HiQora brings together Mensa’s smartest world champions

Sainyam Cautam, a contestant in the HiQora High IQ World Championships, tried to keep knocking a ping pon ball over a wooden bar without it falling to the ground.

Sainyam Cautam of India, a contestant in the HiQora High IQ World Championships, tried to keep knocking a ping pon ball over a wooden bar without it falling to the ground.


SAN DIEGO — In a corner of the spacious meeting room stands a wooden bar, roughly shoulder length in height, next to a table with ping pong balls and paddles.
In the moments before the start of the competition, Nick Sanford noted that the concept behind this station was fairly simple — although not necessarily easy to accomplish.
“All they have to do,” he said, “is knock a ping pong ball over the bar for 10 minutes. It sounds very simple — until you’ve tried to do it.”
Indeed, one of the contestants, Sainyam Cautam of India, was soon practicing his moves in the minutes before the competition started. He then had 10 minutes to see how consistently he could knock the ball over the bar, then hit it back onto the other side, then back again … without missing. As the minutes went by, he got faster and faster, and his timing improved considerably. From the smile on his face, he even seemed to be enjoying it.
The event was HiQora, the High IQ World Championships 2016 sponsored by the organization American Mensa, which is made up of people across the globe in the top 1 percentile of high intelligence. The championship was held during Mensa’s Annual Gathering 2016, at the Town & Country Inn in San Diego. Continue reading

Orlando tourism economy will survive Pulse attack, economics professor says

This memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre was set up at Orlando's Lake Eola Park. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

This memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre was set up at Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. (Photo by Michael Freeman).


ORLANDO – Central Florida’s very strong tourism economy is likely to recover from the terrorist attack at a gay nightclub near downtown Orlando, said an expert on state and national economic trends.
Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, said its likely most visitors will see the attack on the Pulse nightclub as a one-time event, horrific as it was, and not necessarily as something likely to be repeated.
The same is true, he said, even though it happened two days after the shooting death of a singer from “The Voice,” and one day before a toddler was killed by an alligator at a Walt Disney World hotel.
“I think that is unique,” Snaith said, “although I’m not convinced that visitors or potential visitors sort of link those together in a chain, that it defines the nature of our region. I think they’re all sort of very different – and unlikely to be repeated.”
The three incidents received worldwide press attention, with heavy coverage on local, national and cable news programs. But despite that coverage and often graphic video footage of the aftermath of the Pulse attack, Snaith said he does not expect tourists to suddenly assume Orlando is no longer a safe city to visit.
“You think, of course, of the terror attack at Pulse,” he said. “That’s a pretty difficult event for Orlando to process, perhaps more so for the residents than the visitors, and the toddler at Disney is just such a freak event. It’s not that suddenly everyone thinks if they go to Disney they will be attacked by an alligator. There may be some short term impacts from these events, but by and large I don’t think it’s going to have an impact long term.” Continue reading

UCF researchers working on virtual preservation in New York

The TWA Flight Center at Kennedy Airport in New York is going to be the subject of a virtual preservation effort by researchers at the University of Central Florida.

The TWA Flight Center at Kennedy Airport in New York is going to be the subject of a virtual preservation effort by researchers at the University of Central Florida.


ORLANDO — It was in 1962 when the Trans World Flight Center opened as the original terminal designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen for Trans World Airlines at New York City’s Kennedy International Airport. There have been changes to the structure over the years — some portions of the complex got demolished, and there are have renovations to other sections.
But its historic significance is not in doubt, and in 1994 the City of New York designated both the interiors and the exteriors of the terminal a historic landmark, while in 2005 the National Park Service listed the TWA Flight Center on the National Register of Historic Places. Such is the building’s impressive style that director Steven Spielberg used it in his 2002 movie “Catch Me if You Can.” Continue reading

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