- Friend: I've been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge!
- Me: Cool.
- Friend: I might nominate you for it!
- Me: Ok, fair enough, I might just donate to charity though, I think that's more helpful at this stage. It has gotten some really good exposure.
- Friend: Huh? But you have to pour ice water over your head.
- Me: No, you have to either pour ice water over your head or donate to charity.
- Friend: Oh, right.
- Me: Do you even know who you'd donate to?
- Friend: …uh
- Me: You know what ALS is? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
- Friend: Nope.
- Me: It's a motor neurone disease, the one Stephen Hawking has. Basically robs you of your ability to move as your nerves degenerate.
- Friend: Well, I'm helping out with that!
- Me: Oh, you're donating too!
- Friend: I'm spreading the ice bucket challenge.
- Me: So, how's the ride on that bandwagon?
- It's great how far the ALS challenge has spread. What sucks is that it's become a bandwagon, it's just a popular thing to do now. The challenge has gone far and wide, it's been tweeted and blogged and spread. People know the acronym, but please make sure they know of the disease as well and what it does. Don't just jump on the bandwagon because it's what everyone else is doing.
Monopoly is one of the classic American games. It’s played amongst close friends, loved ones, and trusted business partners.
It’s also one of the few times in life where it’s perfectly acceptable to want to systematically annihilate and crush the aforementioned friends, loved ones and partners.
How to lose friends and alienate people.
We have a few go-to archetypes when it comes to pedophilia: There is the playground lurker, the chat-room predator, and the monstrous (often religious) authority figure. These men are usually middle-aged, unrepentant serial abusers who are caught only after remaining undetected for years. But what about the preceding decades? When do these urges first begin to manifest?
Really interesting read, but far too long in my opinion. I definitely feel that our lack of looking at the root of the cause is hurting us, children and society as a whole.
We have a few problems, but mainly a complete lack of support for paedophiles who do not wish to offend. The conflation of paedophile and child molester. We treat them as though they’re one and the same. Over demonisation of paedophiles. Mainly because of the prior reason. You keep telling someone they’re a monster and you may just turn them into one.
For more, listen to [this American Life’s episode Tarred & Feathered.
So a guy walks into a bar one day and he can’t believe his eyes. There, in the corner, there’s this one-foot-tall man, in a little tuxedo, playing a tiny grand piano.
Just stick with this. It’s great.
One in five of all websites are blocked by at least one default ISP filter in the UK, an anti-censorship campaign group has found. Since the beginning of this year, British ISPs have automatically been imposing filters on new broadband customers unless specifically asked not to do so. By the end of the year, this filtering will have been extended to existing customers too. The ISPs aren’t forced to impose the filtering – although prime minister David Cameron thinks they should be – but all the major players have complied.
To test the various systems, the Open Rights Group attempted to access 100,000 sites using either the default filter settings provided by the network, or with their “normal” level of filtering where none was set by default. And it found that nearly 20,000 sites were blocked by at least one ISP – many, as you’d expect from the sheer number involved, perfectly innocuous.
“If people who would normally be interested in accessing our content – which focuses on reproductive healthcare, violence against women and LGBT rights – are not able to view the site, it directly impacts our bottom line,” says founder and editor in chief of the sherights.com blog Maureen Shaw.
“But, more than that, we are concerned with the message that blocking our site sends: that pro-woman, pro-equality, pro-human rights subject matter is somehow offensive, inappropriate or otherwise problematic.”
100,000 websites isn’t a great sample size when it comes to the internet and I have no idea how the sites were selected. But assuming there’s a reasonable amount of randomness, 20% is an absolutely astonishing number. It’s far worse than I ever anticipated.
Maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion…
But one-fifth of websites is an astonishing proportion – much, much more than most authoritarian regimes ever manage.
Or maybe not.
It’s rare that I feel PC envy, I don’t really go for AAA titles. but Transistor is something I have been (and will continue to be) looking forward to for about a year and a bit now.
