There’s a Futurama episode that illustrates the potential implications of this emerging international trend.
I refer to the season three finale, “I Dated A Robot,” in which Philip J. Fry strikes up a romance with a machine that mimics the appearance and personality of real-life celebrity Lucy Liu. Robot/human relationships are somewhat frowned upon in Futurama’s 30th century, and the rest of the Planet Express crew shows Fry a vaguely Reefer Madness-esque propaganda film to explain the stigma:
The video dramatizes the tragic life of Billy Everyteen, who downloads Marilyn Monroe into a blank robot, just as Fry does Lucy Liu. Because Everyteen happily isolates himself to make out with his Monroebot all day, he never works, he never makes any effort to impress a human woman, and decades later, dies alone but content in the arms of his automated faux-celebrity companion. Eventually civilization crumbles because the rest of humanity also loses interest in anything aside from spending private time with their own respective robots.
Meanwhile here in reality, Vice recently published a profile of the aptly titled Bordoll, Germany’s first official sex doll brothel. But seventy similar institutions already exist in Japan, and while Bordoll is Germany’s inaugural rent-a-hump-toy business, it is not even the first in Europe.
So some people are already paying $90 per-hour for the X-rated version of Fry and Liu-bot’s TV-appropriate courtship. As the technology involved becomes more realistic and interactive (including male dolls which are quickly becoming more practical and effective for human women,) how long do we really have until full-blown relationships with high-functioning sex dolls become relatively commonplace?
“We get a huge range of people,” proprietor Evelyn Schwarz tells Vice. “From 18- to 80-year-olds, from unemployed people to prominent judges.” She continues to guesstimate that about 70 percent of customers who show up to Bordoll for the sheer novelty value of banging a silicon facsimile turn into repeat patrons.
Anyone who’s seen Blade Runner might second guess the idea that using programmable non-beings to fill emotional voids sounds like a healthy prospect. But then again, cigarettes, hamburgers, and ice cream are all pretty unhealthy too.
All I’m saying is when you find out your roommate or ex or mailman or whoever has sex with automated objects exclusively now, don’t be shocked. Because it’s way more common than you realize.
Nine citizen and environmental groups are urging West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to reconsider his plans to let companies drill for oil and natural gas underneath the Ohio River, citing concerns that drilling and fracking could contaminate the drinking water supply and increase the risk of earthquakes in the region.
In a letter sent to the governor this month, the coalition of Ohio- and West Virginia-based groups said Tomblin’s Department of Environmental Protection has not proved that it can adequately protect the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water to more than 3 million people. The groups cited drilling currently taking place in a state-designated wildlife area, which some have complained is unacceptably disrupting the nature preserve, and a chemical spill in January that tainted the drinking water supply for 300,000 people.
“The well-documented deficient enforcement capability of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas has been on public display for years,” the letter reads. “How are we ever to believe that the state has the political will, technical capability and community commitment to guarantee that adequate controls, timely supervision and, when needed, ruthless enforcement would occur on well pads that close to the Ohio River?”
On Friday, Tomblin’s administration opened up the process for companies to bid on oil and gas leases located 14 miles underneath West Virginia’s section of river, which also acts as a natural border with Ohio. The bids would allow for companies to use the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to stimulate the wells.
State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette told the Associated Press that drilling would be necessary because “budgets are very tight.” Indeed, the AP pointed out that the state has already received a $17.8 million bid from Triad Hunter LLC, which would also include 18 percent in royalties for the state on the oil that’s extracted.
It remains to be seen how big of a risk to the drinking water supply fracking would pose to the Ohio River. As Burdette told the AP, some leases under the Ohio River date back 25 years — though it’s likely that those wells used conventional drilling, and not fracking. Environmental advocates worry that fracking poses a bigger risk to water supplies than conventional drilling because of the chemicals used in the process, and the large amount of contaminated wastewater it produces. Science on the issue has been all but definitive, and the EPA is currently in the process of conducting a study that would clarify the technique’s impact on drinking water.
