Category Archives: Life and style

Instagram’s five new filters: can you spot the difference?

For the first time in two years, Instagram has launched five new filters, their subtlest yet. But can you tell which picture has #nofilter?

Instagram has launched five new filters. With names presumably coined using the Dada cut-up technique, these five filters are called Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Perpetua and Aden.

According to Dan Rubin, a fairly influential designer, photographer and Instagrammer who admits to leaking “small chunks of his brain directly to Twitter”, this is a good thing. “On Instagram, the filters actually evolve people’s styles and can lead to a certain type of photo,” he says. “A shift to more subtle filters will lead to people paying more attention to light and essentially taking better photos.”

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Posted in Art and design, Culture, Fashion, Instagram, Life and style, Photography, Technology, World news | Comments Off

Ireland to hold referendum on gay marriage in May

Campaigners welcome deputy prime minister’s announcement, as latest opinion poll shows 71% of electorate would vote yes Continue reading…

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Fairytale ending for Elsa the kitten found frozen in Denver

The freezing feline found tangled in wires on a porch in sub-zero temperatures has now been adopted by the volunteer who nursed her back to health Continue reading…
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Seven ways to end loneliness

As Christmas approaches, not everyone will be among loved ones but individuals and authorities can all do their bit to help

In the run-up to Christmas most of us make the extra effort to spend time with our family and friends – and this time with loved ones reminds us of those who are sadly without such companionship. A recent BBC poll revealed that 10% of those aged over 65 expect to spend Christmas mostly on their own and, using established research into the prevalence of loneliness, it’s estimated that about 1,100,000 older people in the UK feel lonely all or most of the time. Of course, loneliness can occur at any age: in 2010, the Mental Health Foundation discovered that more than a third of young people between 18 and 34 worried about feeling lonely.

We have seen a huge amount of awareness this year about the need to help people who spend Christmas alone, but we must sound a note of caution: loneliness is a serious public health issue that must be addressed all year round. As the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said, loneliness and isolation is as “bad for you” as “smoking 15 cigarettes a day” and “worse than obesity”.

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Posted in Charities, Christmas, Health, Health & wellbeing, Health policy, Life and style, Mental health, Older people, Politics, Public services policy, Society, Voluntary sector, World news | Comments Off

Which health websites can you trust?

With online health advice ranging from the helpful to the hysterical, where should you turn when illness strikes? Health experts share the websites they recommend

Picture the moment. It is 3am and you have a really bad stomach ache. You are scared and in pain. “Time for Drs Google, Yahoo or Bing,” you think, typing your symptoms in to your favourite search engine. In England alone, there are 50,000 organisations offering web-based help in health and social care. They range from the evidence-laden to the random, the sensible to the crazed, and the helpful to the hysterical.

So how to make sense of it all? Nearly all of us – 87% in both the UK and the US – use the internet, and searching for health information is one of the most popular activities. More than 80% of internet users seek health information or advice. The information is plentiful and free: only 2% of those seeking health information online in the US, for example, pay for it. But we are obviously wary – or perhaps healthily sceptical – of what we read online. A US survey by the Pew Research Center showed that the vast majority of people still ultimately rely on a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice, 60% also ask relatives and friends and nearly a quarter ask people with the same condition.

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Overstepping the bounds: how blogger Emily Gould has been oversharing

Emily Gould is the oversharing writer and blogger the US literati loves to hate. But is the pillorying she gets a fair response to her candid confessionals or part of an uglier strand of online misogyny? Aaron Hicklin meets her

“You really shouldn’t read the comments,” Emily Gould was told after arriving at the notorious gossip blog Gawker, in 2006. Not looking at online comments is a writer’s armature against rage and despair, but Gould, fresh from the less brutal world of book publishing, didn’t heed the advice. The rise of Gawker – founded in 2003 by English expat Nick Denton – as new media’s rabid attack dog, with its Private Eye-esque takedown of celebrities and politicians, had been swift and merciless. Gould showed up at the exact moment the site was mushrooming into a water-cooler phenomenon, in which Denton’s gotcha stunts frequently made the headlines. Blowback was inevitable.

