The above video is of a GIF posted on Twitter by Liam Gibbons, a game maker and writer currently living in Melbourne, Australia. This special ‘funky light show’ as he calls it, features an assortment of differently-sized cubes and cuboids, five of which give off coloured light in a strictly defined pattern. The show responds to both mouse clicks and its own internal environment. Gibbons shared this as part of Twitter’s ‘Screenshot Saturday’ event, where game developers and CGI designers tweet snippets of their latest projects.
It is an interesting video, and not just in terms of the technology. From a perspective of aesthetics, the experiment is very calming and ordered and the flashes of different colours add a fun and funky vibe to Gibbons’ work.
Liam Gibbons has a background in game design and carries out both 2D and 3D projects with ease. His focus is on level design, environment design and virtual architecture. As a writer, Gibbons had been published by several games and CGI design publications including Unwinnable, Kill Screen, and Overland. Previous projects he has worked include ‘Take That Ya Lousy Dimension’, ‘Looking Back’, ‘Broken Space’, ‘Sais Quest’, ‘Metaheroes’ and ‘Shades Desending’.
If you have a slow connection, please allow a few seconds for the video to show on your screen, and then click the blue and white play button.
When Iyad Al-Baghdadi, an author and Arab democracy activist, recently tweeted about leaders of Daesh (so-called Islamic State) putting out an audio release calling for more fighters to join them in Iraq and Syria, as you would probably would not expect, the response from the Twittersphere was quite hilarious and served to ridicule the very nature of that organisation. Daesh, which has taken over large parts of the two Middle Eastern states have become notorious for their violence, sadism and religious and racial discrimination. This fightback by ordinary tweeters of the Muslim faith is especially relevant considering the strong presence of Daesh and other terrorist groups of all persuasions on Twitter, where accounts are used to disseminate propaganda and appeal for finances and fighters. The actions of Daesh and their supporters have led to a backlash against the everyday Muslim, many whom are resolutely against IS. A small victory against both Islamic State and Islamophobes by the wits of Twitter.
The following are the original comment from Al-Baghdadi and the amusing responses that followed:
Iyad Al-Baghdadi – ISIS leaders: We urgently call upon every Muslim to join the fight, especially those in the land of the two shrines (Saudi Arabia), rise.
Saladin Ahmed – Sorry, busy eating pie and playing video games with my kids.
Mohamed Djingo – Sorry, I am busy watching Netflix.
Idris – Sorry bruh it’s leg day tomorrow and I’ll be sore.
Tayyib ‘T’ Nawaz – Is ISIS going to help me with my assignments due in next week ?
Subhi – I’m behind in college credits as it is and I would rather drink bleach tbh (to be honest)
Ismail – Sorry lads, got a decent Football Manager save going atm (at the moment)
Saadat Ali Zia – I’ve got Star Wars on Sunday. Maybe later.
Sychlops – Sorry gotta see Twitter react to LVG (Louis van Gaal – Manchester United FC manager’s) sacking and Mourinho’s appointment.
RasheedAB – gotta do the dishes bruv
Mohamed Martell – Mate Chelsea are currently 3 pts above relegation and I have grad school applications due soon. Maybe next time?
This photo comes from the wildlife and travel collection of Zoraida Palacios, who describes herself as a defender and protector of animals. She is also an art lover with a degree in administration. The tweet was created by Britannia PR, known fully as Britannia Communications Partnership Digital Communications Agency. This public relations agency was ranked number one in a list of 500 agencies in March 2015 on Klout, Peer Index, Kred and Social Authority. Their Twitter account often shares amazing example of scenic and natural photography, as well as images from around the British Isles. They are based in London.
A woman in a dark blue dress attempts to liberate the sky from the clouds, summoning strength amidst the drab. She battles on, beyond the unforgiving and featureless landscape.
A photograph made by Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova – another tale of wonderland – born in 1987, she specialises in graceful landscapes and people and animals embracing, uniting as one in friendship. She operates from Moscow.
This picture was shared by Traceyanne McCartney via Judy Adamson.
