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Clangers

Clangers is a British stop-motion children's television series, made of short films about a race or family of shrew-like creatures who live on, inside, a small moon-like planet. They speak only in a whistled language, they eat blue string pudding. The programmes were broadcast on BBC1 between 1969 and 1972, followed by a special episode, broadcast in 1974; the series was revived in 2015, broadcast on CBeebies. The series was made by Smallfilms, the company set up by Peter Firmin. Firmin designed the characters, his wife knitted and "dressed" them; the music part of the story, was provided by Vernon Elliott. A third series, narrated by Monty Python actor Michael Palin, was broadcast in the UK from 15 June 2015 on the BBC's CBeebies TV channel, gaining hugely successful viewing figures, following on from a short special broadcast by the BBC earlier that year; the new programmes are still made using stop-motion animation. Clangers won a BAFTA in the Best Pre-School Animation category in 2015; the Clangers originated in a series of children's books developed from another Smallfilms production, Noggin the Nog.

Publishers Kay and Ward created a series of books based on the Noggin the Nog television episodes, subsequently expanded into a series called Noggin First Reader, aimed at teaching children to read. In one of these, called Noggin and the Moonmouse, published in 1967, a new horse-trough was put up in the middle of the town in the North-Lands. A spacecraft hurtled down and splash-landed in it: the top unscrewed, out came a largish, mouse-like creature in a duffel coat, who wanted fuel for his spaceship, he showed Nooka and the children that what he needed was vinegar and soap-flakes, so they filled up the fueltank of the little spherical ship, which "took off in a dreadful cloud smelling of vinegar and soap-flakes, covering the town with bubbles". In 1969, the BBC asked Smallfilms to produce a new series for colour television, but without specifying a storyline. Postgate concluded. Postgate adapted the Moonmouse from the 1967 story, by removing its tail. Hence the Clangers looked similar to mice.

They wore clothes reminiscent of Roman armour, "against the space debris that kept falling onto the planet, lost from other places, such as television sets and bits of an Iron Chicken". And they spoke in whistled language; the Clangers was described by Postgate as a family in space. They were small creatures living in peace and harmony on – and inside – a small, hollow planet, far away: nourished by Blue String Pudding, by Green Soup harvested from the planet's volcanic soup wells by the Soup Dragon; the word "Clanger" is said to derive from the sound made by opening the metal cover of one of the creatures' crater-like burrows, each of, covered with an old metal dustbin lid, to protect against meteorite impacts. In each episode there would be some problem to solve concerning something invented or discovered, or some new visitor to meet. Music Trees, with note-shaped fruit, grew on the planet's surface, music would be an integral feature in the simple but amusing plots. In the Fishing episode, one of the Cheese Trees provided a cylindrical five-line staff for notes taken from the Music Trees.

Postgate provided the narration, for the most part in a soft, melodic voice and accounting for the curious antics of the little blue planet's knitted pink inhabitants, providing a "translation", as it were, for much of their whistled dialogue. Postgate claimed that in reality when the Clangers' were whistling, they were "swearing their little heads off"; the first of the 26 episodes was broadcast on BBC1 from 16 November 1969. The last edition of the second series was transmitted on 10 November 1972. However, there was one final programme, a four-minute election special entitled Vote for Froglet, broadcast on 10 October 1974, not shown in the usual timeslot during children's programmes. Oliver Postgate said in a 2005 interview that he wasn't sure whether the 1974 special still existed, it has been referred to as a "missing episode". In fact the whole episode is available from the British Film Institute; the original Mother Clanger puppet was stolen in 1972. Today, the second Mother Clanger are on display at the Rupert Bear Museum.

The Clangers grew in size between the first and last episodes, to allow Firmin to use an Action Man model figure in the episode "The Rock Collector". In October 2013, the BBC's CBeebies channel announced that a new series would be produced for broadcasting in their 2015 schedules, with Michael Palin narrating in place of the late Oliver Postgate; the American pre-school channel Sprout added the series to their 2015 schedule, with William Shatner narrating. In November 2015, The Clangers won the Best Pre-school Animation award at the BAFTAs; the principal characters are the Clangers themselves, the females wearing waistcoats and the males brass armour: Granny Clanger: an elderly Clanger, she is fond of knitting and falls asleep. She wears a black tab

Tom Merritt

Thomas Andrew Merritt is a technology journalist and broadcaster best known as the host of several podcasts. He is the former co-host of Tech News Today on the TWiT.tv Network, was an Executive Editor for CNET and developer and co-host of the daily podcast Buzz Out Loud. He hosts Daily Tech News Show and Sword and Laser, among other shows. Merritt is married to Eileen Rivera and they live in Los Angeles, with their dogs Sawyer and Rey, lived in Marin County and Oakland. Merritt is a fan of Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals. Merritt was born in Greenville, Illinois, to a food scientist father who worked on the Coffee-Mate project. Merritt received a BS in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and pursued graduate work in communications at the University of Texas at Austin. Merritt's career in radio began in 1986 as a DJ for WGEL, a country music station located in Greenville, Illinois. In 1993, he worked as an intern for National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