A little over 18 months later, exhausted by the emotional comeuppance of “being shady, insulting and two-faced” as she later described the Gawker work ethic, Gould announced her resignation online, in a Gawker post that captured the disenchantment of a one-time naïf waking up to realise she no longer believes in what she is doing.

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Posted in Blogging, Chick lit, Digital media, Feminism, Internet, Life and style, Media, Newspapers & magazines, Technology, Top News, Women, World news | Comments Off

Overstepping the bounds: how blogger Emily Gould has been oversharing

Emily Gould is the oversharing writer and blogger the US literati loves to hate. But is the pillorying she gets a fair response to her candid confessionals or part of an uglier strand of online misogyny? Aaron Hicklin meets her

“You really shouldn’t read the comments,” Emily Gould was told after arriving at the notorious gossip blog Gawker, in 2006. Not looking at online comments is a writer’s armature against rage and despair, but Gould, fresh from the less brutal world of book publishing, didn’t heed the advice. The rise of Gawker – founded in 2003 by English expat Nick Denton – as new media’s rabid attack dog, with its Private Eye-esque takedown of celebrities and politicians, had been swift and merciless. Gould showed up at the exact moment the site was mushrooming into a water-cooler phenomenon, in which Denton’s gotcha stunts frequently made the headlines. Blowback was inevitable.

A little over 18 months later, exhausted by the emotional comeuppance of “being shady, insulting and two-faced” as she later described the Gawker work ethic, Gould announced her resignation online, in a Gawker post that captured the disenchantment of a one-time naïf waking up to realise she no longer believes in what she is doing.

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Posted in Blogging, Chick lit, Digital media, Feminism, Internet, Life and style, Media, Newspapers & magazines, Technology, Top News, Women, World news | Comments Off

Maisie Williams: the Game Of Thrones star on cyberbullies and the fame game

At 12, the Bristol schoolgirl landed the role of Arya – and soon found herself juggling ordinary teenage life with online abuse and a growing fanbase

Maisie Williams models the season’s best brights – gallery

There was a moment, not long after Maisie Williams landed a role in the soon-to-be hit series Game Of Thrones, that the extent of her double life became apparent. One day, as the child warrior Arya Stark, she would be filming sword fights opposite Sean Bean and Kit Harington; the next, she would be catching the bus to school in Bristol – and everyday teenage life could be just as confrontational. Williams remembers receiving dozens of abusive messages on the social networking site Formspring. “I had an awful time,” she says. “It was around the time I was starting to act, and I knew exactly who it was, but it was all anonymous. Just awful things.”

She recalls sitting next to her mother on the train home from filming, and feeling trapped in another world. She was getting messages telling her that success had made her stuck up, that she thought she was too good for everyone else. “There were people all around me. And I was just stuck in my phone, stuck in this constant stream of what people thought of me.”

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Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams models the season’s best brights – in pictures

Maisie Williams stars in our exclusive fashion shoot. Photographs by Perou. Styling by Rachel Bakewell. Hair and makeup: Theresa Davies at Carol Hayes. Stylist’s assistant: Roberta Hollis

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Posted in Culture, Fashion, Game of Thrones, Life and style, Television, World news | Comments Off

Abe’s vow to close gender gap forgotten as only 169 women stand in Japan polls

Dearth of female candidates mirrors prime minister’s empty ‘womenomics’ pledge to put more women in office, say critics

After spending months promoting his campaign to raise the profile of women in the upper reaches of public and corporate life, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, might have used this weekend’s election to demonstrate that “womenomics” is finally laying siege to the patriarchal fortress of the country’s politics.

Instead, Japan’s gender gap has barely merited a mention in campaign speeches. And voters hoping to back a female candidate will struggle to find any in their constituency: of the 1,093 people running for office, only 169 – or 15% of the total – are women.

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Posted in Asia Pacific, Business, Communism, Equality, Gender, Japan, Life and style, Politics, Shinzo Abe, Society, Women, Women in politics, Women in the boardroom, World news | Comments Off