FOLLOWING FACEBOOK FRIENDS: Social network launches friend-tracking feature

CNN reports that the popular social network Facebook has launched a feature that enables users to track their friends while using the site. The new feature, which was officially rolled out this past Thursday, uses location information from satellites to tell Facebook users which of their friends are also available in the area they are currently at. The team behind the new technology have dubbed it the “Nearby Friends” feature. While it will make real-time socialisation away from the laptop much easier, there are also privacy fears, especially with the likelihood of stalkers or burglars using Facebook to track targets’ locations in order to carry out crimes and other nefarious activities.

The idea behind “Nearby Friends” is make it easier for people to meet up in real life and make their conversations face-to-face rather than via the site’s inbuilt chat service or wall comments. As CNN reporter Heather Kelly sums it up, the feature means that users can now be  “temporarily replacing Likes and LOLs with eye contact and actual laughter“.

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook also hopes Nearby Friends will promote more usage of its site’s features and that of its family member Instagram, the photo-sharing site that Zuckerberg bought for $1 billion in April 2012. People meeting up with the feature’s help might be more inclined to take selfies and pictures of the places they visit and upload them to Facebook photo albums and Instagram streams.

Nearby Friends will be made available to all users, but in a massive change from previous changes and innovations by the social media site, will not be automatically turned on for every user. Facebook’s earlier tinkering beneath the site’s bonnet has enraged users who felt they had been muscled in without giving formal consent, in addition to the site’s privacy woes – users often complain that Facebook makes its privacy setting deliberately difficult to find. Facebookers can opt out if they wish. Friends will not be able to see where you are unless you choose to enable live-tracking on your phone and make the correct choice in the site’s settings, which will go some way to reassuring those who are concerned about privacy, which Facebook has not always been on the ball with previous technologies.

People who do use Nearby Friends can set their location in a number of ways. They can opt to only show their general location, for example, just ‘London, United Kingdom’ with all of their friends, certain groups of friends (i.e. workplace, former school or college), or with a customised list that the user creates. Only friends who themselves have activated the feature will be able to see where you are. Turning the feature on shows a list of friends with the feature and their approximate locations. A push notification tells you how many friends are local. Opening the app will also let you know how far away they are from your current location and a timestamp displaying exactly when they were there last. You can also share your location to about half a mile’s accuracy with friends. It will even be able to show the locations of your associates across international borders.

The new app will prove useful to people coordinating large groups of mates on nights out or visits to concerts, to look for people who have gotten lost and also can have significant potential for travellers who can contact friends in the places they visit and take them on as unofficial taxi drivers or tour guides. It may even be a lifeline to those who normally travel and shop alone, as they can quickly meet up with any friends nearby, helping them feel possibly less lonely. Facebook has been criticised in recent years for allegedly isolating people with technology and keeping them only in interaction with their PC screens, despite its purpose being to make users more social and to supplement their real life activities. The new app is perhaps an attempt by Facebook to answer those criticisms.

People have the option to be selective about the locations they make visible. You can show your location sipping a latte at a local Starbucks or eating a burger and fries at the McDonalds in the centre of town, but can hide private places such as your home or place of work.

The app does continuously gather data even when switched off rather than standing by for a manual check-in. It will also save data listing places you were at in the past and not just places where you used the app to ‘check-in’ and announce your location to nearby friends. However the location gathering history can be switched off in Facebook’s settings, as well as delete all or certain locations from the log. However as the data will be stored on Facebook’s servers as with all other information shared on the site, people may be uncomfortable about a multinational corporation having a record of their every journey.

The new app shares similar aspects to established sites and apps such as Foursquare and Tinder, and is a sign that Facebook has seen greater potential in exploiting people’s wish to share location information. Facebook already has an option for people to tag themselves in status by linking themselves to the on-site pages of places like museums and restaurants as well as showing the rough location they are currently in. Rival social network Twitter also uses GPS technology to allow tweeps to place a location marker on their messages.

HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter LINK, Twitter LINK
“Facebook launches friend-tracking feature” – Heather Kelly, CNN/Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (18 April 2014) LINK
“Hands On With Facebook’s Nearby Friends” – Kurt Wagner, Mashable (19 April 2014) LINK
“File:Facebook mobile.png” - Trlkly, Wikimedia Commons (17 February 2012) *original copyright by Facebook, Inc LINK
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YOUNGROOTS: Grant programme helps youngsters discover heritage

A new grant programme has been set up in the United Kingdom to help British youngsters understand their heritage and express it through community service and media.

Shout Out UK, an alternative youth publication, reported today that the Heritage Lottery Fund is running the first stages of a special granting programme, the #YoungRoots Grant Programme, which gifts up to £50,000 in funds to individual young people and youth organisations to help discover and express their heritage.


Youth (Photo credit: Chris JL)

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is a funding arm of Britain’s National Lottery organisation. Founded in 1993, HLF aims to sustain and transform a wide range of heritage projects in the United Kingdom via innovative investment in projects which will have a lasting impact on ordinary people and places. The fund has already distributed £6 billion in lottery funds to over 36,500 projects since 1994.

This past Monday 7th April, the HLF took over Cambridge‘s Fitzwilliam Museum to official roadshow the #Youngroots programme with many young people in attendance and a host of entertaining shows.