The OS X / Linux release cannot come soon enough.
Almost enough for me to seriously consider a Windows partition.
I sit here in a coffee shop called the “Vape lab” sipping at a flat white made from an exquisitely roasted blend of fresh beans, the milk lathered gently into a slightly creamy perfection, tiny bubbles sweetening it naturally. The cushioned bench makes for a cross-legged approach to sitting down, due to its width and depth.
I’m originally drawn in by coffee beans alongside beakers, digital weighing scales and other scientific equipment. The place is a nice mix of modern and natural. Beakers, white walls, tile surfaces against a wooden floor (or a faux wood so good as to be undistinguishable when scratched by my thumbnail). The chairs are a hodgepdge, as are the tables, none of them mae of the same materials, none of them the same sizes. As society rebels against the feeling of overly corporate-owned cofee chain stores, where familiarity was part of the brand, offering home to those away from home, no matter where you are.
Cafés brought non french-press coffee to the masses. Cappucino, latte and espresso became a part of our lexicon as Starbucks, Nero and Pret brought equipment that people wouldn’t own in their houses onto the high street. What was once an unfamiliar and novel alternative became the norm, with everyone having a preference. Short, dry cappucino, warm, not hot. Tall soy caramel latte, dusted with nutmeg. Macciato with cappucino style milk. Three shot half-caf cappucino, in a to go cup to drink in. People make individuality out of confirmity. Like your own pictures in a hotel room.
Vape Lab seems to want to bring eCigarettes to the world in a similar way. eCigarettes are being marketed to the world as a a way to help you quit smoking. The water vapour simulating smoke and the chemical mixture inside giving it the taste of a cigarette. It’s marketed as an easy way to quit, giving you the high of the nicotine without the cancer of the cigarette, without the yellow teeth and fingernails, without the tar in your lungs. No less addictive, but much healthier. Or rather, simply much less unhealthy, if you can stand the double negative.
They call it ‘vaping’. It has a cyberpunk feel to it, the small chemical segments visible from these almost lightsaber like tubes, matte bezeled steel with diamond-cut lattices for your fingers to grip, and a small button that lights up blue when you press it, to activate the vapourising mechanism. Vapour pours from peoples mouths as they are served by people in lab coat, a staff member clomping about in brass-buckled and studded high heels.
It’s a pro-active approach to the ecigarettes. They don’t approach or discuss the health benefits. Health doesn’t come into it. The tagline is coffee and vapour. The café style front draws people in (and the admittedly excellent coffee convinced me to stay) but what they push is the vaping devices. It takes up more than 2/3rds of the store. Different ‘juices’ span the counter, offered from 0 mg nicotine to 24 mg nicotine, flavours including tobacco, bubblegum and blends like “Pixie Fury” (kiwi, lime, lemongrass and mint).
“The no nicotine version is even better as you get the full flavour of the juice.”
It’s more like a shisha bar, except they will also sell you the shisha equipment. in fact, the emphasis is on selling the devices, not on renting them.
It’s a shift in thinking. The culture has shifted, cigarettes aren’t the same cool-factor they were in the 50s through the 90s. During my stay, I’ve noticed that a lot of people are willing to give it a go, especially non-smokers. “No nicotine” is commonly uttered by people asking to try the machines, something I imagine most smokers wouldn’t be too concerned about. They aren’t going after the smoker market. They don’t push the benefits. It feels oddly safe, but at the same time slightly taboo. A lot of the people seem to carefuly state that they aren’t smokers, as though they find the thought slightly distasteful and embarassing. But they are curious.
I decided to try them out. I asked for no nicotine and carefully reminded them that I’m not a smoker. I’ve always been drawn to the image of smoking. Breathing smoke is the closest I will ever come to breathing fire. I also think I look cool holding a small stick with a glowing ember. But I don’t like smoking. I don’t like cigarettes. I don’t particularly like the taste. I certainly don’t like the health risks and I particularly dislike the way it leaves your mouth. Like an ashtray. When I was 15 years old I kissed a long time smoker (who was significantly older than I was). The kiss was utterly ruined by the taste of their mouth.
