The event opened with Roger Liddle, Labour peer and co-chair of Policy Network, which jointly organised the event. He thought the Tories would stick together and do some kind of Brexit deal. He said there would be a transition deal before a final deal, and he correctly predicted that May’s speech this week in Florence would say so. He warned this would make campaigning to remain in the EU more difficult. It would mean a transitional deal where little changed for two years, so that the British public would only discover how catastrophic Brexit was two years after we had already left. Roger suggested that we would therefore leave, and the battle would then be to rejoin. However, he said this is a battle we can win.
Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, emphasised that we are democrats, we are not afraid of the will of the people, and so we should propose a referendum on exit terms. To convince the public how dangerous Brexit is, we need to find language to bring a divided country together. We must keep raising this issue, including “the dreaded conversation over the Christmas turkey”. We also need to persuade the EU too to change its language. Some comments from Jean-Claude Juncker have been unhelpfully divisive.
The chair of the meeting, Sarah Ludford, who speaks for the Liberal Democrats on Brexit in the Lords and is a former MEP, agreed, saying that some in the EU “just saw us as a pain in the backside” without appreciating the significant positive contribution the UK has brought to the EU.
James talked about the Liberal Democrat brand being damaged by coalition, but he also said that Vince Cable was the perfect leader for now, because the economy was going to become increasingly important, and people trust Vince on the economy.
When asked about the the Daily Mail, James said it needed a new editor and, to widespread laughter, he suggested George Osborne.
Adam Payne, of Business Insider, said that there is sadness in the EU. For them, Britain is like a friend who goes off the rails but refuses help. The public needs to change its mind, but this can’t come through mud-slinging and insults. We need to change minds on Brexit with arguments, and make points clearly and relentlessly.
James Chapman said we need to use personal stories to put our case, something that is the golden rule of journalism. Adam Payne agreed, we must use intellectual arguments, but we need emotional messages that resonate with people as well.
Adam said that, with a few exceptions, petitions were “borderline pointless”. James suggested that social media was a much better use of time, especially twitter, and to make sure we always tag the people we are criticising.
There was even some good-natured family drama, when James was told off by his god mother (who happens to be Sarah Ludford) for “mansplaining“.
Overall, it was a fantastic meeting. I suspect, like me, most wished it could have continued beyond the allotted time.
Despite the success, we in the Social Democrat Group still owe conference an apology. There were enormous queues, and many, perhaps hundreds, were unable to get in. We have made recordings, so you can listen to the whole event or watch it here. But there is no substitute to actually being in the room.
The reason, of course, was finance. So if anyone wants to help us hire a bigger room next time, please use our donate button!
Nor was the event a one-off. The Social Democrat Group will be running other combined events with Policy Network. We are planning a series of seminars in Westminster, where we will discuss issues that are some of the underlying causes of the Brexit vote, such as globalisation and funding for public services. These will use the “Chatham House Rule“. They will be in private, so that contributors from Labour and the Liberal Democrats can speak more openly.
Because some of these events will be for supporters only, they may not be openly publicised on the internet, so if anyone would like to know when our future events are happening, please add your name to our supporters list. A supporter is simply someone who agrees with our objective to see better understanding between Liberal Democrats and social democrats outside the party. You do not need to be a member of the Liberal Democrats, nor think of yourself as a social democrat.
* George Kendall is chair of the Social Democrat Group, which is being formed to celebrate and develop our social democrat heritage, and to reach out to social democrats beyond the party. He writes in a personal capacity.
What can you do when your favorite frog gets away from you?
When Matt Furie drew Pepe the Frog for a short-lived magazine in 2005, he had no way of knowing the character would become a mascot for the so-called "alt-right," a loose coalition of far-right groups that veer towards white nationalism.
But during the 2016 election cycle, that's exactly what happened—and that's what Furie is now trying to undo. Furie has undertaken a campaign to restore Pepe's image as the gentle, stoner frog he intended, rather than a symbol of hate. He's hired a lawyer to send cease-and-desist letters over uses of Pepe that he didn't authorize. So far, targets include T-shirts being sold on Amazon and elsewhere, a book by an alt-right blogger "Baked Alaska" called Meme Magic: Secrets Revealed, a video game called Build the Wall, and a video by another alt-right blogger, Mike Cernovich.
Coffee Lake desktop processors, the follow up to 2016's Kaby Lake processors, launch on October 5, Intel announced today. Like the recent U-series Kaby Lake Refresh laptop processors, which also launched under the "8th generation" moniker, Coffee Lake is largely based on the same core 14nm architecture as Kaby Lake, which in turn was essentially just Skylake, but with more cores across the range.
The top-of-the-line 17-8700K features six cores and 12 threads, 12MB of L3 cache, and a boost clock up to 4.7GHz. The i5-8600K keeps the six physical cores, but ditches hyperthreading, while the i3-8100 and i3-8350K both feature four physical cores. The latter, which matches the core count of the older i5 7600K, could prove to quite the bargain for gamers on a budget, particularly as it's unlocked for overclocking.
Previously, Intel processors with more than four cores fell under the high-end-desktop (HEDT) E-series and X-series ranges, which cost significantly more than mainstream processors. Unfortunately, while Coffee Lake is more affordable than an X299 chip—the questionable quad-core i5-7640X and i7-7740X excluded, prices are higher than Kaby Lake across the board.
