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What could Brexit mean for the UK Music Biz?

Culture secretary John Whittingdale has no doubt what Britain leaving the EU would mean for the UK’s music industry: absolutely nothing.

“We are the most extraordinarily creative nation on the planet,” he told a mix of music biz executives and politicians at a UK Music reception at the House Of Commons last week, “And that has nothing to do with whether or not we are in the European Union. The world may or may not be different [after the result]. But the one thing which I’m absolutely certain about is that British music will go on continuing to thrive.”

Not many music people in the room seemed to agree – and, indeed, his comments later prompted no less towering a political figure than Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai to brand him a “fucking moron” on social media.

More empirically, Music Week’s Twitter poll on whether a vote to Leave would be good or bad for the UK music industry came back with a resounding 91% saying it would be bad news.

Of course, the shocking death of pro-Remain MP Jo Cox puts any music-based issues into perspective. But, with the polls suggesting an Out victory is a distinct possibility, Music Week decided to take a cool, clear look at the actual implications of going it alone…

The most obvious area that could be affected is the live business. Any executive who was involved in the sector before Great Britain joined what was then the Common Market in 1973 has horror stories to tell of touring through Europe in the days before freedom of movement.

Back then, touring acts were required to carry a ‘carnet’ – a document listing their every piece of equipment that would be rigorously checked at each border – and visas were required to enter most European territories.

“Happy days,” sighs Rob Hallett, CEO of Robomagic. “Or were they? Anyone who has ever tried to go from the EU into Russia to perform will be having nightmares about six-hour border crossings with additional, expensive days off between shows in order to allow for possible delays.”

Whether that actually became the norm for UK artists would very much depend on the type of deal the UK government struck with the EU after its exit. Some in the live business privately believe it’s highly unlikely that anything would actually change, at least in the short term, but others warn that things could rapidly become very different.

“I think the live industry would be hit hard by the travel restrictions that will inevitably come with an EU exit,” says Hallett, who believes the current visa-free touring schedule would be replaced by the need to apply for a Schengen Visa, a document that allows you to enter most EU nations, that’s currently used by most US and non-European touring acts.

“This will hurt young developing acts the most,” he adds. “The extra paperwork and costs involved will be an obstacle that some simply won’t be able to transverse. For example, they will need to show proof of funds where fees are often cash on the night, or they rely on the T-shirt sales to get them through.

Will promoters in Europe even bother to book UK talent when there are great new acts locally that can be booked without the additional hassle?”

“For established artists it would simply add to their costs, but I doubt very much it would prevent them from touring,” agrees Tim Clark, director of IE:Music and manager of Robbie Williams, Passenger and many others. “Of course Robbie Williams can tour there, because he’s vastly and hugely popular.

But for many, many artists that are basically making a small amount of money or breaking even, the chances are that this would be the thing that finally pulls the plug on their live careers.”

And that’s just the start of the possible problems. Artists could be required to file tax returns in multiple countries when they play there, while VAT and excise duty might become due on the merchandise bands take into each country. And that’s before you factor in potentially soaring travel costs once the UK is free from EU economic regulation and if the pound – as seems likely – plummets against the Euro.

Then there’s the festival market: both for UK bands playing in Europe, and for European fans keen to visit our legendary events such as Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds.

“The festival market has developed as a truly European market and that is a great strength,” says Paul Reed, general manager of the Association Of Independent Festivals, “Especially when you consider the incredible festivals that have emerged aimed at Europe-wide audiences.

There is an argument that if Britain votes to leave the EU, it’s going to become more complicated to work across borders. We could also potentially see a reduction in music tourism, which generated £3.7bn for the UK economy in 2015, with a year-on-year increase of 16% in overseas tourists attending music events.”

Finding a music industry voice to speak publically in favour of Brexit is nigh-on impossible. But to play devil’s advocate: most of those restrictions and worse are in place in the US, and yet British music is thriving there.

Why would post-Brexit Europe be any different?

“British music is successful in America in spite of the barriers,” stresses Paul Pacifico, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition. “Those barriers are a real problem, particularly to young artists. The thousands of pounds that have to be spent on visas and the difficulty of touring in the US is a nightmare.

“We were successful in Europe before being part of it, but again [it was] in spite of the barriers. Plus, the barriers only seem to be one way. It costs thousands of dollars to get a US visa. It costs £20 to bring a US artist into Britain.

Are we saying we want to have a world like that with Europe?”

But if live music would face huge challenges after we left our European cousins, surely recorded music would be OK? Here, again, UK artists are thriving: labels body the BPI says that British music accounts for 17.4% of album sales in Europe’s six biggest markets after our own (Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain).

In an increasingly digital, borderless world, there’s surely nothing the Vote Leave brigade can do to scupper that, right?

