We always knew the guys from Vulfpeck were nerdy, but this is a whole new level. In a new video made by Jay Harrison, an instrument called an Electromechanical Lithophone is programmed to flawlessly perform Vulfpeck’s track “It Gets Funkier.”A lithophone is a percussion based instrument made out of rocks, the surface of which can be struck to produce a sound. Lithophones are analogous to xylophones, though xylophones are often made of metal. In this case, the striking is done by a robotic machine, and the surfaces are designed specifically to match various musical tones. The result is some Vulfpeck funk like you’ve never heard before.Watch the Electromechanical Lithophone at work in the video below!
Members of three unions representing steelworkers have voted in favour of closing the British Steel Pension Scheme to future accrual.The vote was the first step in what the scheme’s trustees hope is a restructuring of benefits in order to stay out of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: “This result provides a clear mandate from our members to move forward in our discussions with Tata and find a sustainable solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme.“Steelworkers have taken a tough decision and have shown they are determined to safeguard jobs and secure the long-term future of steelmaking. Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the BSPS from free-falling into the PPF.” In other news, researchers have claimed a post-Brexit fall in immigration could require a significant increase in the UK’s state pension age for younger workers.Consultancy firm Hymans Robertson calculated that workers under the age of 40 could see their state pension age increase by 18 months if the UK’s exit from the European Union led to a decline in non-UK workers arriving in the country.Currently, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates that there are 305 pensioners for every 1,000 workers. This is expected to reach 360 by 2050 under current (pre-referendum) estimations.Jon Hatchett, partner and head of corporate consulting at Hymans Robertson, said: “If migration does fall, so too will the number of workers to support the increasing numbers of people of pensionable age. Undoubtedly this will put pressure on the affordability of the state pension, and as a result the age at which you can claim it.”Starting in December next year, the government will begin gradually raising the age at which men and women can claim the state pension, with a view to reaching 67 by 2028.Meanwhile, the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) have called for a range of measures to protect individual savers from pension scams.Since former chancellor George Osborne scrapped the requirement for all retirees to buy an annuity with their defined contribution pensions, there has been a surge in scams such as so-called ‘pension liberation’ fraud. The government is now consulting on how best to protect consumers from being swindled.Andrew Warwick-Thompson, executive director at TPR, said unsolicited calls should be banned outright, as should email and text message campaigns.“An outright ban on pension cold calls would send a powerful message to all pension savers – ‘A cold call about your pension will be from a criminal. Just hang up!’” he wrote in a blog post.Warwick-Thompson also recommended limiting the types of schemes that savers can transfer their money to.“I favour a restriction of a member’s right to a statutory transfer to transfer requests to either an authorised master trust or an FCA regulated product,” he said.This would include a ban on transfers to small self-administered schemes (SSAS), which are largely unregulated and often have fewer than 10 members.The PLSA largely agreed with Warwick-Thompson. It proposed an authorisation regime for schemes with fewer than 100 members requiring them to appoint an independent professional trustee.Elsewhere, the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee has signed the “Global Statement on Investor Obligations and Duties” set out by the United Nations’ (UN) Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative. It is also backed by Generation Investment Management, an initiative launched by former US vice president Al Gore.The £5.8bn (€6.8bn) fund for local government workers joins 116 other investor signatories from 18 countries, including AP3 and AP4 from Sweden, Germany’s BVK, and the New Zealand Superannuation fund.On the corporate side, the PPF reported that the combined deficit of UK defined benefit schemes fell to £196.5bn at the end of January, from £223.9bn at the end of December 2016.Compared with a year ago, the aggregate funding ratio has improved from 82% to 88%. This includes a change to the PPF’s calculations, which came into effect in December.Finally, members of workers’ union Unite have voted in favour of reforms to the pension fund for employees of the Isle of Man government.Members of the Government Unified Pension Scheme, established in 2011, will see contributions increase by 2.5 percentage points to 7.5%, while benefits will be reduced by 6%. The changes will take effect from March 1.
Prolific striker Alex Morgan netted five goals as United States began their Women’s World Cup defense in style with a record-breaking 13-0 rout of Thailand in Reims on Tuesday.The reigning champions had to wait five days to start their campaign but produced an ominous performance that doubled as the biggest win in tournament history, surpassing Germany’s 11-0 trouncing of Argentina in 2007. Morgan took her goal tally at international level to 106 with her well-taken haul, while Samantha Mewis added a double and was involved in setting up another two goals.Jill Ellis’ side had the three points in the bag with a 3-0 lead at halftime but impressively did not let up after the break against a Thailand side that was well and truly out of its depth, the second half ending in truly embarrassing fashion for the underdogs.5 – Alex Morgan is the second player in #FIFAWWC history to score five goals in a single game, doing so 27 years and 199 days after fellow @USWNT international Michelle Akers managed this feat against Chinese Taipei in November 1991. Decimated. pic.twitter.com/kkl7kay7Rz— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2019An offside decision cost Morgan a fifth-minute opener but the forward would not be denied, nodding in Kelley O’Hara’s dinked cross with aplomb to open the scoring.Morgan was involved in the second goal, too, playing a neat one-two with Rose Lavelle before the latter produced a 20-yard effort that Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying could only fumble into the back of the net.Lindsey Horan got her side’s third, reacting quickest to a goalmouth scramble to fire into the roof of the net, and only an incredible sequence of play — featuring a host of last-gasp blocks, a smart Chor Charoenying save and a penalty appeal — kept the margin to three at the break.The floodgates opened early in the second half, though, as a hapless Thailand side conceded four goals in a six-minute period.Mewis started things, getting the goal her terrific performance deserved with a deflected effort, before Morgan prodded home the fifth at the far post.Mewis then made it six goals in her last five appearances for the national team when she pounced on a loose ball and soon turned provider as Lavelle swept in a cross. Morgan’s hat trick effort was a stylish goal, with quick feet winning her the space to fire in an excellent 15-yard finish, and Megan Rapinoe then finished smartly to end a fastbreak in style.A fourth goal was to follow for Morgan, who rounded off her brilliant night with a fiercely hit fifth after Mallory Pugh had got on the scoresheet. Carli Lloyd capped off the night with the final goal in injury time, a three-minute period that must have felt like three hours for the Thailand players.Chile should provide United States with a far sterner test on Sunday, while Thailand’s next task comes against Sweden.