The museum played host to a circus performance by the La Bonche Family, speeches from the Olympic medallist Robbie Grabarz and SBTV’s Aaron Roach Bridgeman delivering a specially created spoken word piece to the audience. A host of projects were also selected to be publicised from the thousands of young people between the ages of 11 and 25 who have already benefitted from the programme in using the awards to explore the UK’s rich heritage.

A section of the #Youngroots events was dedicated to showing three films on the subject of heritage, and which were produced by youths. These films are also being promoted in tandem on the Heritage Lottery Twitter account to spread the programme’s message.

One attendee at the Cambridge event, Louis John, the founder of an entertainments media outlet, said to Shoutout UKHeritage plays an important part of our lives and how we see the world. Its great to see so many young people getting excited about exploring theirs, I feel inspired

The Young Roots programme – grants between £10,000 and £50,000
  • provides new opportunities for young people aged 11 to 25 to learn about heritage;
  • allows young people to lead and take part in creative and engaging activities;
  • develops partnerships between youth organisations and heritage organisations; and
  • creates opportunities to celebrate young people’s achievements in the project and share their learning with the wider community.

(reproduced from the report on Shoutout UK website)

The programme will not only open up a new avenue to young people on journeys of self-discovery but also inspire a new generation of filmmakers to learn about their surroundings and origins without being restricted by not having enough money to start up ideas. #Youngroots will also help shatter popular misconceptions about British teens and young adults as being careless and possessing no interest in community environments and history.


HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter LINK
Shout Out UK, Twitter LINK
“About us” – Heritage Lottery Fund LINK
“Youth” - Chris JL, Flickr (26 February 2011) LINK
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TALIBAN PRISON BREAK: Inmates flee prison in Afghanistan, three guards killed.

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn has reported that several Taliban militiamen have broken out of a prison in Afghanistan yesterday. According to a report delivered by the English-language publication via the news agency Associated Press, an official with the Faryab provincial government said that three men escaped from the jail after getting hold of weapons. The weapons had been smuggled into the prison grounds by Taliban sympathisers. The resulting mêlée which lead to the jailbreak saw three prison guards die in the line of duty.

The official, Ahmad Jawad Dedar, told media today (Friday 18 April) that the breakout took place yesterday and that a fourth inmate who also tried to escape was shot dead in a gunfight with security forces who were called to the scene. Dedar said that the Taliban men were not cell leaders but low-level operatives who were imprisoned for setting up roadside explosives. These homemade explosives are often aimed at the thousands of foreign soldiers stationed in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government following the United States-led invasion in 2003. The Taliban, a theocratic militia who developed from the ‘mujahideen’ that faced the Soviets in the 1980s Russian invasion of Afghanistan, ruled the country with an iron fist before they themselves were toppled in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York. Their name means ‘students’ in Arabic, but they are widely reviled by the West and ordinary Afghans for their frequent bombing and shooting attacks on both occupying forces and civilians. The north of Afghanistan has largely escaped the attention of the Taliban, who are mostly active in the capital Kabul and some restive southern provinces.

English: HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (May 8,...

English: HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (May 8, 2009) – An Afghan National Police officer picks up a bag of opium. Afghan National Police officers, along with U.S. Special Operations Soldiers, discovered 600 pounds of opium May 7, 2009, during a cordon and search operation of a known Taliban safe house, collection center and trauma center in Babaji Village, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Photo by Cpl. Sean K. Harp, U.S. Army. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(c) Mapquest

(c) Mapquest

The location of Faryab province in north Afghanistan, where the latest Taliban jailbreak took place. The province is marked with the purple pointer.

The four inmates allegedly used grenades which were thrown at guards as the nightly roll call of prisoners was in progress. They were also believed to have shot at prison personnel with a smuggled pistol,  before making their escape into the local area. Authorities are still on the lookout for the three prisoners, whose names and appearances were not identified by either Dawn or the Faryab provincial government.

The Taliban have a frequent habit of escaping from poorly run, insecure and little funded Afghan prisons. A forged letter from an attorney-general was used by twelve inmates with alleged links to the Taliban who walked out unchallenged from Sarposa prison in Kandahar in early March. The escape was aided by corrupt prison staff who added the prisoners’ names to a list of people to be freed after completing their sentences. Two were later recaptured. Two years earlier, in June 2011, 500 detained Taliban personnel escaped en masse in the central jail in Kandahar city after digging a 1,000 feet tunnel prisoners’ cells. The tunnel was constructed over a period of five months right under the noses of prison officers and bypassing security checkpoints manned by both Afghan and international forces. Sixty-five were recaptured and two were shot dead after resisting arrest. 

Neighbouring Pakistan which has its own equally vicious version of the Taliban, has also borne the brunt of both terrorist attacks and jailbreaks. Militants stormed a prison in the north-western town of Dera Ismail Khan in July 2013 and freed 248 of their comrades. Armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and bombs, the hundred attackers in police uniforms blew up the prison walls before quickly streaming inside. Thirteen people died as a gun battle raged on for several hours, while the militants allegedly used a loudhailer to call out the names of their jailed fellow fighters. A similar attack at a correctional facility in the nearby town of Bannu, also in the militancy-infested Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, saw the freeing of almost 400 prisoners two weeks earlier, reported the BBC. 

HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter LINK
Dawn Media Group, Twitter LINK
“Taliban inmates break out of Afghan prison” – AP, MEDIA GROUP (18 April 2014) LINK
“Forged letter frees 12 Afghan prisoners” - Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (2 March 2014) LINK
“After 500 Taliban prisoners are freed through Great Escape-style tunnels in Afghanistan – forces fight back by recapturing 65″ – David Gardner, Mail Online News/Daily Mail/Associated Newspapers Ltd (24 June 2011) LINK
“Pakistan jailbreak: Taliban free 248 in Dera Ismail Khan” – BBC News Asia/BBC (30 July 2013) LINK
“File:ANA soldier shows opium captured in an alleged Taliban safe house in Helmand.jpg” - Sean K. Harp, Wikimedia Commons (8 May 2009) LINK
“Map of Afghanistan” – Mapquest LINK



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HEM TURNS TWO: The Half-Eaten Mind marks its second anniversary

Yesterday was a very special day for the Half-Eaten Mind. While for the owner it was yet another long one at work and surviving the Hammersmith and City line followed by buses that just don’t want to wait for you, the blog has marked two years since its establishment on the 16th April, 2012. That’s a whole two years of news stories covering the globe, of entertaining and visually powerful features on a variety of subjects, hordes of awards and of course, the dozens of friends and supporters I have made along the way. It has been a great twenty-four months, in which I have developed and grown as a blogger and journalist and the blog has become a labour of love which has brought a lot into my life, even if that means slogging a bit on the weekends. Especially when my landlord supplied with a squeaky second-hand office chair that is a heavy as a pregnant walrus and does my back in.

In the couple of days running up to the anniversary, I was slowly becoming jittery with measured excitement at the Half-Eaten Mind reaching this important milestone. On its official Twitter account, I tweeted on the impending birthday a couple of times, complete with our own unique hashtag #HEMturnstwo. The way I was going would have perhaps got the casual observer wondering if I was talking about a living breathing human being… or going slightly soft in the brains, but for me, HEM has been almost like a child of mine, one that I helped nurture and grow. Now it has reached the tender age of two, I can stand back from my laptop and say that I have really achieved something here, which for someone like me who was not born with a prestigious life and a silver spoon in his mouth, means a great deal.

To ready HEM for its birthday, I decided to do a reorganisation of the front menu and basically sort our two hundred plus articles and blogposts into set categories based on subject. I did this, as apart from being a bit of an organisation freak, I wanted to give HEM a more professional news website setup as you would find with any mainstream news media outlet. Equally important, there was a significant need to make the blog more user-friendly too. By reforming the menu options, visitors would not only find it easier to locate what they’re looking for but also to search around subjects that interest them. So for example, if you are looking for international news, there is now a tab on the menu that takes you directly to all our ‘World News’ stories, with minimum fuss and maximum relevancy. This of course supplements the existing search option on the right of the webpage which came pre-packaged with the theme I’m using. As the blog matures and increases its online presence, and with the anniversary rapidly approaching, now more than ever was an ideal time to tidy up the menu. All articles were categorised according to certain broad themes and using the HEM dashboard’s ‘quick edit’ function, took only two days to designate those categories for eleven pages of articles stretching back to our very first feature published in the spring of 2012. I was incredibly grateful for the quick edit function. It made things for me a lot easier than having to manually edit each article which would have taken more like two weeks than two days.

On the 16th April, 2014, I was unable to produce this article then as I was on the day job. However with the long Easter break coming up and with both the upcoming Friday and Monday being public holidays (bank holidays), I was in for a long lie-in. So after arriving home with a steaming hot lamb doner kebab in hand, I stuffed tonight’s dinner in the fridge for later and went upstairs to my room and the epic nerve centre that is the home of this blog. In other words, my Toshiba Satellite C660 laptop. Literally the first thing I did upon switching the laptop on and waiting for it to (slowly) power up, was to begin searching for pictures. Why, you may ask?. Because just like a chef will rummage through the fridge to find the right ingredients for the perfect casserole, I needed to find the right visual ingredients to make the official HEM second anniversary graphic. I used the Google CC search to pick out media and blogging related images, but the crux of this beastie was a wallpaper. A free PC wallpaper that showed a glass sphere sitting and refracting sunlight onto a newspaper page so straight and flat it appeared to have been heavily ironed and folded immaculately.

While there were many other wallpapers and backgrounds with a newsprint or journalistic theme available, this particular wallpaper spoke volumes to me. I needed something that would fit the blog’s purpose as a news site, but not be gaudy, childish or be too loud for the components I would be adding later. The contrast of light and physical state between the orb and the paper struck me as being particularly attractive yet subtle in its portrayal. This was amazing especially given that the image, taken from a free wallpapers site, was in black-and-white. The image’s simplicity, unabashed intellectual design, and its size would give me ample room to work on with my graphic design skills and follow the recipe instructions that were rapidly unfolding in my head as I opened up another website that would be the online ‘kitchen’ of my ideas….the photo editing page of piZap.

Those of you who have followed this website for a while will know that piZap is my go-to source for easy to make yet flawlessly appreciable graphics. Indeed a lot of the homemade graphics I have produced for the Half-Eaten Mind, including our Plaistow tower blocks header came out of the pizap foundry. I won’t go into the long and probably boring detail of how exactly I put the HEM 2nd anniversary image together, but let’s put this way, this image was probably one of the best I have created to date.