Gone are the days (or nights) when a bed’s use was limited to sleeping and having a tumble beneath the sheets. Now, we get under the covers for all sorts of reasons and at all times of the day.
In their latest research, Generation Bed, the experts at global sleep company Casper found that 84 per cent of European adults love their bed so much that it’s become a creative lifestyle space.
In fact, spending more time in bed is so important to us that one in four would happily skip a night out or a gym class for some extra z’s (or “oohs”, if you know what we mean), and one in every 10 would pass up a promotion if it meant earlier nights and later mornings.
Casper are calling this new tribe of horizontal heroes Generation Bed, but have also identified five micro-tribes within it who share similar bedtime behaviours.
Read on to discover your bed tribe…
The Bedtime and Chill
Twenty-seven per cent of us fall into this category, which is defined by a penchant for binge-watching TV alone in bed, with an optional drink in hand. Who needs a cuddle buddy when you’ve got two seasons of Sense8 to catch up on?
The Cosy Snoozer
Man comfortably sleeping in his bed
According to Casper, 24 per cent of Europeans like to hunker down in PJs with a hot chocolate, a gripping pageturner and a four-legged friend. And, with Casper’s temperature-regulation technology, you won’t overheat in the night — even with your canine or feline hot-water bottle.
The Bedtime Creator
Just one per cent behind the cosy snoozers are the bedtime creators: the artists, writers and dreamers among us. Propped up with perfectly plump Casper pillows, they get their creative juices flowing (not that kind) into the small hours.
The Mindful Sleeper
While most of us are watching one last cat video on Reddit before we nod off, the more enlightened 15 per cent of us have avoided screens for at least an hour, while contemplating life and sipping fresh mint tea. After all, your bedroom is your temple — right?
Short for “bedtime yogi”, this tribe represents one in every 10 of us — presumably those who can stand straight and touch their toes without putting their back out. Bogis shun a real pooch in favour of a downward dog before bed, and always sleep with an open window and a jug of water at their beside.
So, whichever bedtime tribe your nocturnal activities match up to, make sure you’re not one of the millions around the UK who get by on less than six hours sleep a night — often because their mattress isn’t up to scratch. Each night spent on a Casper mattress is like sleeping in a big hug, moulding to your body and supporting it in all the right places.
Browse the full range of Generation Bed-ready products at casper.com.
As more automakers move to develop EVs, the minerals used to make car batteries will become more and more important. In 2015, Tesla secured two contracts with mining companies Bacanora Minerals and Rare Earth Minerals, as well as Pure Energy Minerals to explore lithium deposits in northern Nevada and Mexico. Cobalt is often used as a component in electric powertrain batteries because cobalt-based lithium batteries tend to have high energy density (although other materials like nickel and manganese can be used in lithium-ion batteries as well, depending on the battery application).
This Morning’s Dr Ranj has opened up about his body insecurities, saying that the pressure exerted on men to achieve incredible bodies is ’10 times’ greater in the gay community.
The TV doctor admitted that his own body issues have often left him on the “verge of tears” as he stripped off as part of f Loose Women’s Body Stories campaign celebrating male body image.
The project has seen Ranj join Coronation Street star Shayne Ward, boxing legend Frank Bruno, Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, TV’s Judge Rinder and former footballer David Ginola and Robbie Savage to strip off for an open and honest shoot with renowned fashion photographer Rankin.
Discussing his own body issues, Rank told HuffPost: “I’m not the most body confident person and I’m the last person who’s going to take their top off on holiday. I hate going swimming because it means I have to take my top off.
Left-right: Dr Ranj, David Ginola, Shayne Ward, Frank Bruno, Bruno Tonioli, Robbie Savage, Judge Rinder.
“People assume that doctors are all fine. If you’re a doctor on telly, you must be amazing. You must be so cool with every aspect of your life and the truth is so far from that. I have really down days where I really doubt myself.
“I have days where I scroll through my social media, seeing all these images of the perfect body and being on the verge of tears because I don’t, I’m never going to look like that and I feel bad.”
Ranj, who admits that at one point he was so unhappy with his body that he considered undergoing liposuction, says the pressure faced by gay men surrounding body image is even greater than for straight men.
Left-right: Judge Rinder, Robbie Savage, Dr Ranj Singh and Shayne Ward
“Imagine the pressures you feel and see in general society and magnify it by 10. That is the absolute horrible reality of it,” he said.
“It’s so sad that gay men ask for understanding and tolerance, but at the same time are so intolerant in so many ways – that stems to racism within the gay community, body fascism within the gay community and judgement and all that kind of stuff.
“What we need to be doing is celebrating individuality. That’s what we need to be doing. It’s all about diversity and let’s celebrate that. Nobody wants to be the same.”
Carlos Daniel, who helped organise the protest, hoped it would help people see that the decision wasn’t “something small.”
He stated that the ruling will only increase the danger LGBT people face in the country: “These types of thoughts are what get us killed here in Brazil every day. We are dehumanised and treated like objects. We have to show everyone that we exist and that the future is ours.”
Judge Waldemar de Carvalho previously issued a statement saying that his ruling was “misunderstood” and that he doesn’t believe homosexuality is a “disease”.
The ruling sparked widespread backlash with many Brazillian celebrities taking to social media to discuss the decision with the hashtag #curagay.