If ever you find yourself pulled over while driving and served a speeding ticket, or a police officer confiscates your Prosecco outside your local pub because they think you look out of it, the following fact may well give you a small amount of consolation the next time you run into the ‘po-po’.
According to the Facts In Your FaceTwitter account, the world’s most often arrested individual is a Mr. Henry Earl. He has been detained by police and sent to jail more than 1,500 times since 1970, mostly for public intoxication, in other words, being completely drunk…trolleyed…smashed…legless….sizzerped…on the streets.
Earl, who is also known by the alias James Brown, is a 64-year-old resident of the city of Lexington, Kentucky state, USA. Sadly his drinking addiction has seen him booked over 900 times alone in the past thirteen years, but the upside is that he has achieved a sort of cult status. There is even a website dedicate to his in-and-out-of-prison stats, named “What’s up with Henry Earl?”
“He likes to get drunk a lot. And he gets busted a lot. As in “900+ times in the last 13 years” a lot. He spends roughly twice as much of his life in jail as out. His rap sheet is pages and pages long. Henry would surely take the gold in any Boozer Olympics competition.” – Wee’s News.
Earl has so far spent 4,618 days inside for 1,030 catalogued offences. His average time spent in jail per year is 243 days, and in an average week, this gentleman will be eating cold porridge for 4.5 days and tasting sweet freedom instead for only two days. He has sadly spent several Christmases, Thanksgivings and birthdays behind bars.
Not much is known about him, but his first arrest was in July 1970 at the age of 20 for carrying a weapon. He is believed to be homeless and one local who has spoken with Earl believes that he has mental health issues and criticised the level of mental healthcare in the United States. Local officers have been accused of constantly picking on Earl and seeing him as an easy arrest, although they say he is detained for his own safety. Earl himself had often provoked matters by hurling people’s drinks onto police cars to score a ‘free ride’ to the cells. He has allegedly even asked local shopkeepers in the town of 300,000 to call the police even though he had not committed any crime. He is renowned for his bubbly personality, fierce independent streak and many tales to those who take the time to listen to him.
He often visited local fast food restaurants and would dance and tell jokes in order to get some money for a meal or alcohol fix. People likened him to the suave crooner James Brown, whose name Earl unofficially adopted. He is also beleived to have served in his homeland’s armed forces and was said to have survived a near-fatal head wound from an explosive device while going through a secret tunnel during the Vietnam War. Many of Lexington’s inhabitants and even some of the police officers have a high regard and fondness for Henry Earl and see him as a quirky local institution. One person who often encountered him at a local shelter, Ginny Ramsey, a co-founder of Lexington’s Catholic Action Center, told CNN: “You can’t help but love him, I tell you.
“He’s as honest as the day is long. With Henry Earl, you’re going to hear the truth.”
His cult status has won him a few thousand fans around the world, and a massive headache for the police force serving Fayette County, where Mr. Earl earns most of his infractions. The county jail, as is normal for American correctional facilities and police forces, posts ‘mugshots’ of their offenders. They apparently have tonnes of pictures of Henry. His impressive arrest tally forced Fayette County jailers to ask the owner of the popular sharing website Fark to cease linking to their offender databases as the thousands of visits were causing their servers to crash.
He now has his own theme song, fan videos and even a Firefox browser extension. You can also follow his status via RSS feeds.
In 2009, he was nearly successfully free from the demon drink in an alcohol recovery programme he was placed onto by the courts, but hit the bottle again after five months and a few days short of his graduation from the course, which would have entitled him to a home and food stamps. Currently he is still in jail, but the Lexington Catholic Action Center are trying to help Earl with his booze addiction and stop him from ever returning to the slammer again.
If you’re a Twitter user like me, you’ll know that the social media network with the cute blue bird is full of great advantages. A cool interface, brevity of messages, lots of photos and now videos to comb through, and the level of interaction with other users is second to none. You can keep updated on things that matter to you, whether your favourite sports teams, celebrities, artists, politicians etc. as well as your family and friends closer to home. And of course block or mute anyone who does your head in.
