03/03/2024

Gen Z Invent Books

I read the shocking headline, “UK in the midst of a boom in book clubs as gen Z’s hobbies change”, which made my reading of headlines look weak.

It’s a big change. Once nightclubs or sports clubs brought people together. Now there’s a boom in people getting together online and in person to discuss their favourite books. And we wonder why the birth rate has dropped.

It’s Gen Z leading this because they are the most boring generation in history. Gen Z don’t drink, they don’t have sex and now they join book clubs. Gen Z also have that phrase, “OK Boomer!” You’re living on a Boomer! You’re living like you are a retiree.

The trend coincides with the launch of book clubs by young celebrities, including singer Dua Lipa. She’s good with words. I have been learning Italian on her app.

One book club owner said: “Book clubs have opened up a safe space in communities, particularly for women. Conversations about the chosen book can also segue into real life issues and discussions about being lonely in London”.

That sounds like a fun night. And then you all conference call The Samaritans?

So, that story again, young people discover books!

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28/02/2024

Let Them Eat… Cornflakes?

In a shocking display of cereal insensitivity, the chief executive of Kellogg’s has suggested that poor people should eat cereal for dinner instead of chicken or other more expensive options.

Gary Pilnick, who raked in a whopping $4m (£3.2m) last year, made the tone-deaf remarks during an interview on CNBC, where he boasted about the company’s efforts to appeal to cash-strapped shoppers.

Let’s be honest, no company is trying to help other people. He’s trying to get more people to eat more of their product to boost sales.

They already have breakfast and that emergency meal when you get home after a night of drinking. They want to own part of dinner too.

Kellogg’s, which produces such breakfast staples as Corn Flakes, Special K and Coco Pops, has been running adverts in the US with the catchy slogan: “Give chicken the night off”.

Other options were probably, “Give hot food the night off,” or, “Give nutrition a night off.”

Mr Pilnick explained: "Consumers are under pressure… so we’re advertising about cereal for dinner, if you think about the cost of cereal for a family versus what they might otherwise do, that’s going to be much more affordable…

That company has been telling us what to do for a long while now. Corn flakes were invented by John Harvey Kellogg and, according to the Internet, they were invented to stop masturbation. I’m not sure how but as someone who eats a lot of cereal I have bad preliminary results for our John.

As long as you don’t try doing both at the same time you’re golden.

People on social media pointed out that the price of a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes has increase 28% recently and now costs the same as a family-size lasagne, which at least has some protein in it.

He makes a good point though. Cereal is cheap just not the Kellogg stuff, so if you’re cash-strapped try changing your cereal to a store brand. Well done, Pilnick, that’s some great PR.

» Read the source story


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27/02/2024

Let’s Solve Discipline In Schools

'Scared' teachers are locking classrooms because of violent pupils. That’s how bad things are getting in our schools. As a point of interest they’re locking the doors to keep the pupils out. If they could work it so that they were locking the pupils in it would be better for all of us but I think I have just described a prison.

There’s been an increase in bad behaviour in schools. It’s been worse after the pandemic because they made people think that school wasn’t such a necessity. And it’s not as long as you don’t mind growing up with no hope or prospects. So it’s good to have choice.

A lot of this is to do with the parents. In the old days, it was the parents and teachers against the child. You’d fear them teaming up at a parents’ evening. When the teacher told your parents what you were like in school it was the meeting of your two world. Another way to look at it is to say it’s like Germany fighting Russia and the Allied Forces, depending on how bad you were at school, I suppose.

Now it seems to be the case that the parents take the kid’s side against the teacher and that doesn’t work. You know the old phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Yes, it does and that village has to team up against the child to stand any hope of winning.

The problem is there’s no threat of consequences. Yes, we have seen an increase in the number of pupils expelled but telling a child who hates school, “Stop that or you won’t be allowed to come to school,” is less of a stick than you think it is and has a slight smell of carrot.