The museum itself is worth making a beeline for, if you’re ever near Boston USA (and if you’re unlikely to go there anytime soon I have inserted some links to the museum’s digital archive below). In a stunning building, located (purposely to reflect JFK’s love of the sea) on a breathtakingly beautiful shoreline site overlooking Boston harbour and the sea beyond, the museum presents the visitor with a feast of insight, photographs, exhibits and information about JFK, his presidency and his family. I’d allow the best part of a day to absorb it all, if I were you. There is a superb introductory film, a film on the Cuban crisis and countless videos playing on a loop with contemporaneous TV footage. There are a mountain of original artefacts. The whole thing is quite mind boggling but very inspirational, if a little panglossian (for example, although his health issues are mentioned severally, I could find no mention of Addison’s disease).
The one exhibit which sticks in my mind is the coconut which JFK engraved with a “help” message for a native Pacific islander to transport back to the US Navy when he and his surviving shipmates were stranded on a remote Pacific island after the Japanese rammed their patrol boat in the Second World War.
The “JFK 100” exhibition itself is worth devoting an hour or two to. What they have done is produce 100 quite remarkable bits and pieces from their archive. These range from JFK’s ties and sunglasses to some previously forgotten interview footage when he was a Senator and some interesting original documents, including original speech texts (which Kennedy spoke from). They show last minute edits from Kennedy and his speechwriter, Ted Sorensen. Indeed, one little gem I picked up is that when Kennedy got up to give his famous inaugural address, the text he read from said:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country will do for you–ask what you can do for your country.
But, as he spoke the script at the inauguration, he made a last-second “on the hoof” edit and changed it to what he said, which was:
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.
As Michael Caine didn’t say: “Not a lot of people know that”.
All together one leaves the museum feeling deeply inspired. The key takeaway is how Kennedy articulated the struggle for “liberty”. He said:
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
He was referring to “liberty” or “freedom”. Looking back, this seems a little clichéd from today’s perspective. But seen from the point of view of the early 1960s, with the threat of global communism and/or anhiliation very much alive, it was, and is, a profoundly inspiring articulation.
For me, John F. Kennedy’s greatest achievement was working through the Cuban Missile crisis without a nuclear war kicking off. He over-ruled his rather hawkish military advisers. That strength derived, in part no doubt, from his amazing war service. He swam three and a half miles amidst dangerous, current washed waters, towing an injured colleague via the cord of his fellow’s lifebelt in his teeth. Now that takes some doing! It was that heroism, presumably, which allowed Kennedy to be a superb Cammnder-in-chief during arguably the greatest man-made crisis which the world has ever faced.
Kennedy was a keen historian. I think we could learn a great deal from the Cuban crisis in respect of the current North Korean situation.
As promised, here is a link to the magnificent JFK Museum and Library digital archive. There is a sumptuous series of collections which you can browse including most of JFK’s presidential papers, his private papers, the Kennedy family’s private photographs and archive material from broadcasters and films.
As a sample, here is the CBS archive recording of Kennedy’s “New Frontier” speech from 1960:
And here is that inspiring inaugural address:
And here he is in sobre mood at a live news conference in 1961:
Here are documents related to Kennedy’s inaugural speech. If you scroll down virtually to the bottom you can see the originally released text of the speech and the part where the text said “Ask not what your country will do for you” whereas Kennedy changed that as he was speaking to “Ask not what your country can do for you”:
Here below is the manually edited “reading copy” of that part of the speech:
Here’s a little slide show of various items in the “JFK 100” exhibition. Click on the arrows to move the images, hover your mouse or finger over the photo for a caption and click on “More images” at the bottom of the box to see even more such images on the Getty Images website:
Nikon, one of the leading manufacturers of microscopes, also hosts an annual microscopy competition (and you can use any company's microscopes to enter). We've shared some of our favorite images with you in years past, since they've been every bit as artistic as good photography and, in many cases, reveal important details about the natural world—details that we'd otherwise never be able to appreciate.
Most people will only get exposed to microscopy during high school biology, which is typically the realm of static slices of long-dead organisms, permanently pressed onto a glass side. But history's first use of a microscope back in the 1600s involved watching living microbes flitting across the field of view. Microscopy doesn't have to be static; in fact, the element of time can be incredibly informative.
And advancements in technology mean that we can do some amazing things with living samples, including labelling them in a rainbow of fluorescent colors, automating long time-lapse recordings, and more. And movies can tell us things that wouldn't be possible to learn otherwise, like the process by which a material deforms and breaks, the coordination of cell divisions and migrations that assemble an embryo, and more.
Rapper Kanye West is set to play a gay fish in an upcoming South Park video game.
The singer has been referred to as a ‘gay fish’ since the show’s 2009 episode ‘Fishsticks’, where he was shown not understanding a joke about why liking fishsticks made him a ‘gay fish’ (if you don’t get it, you might wanna say it faster).
Kanye responded to the South Park episode back in April 2009 and stated that their portrayal of him as an “egomaniac” was hurtful. He also claimed that the show “murdered” him before claiming he had been working on his ego.
However, the singer later appeared in a 2013 episode, calling himself a “recovering fish”.
The joke is once again featured in a brand new trailer for the game, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, set for release next month.
The trailer shows Kanye the gay fish going on a mission to get his mother into heaven.
If that doesn’t sound absurd enough for you, it also features a rainbow-farting unicorn which carries Kanye’s mother, Donda, through a gate towards heaven.
According to NME, the game is a parody of Kanye’s unreleased video game Only One, which shows his mother, who died in 2007 from complications following cosmetic surgery, flying through the gates of heaven.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole will be available from October 17.