But nothing is perfect in life. Not even Twitter. Aside from the occasional and mildly annoying drunken tweet or unsolicited direct message (DM) ….not withstanding the recent controversies surrounding racist and sexist trolls abusing people on Twitter…there is also the scourge of bots. Fake accounts with dodgy names and quotes clearly slurped off a website somewhere, gift-wrapped with a stolen display picture (usually some random meme or woman), or that God-forsaken egg that usually is served up as default, sadly not with some sausages or bacon as well.
These bad eggs are the bane of the Twitterati. Although the admin behind the site are very good at obliterating most of the fake followers, new ones take their place with the speed and intensity of mushrooms on the forest floor after a long rainy spell. Talk about putting too many eggs in one basket.
According to a filing made by Twitter with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014, it is believed that bots and spam bots account for 14% of Twitter’s active user base. That is around 23 million accounts out of the 271 active users on there. Many of these bots are programmed to retweet garbage or clickbait articles. Not all bots are bad, indeed some are fun (such as the Wiener Schnitzel bot that retweets you every time you mention that phrase) but there are concerns that some may be a gateway for hackers or data miners. Other bots are created to boost up follower numbers in that never ending popularity contest of ‘Who has the most followers?’. There are some companies that will for a small fee get fake accounts to follow your every move and tweet, and inflate not only your follower count but also presumably your ego as well. They do a relatively roaring trade despite Twitter rules of usage prohibiting tweeters from enlisting the services of such ‘follower farms’.
No-one, and I mean no-one is safe from the attention of the bots. Not even celebrities or politicians. United States presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton is said to have once had 2 million fake or inactive followers and that only 44% of her followers are real, living, breathing people. She has also been accused of plumping up her 3 million follower figures with fake accounts, according to British newspaper The Daily Mail. Over here in the UK, former Member of Parliament Louise Mensch found herself in a bit of bother after a Twitter statistics and auditing website determined that 97% of her followers are counterfeits. Several other ministers and low-level politicians in her party, the Conservatives, also found their accounts’ popularity called into question amid flying accusations of wholesale fake follower shopping to boost party morale.
Personally I’ve seen more than my fair share of bots and dodgy Tweeters. On both my individual and blog accounts, I often receive up to five add requests from suspicious looking accounts. They are either accounts with Russian names and bios written in the Cyrillic alphabet or English language accounts with really strange names combining different ethnic origins. For example, recently I’ve been befriended by a Yuriko Dille, a Manika Boag, a Eustachius Knowler… other with half Arab or Indian or Japanese names affixed to Anglo-Saxon, Scottish or German surnames. They must shred up phone directories and randomly piece the names together like some sort of hellish Yellow Pages puzzle.
You can usually pick them off because their feeds are full of spammy retweets and their bio is some sort of quote. Other bots have nonsensical handles like @fnerit_elephantfartunicorn which is one of the main things I look out for when evading bots and fake accounts.
Last weekend I was having a Twitter conversation with a fellow blogger and keen writer, SD Cadman (a.k.a Sarika and Luna Elektra). Since we met on WordPress, we often have little chats of 140 characters or less, but this time there was a serious topic on hand. The conversation was inspired by an article I posted on @halfeatenmind about obtaining quality followers rather than just breaking numbers. We then got talking about fake followers, and how Sarika mentioned that they may well be bots sniffing out data for possibly nefarious purposes. We agreed that the worst bots were, in Sarika’s words, those that “act bloody human” or the “nonsense Factoid accounts”. We joked that we needed a weed whacker (a nice sharp blade) to remove these bots from Twitter like those pesky dandelions that never seem to give up sprouting over your smart well-manicured lawn.
Here’s a GIF she sent me to illustrate the frustration with these meddling dregs of AI….
In a nutshell, what Sarika proposed is that Twitter should have some kind of ‘Weed Whacker Award’ for the person who culls the most bots. That can mean ignoring them when they coming knocking at your account’s door, reporting them to Twitter, but most importantly of all, not adding them, as that gives them legitimacy and access to your followers list. Twitter does often undertake regular purges of fake followers, exterminating them like the filthy rats they are, but new ones keep cropping up. The winner of the bot wipeout can receive a certificate in the post or possibly a badge to go on their header or sidebar et cetera on Twitter. A sort of virtual Neighbourhood Watch against the fraudulent and fake. This would be a bit of fun, but also encourage people to look out for each other and protect against malicious hackers and other cyber-criminals and general online trouble makers.
