People: Giant wood statue gets VisitScotland guests guessing

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VISITSCOTLAND’S reception at Holyrood last week was awash with speculation as to who the huge statue erected in the parliament for the occasion was based on.

Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said any resemblance the jolly green giant bore to him was “purely accidental”. VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said it couldn’t be him, because “it hasn’t got the ears”. Which all rather left guests wondering who in the Scottish Parliament could possibly have commissioned a giant effigy of themselves.

In fact, the green man had come from the woods, part of the Giants in the Forest series that is linked to efforts to get Scots exploring the wild places on their doorstep. With the Open Golf, Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup all taking place north of the Border, VisitScotland hopes that Scots will play as big a part in the series of events due in the next two years as Londoners did in the Olympics.

Young ‘hackers’ prepare to gather in Aberdeen

Scotland’s budding young computer programmers will converge on Aberdeen next weekend for a “hackathon”, thanks to entrepreneur Mark Pearson.

There’s no need to tighten up your internet security though, as the young coders will simply be building the next generation of apps, widgets, games and websites and showing them to judges from programmers’ group Young Rewired State.

Pearson – whose company, Markco Media, owns websites such as – spotted on Twitter that the event was going to have to be postponed due to lack of funding and stepped in with sponsorship.

Previous hackathons at his London headquarters have seen coders as young as ten build and develop business ideas that they can then pitch to investors – perhaps creating the next Twitter or MyVoucherCodes.

Symon says Tai Chi balances out editing

What’s the difference between an ancient Chinese martial art and the rigours of economic reporting for a national newspaper? If there’s an answer to this riddle then you will have to ask Ken Symon, former business editor turned PR guru and Tai Chi teacher.

The benefits of the meditative martial art form are meant to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity – something a business editor might need to cultivate? Symon says: “I probably do have a while to go to balance out working ten hours on Thursday, going to a dinner, having far too much to drink, five hours sleep and then doing a 14-hour Friday.”