Wrong, as it turns out. All our current copyright law has come from Europe and, with the EU currently reviewing its regulations in the light of the European Digital Single Market, an exit could either leave us out of step with new legislation or ending up bound by it without having been fully involved in the negotiations.

“Ninety per cent of our members said that we need to be around the table when those rules are agreed,” says Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI. “And we need to be able to influence them because otherwise we may end up with a set of rules which effectively exclude British labels in some way from free access to the European market. That would be a real concern.”

Of course, the UK government could draw up its own copyright legislation that would be hugely favourable to rights-holders. But detractors point out that European governments in general – and
French/German ones in particular – have always been keener to stand up to technology giants such as Google and Apple than our own decision-makers.

Meanwhile, industry sources privately concede that pan-European licensing – finally getting off the ground with initiatives such as PRS For Music/GEMA/STIM joint venture ICE – could go back to square one if UK copyright rules fall out of step with the rest of Europe. Taylor, meanwhile, raises the spectre of old fashioned trade barriers hitting British music exports.

“It’s possible we’d end up with tariffs on our exports,” he says. “And there could be other restrictions, such as cultural quotas on the amount of European music that needs to be played on radio stations or other services that could hold back our exports. There would be a greater incentive for protectionist behaviour against British music from Brussels and European countries if we’re not part of the single market.”

So far, so doomsday scenario. But, surely, there must be some positives to the UK leaving the EU? The wider business community certainly seems much more split than the music industry, with many smaller and entrepreneurial-type companies talking up the possibilities of less rigid taxation and less red tape.

“Flexibility on VAT could clear the way for the UK to reduce VAT on music as cultural goods, like books,” concedes Taylor. “But we don’t even know that’s what our government wants to do and, generally speaking, it hasn’t been in the business of reducing taxes on consumer consumption, because it wants the revenue.

Decisions might go against us just as much as they might go for us.”

And ultimately, that may be what has swayed the music industry so firmly behind Remain. With British music booming in Europe like rarely before, there is too much risk – and not enough opportunity – in changing for the music industry to ever see leaving Europe as a serious option.

“British music is succeeding tremendously well across the world,” concludes Taylor. “Now is not the time to take a risk with the economic background to that success. British labels create music for the whole world to enjoy and we don’t believe cutting ourselves off from our biggest export market makes any sense.

There’s a huge opportunity for continued growth in the digital era and we don’t want any barriers put in the way of that future growth.”

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DAVID LYNCH IS THROWING A VERY LYNCHIAN MUSIC & FILM FESTIVAL (AND IT’LL PROBABLY BE A WEIRD BLAST)

David Lynch is like our nation’s super-fun, super-weird uncle, and it’s high time that he decided to get involved with a music festival. To his credit, he’s not riding the coattails of an established festival but has started one up from scratch.

It’s called the Festival of Disruption, and it’s going to happen in downtown Los Angeles on October 8 and 9. Lynch has put together the kind of impressive lineup of guests that you can only muster if you’ve long since become Hollywood royalty (albeit in a surrealist sort of way).

The headliners are Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. Joining them will be St. Vincent, Questlove, and Rhye, as well as a performance of music from Twin Peaks involving Sky Ferreira, Xiu Xiu, and Lynch’s axiomatic composer Angelo Badalamenti.

There will also be “talks” with figures such as the stars of Lynch’s masterpiece Blue Velvet (Kyle MacLachlan & Laura Dern), Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and Mel Brooks, who was Lynch’s producer on The Elephant Man. There will also be screenings of Lynch’s films, daily Transcendental Meditation sessions, and more.

The venue is the Ace Theatre Hotel and Theatre, located at 929 South Broadway. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 24th at 10:00 a.m. PST. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the David Lynch Foundation, whose mission is reducing toxic stress and trauma among at-risk populations, including victims of domestic violence, veterans suffering from PTSD, and underserved urban youth, through the evidence-based Transcendental Meditation technique.

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The Absolute Tragedy Of Meeting The Love Of Your Life At The Wrong Time

Breakups are always hard because you have to mourn someone you loved and lost.

But, time heals everything, and eventually, you’ll meet someone else. Eventually, that former lover will become a distant memory.

But, this kind of breakup is not the same. This breakup happened with a person who, no matter what you do, you cannot get over.

Not a day goes by that this person doesn’t cross your mind and your heart feels heavy.

It’s usually because the relationship is unfinished. But, you can’t tell yourself that, and you certainly can’t believe it because it will literally drive you mad.

So instead, you tell yourself you are fine, and that you can move on. You get pretty close to fooling yourself.

That is, until you hear that song, see that photo, yearn to share something or wake up thinking about him or her.

Then you are right back to square one.

There are so many people who come in and out of your life. Some you date briefly and never give a second thought to, and some you like a lot, but it doesn’t work out.

Then, there are some who crush you, who take months to get over.

