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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

4 Tech realities pop culture needs to catch up on

When portrayed by pop culture, adaption of tech by various generations tend to be unrealistic. Here are six more examples that all writers for TV shows, movies, and particularly advertising need to catch up on…

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For anyone reading this, it is safe to assume you are – at least – a digital immigrant. Our generation is the first to truly grow up around technology; the first children of the digital age, and all the advancements it has been able to offer to society.

However, society can sometimes be a little slow to catch up, at least on a pop culture level. For example, older people – those over the age of 55 – are over characterized as being clueless around technology, relying on their children to help them navigate the new digital world.

In reality, those over the age of 55 are also digital immigrants. They were in their early 40s when the internet moved from a niche academic project to a way of changing how we interact with the world forever. Older people aren’t technologically illiterate; just look at the age demographics for Facebook on www.statista.com if you want that confirmed.

The above example is far from the only way that pop culture has misjudged the tech revolution and how it has changed the way we see and interact with the world. Below are six more examples that all writers for TV shows, movies, and particularly advertising need to catch up on…

‘ONLINE DATING IS CREEPY!’

TV shows have been spinning stories about how creepy online dating is for over a decade now. The premise is always the same: a character we care about goes on an online date. The date is either incredibly creepy, or somehow unhinged. The idea that is pushed as a result is almost offensive: online dating is weird. Proper people meet their mate in the real world. Get offline and start socializing.

The idea of socializing to meet a potential romantic partner is fine, but here’s the thing pop culture writers seem to have ignored: online dating is becoming the norm. 15 years ago, sure, most of society was extremely sceptical about online dating, furthered by the perception that anyone who is keen on the internet is likely to be an overweight manchild who lives in their parents’ basement.

Now, times have changed. Online dating has become a standard facet of life and it can be incredibly successful. Most of us know at least one couple who met online or via a dating app– it’s not remotely weird anymore. Yet for some reason, pop culture has yet to update to this reality, and online dating is still seen as outright bizarre in a plethora of TV shows and movies– which is all the more odd when you consider some of the writers of these TV shows and movies will have used online dating. It’s a trope that really, really needs to go.

‘TECHNOLOGY IS TO BE FEARED!’

There have been countless TV shows, movies, and video games that have sought to teach a lesson: technology is a bad thing. Technology is forcing humans to lose touch with their humanity. Technology will, ultimately, be the doom of the human race.

This is such a bizarre story to tell, yet for some reason, it keeps being told. Are there risks to technology? Of course– there are numerous tech developments that may prove problematic in years to come, and even the most devout tech fan needs to accept that.

However, technology is not inherently dangerous, troubling, or a cause for huge concern. The next time a TV show or movie tries to teach this lesson, then it’s worth remembering some of the things that technology has allowed us to achieve:

  • Medicine has never been safer due to technology. From robot surgeons that never tire to diagnostic exams that the doctors of 50 years ago could only have dreamed of, technology has changed human health for the better.
  • Technology has allowed processes and construction to be more refined than ever before. From companies like www.LaserLight.com making advances in micro-machining through to the incredible increase in data storage capabilities, technological advances have allowed us to make everything smaller, more compact, more easily managed.
  • Technology has changed the way that we interact with people for the better. 20 years ago, if your dearest relatives moved to Canada, then you’d probably lose touch with them almost entirely. Save for a Christmas card and a couple of extortionately-expensive phone calls, they would largely disappear from your frame of reference. Nowadays, if your family moves to Canada, that’s not really a problem – you’ll still be able to follow their everyday lives on social media, talk to them on Skype, and swap pictures and stories within 10 minutes of an important event occurring. The connectivity that we are able to enjoy as a result cannot be underestimated.

So while there are potential threats to heed warnings of when it comes to tech, there’s no need for such a heavy-handed approach to dealing with technology. A little more insight into how tech has improved lives would be nice.