Shayne Ward has opened up about his body insecurities as part of a new campaign celebrating male body image.
The Coronation Street actor has responded to those who comment that he’s “a little bit bigger” than he used to be as he strips off as part of Loose Women’s Body Stories.
The project has seen seven famous male faces strip off for an open and honest shoot with renowned fashion photographer Rankin designed help break down the silence surrounding the body pressures that men face.
As well as Shayne, the campaign features This Morning doctor and Attitude health expert Dr Ranj, boxing legend Frank Bruno, Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, TV’s Judge Rinder and former footballers David Ginola and Robbie Savage.
Opening up about his own insecurities as part of the campaign, Shane says: “If someone’s just going to comment on the fact that I’m a little bit bigger than I used to be, I’m 32.
Left-right: Dr Ranj, David Ginola, Shayne Ward, Frank Bruno, Bruno Tonioli, Robbie Savage, Judge Rinder.
“When I first joined the pop industry I was 21, so of course my body’s going to change after that amount of time.
“Being in the public eye can make you more conscious, without a shadow of a doubt, and that’s what’s great about this campaign.”
The ‘No U Hang Up’ singer continues: “Hopefully this campaign will give men the confidence to talk about body confidence issues, because a lot of it is thrown away as banter; ‘Ah you’ve got a bit of a belly,’ ‘So have you mate.’
Left-right: Judge Rinder, Robbie Savage, Dr Ranj Singh and Shayne Ward
“And then it’s done, but actually, once that conversation stops and someone starts to talk about something else, you’re left with that, thinking, actually I do feel like I’ve put on a bit of weight.
“This campaign is going to be brilliant for that.”
There’s been a huge explosion in the use of dating apps over the past few years.
From Grindr to Tinder, everyone’s hooking up or dating online, and it’s become the new norm to meet your future partner on an app.
But despite the rise in the use of our phones as dating gurus, new research has found that the apps are actually having a negative impact on our lives.
In a new study, men who used Tinder regularly showed higher levels of shame about their bodies than those who don’t use the dating app.
These feelings included a sense of inadequacy about their height, body hair and even penis size.
Those on the app were also ironically more judgemental of other people’s bodies, and they felt an increased pressure to maintain a specific physique.
Researchers said: “Our results suggest that Tinder represents a contemporary medium for appearance pressures, and its use is associated with a variety of negative perceptions about body and self and with increases in individuals’ likelihood to internalise appearance ideals and make comparisons to others.”
Do you think dating apps make us more shallow and self-obsessed? Let us know your thoughts on social media.
The Justice Department is demanding that a federal judge sanction Google for failing to abide by court orders to turn over data tied to 22 e-mail accounts. "Google's conduct here amounts to a willful and contemptuous disregard of various court orders," the government wrote (PDF) in a legal filing to US District Judge Richard Seeborg of California.
The government added in its Wednesday brief:
Google is entitled to have its own view of the law and to press that view before a court of competent jurisdiction. However, when faced with a valid court order, Google, like any other person or entity, must either comply with such an order or face consequences severe enough to deter willful noncompliance. The issue before this court is what sanction is sufficient to achieve that goal.
Google said it wasn't complying with the order because it was on appeal. Google also said it was following precedent from a New York-based federal appellate court that ruled Microsoft doesn't have to comply with a valid US warrant for data if the information is stored on overseas servers. Google is appealing the California warrant to the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on the same grounds. However, neither Seeborg nor the 9th Circuit is bound by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals' decision—which the government has appealed to the US Supreme Court. (The US circuit courts of appeal are not bound to follow rulings by their sister circuits, but they all must obey precedent from the Supreme Court.)
The early moments of Spettacolo, the latest documentary from the team behind the acclaimed 2010 work Marwencol, may cause travel lust. As the film gets underway, old brick buildings serve as a backdrop for European architecture and vistas, practically begging viewers to hop on Airbnb, HomeAway, or some similar service just to survey the current options.
But like the unflinching Marwencol—a critically adored film that details the work of artist Mark Hogancamp, who suffered brain damage after being jumped in a bar and then created a 1/6th-scale backyard model of a WWII town as a form of self-therapy—Spettacolo wants to take its audience well beyond this surface. By the end of this charming but philosophical film—which debuts theatrically this month and recently screened at the Toronto's Hot Docs Festival—viewers may find themselves thinking twice about that next dream Airbnb rental.
Tradition via chance
Set in tiny Monticchiello in the Tuscany region of Italy, Spettacolo focuses on the Teatro Povero di Monticchiello (the Poor Theater). For 50 years, this town (population: 136) has staged a communal play that a majority of Monticchiello’s residents typically participate in. Don’t mistake this for your run-of-the-mill community theater production of Grease, though. The annual play in Monticchiello stands as part art, part therapy, part pleading Facebook wall post: rather than perform an existing work, every year residents hold town meetings to formulate a story about their current lives to produce and perform.
The yardstick for the success of an economy is the measure of its Gross Domestic Product or GDP. It is essentially the sum of all goods and services that a country produces, corrected for seasonal fluctuations and inflation.
The modern concept of GDP was developed by Simon Kuznets for a U.S congress report in 1934. President Herbert Hoover had the challenge of tackling the Great Depression with only a mixed bag of numbers that were extremely ineffectual when trying to answer the question, “how is the economy doing?”
Over the next 80 years the GDP not only became the way in which politicians, journalists and the public measure the economy, it actually defined what the modern economy is.