For the coalition of groups opposing the practice, though, drinking water is not the only concern. In their letter, the groups said that there is a fault line located near West Virginia’s proposed drilling site, and that drilling would increase the risk of earthquakes in the region. Though drilling itself is not linked to quakes, scientists have found evidence “directly linking” earthquakes to wastewater injection, a process widely used during fracking to dispose of large amounts of wastewater underground.
“Where one state decides to drill should never put residents of their own state or another state in harm’s way,” the letters reads. “The exploitation of limited natural gas resources under the river could degrade our water quality, reduce the recreational and aesthetic value of the river, and cause health problems for millions of people.”
After the Ohio River bidding is done, West Virginia commerce officials reportedly said the state would look to other river tracts and a wildlife management area for further drilling.
Inspired by dashboard bobbleheads and the figures of gods and deities seen in cars around the world, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez imagines a future where we each use a personal 3D-printed driving companion to communicate with our vehicles.
Plummer-Fernandez is setting up a prototype avatar point of sale at the exhibition, where visitors will be able to have an figurine algorithmically generated for them based on information pulled from their Twitter feed.
“The installation will be an automated service for people to request these 3D-printable avatars,” he explains. “I plan for visitors to be able to request an avatar through Twitter by following the bot account. The bot will respond with a piece that’s generated just for them.”
The installation will feature two screens, one that showcases the product and explains the service, and another on the back revealing the computer code required to generate the avatars.
People who use the service will receive a 3D-printable file on their phone, which they could then choose to get printed if they wanted.
“The system generates 3D-printable files, so all these artefacts that are Tweeted to you could actually be produced in a 3d print factory,” Plummer-Fernandez explains. “And then you’d actually have a physical representation of this automaton.”
He adds: “I hope [the installation] produces a sense of both delight and wonder. And maybe a bit of uncanniness.”
I’m going to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon in three movies. And then some text.
There’s this universal shorthand that epic adventure movies use to tell the good guys from the bad. The good guys are simple folk from the countryside …
… while the bad guys are decadent assholes who live in the city and wear stupid clothes:
In Star Wars, Luke is a farm boy …
… while the bad guys live in a shiny space station:
In Braveheart, the main character (Dennis Braveheart) is a simple farmer …
… and the dastardly Prince Shithead lives in a luxurious castle and wears fancy, foppish clothes:
The theme expresses itself in several ways — primitive vs. advanced, tough vs. delicate, masculine vs. feminine, poor vs. rich, pure vs. decadent, traditional vs. weird. All of it is code for rural vs. urban. That tense divide between the two doesn’t exist because of these movies, obviously. These movies used it as shorthand because the divide already existed.
We country folk are programmed to hate the prissy elites. That brings us to Trump.
I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn’t moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I’d be voting for him. I know I would.
See, political types talk about “red states” and “blue states” (where red = Republican/conservative and blue = Democrat/progressive), but forget about states. If you want to understand the Trump phenomenon, dig up the much more detailed county map. Here’s how the nation voted county by county in the 2012 election — again, red is Republican:
Holy cockslaps, that makes it look like Obama’s blue party is some kind of fringe political faction that struggles to get 20 percent of the vote. The blue parts, however, are more densely populated — they’re the cities. In the upper left, you see the blue Seattle/Tacoma area, lower down is San Francisco and then L.A. The blue around the dick-shaped Lake Michigan is made of cities like Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago. In the northeast is, of course, New York and Boston, leading down into Philadelphia, which leads into a blue band which connects a bunch of southern cities like Charlotte and Atlanta.
Blue islands in an ocean of red. The cities are less than 4 percent of the land mass, but 62 percent of the population and easily 99 percent of the popular culture. Our movies, shows, songs, and news all radiate out from those blue islands.
And if you live in the red, that fucking sucks.
See, I’m from a “blue” state — Illinois — but the state isn’t blue. Freaking Chicago is blue. I’m from a tiny town in one of the blood-red areas:
Inqvisitor / Wiki Commons Where Oprahs fear to tread.