HEM 2 Years Anniv Graphic pizap.com10.175250617321580651397672683079


Now while I do have a good eye for the artistically wild side of life, I’m not under any delusion that I am an amazing Photoshopping whizzkid who can make Michealangelo masterpieces with some pixels and a few clicks of a mouse. But when I finally pulled the tarpaulin off this baby, I was so shocked that I could hear my mind shout at me “I’m bloody impressed”. After about one and a half hours of working on an empty stomach, mind buzzing while tweaking image sizes and opacity and moving text boxes all over the place, I had created a masterpiece that I think would win a few plaudits at your local design awards bash. I think what works for this special ‘poster’ graphic is just that it appears professionally done and forged in the visual essence of what the media is about in a single element.

This image is colourful, but restrained in its expression. It is busy but not over the top. It’s catchy, but not in-your-face. You could say I have reached a happy and settled medium between my desire to go crazy with all the colours and widgets that piZap offers, and the need to project a professional clean-cut image, which is a steadily increasing importance as my blog matures as a news and views website. Everyone will have their impression and perception of this picture, but when I looked at it yesterday I was saying to myself that this would not look too out of place in a trade magazine or even as a half-page spread in a newspaper. Subeditors: if you like what you see, you can find my contacts on the About page ;)

Please bear in mind that the clarity and resolution of the HEM 2nd anniversary image might be less than perfect. That is due to the limitations of showing piZap images on these blogpages but also due to resizing to help accommodate it in this article. You can see the original unstretched version on the HEM Flickr page. 

Since producing the above image, I have assigned it to places of pride on our social media network. It is the current cover image for our Facebook page ( and as a background for our Twitter account ( on a temporary basis. 


Before we round off things with a little birthday cheer, here is a Top Ten of HEM-related stuff from the past two years we have brought you cutting-edge news and amazing features, as well as various other facts and tidbits.

All-time (total) blog views – as of 17/04/2014 13.06


All-time number of comments – as of 17/04/2014 13.06


Blog facts and follows



1,386 TAGS





Top 10 most read articles (excluding home page)

1. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014: Vijay’s best new year images (10,141 views)

2. PHOTO MOMENT: Islamic New Year – Hijri 1435 (3,696 views)

3. DESIGN YOUR OWN NUMBER PLATES: The Half-Eaten Mind’s personalised registrations (1,774 views)

4. LLOYDS BANKING GROUP: Lloyds and TSB to part ways (1,747 views)

5. ATACAMA HUMANOID: Alleged extraterrestrial corpse is of this world (1,632 views)

6. WALLPAPER: Diwali 2013/2070 (1,525 views)

7. SHRIMANT BAJIRAO PESHWA: Legendary warrior of the Marathas  (1,428 views)

8. PHOTO MOMENT: Is Putin giving Van Damme a stunt-run for his (Volvo) money? (1,177 views)

9. SCAREDYCATS BEWARE!!: Grave Encounters – a review and a trip down Memory Lane (903 views)

10. ANNOUNCEMENT: New wallpaper to celebrate Diwali (851 views)

Top 10 countries by views

1. United States - 16,115

2. United Kingdom - 13,318

3. India - 8,229

4. Canada - 1,273

5. Australia - 971

6. Pakistan - 774

7. Germany - 763

8. Indonesia - 761

9. France - 736

10. United Arab Emirates - 643

Top 10 referrers (websites bringing visitors to HEM)

1. Google Search (24,453 views)

2. Google Image Search (8,255 views)

3. Google Mobile (682 views)

4. Yahoo Search (489 views)

5. Bing (479 views)

6. (183 views)

7. (76 views)

8. AOL (65 views)

9. (55 views)

10. (54 views)

Top 10 search engine terms

1. grave encounters (279 views)

2. diwali (235 views)

3. atacama humanoid hoax (176 views)

4. new year 2014 (137 views)

5. lloyds tsb split (119 views)

6. bajirao peshwa (98 views)

7. happy diwali animated gif (74 views)

8. happy new year animated gif (70 views)

9. anjali family photos (69 views)

10. new year images 2014 (61 views)

This is the week that HEM turns two, and while the blog cannot exactly say ‘thank you’, I would like to wish the Half-Eaten Mind a very happy 2nd birthday!!




(c) Gif Stop

(c) via SooziQ

WordPress statistics page for the Half-Eaten Mind.
IMAGE CREDITS (HEM 2nd anniversary poster):
“C28 Free Wallpapers” – Maryam Dihuni, wallpaper (5 April 2007) LINK
“Media of Malaysia” – Wikipedia/ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. LINK
“File:2010 magazines German 6649597627 871ef1b6b3 o.jpg” – HDValentin via yud4h, Wikimedia Commons (1 September 2010) LINK
“Data Journalism Handbook to launch under CC BY-SA” – Jane Park & ‘jwyg’, creative commons (26 April 2012) LINK
piZap LINK
IMAGE CREDITS (HEM 2nd anniversary article):
“Free Birthday Gifs” – Gif Stop LINK
“The Best Celebrity Memes Of 2013″ – SooziQ (1 January 2014) LINK
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GIF MOMENT: Easter 2014

In the United Kingdom, the days from the 18th to the 21st April are the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. I have booked a day off work so that means an impressive five-day long rest, which honestly I badly need. Easter is one of the most important Christian festivals celebrated here, and over much of the world. Children and parents look forward to munching their way through tonnes of chocolate Easter eggs and for many churchgoers it is a time to reflect on the lifetime of their religion’s founder Jesus Christ and his dying and resurrection for mankind’s sins. For the less religious or people of other faiths it is also a time to celebrate the arrival of spring and a chance to welcome longer, sunnier days.


Easter eggs

Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Some Easter facts…..