Inspired by Sarika (SM Cadman), I’d thought I’d come up with a couple of designs for a ‘Weed Whacker Award’ badge if Twitter did such badges. If Dick Costolo, the Twitter CEO, is reading this, you can hire me and Sarika as your ‘creative consultancy team’ or whatever they call them in Silicon Valley. Free lunches and Segways would be a bonus.
While being the next Rupert Murdoch or Lord Northcliffe is probably a very unlikely event for me any time soon – a lack of a gold-plated triple-password protected Swiss bank account not withstanding – it is however, stupidly possible for me, or indeed anyone, to have their own newspaper with content that interests them and their friends. No messy printing ink, whiny subeditors, or pleading with newsagents required. Just an invisible, hands-free, fuss-free ‘editor-bot’ who will pull off a carefully-ish curated selection of tweets, website links etc. to make that virtual front page.
Thanks to the internet, the Half-Eaten Mind now has an accompanying online rag, the Half-Eaten Times.
This special newspaper was launched on the 4th April 2015, just before its parent blog’s third anniversary. Created with the help and hosting of the Swiss curated newspaper site paper.li, the Half-Eaten Times draws on the sharing activity of lists and followers on the blog’s Twitter social account@halfeatenmind and curates interesting and newsworthy content, presented in a New York Times format for easy accessibility and browsing.
Like any good broadsheet, The Half-Eaten Times has a respectable and diverse selection of categories for our readers. Updated every 12 hours (twice daily), our e-paper features the latest picks of the current headlines in the HEM world, as well as subtopics covering leisure, entertainment, technology, sciences and business matters. Every contributor is a blogging citizen journalist (excusing the ones who are already journalists, of course) and every follower has the potential to make the news. News media at probably its most democratic.
In addition, there will be also plenty of news from all the world, supplied by our media partners.
Although I own the e-paper, I am not responsible for the content, which is picked up automatically by the curation technology that paper.li makes available to its users.
You can subscribe to the newsletter via email or social media, and special tweets and posts will be sent out every time a new edition of the Half-Eaten Times goes on the newsstand.
Have a leaf-through the Half-Eaten Times at the link below.
I’ve also produced a banner advert for this new feature which may be included in the sidebar of this blog for maximum visibility, however my final decision is still pending. Using the now familiar HEM street sign logo, I was lucky enough to find the right visual elements to make this advert tie in with HEM’s header design (the original sunrise one with the silhouetted buildings) in the same way the e-newspaper’s name ties in with the blog’s name. Smart thinking eh?
The Half-Eaten Times….out now at your local PC screen and at all good tablets….for the cover price of £0.00 ($0.00 US/Canada; Rs 0.00 Mauritius, ₹00/= India)…you get my drift…Get your copy today! 🙂
Let me know what you think. I can also help you set one up if you need.
This poster combines alternative art (seemingly influenced by Instagram) combined with the visuals of a vibrant Northern indie music scene, getting right to the core of what music is all about: good times and appreciation of non-mainstream bands.
The poster is for the ‘Twisted Wheel‘ end of year music party being held at IndiePendent café on the High Street, Scunthorpe on the 5th December 2014, featuring indie acts Danny Mahon and the band The North. It was produced by Tacheless Promotions using Fused.
Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a big chunky bar of chocolate. If it’s festive chocolate, even better. One thing I can tell you about retailers in Britain is that they are so passionate about Christmas that they start bringing out festive themed goodies a good few months in advance. In fact the receptionist at my workplace was even telling me how some shops have already started playing Yuletide carols…and this was on Hallowe’en!!