#3 – ONLY ‘WEIRD’ PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN THE INTERNET

We’re all interested in the internet these days– it’s impossible not to be. The internet is the source of so much of our lives. It’s how we connect with friends and family; it’s how we find jobs; how we undertake education; it’s even how we can engage in activism by writing blogs and publishing opinion pieces. The internet has allowed voices to be heard that would have otherwise remained silent…

… which is why it’s so mystifying that being interested in, and vociferously using, the internet is still seen as something only “weird” people engage in.

Not sure you’re convinced that such a reductive, obviously-incorrect portrait of internet users is still in existence? Enter Exhibit A, a music video:

This is Lily Allen’s “URL Bad Man”, which depicts a respected music journalist as… a loser who sits in his mum’s house ranting on the internet (you can hear the journalist’s side of the story here, if you’re interested). This video is three years old now, but it was still ridiculous three years ago; nothing has changed about internet habits and user interactions in the past three years. It’s all the more bizarre, given Allen’s age, that she would dismiss internet users, writers, and content producers as bitter, lonely, and miserable.

It’s an attitude that persists. People who like using the internet, engaging on message boards, playing games online– they’re losers. TV shows and movies even take this trope further by insisting that these people need to “learn to live” and “stop being obsessed with their screens”– forgetting that we’re all only obsessed by our screens because our screens hold our lives now. It’s akin to mocking someone for using a paper diary 20 years ago.

#4 – HACKING. PERIOD.

Hacking, as depicted in TV shows and movies, is almost entirely nonsense. The visual shown is usually something along the lines of:

  • The “hacker” pulls up a screen on a computer
  • The screen is usually black, with green text (for some reason)
  • They begin typing something at a ridiculously fast pace
  • They then gain access to anything and everything they may want to see on another person’s computer.

Hacking… doesn’t work like that. It’s time-consuming, error-prone, and often doesn’t elicit anything in the way of material at all. Hacking definitely doesn’t involve speed-typing a string of code into a mysterious screen; nor does it only take a few seconds to gain absolute access to sensitive files.

In some ways, it’s easy to see why TV shows and movies depict hacking in this way. Firstly, it’s mystifying; as the “hacking” isn’t actually remotely close to what hacking constitutes, the TV show/movie cannot be blamed if someone tries to copy it. Secondly, most writers don’t truly understand what goes into hacking anyway, and as hacking is primarily used as a plot device, it’s not worth their time and effort to find out more.

While it’s easy to understand why hacking looks so terrible on TV shows and movies, it is nevertheless somewhat disconcerting that hacking is always portrayed as a sure thing. The character wants information and is then able to hack their way to this information. This kind of scenario doesn’t help with the paranoia many people fear about technology in general, so the occasional depiction of a failed hacking attempt wouldn’t go amiss.

IN CONCLUSION

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The reason many of these tropes exist in pop culture is, frankly, because they are an accepted part of pop culture. While we may now be well ensconced in the digital age, many of us carry over the beliefs and ideas that formed our childhood; TV show writers, advertising executives, and movie producers are much the same. We might know that these portrayals are misleading or false, but we’re used to them, so they become a staple.

In the future, and particularly as Generation Z become content creators, we may see these tropes finally begin to die out– but for now, it looks like we’re stuck tutting every time we see them.

NEWSMAKERS

Apple updates Holding Hands emoji to represent more LGBTQIA relationships

In a major update to the Holding Hands emoji typically used to represent couples and relationships, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone, in addition to gender, to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.

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Apple is previewing a selection of new emoji coming, revealing the newest designs that bring even more diversity to the keyboard, alongside fun and exciting additions to popular categories of food, animals, activities and smiley faces.

In a major update to the Holding Hands emoji typically used to represent couples and relationships, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone, in addition to gender, to personalize the people holding hands, opening up more than 75 possible combinations.

Following Apple’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium last year to introduce more disability-themed emoji, a new guide dog, an ear with a hearing aid, wheelchairs, a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg will be available in the emoji keyboard. Celebrating diversity in all its many forms is integral to Apple’s values and these new options help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard.