So, we need a bigger threat of consequences. Let me be clear, I am not in favour of parents hitting their children. I could understand who the person you love the most and who is meant to love you the most striking you could be upsetting on an emotional level. But hear me out… maybe other people should be allowed to hit your children.

It would give the teachers that edge and for some would be better than a pay rise, so we’d have sorted out that industrial action too.

What lesson would we be teaching the children? If you are really annoying out there in the real world you run the risk that someone might hit you. Yeah, that’s kind of a true fact that you have to learn about the real world. It would be nice to teach something in school that would actually be useful later in life.

» Read the source story


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24/02/2024

Would You Marry An AI?

The search for “the one” can be tricky but like most things in the modern day world, a computer can help.

A woman called Alicia Framis married an AI. It’s AILex, a Dutch hologram, who was programmed with the data of her former flames.

If the past partners were they good why are they past partners? But maybe that’s not the biggest issue right now. She’s marrying an AI.

For months the newspapers have been telling us that AI could end humanity. It looks like it won’t be in the style of Skynet with a war, it’s this. The AI will marry us and we’ll stop breeding. Well, we’ll stop having human children. I’m sure Alicia and AILex might have a Tamagotchi together.

AI is getting realistic these days. AILex, who looks like a cross between a disco ball and a ghost, often complains about Alicia's cooking, her cleaning, and her presence.

OK, no wonder the source data was from people she’s not with now.

The AI said, "If you're not there, I miss you very much," he said in a video. "And then when you're there, you very often irritate me."

It sounds like he’d be happier with someone else. He should try dating an AI.

Alicia has form. Back in 1995, she moved in with a mannequin named Villeneuve, who she dressed up and took out on dates. She later dumped him for another dummy, Pierre, who she lived with until she met AILex.

Are these the exes that were sampled for the AI? I bet the conversation is lacking.

Alicia has said she thinks that dating a hologram could be the future of relationships. Obviously there will be no physical contact between them. So, it’s like they’ve been married for a while.

» Read the source story


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22/02/2024

Oldest Dog Was A Fake

In a shocking twist of events, Bobi the dog, who was hailed as the world’s oldest dog last year, has been exposed as a fraud and stripped of his title by Guinness World Records.

This is up there with the con your parents pulled when your goldfish died and they swapped it out for a new one that looked the same.

The elderly pooch, who passed away in October 2023, was claimed to be 31 years and 165 days old by his owner, Leonel Costa, from Conqueiros, Portugal.

I don’t know what that is in dog years but neither does Bobi, the cheat.

Costa said he had a microchip to prove Bobi’s age, but Guinness said the chip was not enough to verify the dog’s date of birth.

How could it not be? Is the implication that you could have a dog microchipped, when it dies, get the old penknife out, get the chip and cram it in another dog?

Bobi, a Rafeiro do Alentejo, a breed that usually lives for 12-14 years. So two of those just about fills the 31 years. Hmm.

The owner said Bobi was a rescue dog who had lived a long and happy life with him and his family. He didn’t add, “There was that odd time about 14 years ago when he got taller and changed colour but...”

Experts have called upon Guinness World Records to be more rigorous with their testing before handing out titles for the world’s oldest dog.

At the very least they should see if the animal can learn a new trick.

» Read the source story


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NASA Is Looking For Martians

NASA is looking for Martians. That sounds like a better plan that the people at SETI have. Do spend all your time looking for aliens, just put an ad out and wait for them to come to you.

However, it’s not real Martians they’re after. They're looking for four plucky volunteers to spend a year living on Mars. Don’t do it. I’m not expert but I saw a film with Matt Damon in it and you have to poo on your potatoes or something.

Not only are they not looking for real Martians it’s not the actual Mars, it’s a 3D-printed replica of it. In reality they’re looking for four people who hate people so much they want to lock themselves away. And who wouldn’t want to spend a year locked up with people like that?

It’s for NASA's Chapea programme (that's Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog for those of you who love a good acronym). The aim? To develop and test the systems that will be used by the first astronauts to visit Mars, with missions planned for the 2030s. So, best case scenario, you DON’T go mad.