So what’s the problem?
The problem with the GDP is that it pretty good at measuring the things that you can see but is terrible at measuring things that you can’t see. Therefore things that are easily measured like manufacturing and monetary transactions push the number up whilst advancement of knowledge, community service, clean air, are all pretty much ignored. Even worse, the social damage caused by an activity is not factored in negatively, in fact the transactions that relate to poor health, depression, pollution, societal breakdown like divorce lawyers etc. actually push the GDP up.
In his book Utopia For Realists, Rutger Bregman highlights this point humourously but with a large dose of dark truth.
“If you were the GDP, your ideal citizen would be a compulsive gambler with cancer who’s going through a drawn-out divorce that he copes with by popping fistfuls of Prozac and going berserk on Black Friday.”
The fact that a huge chunk of government policy is formed on the drive for growth at all costs based on a measure that rewards things like carbon polluting manufacturing, deforestation, over-fishing etc. goes a long way to explaining why we live in such an unequal society.
So what’s the answer?
Well, we don’t have to measure our economy and growth in the same way. We have to look deeply at what is valuable to our society and include these things in a reformed measure or set of measures.
The question President Hoover had to answer was “how is the economy doing?”, I propose the Liberal Democrats ask a new question, “How is the economy doing for its people?”.
There are already other measures that exist like the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) and the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) which incorporate things like pollution, crime, inequality and volunteer work in their equations.
It is crucial to remember that just like the GDP, these alternatives are pick & mix bags of figures that can be taken out or added, and so it is a fantastic opportunity to ask voters what they find valuable and seek to create a measure that can inform our economic policy for the future.
* Darren Martin is the Press and Social Media Officer for the Hackney Lib Dems. He is a council candidate for next year's local elections.
It didn't take long for the Corbyn faction at the Labour Conference to block any discussion about the Brexit elephant in the room. The party remains deeply split over the issue with the leadership at odds with the millions of pro-EU voters who supported them in June's General Election.
As the Guardian reports, Labour campaigners had hoped to debate the idea of Labour fighting to keep Britain in the single market permanently and continue free movement, which polls suggest enjoy widespread support among members. However, when it came to a vote the Conference ducked the issue altogether.
The paper says that Momentum, the grassroots pro-Corbyn group, was thought to be highly influential in the result of the ballot because it emailed members to recommend four topics that were chosen. The decision to leave Brexit off the list was justified by insisting that the conference would debate and vote on EU policy on Monday, but this will not include the more controversial motions.
As if to add insult to injury to remainers, Jeremy Corbyn made it clear that he was wary of committing to remaining within Europe’s internal market because it could prevent Labour putting in place domestic policy in the future.
The paper say that shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer will use a speech today to claim that Labour are the “grownups in the room” on Brexit and must stand ready to “take charge of the negotiations”.
They add that he will argue that Labour will respect the referendum result but put the economy first and be clear that it remains an “internationalist party; reaching out to Europe and the rest of the world rather than turning inwards”.
There is nothing grown-up about avoiding debate on the main issue of the day, or failing to take a clear position on a potentially economy-busting exit from the single market. I cannot think of a better example of turning inwards.
Of course, there are some who will argue that austerity, housing, the health service and social care are far more important topics to discuss than Brexit. They may well be right. However, leaving the EU will decimate many of those services by crippling the economy and public finances for years. If Labour cannot see that connection then it is little wonder that they are so ineffectual as an opposition.
Whether the Core i9-7960X was always part of Intel's plans for the high end desktop (HEDT), or whether it was haphazardly rushed to market to combat AMD's bullish Threadripper platform, one thing is clear: Intel once again has the fastest slice of silicon on the market. With 16 cores and 32 threads, matching AMD's flagship Threadripper 1950X, the i9-7960X is an unashamedly over-the-top processor that breaks benchmarking records, and powers through heavy production tasks.
But a processor is more than its raw number crunching prowess. Threadripper raised the bar for HEDT with the rich, consumer-friendly X399 platform, which offers a full set of features without spurious lockouts. More importantly, AMD doesn't charge through the nose for it. The Threadripper 1950X features 16C/32T and costs £950/$1000. Intel's Core i9-7900X offers just 10C/20T for the same price. With the exception of gaming, the 1950X is a much more powerful processor.
Unfortunately, despite the strong competition, Intel isn't yet willing to compete on price. The i9-7960X costs a whopping $1700/£1700—and while it might be faster, it certainly isn't £700 faster. That's not to mention that Intel continues to use a weak thermal material to mount its CPU heat spreaders, instead of the superior solder that AMD uses. It makes the i9-7960X a bear of a chip to overclock and noisy at stock without suffering serious thermal issues.
In the 2009 movie Star Trek, Captain Kirk and Sulu plummeted down toward the planet Vulcan without a parachute. “Beam us up, beam us up!” Kirk shouted in desperation. Then at the last second, after a tense scene of Chekov running top speed to the transporter room, their lives were saved moments before they hit the doomed planet’s rocky surface.
But can beaming out save someone’s life? Some would argue that having one’s “molecules scrambled," as Dr. McCoy would put it, is actually the surest way to die. Sure, after you’ve been taken apart by the transporter, you’re put back together somewhere else, good as new. But is it still you on the other side, or is it a copy? If the latter, does that mean the transporter is a suicide box?