Many additional emoji categories are getting exciting updates with a new smiley face for yawning, a one-piece swimsuit, new food items including a waffle, falafel, butter and garlic, and new animals like the sloth, flamingo, orangutan and skunk.

Fifty-nine new emoji designs will be available this fall with a free software update for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Thousands of emoji are currently available, including emotive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters, more professions, various clothing options, food types, animals, mythical creatures and more. New emoji are created based on the approved characters in Unicode 12.0.

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Health & Wellness

Phl has most cases of fake medicines in Southeast Asia – UN report

Of 460 incidents of counterfeiting and illegal distribution of pharmaceutical products recorded within the region from 2013 to 2017, 193 occurred in the Philippines. Comparatively, 110 occurred in Thailand, 93 in Indonesia, and 49 in Vietnam.

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A study on transnational crime from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that the highest incidence of “falsified medicines” among Southeast Asian countries come from the Philippines.

Of 460 incidents of counterfeiting and illegal distribution of pharmaceutical products recorded within the region from 2013 to 2017, 193 occurred in the Philippines. Comparatively, 110 occurred in Thailand, 93 in Indonesia, and 49 in Vietnam.

Most of these counterfeit medicines were for urinary tract infection, erectile dysfunction, anti-infectives, and central nervous system (CNS). Meanwhile, nutrition supplements, cadiovascular, CNS, and metabolism drugs were among the most illegally distributed.

The UN study defined “falsified medicines” as pharmaceutical products “marketed with the intention to deceive buyers.” These could be misbranded, falsely labeled, or expired; may contain too little, too much, or none of its purported active ingredient.

As per the UN study, these products are ineffective, may be harmful or even deadly.

Pakistan, India and China are the leading sources of falsified medicines that end up in the Philippines through organized criminal networks.

The Philippines itself was the source in 12 incidents of either falsified or illegally distributed medicines in the US, Japan and Germany.

The report – titled “Transnational Organized Crime in Southeast Asia: Evolution, Growth and Impact” – noted that international criminal organizations may have earned as much as $2 billion from trafficking falsified medicines in the Philippines in 2014.

To solve the problem, the UN report recommended cross-border cooperation among countries. It warned against hastily tightening laws as this may only divert the illicit trade toward more vulnerable areas. The study similarly stated that countries in the Southeast Asian region must boost the legitimate trade in pharmaceuticals and make genuine medicines more available and affordable.

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Travel

Ranking the best (and yes, worst) countries to be LGBT in Europe

Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg came at at the top of the list of 49 nations ranked based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia are the worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights.

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Photo by Zoltan Tasi from Unsplash.com

Identifying as part of the LGBTQIA community, and considering heading to Europe? It may be worth considering the best – and yes, worst – European countries for those who live under the rainbow.

Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg came at at the top of the list of 49 nations ranked based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, according to a new assessment from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia are the worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights.

With each nation receiving a score from 0-100%, Malta received 90% and Azerbaijan just 3%. These rankings are used to put together the “2019 Rainbow Europe Map” (https://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/rainbowmap2019png1_0.png), a campaign from ILGA-Europe that looked at 69 key factors in every country in Europe, including equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.

The Top 10 most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe (2019):

  1. Malta
  2. Belgium
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Finland
  5. Denmark
  6. Norway
  7. Portugal
  8. France
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Sweden

The Top 10 least LGBT-friendly countries in Europe(2019):

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Turkey
  3. Armenia
  4. Russia
  5. Monaco
  6. San Marino
  7. Belarus
  8. Liechtenstein
  9. Moldova
  10. Latvia

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Top ways to relax and recharge after playing sport

It is important to take recovery days and find effective ways to relax and recharge after playing sport.

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Playing sports is an exciting part of life for many people. However, overtraining can cause a number of sports-related injuries and leave you unable to exercise for days, weeks, or even months.