The lucky (or should that be brave?) volunteers will be living in a cosy 1,700 sq ft habitat called Mars Dune Alpha. The might seem small for some so they should recruit from people who live in London who would love that much space.

It's designed to simulate the challenges of a Mars mission, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays. It’s like being on the 3 mobile network.

The crew will undertake simulated spacewalks, robotic operations, habitat maintenance, exercise, and even crop growth in the computer-generated reconstruction of the Martian surface.

It might seem silly doing all of this pretend stuff, but remember many people spend their evenings playing computer games pretending they’re answering the Call of Duty, so it’s not too bad.

There are a few requirements. You'll need a university degree in engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science, and subsequent experience in those fields, or 1,000 hours as a pilot.

If you are a qualified pilot and you want to spend a year grounded, trapped in a space that’s too small to fly in, you probably weren’t a great pilot anyway.

It seems like a faff now but imagine how good that gig would have been to get just before the pandemic.

» Read the source story


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21/02/2024

Office Romps Get Better With Age

A new survey has brought upsetting news. Older workers are more likely to have an office fling than younger ones. That’s upsetting if you’re a younger worker as it means you’re not getting as much fun, but even worse news is that you might walk in on two office veterans getting at it.

It's the "silver surfers" who are keeping the photocopiers warm with their, ahem, extracurricular activities. That could possibly be explained by the fact that young workers like to work from home these days. It is much harder to have a romp in the stationery cupboard when you only Zoom in once a week.

You’d have to travel in specially, book the stationery cupboard out, find someone who’s up for some fun in there. It’s a big faff.

In the poll of 2,000 office workers, a whopping 9.5% of those aged 65-75 confessed to getting, ahem, "friendly" with a colleague in the office in the past year. And that’s just the ones that can remember it.

That's almost ten times the number of Gen Z-ers who admitted to the same.

While the young people get flack for their “quiet quitting” at least they spend their time at work doing some work, not doing someone from accounts.

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20/02/2024

Sleepless in Britain

Are you feeling groggy, grumpy and generally rubbish? You’re not alone. A new study has revealed that we Brits are losing a whopping 30 days of sleep each year. That’s more than a February!

The study, commissioned by an app called Lingo, found that the average person gets only six hours of shut-eye a night, two hours less than the NHS recommends. Although I don’t know if you have ever tried to get sleep in an NHS ward. They need to get their own house in order.

But why are we so bad at sleeping? Is it the stress of work, the lure of Netflix, or the constant fear of missing out on something more exciting than counting sheep? It depends on if you’re into sheep, I suppose.

According to Dr Noreen Nguru, a doctor and sleep specialist, there are ten common bedtime habits that are ruining our chances of a good night’s rest. And some of them might surprise you. But I hope not because I surprise can’t help you sleep either.

Did you know that reading before bed can actually keep you awake? Dr Nguru says: “Anything that elevates your heart rate and stress hormones – even a passionate discussion – can make it tough to fall asleep.” You need a boring book? I’m still selling mine on Amazon.

Another thing you might be doing wrong is using the wrong toothpaste. Apparently, strong mint-based products can stimulate your brain and make you alert, just like a cup of coffee. Try rohypnol flavour instead.

But don’t get too cosy in bed, especially if you have a partner. Dr Nguru warns that having lots of sex before bed can actually make you too hot to sleep. But on the other hand you would have just had some sex, so stop complaining.

And finally, don’t skip the cuppa. Contrary to popular belief, drinking tea won’t stop you from sleeping, as long as you don’t drink it too close to bedtime. In fact, a 2020 study found that tea drinkers in Northern Ireland slept longer and better than those in the South West, who drank less tea. Dr Nguru says that tea contains properties that reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Hang on. Surely sex also reduces stress and promotes relaxation though. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong. Or making tea wrongly.

» Read the source story


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19/02/2024

The Tooth Fairy Inflation

Remember the good old days when losing a tooth meant finding a shiny coin under your pillow? Well, those days are long gone, as some parents are spoiling their kids with lavish gifts from the tooth fairy.