These issues have received a lot of attention lately given Trek’s 50th Anniversary last year and the series' impending return to TV. Not to mention, in the real world scientists have found recent success in quantum teleporting a particle’s information farther than before (which isn’t the same thing, but still). So while it seems like Trek'stransporter conundrum has never had a satisfying resolution, we thought we’d take a renewed crack at it.
Last week, a couple of days before the end of my holiday, we had the sad news that one of PB’s leading posters almost since the site started, Mark Senior, has died.
Over nearly a decade and a half he became a key part of the site’s unique commenting community and although I never met him I am sure that others feel like I do that we know him from our interactions over such a long period.
I’ve not been able to find a picture of Mark but we do know that he was an assiduous follower of local elections, polling and a was regular contributor to this and other sites. His knowledge and memory in these area was quite extraordinary and he would never shy away from fights. He was also a very strong supporter of the Lib Dems as those who have followed discussions of PB will have been very much aware and why I have illustrated this with an appropriate picture.
If anyone knows more about Mark or has a picture it would be great to hear from them.
In 2005 Mark won one of the first PB competitions predicting a by-election outcome and two years later was elected LD poster of the year.
This was his last post here on August 17th 2017:
I am able to ascertain that his last visit to PB was on September 1st.
Britain’s entry into Europe was a long, painful process – with clear lessons for our even more painful departure, says EDWARD BICKHAM, curator of a new exhibition on this pivotal period in British history
In recent decades, Germany has shied away from being too assertive in its foreign policy. But growing global uncertainties mean that – regardless of Sunday’s election result – that is changing. Policy expert EMILY MANSFIELD analyses exactly where the country (and by extension the EU) is heading
On top of helping my feeble child-self understand the basics of Roman numerals, the Final Fantasy games of the 90s and 00s are about 80% responsible for getting me hooked on video games, fantasy (final or otherwise), swords, and the angsty dramatics of stylish teens (the other 20% is a mixture of Zelda and emotional repression).
Now, I’m not looking to get into a “which Final Fantasy is best?” debate here – too many lives have already been lost to ever look that heart of darkness in the eye again. And, frankly, it’s not even something I can answer. I always assume I think it’s 7 but then 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10 all pile in and it’s only a matter of time before I’ve thought-fucked myself into oblivion.
Ultimately, it’s pretty much whichever one I looked at most recently, which at the moment just so happens to be Final Fantasy IX following its very lovely re-release on PS4 (and, incidentally, learning that IX wasn’t Onety-Ten or negative-9 was a particularly challenging chapter in my Roman Numerals for Idiot Children lessons).
So to celebrate its release and to give me an excuse to replay it for the XXXVI time, here are 9 reasons why Final Fantasy IX is better than the rest. Probably.
Final Fantasy during the age of composer Nobuo Uematsu remains a universal high point in artistic expression, human or otherwise. To say he’s a master is as redundant as the exercise bike I bought on Gumtree. Uematsu is to music what I am to unfulfilled potential – frequently staggering, always impressive, and emotionally stirring. And he’s right at the top of his peerless game across FFIX.
Go listen to The Place I’ll Return to Someday, Vivi’s Theme, Dark City Treno, and Not Alone and learn how to feel, you filthy animals. It’s on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon – no excuses.
2. The characters
Zidane, Garnet, Vivi, Steiner, Freya, Quina, Eiko, and Amarant. FFIX’s main cast is, hands down, the strongest across the entire series (okay, Amarant can get in the bin – he’s cool and everything but utterly pointless). They all have distinct personalities and are all intensely likeable and memorable. In what other Final Fantasy game – actually, scratch that: in what other anything is that true? I mean, Scrubs came pretty close, but then it shotgunned itself in the abdomen with Med School – goddamit, ABC!
Kuja represents a high point in videogame villainy (and androgyny, those hips don’t lie) supported by the excellent Thorn, Zorne, and elephant/hippo/Queen Victoria caricature that still nobly haunts me to this day — Queen Brahne.
Also, Zidane has a tail. Does Cloud have a tail? Or Squall? OR YOU? Didn’t think so, sit down.
3. The design
After the dreary, neo-futuristic “gritty realism” of FFVII and FFVIII (which on the PS1 looked like an orgasm of pain, polygons, and poor resolution) FFIX was a welcome reprieve. All those colours! And the sheer beauty of its world and town design are still an absolute joy to behold.
The cable cars and high-tech wizardry of Lindblum, the gothic, rain-soaked brutality of Burmercia, the ostentatious grandiosity of Alexandria – every place had its own character and story to tell. It was a world you couldn’t wait to sink your teeth into and tear apart like the unthinking night-beast you hide deep inside, all supported by beautifully realised art direction. It’s the series’ best depiction of the “futuristic past” trope and proof that it can be done well and doesn’t have to be a the lazy check-out option. That’s right I’m looking at you, most other RPGs.
4. The gameplay
I can hear the “Well, actually”s from here. At its core FFIX is the same as most other RPGs in that it uses a turn-based battle system where enemies patiently wait for their turn to stab each other in the face like gentlemen queuing for the crumpets stall at a golf game (disclaimer: I don’t know what gentlemen do. Or how golf works). It uses the ATB (active time battle) system of previous Final Fantasy titles and, if anything, is a pretty clunky example of it, but everything else is on point.
First of all – 4 party members should be drafted into the Bill of Rights or something (I assume we have one of those, otherwise let’s go for a pinky-swear). It’s just better, giving enough room to craft a balanced, kick-ass team and to even rotate in other party members if needed without doing a Scrubs and shotgunning your team in the collective abdomen (disclaimer: I have unresolved issues with Scrubs).