Chocolate maker Cadbury’s, home of the recently revived Wispa bar, among other niceties, has brought out a new chocolate bar that will join their family-sized Dairy Milk collection for the season of goodwill. The latest slabs of cocoa goodness are called ‘Winter Wonderland‘. Instead of the normal square pieces that you can break off and pamper yourself with, this new sweet thang has little Christmas trees instead, alternating between milk chocolate entirely and more yummy milk chocolate topped with white chocolate. Perhaps the inclusion of white chocolate was to steal a march on Nestle and its Milky Bars in the competitive run-up to the big festive season. Maybe they felt a bit bad and Scrooge-like after recently announcing they would no longer make chocolate coins, a Christmas staple, just two months before the big twenty-fifth. Maybe they love snow. But I think Cadbury’s might be on to something here. I have certainly never seen anything like this before, and rum and raisins is not only unpalatable, but it’s getting somewhat antiquated too.
The Winter Wonderland bar looks both appetising and festive. I can imagine little kids (and big kids at heart) itching like they’re sitting on pine needles to chomp down on some cute and irresistable Christmas trees straight after the roast turkey and trimmings. It’s also a good way of sharing out the festive cheer when you’ve got family coming round.
I have a notorious weakness for chocolate. I mean only yesterday I was up at 12.30 in the morning, spooning out and devouring the remains of a Nutella jar at the back of the cupboard that I had almost completely forgotten about. Thank goodness none of my housemates saw me *piercing scream*. Trust me, I had the munchies and chocolate always hits the spot. Which is why I now have extra weight I need to get rid off. Snacking is a sin against the waistline, people. Just say no.
But come Christmas, even if you are constantly on the hunt for the next ‘revolutionary’ diet, you can forgive yourself for hiding the Atkins or Paleo guidebook behind the sofa and allowing yourself the guilty pleasure of deforesting a big bar of Cadbury’s Winter Wonderland chocolate trees. Even if it turns out to be the middle of April and there’s no-one at home to share with *sly wink*. Mum’s the word.
As Cadbury’s would put it “Who says chocolate doesn’t grow on trees?“
Croydon-based photo-blogger and good friend Alex Smithson announced yesterday night (Saturday 31 August 2014) that he has now introduced a revamped ‘Directories’ page for his blog, Mother Nature. The new page comes hot on the heels of a raft of changes and improvement Alex has brought to his blog, including a name change, two photography book, and adding a new self-designed logo and theme to maximise presentation and usability.
The changes are low-key and the page is still in development, but already two links are live. One is to the Big Blog Collection, a blog that serves as a directory itself of different bloggers according to categories. The second link is to the Half-Eaten Mind, the news magazine and personal blog of Vijay Shah. A badge issued by the Big Blog Collection sits in the centre top of the page and underneath a special badge/banner designed by Alex especially for the Half-Eaten Mind. He created this badge using GIMP, an open-source graphic design software that is free of charge to the public. Alex’s HEM badge, which only took around five minutes to put together, features Woodsy the Owl, Seventies’ children’s mascot of the US Forestry Service and also the HEM ‘unofficial’ mascot. Alongside Woodsy, there is a ‘signboard’ carrying this blog’s name and slogan in white on a brown and green colour-shift background – the colours of the mascot.
The new directory page also features a host of sharing buttons for readers to share the page with their friends and family. Services to choose from include WordPress (the blogging service that hosts both Mother Nature and the Half-Eaten Mind), Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr. There is also a preset ‘like button’ for WordPress bloggers to show their appreciation and a comments box for further feedback.
You can see the new Directories page at this link.
Of course, a big thanks to Alex for producing this lovely badge for the HEM on his blog. If the proportions are right, then I may use it as a header for the Half-Eaten Mind itself. It would become our third banner in use.
A screenshot of the new ‘Directories’ page of Alex’s Mother Nature photography blog prepared on the 31st August 2014.
Another screenshot of the old “Directory(s) page before the changes, captured here from the Internet Archive showing Mother Nature as it was on the 20th August 2014.
The HEM banner and badge which links to our blog from Mother Nature’s directories page. The colour scheme is influenced by the dominant hues of the HEM mascot Woodsy the Owl. Alex created this on his home computer using an open-source imaging program.