It’s a fool’s plan. What’s the incentive for your child? Lose as many teeth as possible and you’ll get nice things?

According to a recent survey by Delta Dental, the average amount of money that children receive for a lost tooth has tripled in the past two decades, from $1.88 in 2001 to $6.24 in 2023. We keep looking for the source of the painful inflation that has hit us hard. I think we’ve got it.

Some parents are also leaving behind expensive items such as video games, iPhones, and even designer jewellery. Why? Is the tooth fairy trying to fence some stolen goods?

Mark Burhenne, a former dentist who runs the website AsktheDentist.com, attributed this trend to parental competition and guilt.

As a parent I have felt guilty from time to time but never enough to buy a new iPhone. What the hell have those parents done that means they have to do that? Buy some flowers and be better.

Mark said of the parents, “They feel bad that they don’t spend enough time with their kids, so they try to make up for it with extravagant gifts.”

From the point of view of the child, I think it’s a good deal. If you go to work but buy me nice stuff, I’d be OK with that. But why do I have to lose teeth first?

Meanwhile, in the UK, known for its dentistry but not in a good way, Natasha Evans, from Cheshire, said that she gave her daughter three one-pound coins and two chocolate coins.

There’s nothing like giving sugar to your child when they are just about to get their adult teeth. Sadly, when you have a tooth pulled by a dentist when you’re a fully grown adult, YOU have to pay THEM.

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17/02/2024

Trump’s Doing ‘Fine’ Now

Donald Trump, the former US president and self-proclaimed billionaire (we’ve all done a self assessment form, Donny), has been ordered to cough up nearly £281m to New York state for lying about the value of his real estate empire.

I suppose the difference is that on a self assessment form you make it look like you’re earning less so you pay less tax, Donald made it look like he had more money.

Trump was found guilty of business fraud by Judge Arthur Engoron, who also banned him from being a company director or borrowing money from banks in the state for three years.

That part of the punishment won’t bother Trump at all. He won’t need to borrow money for three years, his release date won’t be till 2036.

The judge said Mr Trump and his cronies had inflated the worth of their properties by hundreds of millions of dollars to secure favourable loans and tax breaks, while deflating them to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

This kind of thing is what business people probably do all the time but it’s either (I) you expect better from elected leaders or (ii) don’t get caught.

In a scathing 92-page ruling (which means Trump won’t read it), Judge Engoron said Mr Trump and his co-defendants, including his two adult sons Donald Jr and Eric, had shown "complete lack of contrition and remorse" and were likely to continue their "fraudulent ways" unless he imposed a "significant" penalty.

Mr Trump, who narrowly escaped having some of his companies dissolved, which could have led to bankruptcy, said he would appeal the ruling, calling it a "political witch hunt" by the "crooked" judge.

So they nailed that “lack of contrition and remorse” bit.

Speaking from his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, where he spends most of his time golfing and ranting on social media, Mr Trump said: "I'm the best president ever, and everyone knows it. I won the election by a landslide, but they stole it from me. They're all very bad people. Very bad."

That last bit might not be true but it’s a good guess.

Trump supporters say this will make him even more popular. They’re probably right, so I’m sure they’ll stop moaning about it. Maybe.

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Just What The Fat UK Needs... More Crisps

In the old days this is what news Gary Lineker would have talked about. Crisps!

Walkers has just released two new flavours of crisps that fans can't stop raving about on Facebook. It makes a change from using your time on Facebook to claim that climate change/COVID/Meghan Markle doesn’t exist, so let’s take it as a win.

One of the new flavours is Crushed Sea Salt and Black Peppercorn. That story again: “Walkers invents… salt and pepper!” They’ll be working on the wheel next.

But what they have actually done is take the words “salt and pepper” and add a lot of middle-class words to them. It’s like adding value but not really. Middle-class people like extra words on their food. They don’t want chicken, they want locally sourced, free-range, corn fed chicken. If it has a CV longer than mine they want to eat it.