1. Although Easter is a well-known festival in Christianity, its origins predate the religion. In fact the word ‘Easter’ as used in Anglophone countries is said to come from the name of the Saxon/Germanic fertility goddess Eostre, whose spring festival was celebrated at about the same time as our current Easter.

2. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after his death. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year.

3. Eggs are popular during Easter due to their significance among Christians as symbols of joy, celebration, new life and resurrection.

4. In Ukraine, people paint real eggs with different colours and patterns based on traditional art after hard-boiling them first. In many parts of the world, people even dye chicks with non-permanent colours.

5. The Easter bunny is an integral part of the festival’s celebrations, but the rabbit that brings tasty eggy delights to good little boys and girls did not make its first appearance until the 1500s. Its first story was not published until 1680.

6. Hot cross buns, which are another staple of Easter in the UK, were originally baked by monks who would distribute them to the poor. The cross on each bun has a religious significance and lends the food its name.

7. Every year before Easter, 90 million chocolate eggs are sold and bought in the U.K.

8. The U.K.’s first chocolate egg was made by Fry’s of Bristol in 1873. The company still exists as a subsidiary and brand-name of manufacturer Cadbury’s.

9.  The tallest chocolate Easter egg ever was made in Italy in 2011. At 10.39 metres in height and 7,200 kg in weight, it was taller than a giraffe and heavier than an elephant.

10. On Easter Sunday in Scotland and north-east England, some people have great fun rolling painted eggs down steep hills. This is also popular in parts of America, but people there push the egg along with a spoon. The White House, the official residence of the US president, organises its own ‘Easter Egg Run’.

The Half-Eaten Mind brings a special GIF celebration of the Easter week with these cool animated images that can be used for greetings or family websites and blogs. Many of them revolve around the theme of eggs and bunny rabbits, which make them especially endearing to the little ones.


The Half-Eaten Mind would like to wish everyone a very HAPPY EASTER in advance!!



(c) Stacy/LoveThisPic

(c) dreamer/ via LoveThisPic

(c) dreamer/ via LoveThisPic

(c) 9TO5GIFS


(c) RUGU


(c) via Pics & Photos

(c) Candy Shaffer via Super Funny Images

(c) Candy Shaffer via Super Funny Images

(c) Too Late…

(c) 9TO5GIFS

(c) via Il Divo

“11 Facts About Easter” – LINK
“What Is The Meaning Of Easter? 8 Fun Facts You May Not Have Known About Religious Holiday” – Susmita Baral, Latin Times/IBT Media (11 April 2014) LINK
“Pocket Money’s top 10 Easter egg facts!” – Pocket Money, NatWest LINK
“File:Vajicka1.jpg” – Karakal, Wikimedia Commons (16 April 2006) LINK
“Happy Easter” – Stacy, LoveThisPic LINK
“Happy Easter” – dreamer, LoveThisPic LINK
“Happy Easter” – dreamer, LoveThisPic (different picture) LINK
“2014 Easter Gifs” – 9TO5GIFS LINK
“Happy Easter Gifs” – RUGU (4 April 2014) LINK
“Happy Easter animation 2014″ – Candy Shaffer, Super Funny Images LINK
“Un Paste Fericit!” (A happy Easter) – Theo, TOO LATE… (24 April 2011) LINK
“Easter Animations Free Gifs” – 9TO5GIFS LINK
“IL Divo – A Musical Affair: The Greatest Songs of Broadway Live , on Thursday Feb 27, 2014 – Tokyo, JP – Budokan” – Kinx (comment), IL DIVO – Forums (4 November 2013) LINK


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INNER PEACE AWARD: Special nom by Don Charisma

Our good friend Don Charisma has been exceptionally kind to this Half-Eaten Mind. While bits of my medulla oblongata have been falling off thanks to the stress of having to call like a stalkery madman at work yesterday, Don has showered us with some great awards these past few months, many of which come with badges he has created himself. I am always in awe of DC’s graphic and photography skills and he has a unique and rare talent. Probably the best thing to come out of Thailand since Red Bull and Singha beer.

Our latest DC gift is his retake on the Inner Peace Award. We were previously nominated for this award under its original badge by Ajay on June 16, 2013. The original badge features the line drawing of a dove with its bottom side changing into a olive branch. The dove prepares to launch itself from a hand drawn in similar fashion. Both doves and olive branches are, in the Western world, symbols of peace and tranquility.

Don, in inimitable fashion, has reworked the badge completely. Out with the birds and in with the sagely Yoda from the epic Stars Wars films. Blessed with the patience and ethereal mutterings of a miniature Dalai Lama, and the fighting hand-to-hand combat skills of a laser-sabre-totting Jet Li, the short wrinkly alien – who trains Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force – is in splendid cartoonish form in DC’s new badge.


(c) Don Charisma

(c) original designer via Don Charisma

The two Inner Peace Award badges side by side (well, top to bottom).

The Don was awarded the Inner Peace by Maryam Jamil, from entertainmentstarters and Foxy-O from foxyolive on October 2013 (Maryam) and March 2014 (Foxy-O). The Half-Eaten Mind was in turn awarded on the 11th April 2014. This is one of Don Charisma’s favourite awards. For him, it is a lovely idea. In a world bereft by turmoil, a bit of ‘inner peace’ is a useful and beneficial addition to our lives.

