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Making Mr Cello

The cello is an instrument surrounded by myth: we speak to a maker and world-class musicians about bringing wood and strings to life

"You know when rock and roll bands smash up their guitars at the end of a set? You just couldn't do that with a cello. It's like a living thing. Your interaction with it influences how it sounds, its value, how open it is. It's deeply personal - even the way you hold it. And its form is like a human, isn't it?" Cellist and composer Lucinda Chua pulls her instrument closer protectively as she makes her case. “A piano is like a piece of furniture. String instruments are an extension of yourself.” "They're very temperamental", agrees Peter Gregson, whose compositions have landed in Hollywood films. “They travel so much you have to give them a name and a gender." He shows me pictures of Mr Cello Gregson, strapped into a window seat in economy with a multitude of belts. It's fairly comical. "But one of the benefits of modern instruments is in fact that they travel very well. They’re built ... More

How to have an eco-friendly adventure

Elvira Museri is a revolutionary, of sorts. Since 2008, she has coordinated a steady coup d'état of the tourism industry in Argentina, overthrowing the idea ... More

The secret art of pop-up books

Yunnan Province, or ‘the place south of the clouds’, is a southwestern region of China bordering Vietnam, Laos and Burma that’s home to over 25 ... More

Growing mushrooms, spreading hope

I was 11 years old when I discovered something that would change my entire life. That something was mushrooms. Orphaned at 7 and having had no background ... More

The seven steps of being in beta

My friend Angela’s restaurant was one of the first Detroit-style pizzerias in the south. The deep-dish, sauce-on-top pie garnered stellar reviews, and spawned a loyal ... More

Sailing the seas for a greener world

Sailor and scientist Lucy Gilliam travels the world by ship highlighting key environmental issues of our time

Aah, a life on the open seas. Adventures of discovery to far-flung destinations; watching the sun scatter its rays over a powerful ocean. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, of pirate movies and buccaneers - but environmental scientist Lucy Gilliam has made sailing the ocean waves her reality. I chat to Lucy on Skype and even through the screen, her passion for the sea, science and creating a greener world comes through. Lucy is helping drive a new movement, New Dawn Traders, which is championing sail as an alternative to engine power for global trading and addressing the thorny issue of environmental damage due to food miles. She’s also researching the extent of plastics and toxics in our seas, as well as working to promote women in science. From the city to the ocean With a BSc in Biological sciences and a PhD in Microbial Ecology and Soil Science, Lucy had a high-flying career at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) undertaking policy-forming research on endocrine disruptors (chemicals which can affect the hormone system) and advising ... More

Fake it ’til you make it

Say the words ‘copy’ and ‘China’ to Westerners today and most will think of Silk Alley counterfeits, Shenzhen knock-off factories, Guangdong sweatshops, or Nanjing’s legendary fake mall with its frontage of entirely bogus outlets such as Haagon-Bozs, Pizza Huh, Buckstar Coffee, KFG and McDnoalds: the brainchild of a property developer who wanted to create buzz around his new development. Not quite so amused by the knock-offs are the businesses, mostly in the West, who are losing money as a result of the estimated US$600 billion worth ... More

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