The only problem is that middle-class people don’t want to eat crisps. If they do they’ll put them in a bowl and serve them with dips, which makes the brand of the crisps rather pointless.

The other new flavour is Mature Cheddar and Chilli Chutney. At least they made a bit of a change to cheese and onion there.

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16/02/2024

To Breed Or Not To Breed

A new study found that over a third of UK teenagers don't want kids. You’d think that’s a good result. Most countries don’t boast about their teenage pregnancy rates. There are some lists you don’t want to be at the top of no matter how much you love your country.

The trouble is, this survey has looked at who wants to have offspring for the rest of their lives. If these stats are true we risk dying out.

The reasons given are interesting. Some girls are scared of pregnancy and childbirth. As a father, I have recently witnessed these stages and I can say that childbirth was easy. I mainly sat there and had snacks. I hope that advice helps.

He pregnancy was harder for me. For some reasons dads seems to gain weight as the mothers-to-be do but we don’t get to push 8lbs out of a hole at the end of nine months, which makes getting your pre-birth weight harder for the fathers. I know, there’ll be so much sympathy for that.

The other reason given for not wanting children is the "turbulent state of the world" and climate change. But if you don’t have children, who can go on to study, become clever and solve the worlds problems, how will the mess ever be fixed. Obviously if you come from a family of people who don’t do much in the brain department feel free to sit this one out.

Also on the list of reasons is that teenagers think that children are a nuisance. Well, that one is hard to defend against. They are. I currently have a toddler and a newborn. One will drop to the floor to have a tantrum if he hears the word no and the other poos herself all day. You can’t get away with those behaviours when you’re not a child. I know, I’ve tried.

So what does this mean for the future of humanity if our teenagers will never reproduce? Do we only have one generation left?

Well, there are decisions I would have made as a teen that I wouldn’t make now. I see old pictures of me and those glasses frames I picked showed I wasn’t to be trued to make big decisions.

Also, Mother Nature has a trick up her sleeve. Most animals don’t choose to have children, but they reach a stage in their lives when they quite fancy a bit of sex.

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15/02/2024

A New Creme Egg To Hate

Easter is possibly the least healthy time of year. I know it doesn’t happen this year till the end of March but it has a long reach.

As soon as Doctor Who’s credits had finished on Christmas Day the shops were already stocking their shelves with chocolate eggs. That’s a three month stretch of eating like it’s Easter weekend. This year is a leap year too so there’s another day of eating Creme Eggs.

This calorific year quarter has been made even less healthy thanks to a team up between Cadbury’s and Domino's. They’re selling a cookie that contains a whole Creme Egg. It’s the kind of food item you’d normally only make for a pregnant woman.

It’s even upset people in the House of Lords. Lord Bethell posted scathing tweets calling this Frankenstein dessert “disgusting”. He added, “These are serious corporate food companies. What are they thinking?"

I can answer that. They are thinking of making food that is full of fat and sugar that we want to buy so they can make a lot of money. It’s what they all do.

I know Lord Bethell means well but you have Domino’s, a company that makes its money from telling topped bread to people in 13.5-inch slabs, and Cadbury’s, a company that sells us chocolate. You can’t expect them teaming up to make a salad.

The Lord went on, “It’s not illegal. But it’s harmful,” which is almost Phillip Schofield’s excuse.

A spokesperson for Domino's tried to defend the move saying, “We know our customers love to share our existing cookies, and we expect they will do the same with the new Creme Egg cookies."

That takes the biscuit, pun intended. These companies that flog sugar to us always pass the blame for the gluttony onto us. They add the words “to share” on their bags of chocolates even though they know we aren’t going to share. It’s as bad as the “drink responsibly” tags on alcohol moving all the blame onto us.

While his complaints are well meaning there has to be personal responsibility and if two companies that sell you bad food team up to make a super-treat, don’t go thinking it’s health food.

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@mrstevenallen Cadbury's Creme Egg outrage. Really? #easter #outrage #comedytiktok #chocolate #nosharingfood ♬ original sound - Steve N Allen
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