Also, FFIX’s ability/equipment system is excellent, refining the materia system of FFVII while stripping back the Lovecraftian mind-fuck horrorshow of FFVIII’s junction system into something fit for human consumption. It hit the Goldilocks ratio of giving you enough options to feel like you were in control without being overwhelming, something no Final Fantasy game has managed since (except FFXII maybe).
5. The story
Don’t worry, we’re not heading into spoiler territory here – though if you haven’t played this game yet please immediately lock yourself in a dark room, count your sins, and don’t re-emerge into our enlightened world until you’ve completed it.
What I will say however is that I adore FFIX’s story – not just as a Final Fantasy or videogame story, but because it’s a solid example of how stories should be told, full stop. From your inauspicious beginnings as a member of a thieving theatre troupe (that, in itself, being inspiration enough for a Netflix series that I would watch immediately) to the escalation to intercontinental, and then interdimensional war, it’s a story that keeps you constantly on your toes and hungry for more. Like Nandos when it’s busy and the next dish they hand out just has to be yours… right?
6. It’s bright and cheerful…
I mentioned it earlier, but I can’t overstate how fresh FFIX feels in comparison to its predecessors. Characters laugh and joke, even when faced with danger and death, like when a forest called Evil Forest is – plot twist – evil and literally turns itself to stone in its efforts to megakill you.
Gaia is a world you’d actually want to visit – it’s a place where hippo-people challenge strangers to foot races in the street, where skipping children run underground playing-card cabals, where frogs can be president (though I guess we’ve given that a real-life go now). Simply put: FFIX is a Final Fantasy game that tries and succeeds in putting a smile on your face – how often can you say that? Because if you’re thinking about Tidus’s laughing scene in FFX then you can get straight in the bin.
7. …But it’s also dark as shit
I mean, holy crap does this game go into some pretty deep, dark places. And I’m from South Wales; I know gestating pits of the deepest, darkest, human misery when I see them.
We’ve got existential reflection, slavery, pathological narcissism, actual genocide, enough orphan issues to send Batman to a therapist, and not forgetting the frequent scenes of utterly devastating warfare. I mean, this is a game where a tiny cat-thing lives with a giant chicken in an adorable cylindrical forest that you can use to go treasure hunting before going to a literal giant chicken utopia in the sky where they all hang out happy as shit in some sort of magical spa – so when it turns around and is all like “DEATH IS INEVITABLE, YOU’RE A TOOL IN THE MACHINE”… it hurts. A lot.
8. The minigames
If I stopped to think about the collective number of hours I’ve sunk into FFIX’s minigames and sidequests I’d probably never stop crying from the shame of it all. They’re. Just. Too. Good.
You’ve got Chocobo Hot-and-Cold, the aforementioned giant chicken treasure hunting minigame that’s possibly the most fun thing I’ve done literally ever. Then there’s Quina’s frog-hunting minigame, a distraction that’s as enjoyable as it is existentially haunting. Not forgetting Tetra Master of course, a card game so addictive it makes Blackjack look like cold porridge on a Tuesday morning. Or how about the Treno Auction House, a gateway drug for genuine gambling problems if I’ve ever seen one, but damn fun. Or the skipping game? Or the running game? Or the game where you travel around the world tracking down friendly animals and force-feeding them precious stones like a thief with a cosmically fucked-up sense of irony? So many good games, so little time – may the gods bless my aching thumbs.
SPOILER, SPOILERS, SPOILERS. Here be actual spoilers. Though again, if you haven’t played the game yet I direct you back to my advice in point 5.
Yeah okay, we’ve already talked about the characters and the story but if you thought I was going to write a 2000 word article on FFIX and not put Vivi up on the pedestal where he belongs then you were majestically wrong.
Vivi. Man, I still can’t even. How great is he? The greatest, that’s how great. Greater than what we deserve. He even died for our sins. Because yeah, Vivi dies, guys. Vivi dies. I completely missed this the first time I played the game as an idiot child. But he totally dies. He’s very much the moral compass of the game despite being all of 9 years old. He’s even the narrator – did you notice that? That’s how intrinsic he is to your entire experience.
He’s the sweet kid that we come to love like our own family. Precocious, friendly, theatre-loving, and a total badass black mage; a master of magic. He literally only wants to help others. He spends the whole game trying to work out who he is, who his family is, where’s he’s from… and discovers that he was a prototype build for a new generation of weaponised black mage slaves who he’s forced to fight and kill again and again throughout the story. He’s a 9 year old kid who finally finds somebody like him, a village of black mages that escaped captivity, only to be immediately told that he has a limited lifespan, like food in your fridge, and one day he’ll just… stop. Not die exactly, because he was never alive, but he will cease to be. And soon. And you know what Vivi does? He grows a spine and gets on with the job, saving his friends, bitchslapping Zidane when he finds he’s also a manufactured war slave (goddamn, FFIX) and goes all emo for a minute, fighting to save a world that so cruelly made him and callously cast him out again. All because he loves his friends and wants to make things better. And then finally, with Vivi’s help, the good guys win… and sometime later, he dies. Offscreen. Leaving only a letter he wrote for his friends for us to say goodbye. My heart, it hurts.
He can also summon a literal meteor from the sky. What a motherfucking champion.