As a kid, visiting Chicago was like, well, Katniss visiting the capital. Or like Zoey visiting the city of the future in this ridiculous book. “Their ways are strange.“
And the whole goddamned world revolves around them.
Every TV show is about LA or New York, maybe with some Chicago or Baltimore thrown in. When they did make a show about us, we were jokes — either wide-eyed, naive fluffballs (Parks And Recreation, and before that, Newhart) or filthy murderous mutants (True Detective, and before that, Deliverance). You could feel the arrogance from hundreds of miles away.
“Nothing that happens outside the city matters!” they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you’d barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.
Mark Wolfe / FEMA No sports team = no fucks given.
But who cares about those people, right? What’s newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters.
To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you assholes listening now?“
“But isn’t this really about race? Aren’t Trump supporters just a bunch of racists? Don’t they hate cities because that’s where the brown people live?”
Look, we’re going to get actual Nazis in the comment section of this article. Not “calling them Nazis for argument points” Nazis, but actual “Swastikas in their avatars, rooted against Indiana Jones” Nazis. Those people exist.
But what I can say, from personal experience, is that the racism of my youth was always one step removed. I never saw a family member, friend, or classmate be mean to the actual black people we had in town. We worked with them, played video games with them, waved to them when they passed. What I did hear was several million comments about how if you ever ventured into the city, winding up in the “wrong neighborhood” meant you’d get dragged from your car, raped, and burned alive. Looking back, I think the idea was that the local minorities were fine … as long as they acted exactly like us.
Supaflyrobby / Wiki Commons Our mental image of every single Chicago street corner, regardless of location or time of day.
If you’d asked me at the time, I’d have said the fear and hatred wasn’t of people with brown skin, but of that specific tribe they have in Chicago — you know, the guys with the weird slang, music and clothes, the dope fiends who murder everyone they see. It was all part of the bizarro nature of the cities, as perceived from afar — a combination of hyper-aggressive savages and frivolous white elites. Their ways are strange. And it wasn’t like pop culture was trying to talk me out of it:
Ruthless Records”… And Into Some Nightmares”
It’s not just perception, either — the stats back up the fact that these are parallel universes. People living in the countryside are twice as likely to own a gun and will probably get married younger. People in the urban “blue” areas talk faster and walk faster. They are more likely to be drug abusers but less likely to be alcoholics. The blues are less likely to own land and, most importantly, they’re less likely to be Evangelical Christians.
Mario Tama/Getty ImagesA day without hellfire and brimstone is like a day without sunshine.
In the small towns, this often gets expressed as “They don’t share our values!” and my progressive friends love to scoff at that. “What, like illiteracy and homophobia?!?!“
The cities are always living in the future. I remember when our little town got our first Chinese restaurant and, 20 years later, its first fancy coffee shop. All of this stuff had turned up in movies (set in L.A., of course) decades earlier. I remember watching ’80s movies and mocking the “Valley Girl” stereotypes — young girls from, like, California who would, like, say, “like” in between every third word. Twenty years later, you can hear me doing the same in every Cracked podcast. The cancer started in L.A. and spread to the rest of America.
Well, the perception back then was that those city folks were all turning atheist, abandoning church for their bisexual sex parties. That, we were told, was literally a sign of the Apocalypse. Not just due to the spiritual consequences (which were dire), but the devastation that would come to the culture. I couldn’t imagine any rebuttal. In that place, at that time, the church was everything. Don’t take my word for it — listen to the experts:
Church was where you made friends, met girls, networked for jobs, got social support. The poor could get food and clothes there, couples could get advice on their marriages, addicts could try to get clean. But now we’re seeing a startling decline in Christianity among the general population, the godless disease having spread alongside Valley Girl talk. So according to Fox News, what’s the result of those decadent, atheist, amoral snobs in the cities having turned their noses up at God?
Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images, Darren McCollester/Getty Images
In the summer of 2015 in Elbrus hunters warehouse found another suitcase “Ahnenerbe” from the country of origin of the skull, presumably belonging to the huntsman of the German division “Edelweiss”, a ring and a set of Nazi uniforms. On the ring depicts a profile of a soldier in a mountain caps to which are attached oak leaves. At the bottom of the flower edelweiss. And last year, in the same places the locals reported that excavated the burial of hundreds of bodies of two German Jaegers, which probably covered the avalanche of many years ago.
In the mountains of the Caucasus region of Adygeya they were found two skulls belonging to an unknown creature for science with the emblem of the Ahnenerbe, probably the most secret society within the SS, dedicated to the study of the occult and the supernatural forces .
According to researchers, it is likely that members of the SS were interested in the mysteries of the ancient dolmens and the causes of high natural radioactivity in the region of Kishinski canyon. It is also possible that they should seek the golden Kuban Rada, lost somewhere in the region during the Russian Civil War (1917-1923).
Researchers have also found a German map of the territory of Adygeya, held in 1941, and have been amazed by the accuracy and completeness it is. These found objects have aroused great interest among specialists.
Historians know many details of the operation of the Wehrmacht Edelweiss, which planted Nazi banners at the peak of Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, located in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in the Russian Caucasus. However, what it was the purpose of this secret organization in the mountains of Adygea?
Ahnenerbe was occult Office of the Third Reich founded in 1935 August Hirtoma Friedrich omHeilscherom
While Hirt was transferring brutal scientific research Heilscher was a philosopher, and experts okultnýmodborníkom black magic. He respected him as Hitler that Himmler, Wolfram von Sievers and KarlErnst Haushofer. Hitler and Himmler at him CA. shopping around for a hundred imprisoned Karl Haushofer he was appointed to the post of master secret mentor.
The claim that this renowned magician had a serious impact on the course of history, it is not an exaggeration Ahnenerbe was after the war expanded and affiliated to the SS. This occult office included the mysterious person ,, Karl Maria Willigut Himmler also nicknamed Rasputin for his role in the management SS.Ahnenerbe was divided into numerous factions within them and worked hundreds of experts. From large robber discharges for the occupied territories to Berlin got invaluable materials. Úradorganizoval and investigative expeditions and archaeological research, virtually controlled the entire German archeology. Occult office employed a spiritualist media, mathematicians, linguists, magicians, astrologers, physicists, doctors and other professionals.
Himmler sent immediately to the three Tibetan expedition (in 1931, 1934 and 1938).
He is searching for hundreds of years hidden library of Tibetan wise men, spiritual sacred places and especially remains of extinct Indo-Aryan civilization. Apparently some group had Schäferová success. At the end of April 1938 expedition reached the Forbidden City Lhasa, which it is inaccessible to foreigners.
Not only were the men Schafer let in on, but the monks said they willingly showed ichnajvzácnejšie writings.
The expedition returned to Germany with a complete edition of Tibetan posvätnýchtextov Kangyur, patterns and Mandalas other ancient texts, including one documenting Aryan race. Schäfer later found application in Ahnenerbe.
The Albanian entrepreneur turned the Atlanta-based platform, which books buses for events, into one of this year’s fastest-growing companies.
Armir Harris came to the U.S. as a political refugee, but under the wing of his uncle, who immigrated two years later, he acquired the tools to shape his own American dream. Harris is the founder of Shofur, an Atlanta-based platform that books buses for events and tracks their location in real time.
–As told to Sheila Marikar
My earliest memories are of Albania. It is a beautiful country, but in the 1990s, civil war broke out. In the turmoil before the war, I couldn’t fully comprehend what was going on, but I felt my family’s fear, and I saw violence everywhere. For eight or nine months, we didn’t leave the house. We didn’t go to school. In 1996, my mother fled to the U.S. with me and my sister, seeking political asylum.