For that reason, it is important to take recovery days and find effective ways to relax and recharge after playing sport.

Enjoy a long hot bath 

Taking a long hot soak in the bath is not only relaxing, but will also help soothe any tired muscles or aches following exercise. Create a therapeutic bath by adding Epsom salts. These powerful minerals are absorbed through the skin and replenish the level of magnesium in the body. This helps boost levels of serotonin which creates feelings of calm and relaxation. Epson salts have also been shown to speed up the recovery of sports-related injuries and improve physical performance.

Healthline provides more information on Epsom salts, the benefits, and how to use them most effectively.

Create a therapeutic bath by adding Epsom salts. These powerful minerals are absorbed through the skin and replenish the level of magnesium in the body.

Take time to rest

After playing sports, it is important to take the time to rest and recharge. Doing a sedentary activity that requires minimal physical movement is one of the best ways to give your body time to recover after intense physical activity and exercise. Watching TV, reading a book, or playing online games are all popular activities that allow you to rest. Some people also enjoy playing online betting games and having the opportunity to win money online. Unibet offers a huge selection of fun and exciting online betting games, from sports betting to live casino, so you’re sure to find something you enjoy.

Watching TV, reading a book, or playing online games are all popular activities that allow you to rest.

Treat yourself to a massage

Treating yourself to a massage is a great way to relax and recharge after playing sport. During a massage your breathing and heart rate slow, your blood pressure lowers, your body produces less stress hormones, and your muscles relax. Massages are therefore the ideal way to unwind, especially if you have tense, achy muscles. Sports massage can be used to relieve muscle tension, reduce inflammation, and treat a whole range of injuries. They can also effectively enhance athletic performance by improving soft tissue function and increasing the range of motion. 

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Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. Many studies have also shown that lack of sleep can have a significant negative effect on performance and recovery. According to The National Sleep Foundation – “Less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.” For that reason, it is extremely important that you try to get as much quality sleep as possible and aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to get to sleep, then make sure you switch off from technology and avoid things like social media in the evening. You could also try taking a relaxing bath and drinking a calming herbal tea before you go to bed. This should help improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Make your business marketing all inclusive

When starting and developing a business, there are fundamental areas that you’ll need to put in place in order to get things going.

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When starting and developing a business, there are fundamental areas that you’ll need to put in place in order to get things going. The strategy is the initial port of call, which is a necessary step to defining the overall mission and goals of the company. Finance is usually a close second on the list as funding will play an essential role in the setup process, sourcing offices, and hiring staff.

Employees

Sourcing a team of loyal employees will be crucial to success, and finding the right skill sets can be a difficult and laborious task. Equipment and operations must also be put in place in order to get a business functioning from start to finish. If this all seems a little overwhelming, don’t panic; there are plenty of ways to increase your business knowledge before stepping out alone.

Sourcing a team of loyal employees will be crucial to success, and finding the right skill sets can be a difficult and laborious task.

Further Education

Furthering your education in this field can provide invaluable wisdom and can be achieved without having to attend college full time. Online-based courses offer flexibility to students all over the world, allowing study time to slot in with life commitments and run alongside any business plans you may have. You can find out more online about these courses.  

Marketing

The last area to consider when developing your business is how to market your product or service to consumers as customer engagement is critical to success. If they don’t want to invest in what your selling, you’ll never be able to get your startup off the ground. The landscape of businesses marketing, however, has seen a definitive change in direction in recent years, and it is important to bear this in mind when creating your own strategies.

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Your Mission & Vision

Creating an unreachable dream to aspire to is no longer the obvious choice when advertising your brand. Consumers no longer want to feel pressured to fit a certain mold and are beginning to shy away from companies that promote unrealistic expectations. Inclusivity and Diversity are becoming the norm, and the world of business is discovering that being relatable and understanding of their audience is much more important than acting like an exclusive, members-only club.