Joking aside, Vivi really is the pinnacle of character creation and not just in videogames. His story sticks with me as vividly today as did way back in the heady days of the year 2000.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye…
Welcome to the Golden Dozen, and our 489th weekly round-up from the Lib Dem blogosphere … Featuring the five most popular stories beyond Lib Dem Voice according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (17-23 September, 2017), together with a hand-picked seven you might otherwise have missed.
Don’t forget: you can sign up to receive the Golden Dozen direct to your email inbox — just click here — ensuring you never miss out on the best of Lib Dem blogging.
As ever, let’s start with the most popular post, and work our way down:
1.We lost. We’ll keep fighting by Andrew Hickey on Head of State.
Not the EU Referendum, but the Conference debate on Europe. Let’s hope his pessimism is misplaced.
4.Not the Leader’s Speech – UPDATED by Jennie Rigg on I spend ages hanging around the Rue Morgue in a Gorilla suit and what do I get?
Made me laugh again reading it. Vince goes where Clegg and Farron didn’t dare to go.
And now to the seven blog-posts that come highly recommended, regardless of the number of Aggregator click-throughs they attracted. To nominate a Lib Dem blog article published in the past seven days – your own, or someone else’s, all you have to do is drop a line to email@example.com. You can also contact us via Twitter, where we’re @libdemvoice
Michael Meadowcroft challenges Matthew Parris’s assertion that we have no defining philosophy.
For instance, the Liberal Democrats were the only party to have a 100% attendance of its MPs to vote against the Iraq invasion, not because of any pragmatic opinion on weapons of mass destruction but because the party rightly believed that it was against international law, and that was enough; we have been in favour of an united Europe since 1955 because the party is internationalist and sceptical about the relevance of borders; we are in favour of devolution because we are aware of the dangers of centralism and its predilection towards authoritarian government; we are in favour of land value taxation because we believe that it is immoral to exploit land ownership rather than looking towards the common good; and we favour co-operatives in industry because we believe that to set management against labour is counterproductive and deleterious to productivity and is unnecessarily divisive..
And that’s it for another week. Happy blogging ‘n’ reading ‘n’ nominating.
Featured? Add this to your blog post! <a href="http://www.libdemvoice.org/top-of-the-blogs-the-lib-dem-golden-dozen-489-55350.html"><img src="http://www.libdemvoice.org/images/golden-dozen.png" width="200" height="57" alt="Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice" title="Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice" /></a>
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings
It’s internationally recognised as Bi Visibility Day, but just how visible are bisexuals?
Let’s start with looking at just how many bisexuals there are in the UK. YouGov Research tells us that bisexuals are by far the biggest subgroup in the LGBT, particularly amongst young people. YouGov found that 43% of Brits aged 18 to 24 didn’t identify as entirely gay or straight, compared to only 6% who identified as completely homosexual. This means that young people in the UK are 7 times more likely to fall under the bi umbrella than be gay.
Whilst it seems many people will admit their sexuality to pollsters and researchers, coming out to people in their personal life is a very different story. Pew Research Centre found that only 12% of bisexual men were out of the closet compared to 77% of gay men.
So perhaps while we’ve done a good job at making gay men accepted, the same cannot be said for bisexual men.
The buck doesn’t stop there unfortunately, when it comes to being out at work, the situation is even worse. The Workplace Equality Index found that Bisexual employees are eight times as likely to be in the closet compared to lesbian and gay counterparts with 55% of bisexual employees not out to anyone at work.
The UK currently has no mainstream bisexual magazines which means the conversation around bisexuality never evolves. Indeed there seems to be no bi-specific media source in the UK sufficiently funded to be able to pay celebrity, secure advertisers and profile bi voices.
Media representation aside, the real tragedy is that bisexual people are rarely visible to each other. Many bisexuals report not having other bisexuals in their friendship group meaning they don’t have people around them sharing the same experience. This could be a result of the UK having no specific venues for bisexual people, limiting the chances of bisexual people being brought together.
As this bisexual writer can attest – I’ve never knowingly been in the same room with even ten other bisexuals my age.
To answer the question I asked at the beginning of this article, ‘bisexuals are not very visible at all.’ Today is Bi Visibility Day, it’s a chance for everyone to show their support, learn and celebrate bisexuality. A day is a nice sentiment, but please don’t just tweet your support and forget about it, we need to continue the effort all year round.
Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that the series revival, which has already been renewed for a second season, will be getting a visit from former First Lady Michelle Obama.
InTouch Weekly reports that Obama, who was First Lady from 2009-2017, is set to appear in an episode of the upcoming season. “The details are still being worked out, but supposedly Michelle is up for anything, as long as it doesn’t cross the line too much,” the report states.
The report also says that Obama “will not be taking any personal jabs at Donald Trump. The writers will leave that to the rest of the cast.” After all, when they go low, she goes high.
ITV2 reality series Bromans may just be our new favourite show.
The show, which see eight 21st century lads transported back to the time of ancient Rome to see if they can cut it as gladiators, has wasted no time in getting its hunky line-up of contestants completely starkers.
The boys were forced to naked as they waited for their girlfriends to complete a task, and while they started off shy, cupping their crown jewels, it wasn’t long before viewers were given a full-frontal display.
Here’s hoping this continues for the next month while the show is on the air:
Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.
Please note that any and all opinions expressed in this blog are subject to random change at whim my own, and not necessarily representative of my party, or any of the constituent parts thereof (except myself, obviously).
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