The entire experience is much more similar to shisha. Flavoued smoke and a lighter taste. The tastes are almost subte, you more smell them than taste them (which makes sense, I suppose). The vapourizers are heavy. You can’t sit and hold one between two fingers like you would a cigarette. You have to put them down periodically. It’s pleasant and I enjoy playing about with make the vapour curl out of my mouth.
I’m not interested in buying one of the devices. I don’t care enough to drop the money and I am not interested in forming it as a hobby. But the entire experience makes for an interesting curiosity.
All in all, the experience works as a one off, but I have a feeling that a lot of non-smokers just won’t be interested. It’s not easy enough, not habit forming enough. Now that I have had the experience, I don’t feel there’s anything for me to experience again that would be novel enough. It was a pleasant experience, but there’s little urge for me to do it again. But I might come back for the coffee.
Google buying Twitch isn’t at all surprising. In all honesty, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, and for $1B, I think it’s a seriously cheap acquisition. If you look at how content is evolving and the rise of channels on Youtube that supply gaming content as their primary original content, the rise of eSports and so on and so forth, it was inevitable.
I think that Google can do a lot of twitch on the backend, twitch in some ways really needed this acquisition, their platform as it stands is caught between a rock and a hard place. A complete rewrite of the code for better scalability is needed. The APIs could do with some serious reworking as well. but if they do that then they would have to take twitch offline for a while, which they can’t afford to do.
By being acuiqred by google, Google can handle that problem with relative ease, write a better platform, and so on and so forth. Google weren’t buying the technology of twitch. They were buying the brand and the userbase.
But the really interesting thing here is the reaction from the end users, people who actually use the service. Some see the $1B as a masive corporation saying “eSports is the future of television” and as a victory, but the other side of the coin is less happy.
People are not overly happy that Google have bought Twitch, seeing it as anti-competitive, Twitch supplying the only other major VOD (video on demand) service for gaming. I think it shows that iun users eyes, Google has lost a lot of its cool factor from 5-7 years ago, when Google could do no wrong.
When even cosmetics companies start broadening their idea of what is desirable – recently Marc Jacobs chose the 65 year old Jessica Lange as its face and Nars has used the 68 year old Charlotte Rampling – you know there’s a sea change.
I think people are realising that using 25 year olds to advertise wrinkle creams to 50 year olds is not the best way to appeal to your target audience.
You want to appeal to their future selves. You want them to say “I want to look like that when I’m their age.” and begin acting appropriately (read as: buying your product).
Boris Johnson thinks the super-rich are an oppressed minority and we should honour them as tax-heroes. ✴
"It is my duty to stick up for every put-upon minority in the city – from the homeless to Irish travellers to ex-gang members to disgraced former MPs," wrote the Conservative mayor of London in the Daily Telegraph.
"But there is one minority that I still behold with a benign bewilderment, and that is the very, very rich."
He said the public should instead extend their “humble and hearty thanks” to the super-rich who “now pay 29.8 per cent of all the income tax and national insurance received by the Treasury.”
The “Super Rich”, who keep most of their money in tax havens, not in bank accounts. The Super Rich who own significantly more than the 30% (appx) share of taxes they pay.
Johnson believes the super-rich have been “brow-beaten and bullied and threatened with new taxes, by everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Nick Clegg”.
The threat of new taxes, which is not what the middle class have been facing recently is, of course, bullying. The Middle Class now oft paying 40% don’t deserve a tax cut, but the richest?
Johnson has been a long-term advocate of reducing taxes for Britain’s wealthiest people. Earlier this year he called for a new “flat tax” which would have reduced the top rate of tax to just 30%.
Not all London’s constituents are equal, clearly.