From 1999 to 2004 Merritt worked for TechTV in San Francisco as an Executive Web Producer and served as a radio host with TechTV until 2003. Merritt started with CNET in 2004. In addition to his duties as co-host of Buzz Out Loud with Molly Wood, Merritt had a regular column and podcast dealing with consumer technology, he co-hosted the tech support call-in program CNET Live with fellow editor Brian Cooley, was the host of CNET Top 5. On April 16, 2010, Merritt announced he would be stepping down as co-host of Buzz Out Loud, that he would be joining the TWiT.tv Network as a full-time daily host beginning June 1, 2010. During his last Buzz Out Loud episode on May 14, 2010 he announced that his main focus at TWiT.tv would be a new daily show, Tech News Today. Prior to joining TWiT as an employee, Merritt had a long-standing working relationship with former TechTV colleague Leo Laporte's network having appeared on This Week in Tech as either a guest or as a relief host, his independent general discussion podcast with Roger Chang, East Meets West featured on TWiT Live.

Tech News Today launched on June 1, 2010. Merritt was a regular host along with Iyaz Akhtar and Jason Howell. Upon joining TWiT.tv, Merritt brought with him two shows produced by cartoonist Scott Johnson's Frogpants Studios. Started on July 7, 2009, Fourcast featured Merritt and Johnson inviting various guests to discuss the future and what it might contain in a so-called virtual fireside setting. Meanwhile, Current Geek Weekly is a weekly discussion of geek culture stories and the companion podcast to the Current Geek podcasts still produced by Frogpants Studios. Merritt still appeared on the Frogpants Network for a segment called Tom's Tech Time on Wednesdays on the Scott Johnson/Brian Ibbott-hosted podcast The Morning Stream. On November 10, 2010, Merritt launched his second new show on TWiT, FrameRate. Focusing on video in its many and varied forms, Merritt co-hosted the show with magician and NSFW podcast host Brian Brushwood. On January 20, 2011, TWiT launched Triangulation, a new show Merritt co-hosting with Leo Laporte and interviewing a notable figure in technology.

In July 2012 he stopped hosting the show because he "wanted to work on other projects."In addition to these regular shows, Merritt hosted live breaking news coverage of major technology events on TWiT Live such as WWDC, Google I/O, the resignation and passing of Steve Jobs. These are released as "TWiT Live Specials" podcasts, he has acted as a relief host for Laporte on TWiT, Windows Weekly, Security Now and other shows when Laporte has been unavailable. On October 22, 2012, Merritt announced that he would be moving to Los Angeles to accommodate his wife's new employment at YouTube, but would still continue to present on the TWiT network over Skype. On December 5, 2013, Leo Laporte announced that Merritt's contract would not be renewed, stating that the decision was based on the need for an in-studio anchor for Tech News Today. Merritt hosted his last edition on December 30, 2013. Since February 4, 2008, Merritt has hosted Sword & Laser, a sci-fi and fantasy book club podcast, co-hosted with his former CNET colleague, Veronica Belmont.

On June 22, 2010, he launched a new show for Tom's Top 5 for Revision3, the show counted down a new Top 5 list every week released on Tuesday until November 1, 2011. He did a similar show "CNET Top 5" and now for TechRepublic. Merritt appeared in two early episodes of his Frame Rate co-host Brian Brushwood's Revision3 show Scam School. On March 3, 2013, Merritt and Molly Wood began the It's a Thing podcast described on the as "It’s a Thing is a show grown from the brain of Molly Wood, derived from a regular segment on the CNET podcast Gadgettes. Tom and Molly started the hit podcast “Buzz Out Loud” which they co-hosted for years after the turn of the century, they missed doing shows together, so they decided that in itself, should become a thing. Again."In early January 2014, following his departure from TWiT, Merritt began co-hosting a podcast with Brian Brushwood called Cordkillers, while starting a new podcast Daily Tech News Show. His main projects are Daily Tech News Show, Cordkillers and Laser, CurrentGeek! and It’s a Thing.

Merritt has written several books sci-fi novels, including Boiling Point. Which he narrated it as an audiobook; this describes a near future United States civil war and United Moon Colonies in 2006, of which he posted chapters on his blog. Both of these were published on Lulu.com with a Creative Commons license. In 2012, n

Odyssey (novel)

Odyssey is a science fiction novel by American writer Jack McDevitt. It was a Nebula Award nominee for 2007, it is set in the 23rd century and "explores the immorality of big business and the short-sightedness of the American government in minimizing support for space travel." Carl Hays reviewing in Booklist said "McDevitt's energetic character-driver prose serves double duty by exploring Earth's future political climate and forecasting the potential dangers awaiting humanity among the stars". Kirkus Reviews was more critical calling it "a low-key, reasonably surprising and involving tale, although not among McDevitt's best." Jackie Cassada reviewing for Library Journal wrote "the author of Chindi and other novels featuring the Academy succeeds in visualizing a believable future of space exploration as well as believable personalities whose lives and loves put a human face on scientific speculation."Odyssey was nominated for both the Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards in 2007. Odyssey at Worlds Without End