But this is different; this is the feeling you get when you know something has to end right now but isn’t over for good.

You can’t just say, “I wish you the best” and move on. You can’t end that chapter because you know you can’t quit them. Not yet, and maybe not ever.

And then, you are thrust into what I like to call “love purgatory.”

It’s a place where you know who the love of your life is, but you aren’t currently together.

Maybe you dated briefly, maybe you had a full-fledged relationship or maybe, you have never been officially together.

The connection with this person is so real and strong and magnetic that you are constantly pulled back. The relationship hasn’t reached its potential yet, so it can’t be over.

In fact, this might be the person you end up with. But, you aren’t together now because of timing, schedules, missed opportunities or blah, blah, blah.

So, you sit in love purgatory, just biding your time until you can both find each other again.

You don’t just sit around and listen to sad music and wait though.

You find distractions and push away what you feel in order to be a sane enough human being to function in life.

You meet other amazing, beautiful people with whom you want to work things out, but it never happens because something is off. He or she just isn’t _____ (fill in the blank with your person).

“She’s not Rachel,” is the famous line from “Friends.”

Although, it actually went more like, “She’s not Rachem,” for laughs. And, that is what this person, who has kept you in love purgatory, makes you feel; no one can ever compare.

Because when you know, you know. That connection comes around once, maybe twice, in a lifetime.

Your friends think you’re crazy, and you yourself feel crazy. Why, in a world full of billions of other people, are you allowing one to keep holding you back. You can’t answer that question.

“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” — Blaise Pascal
Some people meet someone, date, fall in love and live happily ever after.

Many others are not quite so fortunate. Some of us have to fight, breakup, makeup and go through hell with our person until it finally works out.

Maybe the problem is, again, timing. Maybe you have to learn and grow more before you can settle down.

Whatever the problem is, you know that eventually, the two of you will find each other again.

Because like Ross and Rachel, Carrie and Mr. Big, Allie and Noah and all the great love stories from movies and television, there are just some people who you can’t let go of and never will.

But, until you find your way back, you miserably sit in love purgatory, hoping to find someone or something to keep you occupied long enough to not self-destruct.

Some people will be outraged about this and think, “This is not how love is supposed to be,” or, “If you were mature about love it wouldn’t be this hard.”

But I beg to disagree, and would counter with, “How do you know?” Just because things were easy for you doesn’t mean they will be easier for everyone else.

People are very complicated and love is sometimes messy.

If it’s not that way for you, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means your path was easier.

For those of us currently in love purgatory, we will one day be with our person, too.

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How to Win on Linkedin

How to Win on Linkedin

From titivating your title to using scroll-stopping profile photos, here’s how to get the most out of your account
Last week, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion, marking the third-largest acquisition in tech industry history.

With 433 million members (and two new members joining every second), LinkedIn is the business world’s go-to social networking site. How people use it though, could be refined, said Enterprise Relationship Manager at LinkedIn Kristi Falzon. Ahead of her Soho House Chicago event, she shares ways to maximize your presence on the site.

Choose a killer photo. If your profile has a picture it’s seven times more likely to get viewed than if it doesn’t have one. You want to make sure it’s professional — but it doesn’t have to be a stiff, suited-up and posed picture. Make sure you choose something that still displays your creativity and personality.

Don’t tie yourself to your job title. Along with your photo, the headline is the most important element of your LinkedIn profile. Your headline should be something you create to promote your personal and professional brand. For example, instead of mine saying “Enterprise Relationship Manager” (My job title at LinkedIn) it reads “Helping Companies Connect with Top Talent.”

Use specifics. If you’re on the job hunt, make sure that you know exactly what type of role you’re interested in and be specific about defining that. On the flipside, make sure your profile reflects skills pertinent to the jobs you’re applying to. The number one activity on LinkedIn is viewing other people’s profiles, so members need to make sure theirs are up-to-date and written in a way that will grab people’s attention.

Do your research. I often tell people to make sure that when they message people on the site — whether it be for a job, an introduction, or an opportunity to connect — that they take the time to research the person’s profile they are trying to connect with. When the person receiving the message sees that the person reaching out to them took the time to personalize their message, the more likely they are to respond.

Learn to love (and use) the newsfeed. A lot of people assume that LinkedIn is only there to help them find a job, and don’t realize it’s also great for reading articles and content that others have posted. Our site actually has more content than the Wall Street Journal! Start by following influencers who curate and publish content through LinkedIn: I’d recommend Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Mark Cuban.

Don’t just connect; follow. Follow companies that you are interested in — whether as a user or as a prospective employee. Not only does following companies enable you to learn more about them, but these companies can also see that you’re following them, enabling them to reach out to you with a targeted message.