We arrived in St. Louis with $2,000 in our pockets. We went from one homeless shelter to another, sometimes sleeping in a park or an Amtrak station. My mom got under-the-table jobs cleaning restaurants, and my sister and I would sleep on the seats while she worked. Although we were homeless and times were tough, we had each other. We were happy. My uncle joined us two years later, and we all moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. He drove a taxi, and by the time I was 15, he had started a limousine and party-bus service. He couldn’t get a loan or afford employees, so my mom and I pitched in. We’d clean the vehicles, and I’d help him with accounting, dispatching, and taking reservations. Once I got my driver’s license, I would fuel up the vehicles and get them ready for the drivers. I taught myself HTML and built him a website.
Back in St. Louis, we had lived near a public park with tennis courts, and in my spare time, I’d hit against the backboard with a racket and balls I borrowed from a local coach.
I taught myself how to serve. After playing for my high school team as a freshman, I decided to pursue tennis full time. I got coached by whoever would take me in for free, enrolled in tennis academies when we could afford it, and traveled around the country participating in tournaments. I attended public high school for a year and a half, though I got my diploma from an online homeschool organization called Keystone.
In 2006, I was a highly ranked men’s singles player in the U.S. Tennis Association’s southern region. Boston University recruited me as a tennis player, and I started college with some scholarships and financial aid. But soon after I got there, it became clear that I wasn’t good enough to play professionally. I was good, but I wasn’t that good. Going pro had always been my goal, and when it became clear that that was unattainable, I lost interest. At the end of my sophomore year, I quit the team and found a new passion, real estate. I got my real estate license and sold property between economics classes. With that and by renting out apartments, I was making as much as $5,000 a month. But what I was learning drove home the unsustainable nature of my own economics–without my tennis scholarship, even with financial aid, BU was incredibly expensive, and the loans were adding up. It didn’t make sense to me. I took a leave of absence and figured I’d focus on real estate in a hotter market, Los Angeles.
I moved to L.A. in 2009, and once I got a handle on the real estate scene, I went to UCLA and talked with their counselors about whether I might be able to transfer in and apply my credits from BU. They accepted me, so I dove back into my econ books while selling property on the side. Three credits shy of graduating, I dropped out. I had gotten my education, I didn’t want to borrow any more money, and during a trip home, I saw that the family business, my uncle’s limo and party-bus business, could use my help. I also saw an opportunity to grow his business a lot. I put my real estate ventures on hold and moved back to Charlotte.
In 2012, the Democratic National Convention came to town. A representative called my uncle’s company and said he needed 60 buses for two weeks. Every local provider was sold out, but I was able to source vehicles from surrounding states. It took a while for me to piece them together. I would call a company. They’d ask me to email them. Then they’d ask me more questions via email. It was like a seven-step process that took two to three days with each company. But I realized I could start a marketplace that would aggregate buses from all over the country on one platform.
I started Shofur in 2013 with $800 of my own money. We haven’t taken any funding since then. While thousands of buses are wrapped in our logo, we don’t own any vehicles ourselves. Instead, we do all the legwork of making sure the bus operators who use our platform–from whom we take a cut of the total fee that they charge the customer–are up to date and safety compliant. Our partners have driven more than five million miles and they’ve had zero accidents during our trips.
What really sets us apart is our technology. Every bus in our network has a tracking device with proprietary software that tells us exactly where it is and gathers data from more than 1,000 bus companies in real time. Our clients are mostly people and businesses that are organizing parties and events, but we also serve government institutions dealing with potential catastrophes. Last year, FEMA contracted us to evacuate 10,000 Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina residents in advance of Hurricane Matthew.
Shofur is separate from my uncle’s company. Before starting Shofur, I proposed the idea of liquidating his assets and doing a tech-based business together. But he was, at that time, a 55-year-old Albanian, and he didn’t get the tech part of it. Still, working with him when I was a teenager taught me the ins and outs of the transportation business, the pain points, and the inefficiencies. I don’t know that I’d be here without that experience.
My sister is a doctor, and my mom is finally retired. I became a U.S. citizen in 2015. My mom lives overseas somewhere very nice, and I bought her a house. She made a sacrifice for us. It’s only fair that I repay her.
Forget lemonade stands — one British 8-year-old is raking in profits by selling eggs.