Conditions For Accepting The Award

The only “rule” for the inner peace award is that you write a short piece on why you are accepting it. I would suggest that you forward on to other bloggers who you think would like it, 3-10 up to you :)

Why I’m Accepting The Inner Peace Award

For me, inner peace is very much about being at peace with oneself. In my life I have been through a lot of suffering and turmoil. I have also seen those close to me get hurt in different ways. Struggling internally with these horrible events and things, I have tortured myself mentally in the past, but as of late I have tried to look deep within my heart and soul and eventually self-repaired. Inner peace is coming to terms with what you are, understanding that you are not perfect but still a special and unique specimen of humanity. Inner peace is being proud of yourself but setting that pride with humility. Things are not perfect. I have a bad temper (but thankfully that beast has been locked and caged by the inner peace I developed within) and get easily frustrated, but I have learnt to look at the world in a new light, thanks to inner peace. As a Hindu, peace is an important and intransigent element of our faith and relationship with each other and God. It is no surprise that many Hindus and non-Hindus meditate upon this sacred mantra “Aum Shanti Aum” – where Aum is the sound of the divine, and “shanti” itself means peace. For humanity. For all living beings.


I’m awarding this “The Inner Peace Award” to :

1. Inger Anna Jones (So you want to be a writer?)

2. Effrosyni Moschoudi (EFFROSYNI’S BLOG)

3. The Wine Wankers (The Wine Wankers)

4. stine1_online (Zizzling Zazzle – Home of stine1 on Zazzle)

5. Angie Jordan (Angie M Jordan)

6. Sourcerer (Sourcerer)

7. Wayne Herbert (Introspections of a displaced Boulevardier)

Congratulations to all nominees and to DC, once again, a huge thanks coming your way!

I will paraphrase the late great Yoda here and say “Charisma Don, my day you have made. May the Force be with you!”

(c) Special Events Alaska

“The Inner Peace Award”, Don Charisma, (11 April 2014) LINK
“The Inner Peace Award”, Don Charisma, (11 April 2014) LINK
“Star Wars” – Special Events Alaska, Special Events Alaska, LLC. LINK
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BUTTERFLY LIGHT AWARD: Nomination by Don Charisma

On the 10th April, 2014, the Half-Eaten Mind was nominated by Don Charisma ( for what I can describe as our first ever award with moving parts….well virtually speaking.

It is spring here in London, and while I have seen a few daffodils start springing up in ordered rows in the Newham parks near where I live, I have yet to see a butterfly. Plenty of house flies and a handful of bees mind you, but not one bleeding butterfly. No cabbage whites, no monarchs, no British blues, nadda, zilch, shunya, nothing. Nevertheless, Don Charisma has brought in a bit of spring fever all the way from sunny Thailand with this amazing new gift: The Butterfly Light Award.

(c) original designer via Don Charisma

The Butterfly Light Award (BLA) is a blogging award meant for those beautiful bloggers who have spread light into other people’s lives. Now while I am usually disseminating hard news stories, some of which can be quite depressing, I also make an effort to write blogposts and articles that are useful, fun and bring happiness and the light of knowledge to readers’ lives. Just like the BLA I make a big deal of colour, movement and joy on my blog, because at the end of the day, when there is so much strife and unhappiness in the world, I do want to make a difference, even a small one to someone’s life and goings-on.

DC features the BLA prominently on his blog. The colourful award with its butterfly behind rippling frosted glass and rays of sunshine is a majestic sight to behold – as far as award badges go. It has even earned a nickname from the Don himself; the Disco Flutterby Award.

DC received the award from Belinda from the ‘idiotwriting’ blog. I am not sure if Ms. Belinda created the BLA herself but she had asked the Don to release her offering into general circulation and the Half-Eaten Mind is privileged to be the first listed nominee for it. The back story goes that DC helped Belinda with an incessant malware problem, on account of Charisma’s expertise with technology repair. The problem was fixed expertly, and Belinda rewarded the Don with this sumptuous thank you gift now rippling just above these paragraphs.

DC’s flutterby nickname for the BLA comes from the fact that “partly because I can’t read, and partly because when I first saw it I wasn’t thinking on anything. What I saw was a disco mirror ball with coloured lights. It became apparent later that it’s actually a butterfly, so jokingly, I’d added the Flutterby, like kids or dyslexics might mis-say.” (DC’s own words). Interestingly I once remembered hearing a nursery rhyme which may have been either an old British or an old American one, where a butterfly is described as a flutterby, but just like a butterfly, it seems to have left my half-eaten brains and fluttered somewhere. I’m sure Google will help you solve the mystery.

Conditions For Accepting The Award

Don Charisma has added a couple of conditions for accepting the award :

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You MAY NOT lump this award in with a batch of other awards.

2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9999999 bloggers. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback (I’d suggest their about page)

3. You must link back to Belinda’s blog either to OR

4. You must write a short paragraph (yes only one paragraph – damn this is easy) – Entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”

5. Display Belinda’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.

How I’m A Positive Influence

While I am a journalist, and journalism is very much about detailing the negative as well as the positive, I do try to make a positive impact in my reporting. I try not to offend people and always pay more than lip service to the reporter’s essential values or accuracy, objectivity and telling the truth. My blog is a small ‘window on the world’ and I want to give as clear and unobstructed view as feasibly possible. I often reach out to other bloggers via awards articles like this one, and enjoy bringing a smile to their faces, not just through the awards themselves but also through writing sympathetically and knowledgeably about them. I occasionally write on social issues such as an article on a UK mental health charity published in 2012. On a personal level, my blog has been a source of pride among my family and friends and I have collaborated with my youngest sister Anjali on a few articles. That has helped her gain more confidence and keeps a big smile on her face, while showing her talents which normally otherwise are left understated.