Go mobile. Our mobile traffic now makes up about 52% of the site traffic; so you’ll want to make sure your profile reads well on a smartphone as well as a web browser. Download one of our apps based on what you’re trying to accomplish. There’s the basic LinkedIn app with everything in one place, LinkedIn Job Search for browsing and applying to job opps, or LinkedIn Lookup, which helps you find your colleague’s information in seconds, even if they’re not on LinkedIn.

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Increase your productivity and brain size with these fitness tips

Increase your productivity and brain size with these fitness tips
Increase your productivity and brain size with these fitness tips

A study had people exercise for one hour per day for three days per week, finding an increase in the size of the hippocampus over six months. Here, Vincent shares his tips to maximise the effect of exercise on the brain:

1. GO FOR CARDIO
Studies have shown that 30 minutes of steady-state cardio has the best effect on releasing BDNF. Out of all workouts, cardio has the best and longest lasting effect on the brain — and can actually increase the size of certain parts of the brain itself.
Try this: start with 30 minutes of cardio, three times a week. This can be anything from a brisk walk, to jogging, biking or rowing.

2. MIX IN EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU THINK
Exercise that also cognitively challenges you — like agility footwork or dance — is thought to amplify the effect of exercise on your concentration. It’s good for the brain to have to try and figure things out while you are exercising. These don’t have to be complex calculus questions, but can be things like catching or hitting a ball (where you have to judge, speed, direction and body positioning) or doing drills on an agility ladder.
Try this: build your own circuit with a mixture of box jumps, jump rope and burpees, which keep your heart rate elevated and your mind focused.

3. TIME YOUR WORKOUTS ACCORDINGLY
The brain-boosting effect can last up to 52-minutes post-exercise, so the best time to exercise is right before you need that extra jolt of brain power.
Try this: exercising right before a big meeting or important call is ideal. During a regular workday, exercising on your lunch break is a great way to get a boost of mid-day brainpower.

4. REDUCE STRESS BY MEDITATING
Try doing an active mediation while you exercise. This is shown to reduce stress, which is very important for brain activity, since stress hormones like cortisol hinder focus and brain output.
Try this: focus on your exhalations by forcing air out through your breath. Push it one step further by attaching an emotion to your exhalations and breathing it out forcefully.

5. AVOID FOODS THAT SLOW YOU DOWN – MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY
There are certain foods that have a dampening effect on the brain, like sugar, which can raise and crash your blood sugar levels. Highly fatty foods can also make you sluggish as well.
Eat this: clean and healthy foods like dark leafy greens or colourful vegetables like beets, carrots and yellow peppers.

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“Cannibal” Rat-infested ghost ship drifts to Ireland

In happier times, the MV Lyubov Orlova was a pleasure ship, a cruiser accustomed to taking well-heeled Russian holidaymakers on adventure tours around the Arctic. Today, that same 295ft (90m) ship is bobbing off the coast of Ireland, its only passengers a horde of disease-ridden rats.

The trouble for the ship began last February. Set for the breakers yard, it was being towed from Canada to the Dominican Republic by an American-owned tug. A day into the journey, however, the line between the vessels broke. The tug tried to reconnect it, but was hampered by 60km/h winds. It withdrew and the Orlova was left crewless and adrift.

The Canadian authorities, worried that the ship might collide with its offshore oil wells, sent another, larger boat that caught hold of the stricken vessel. It did not take it to port, however. Instead, it towed the Orlova beyond Canadian waters and let it drift out to sea.

Its lonely journey has now run to 12 months and as many as 2000 nautical miles (3700km). The ship, having crossed the Atlantic, is now supposedly on Ireland’s doorstep.

Unsurprisingly, the Irish Coast Guard is unenthusiastic about the situation. “We don’t want rats from foreign ships coming on to Irish soil,” the director of the Irish maritime agency told the Irish Independent.

There is not a great deal that can be done to prevent the rats from establishing a beachhead, however, as the ship has no location-finding devices on board and no one knows where it is exactly. Gemma Wilkie, a spokesman for the British Chamber of Shipping, points out that the situation is about as uncertain as it gets. “Clearly, the coastguard involved was vigilant in carrying out a search in response to the radar results showing an object of similar size off the Scottish coast – although as yet there has been no confirmed sighting of the ship in UK waters,” she says.

Although the maritime authorities do not welcome such floating hazards, they are relatively sanguine about them. John Murray, the maritime director of the International Chamber of Shipping, says the chance of a collision with another ship is low. “Navigation warnings from other vessels and radar usually ensure they are spotted from quite a distance away. Ships navigate around them.”

Still, the notion of a phantom vessel is discomfiting. The most famous example is the Mary Celeste, the 100ft brigantine found floating, crewless but well-provisioned, in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872. Phantom ships are certainly an eerie spectacle but the chances, for most of us, of ever being visited by a ghost ship are slim to none.

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