Junior-James Wyatt started Mr Free Range, an egg delivery service, after seeing another entrepreneur find success with the idea on Britain’s “How’d You Get So Rich?”
According to Extra Crispy, Wyatt and his mother buy fresh eggs in bulk from local farmers, then repackage and distribute them to their 35 customers. Wyatt bought his first eggs with $13 (£10) of his own money last month, and he’s already bringing in around $327.50 (£250) per week.
If business stays on track, Wyatt will earn up to $17,000 this year.
But for now, Wyatt must continue growing his business, which means striking a balance between school and work. He gets up early to pack eggs before heading off to class and delivers them with his mother after school lets out in the afternoon.
Wyatt tells CNBC that his favorite part of running his own business is meeting new people and making money. He’s also not afraid to set high expectations and says he can see himself becoming a millionaire one day.
Although his mom runs the administrative side of things, including updating the Mr Free Range Facebook page, Wyatt takes care of everything else. “He works out all the details, does the maths and then we collect the eggs and we all deliver them together,” his mother, Georgina, tells the Mirror.
With his earnings, Wyatt has already purchased Liverpool Football Club apparel and a Lionel Messi soccer ball, he said in a video with the BBC.
Wyatt’s not the only young entrepreneur with big dreams. Last year, then-11-year-old Micah Amezquita founded Curb Cans, a business that provides the service of taking garbage and recycling bins to the curb and back again on trash day.
The aspiring entrepreneur received an outpouring of support online when his father, Saul, posted proudly about his son’s efforts on LinkedIn. The post received more than 135,000 likes and more than 10,000 comments.
Amezquita was inspired to start the trash-can-toting business to make money so that he can start saving for college and become an aeronautical engineer. “I also have a lot of things I’d like to do when I’m bigger, so I definitely have to go to college to do those things,” he told CNBC in a Skype interview.
After former heavyweight world champion Mike Tyson gave his opinion on McGregor vs. Mayweather, you just knew The Notorious was going to respond to being called a ‘dumbass’.
Everyone has had their say about the mega-event between the two fighters, but Tyson’s opinion will perhaps be thought of more highly than anyone else’s.
“McGregor is going to get killed boxing,” Tyson told Pardon My Take, via Sports Illustrated.
He then explained his anger towards McGregor for succumbing to Mayweather’s demands while mistakenly naming him ‘McConor.’
“I got mad because I thought they were going to use MMA rules against boxing because that’s what it’s all about: Can the boxer beat the MMA guy?” he added.
“McConor put his dumb ass in a position where he’s gonna get knocked out because this guy’s been doing this all his life since he was a baby. McConor can’t kick and grab and stuff so he won’t stand much of a chance.”
Mayweather and McGregor face-off during the Toronto, Canada, press conference. Credit: PA
Finishing the interview by saying, “McGregor took the biggest sucker rules in the history of boxing.“
A few days removed from giving the interview, needless to say, the 29-year-old has returned fire in typical fashion.
He replied to a Tweet detailing the story by posting the following message;
“That’s nice Mike, but you’re looking at the new Don King here, son. Money is mine.”
That's nice Mike, but you're looking at the new Don King here, son.
Money is mine.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 25, 2017
The UFC lightweight champion didn’t stop there. He relayed another message but aiming it towards the wider audience.
You are all going to eat your words for the rest of your days, while I eat lobster for the rest of mine. pic.twitter.com/UbDD4ibIP4
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 26, 2017
There’s no denying his confidence, but we’re all that the point now when we want the talking to stop and the fighting to start.
The fight on 26 August can’t come soon enough.
Die Antwoord’s Ninja tells us about the time he and Kanye West took on Drake in a friendly game of basketball.
Apparently, Ye had invited the South African rapper over to chill by the pool, but when he noticed Ninja had on a pair of basketball kicks, the duo decided to check out Drake’s court next door. As it turned out, the hip-hop star was ready to ball, decked out in new Jordans and a sweatband, and backed by a stacked team of Canadians.