I’m awarding this “The Butterfly Light Award” to :

(awardees chosen from the HEM Bloggers Twitter feed)

1. Vincent (Real Poems)

2. Johanna Bradley (RESTLESSJO)

3. Tanumoy Biswas (The Nomadic Soliloquist)

4. Andrew Ginsburg (Andrew S. Ginsburg)

5. Sage Doyle (SageDoyle ~ Fiction & Poetry)

6. Eduardo Meza-Etienne (Aquamosh’s Blog)

7. Lil Family Adventure (Little Family Adventure)

A big hearty thanks to Don Charisma for including me in his own awardees list  followed by a massive congratulations to all of my selected nominees!! :)

…and as we are on the theme of butterflies, here’s a traditional HEM choice animated GIF to go with our latest award.

The Half-Eaten Mind has also been nominated for this same award by Mahesh Nair of “Write Might” on the 11th April 2014.
I would also like to thank Mahesh for once again kindly considering me for this unique award.

(c) midnightgemini via Sodahead

“The Butterfly Light Award … Disco Flutterby Award :)” – Don Charisma, (10 April 2014) LINK
“The Butterfly Light Award … Disco Flutterby Award :)” – Don Charisma, (10 April 2014) LINK
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BEAUTIFUL DARDO OF VERSATILITY: HEM scoops another three awards

Our awards season continues relentlessly as the Half-Eaten Mind scoops another three awards to cram onto our mantelpiece.


Firstly our new friend Mahesh Nair of the blog “Write Might” who only last week  presented to us the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, has now sent the Versatile Blogger Award our way. This blog’s rules stipulate that only one award per badge can be accepted to prevent duplication, however I have made a one-off exception for Mahesh and will include this award in my own nominations.

Mahesh announced the nomination of my mind half-eaten with this comment left on one of our articles:

“It’s awards season, Vijay, and I’m pleased to be nominating you for the Versatile Blogger Award.”

His ‘Awards Season’ seemed to go into full swing after receiving a nomination for the Versatile Blogger from someone named ‘Tangerine Dreams’. He created an article in honour of this blessing on the 6th April, 2014 (this past Sunday) and we received confirmation of our nomination on the same day.

(c) original designer via M. Nair

As always there are rules, blogging rules (and etiquette) and there are award rules. As I have received three awards, I am going to be a bit flexible rule-wise. You will soon find out what I mean later on in this article.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award require me to give away seven interesting facts about myself. So as per these rules, prepare to have your mind blown. Sort of.

1. On Saturday while at my sister’s flat, I tried hula-hooping with my niece’s plastic hula hoop. Honest to God I looked so stupid, although it did make me happy that my dismal circle-spinning made my niece smile…and my sister now has a video to blackmail me with. Jinkies!!

2. I really like cream soda. It’s got a not particularly overpowering sweet taste and it looks like a more vivacious and fun version of mineral water.

3. At work I am the go-to expert on SIC codes. For those of you (and that’s most of you) who are outside the realm of database administration, SIC codes are special codes used for designating business types in database systems. So for example, ‘BN24′ is for legal firms and ‘TD12′ is for retail businesses.

4. I can just about touch the tip of my nose with the tip of my tongue. Pointless exercise really.

5. I am currently looking for a one-bedroom flat or studio in the London area. My search so far has been fruitless. They go like hot cakes around here.

6. I am 6 feet 5 inches tall. In metric measurements for all you non-Brits, that’s around 1.96 metres tall. While being tall has its advantages, like for example not getting mugged on the street and giving your niece the Mount Everest of piggybacks, I do genuinely wish I was a few inches shorter. Being a tall man in a normal-sized world isn’t really child’s play.

7. I have a very loud sneeze that makes people jump out of their skins. AAAAAATCHOOOO!!!


Our second award is also the Half-Eaten Mind’s very first non-English language award. Say hi to the Premio Dardos (Dart Award) from Tomas Morales of the blog “Los Sentidos De La Vida“, which as you might have guessed is a site in the Spanish language. Los Sentidos De La Vida translates as “The Senses Of Life” and is a blog dedicated to film, fine wines and music in approximately seventy-five words per article. It has a great selection of film reviews and Tomas’ perceptions of various wines from some of Spain’s renowned and lesser-known viticulturists.

The Half-Eaten Mind retains a number of bloggers in our community who express themselves in the Spanish tongue, and I am proud to accept the Premio Dardo in honour of them. I can speak some basic Spanish, having learnt it in secondary school and can appreciate the beauty and power of  ‘la lengua Espanola‘. I also like a hefty glass of good Spanish wine (such as Rioja) from time to time.

The Premio Dardo is an honour for bloggers who transmit core human values through their post, pictures and other work. Indeed, this is a very special award because it recognises personal, ethical, cultural and literary values ​​transmitted through writing. Tomas nominated us on the 1st April, but we received confirmation via comment message a few days later.

(c) T. Morales

Tomas recieved this award from two other bloggers in the Iberian blogosphere –  “traficodeletras” and “perdriel27″.

The rules of the Dart Award are as follows (translated from Spanish):

1. Place the image of the award (badge) on your blog.

2. Thank the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate 15 other blogs.

As Tomas was nominated twice, he ended up with a list of thirty blogs. However I am bending the rules a bit and only nominating ten as I have been getting so many these past few months.