Positive Messaging

Creating a positive message around your business is not only good for society as a whole but will no doubt help your bottom line as you appeal to a broader audience. After all, the size of your body or the color of your skin should never mean you can’t purchase a particular item of clothing and brands are becoming better at highlighting this within there ads.

Creating a positive message around your business is not only good for society as a whole but will no doubt help your bottom line as you appeal to a broader audience.

Final Thoughts

There’s definitely a fine balance to achieve when getting inclusive marketing right, and this should not be taken lightly. There are a few examples below of successful inclusive campaigns that illustrate how it can be done correctly.

  • Kleenex achieved a brilliant inclusive marketing campaign with their Unlikely Best Friends video ad featuring an unwanted disabled dog. Heartwarming and relatable to all, it is a real tear jerker to watch so have the tissues at the ready.
  • Goldieblox toys and entertainment brand breaks the mold when it comes to traditional gender perceptions and commonly illustrates girls striving for any job role in life, regardless of whether it’s been a male-dominated role in the past.
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Health & Wellness

Between 16% and 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide

Up to 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide, with the main risk factors including depressive symptoms, anxiety and compulsive obsessive disorder.

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Photo by @bernard_ from Unsplash.com

Up to 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide, with the main risk factors including depressive symptoms, anxiety and compulsive obsessive disorder. This is according to “Suicidality in a Community Sample of Early Adolescents: A Three-Phase Follow-Up Study”, done by Voltas, N., Hernández-Martínez, C., Arija, V. and Canals, J.

In the study, the researchers studied a group of 720 boys and 794 girls who studied in 13 schools in Reus. They were monitored during three developmental periods: 10 years old, 11 years old and 13 years old. At the beginning of the study, the students answered a series of psychological tests that were used to detect which of them presented emotional symptoms related to depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). From their responses, two groups were created: one group at risk of emotional problems and a control group.

The disorders were diagnosed with standardised international criteria and the boys and girls were monitored to see how suicidal ideation developed throughout the research period.

The figures were quite stable. During the first period, 16% of the students stated that they had thought about suicide, of whom 33% stated the same one year later. In both the second and the third period, ideas of suicide were expressed by 18% of the students surveyed. The risk of suicide was determined in a personal interview and was present in 12.2% of the children with an average age of 11 years old. Although there were no differences between the sexes, the severity of the suicidal behaviour was greater in boys.

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The researchers also observed what factors predicted suicidal ideation and they found here that there were differences between the sexes.

“In boys it is previous depressive symptoms which determine subsequent suicidal ideation,” says Núria Voltas, one of the researchers involved in the study. In girls, on the other hand, it is a combination of anxiety symptoms, OCD and the family’s socioeconomic situation.

The results of this research, published in the scientific journal Archives of Suicide Studies reveal the factors that can trigger ideas of suicide in this age group. “Our results will enable us to have greater control over this particular aspect and take prevention measures in preadolescents, who are going through a period of considerable vulnerability,” she concludes.

This is a noteworthy study, considering other – and earlier – studies have repeatedly highlighted how members of the LGBTQIA community are greatly affected by suicide. In 2018, for instance, a study from the University of Arizona noted that 50.8% of transmasculine adolescents between the ages of 11 and 19 have attempted suicide at least once, while 41.8% of nonbinary adolescents – those who don’t identify as exclusively male or exclusively female – have attempted suicide.

Still another study – also done in 2018 – that appeared in Pediatrics noted that almost 14% of adolescents reported a previous suicide attempt, with disparities by gender identity in suicide attempts. Female to male adolescents reported the highest rate of attempted suicide (50.8%), followed by adolescents who identified as not exclusively male or female (41.8%).

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Still another study – also done in 2018 – that appeared in LGBT Health found that a total of 37% of trans respondents reported having seriously considered suicide during the past 12 months and 32% had ever attempted a suicide. Offensive treatment during the past three months and lifetime exposure to trans-related violence were significantly associated with suicidality. 


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