To Mr. Morales, I would like to say this:-

Gracias, Tomás, por este maravilloso premio. Estoy muy agradecido a aceptarlo y le deseo todo lo mejor!!


Then, thirdly on the 7th April, 2014, just a day after Mahesh started off the week with a good vibe, another new member of the HEM crew, Yazmin a.k.a The Reading Girl, nominated us for the Beautiful Blogger Award. As the title of the blog suggests, Yazmin is a girl who loves to read. She in facts describes herself as a ‘book nerd’. She regularly publishes reviews of books she has thumbed through and puts out personal articles and motivational pieces. Sometimes she even gets inspired further and writes her own poetry, posts pictures she takes and lets you know about anything interesting in the reading world. 

Two days earlier, the Reading Girl was nominated for the BBA by two bloggers named Frankie and Edward. In her special article on the BBA, she mentions that she was very surprised and happy with the nominations. 

Essentially, the BBA is an honour bestowed by fellow bloggers to show how much they love reading your blog and appreciate the beauty in your words.

(c) original designer via The Reading Girl

Here are the BBA rules:

1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo.

2. Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back.

3. Nominate 7 (yes only seven) other bloggers and say a little something about them.

So, of course in the spirit of the BBA, I would like to thank Yazmin for being so beautiful in her consideration for choosing the Half-Eaten Mind as one of the lucky recipients. I am also grateful for her unwavering support of HEM and the undeniable pleasure I have felt from reading her posts. Well done and congrats for being nominated yourself.

I really enjoy his posts. Very different from what I used to but very informative and entertaining.

 - Yazmin on the Half-Eaten Mind.

This is the part where I am going to bend the award rules a little bit. I am going to nominate ten bloggers, randomly chosen from previous likes (to make it fair). All ten nominees will receive the three awards I mentioned in this blogpost. You can accept all, some or none of them, but never forget you deserve them all.

And the nominees are:

1. TheCrazyBagLady

2. Sawa Minori

3. KOH

4. CeeLee

5. Ruben Demirjian

6. sagedoyle

7. alienorajt

8. Tammy Hopkinson

9. moviejoltz

10. Don Charisma

Well done all of you!!

To Mahesh, Tomas and Yazmin, I thank all of you for making my work and blogging all that much sweeter.

(c) LadyFire/Photobucket

Here are the original nomination articles:


TOMAS Nominación Premio Dardos 2014

YAZMIN The Beautiful Blogger Award/ Two times

Versatile Blogger Award now


“IT’S AWARDS SEASON – VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD NOW” – Mahesh Nair, The Write Might (6 April 2014) LINK
“Metres to Feet & Inches Full Height Conversion Chart (0m-2m)” – Feet to Metres Height Conversions, LINK
Google Translate, Google Inc. LINK
“Nominación Premio Dardos 2014″ (Darts Award Nomination 2014) – Tomas Morales, Los Sentidos De La Vida (1 April 2014) LINK
“The Beautiful Blogger Award/ Two times” – Yazmin, The Reading Girl (7 April 2014) LINK
“Thank You – thumb cat” – LadyFire, Photobucket LINK


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ANGEL AWARD: New award by Don Charisma; HEM nominated

Today, we pick up the second award for this week and this month, with a never before seen badge for 2014 especially created by our good friend, Don Charisma. He has nominated us for the very dazzling Angel Award.

Don Charisma is a very intelligent and multi-talented blogger who has an impressive with both texts and graphics. Whether it is panoramas of Thai temples, taking pictures of a rather rude gentleman with a parrot touting for tourist dollars, or his amazing line in award badges, I have been privileged to call DC, as he’s affectionately known here, a friend and a fellow blogging enthusiast.

DC was himself nominated for this award by a good friend of his named Angie. She is, from what I gather, the originator of this heavenly divine award.


This award is dedicated to all the HEM Community as well as my youngest sister Anjali, whose name sounds very much like ‘angel’ (although nothing to do with angels, her name has a spiritual meaning). Yesterday, while visiting my mum’s house, I spent time with her teaching her how to draw graffiti-style art, after a special request from her, and I also took the chance to resurrect my drawing skills with the help of Anji’s massive set of glitter and ordinary gel pens. I did some logo designs that I plan to feature on the Half-Eaten Mind at a later date.

(c) original designer via Don Charisma

(c) Don Charisma

The badges for the Angel Award – original badge first, DC’s version depicted below.

Especially, I would like to give a big hearty thanks to the Don for selecting me. The badge is really beautiful and detailed, indeed, probably one of the best badges I have ever seen. I think both versions are awesome, but DC’s version works better because there is a tie-in with the name of the award and the picture of an Renaissance-era angel. The background as well has a heavenly feel to it. The way the light breaks into its component colour wavelengths as it emanates from an angel’s wings perhaps. What is even more touching is that DC made up this badge as a kind favour to his friend Angie – a small offering, but one in which the angels will smile on.

The Angel Award does not come with any rules or need for nominations. To take a leaf from DC, your only requirement is to do an acceptance post too. I am offering the Angel Award to ALL of the bloggers in the HEM community, so feel free to accept.

“The Angel Award – Thanks Angie :)” – Don Charisma, (5 April 2014) LINK
“Angels graphics” - LINK
“The Angel Award – Thanks Angie :)” – Don Charisma, (5 April 2014) LINK
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