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Students’ removal of Queen’s photo causes ire

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Students in the UK have caused a stir after voting to remove a photograph of the Queen from their university common room.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Postgraduate students at Magdalen College, Oxford, voted to take down the print, with minutes from the meeting noting that “for some students depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The move drew criticism from UK Education secretary Gavin Williamson, who tweeted: “Oxford university students removing a picture of the Queen is simply absurd. She is the head of state and a symbol of what is best about the UK. During her long reign she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a swift response, Dinah Rose, the president of Magdalen College, defended the decision and wrote: “Here are some facts about Magdalen College and HM the Queen. The Middle Common Room is an organisation of graduate students. They don’t represent the College. A few years ago, in 2013 they bought a print of the Queen to decorate their common room.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They recently voted to take it down. Both of these decisions are their own to take, not the College’s. Magdalen strongly supports free speech and political debate and the MCR’s right to autonomy.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She added: “Being a student is about more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating ideas. It’s sometimes about provoking the older generation. Looks like that isn’t so hard to do these days.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rose also said the print would be safely stored in the event the students vote to put the print up once more.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Matthew Katzman, Magdalen’s MCR president, told the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily Telegraph</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">: “It has been taken down. It was decided to leave the common room neutral. That was what this was about. The college will have plenty of depictions of various things but the common room is meant to be a space for all to feel welcome.” </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Magdalen College, Theroyalfamily / Instagram</span></em></p>

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Remembering Marilyn Monroe on her 95th birthday

<p>Marilyn Monroe remains to be one of the world’s biggest and most enduring sex symbols, nearly 60 years on since her death.</p> <p>The legendary actress came from difficult and humble beginnings, spending much of her dreary childhood in foster homes.</p> <p>The world would get its first glimpse of her when she became a model – her illustrious career posing for the camera would lead her to receive a film contract in 1946.</p> <p>While Monroe’s appearances were minor, her performances in <em>The Asphalt Jungle </em>and <em>All About Eve (1950), </em>drew major attention to her and soon she was catapulted into a fame not previously ever seen before.</p> <p>While Monroe had mastered the art of the “dumb blonde” persona, she was anything but.</p> <p>However, it became her major trademark right next to her blonde hair, and how she was perceived by the public was what shot her into global success and lead her into some of her most well known films including <em>Gentlemen Prefer Blondes</em> (1953), <em>How to Marry a Millionaire</em> (1953) and <em>The Seven Year Itch</em> (1955).</p> <p>There are not enough words to describe the global domination of Marilyn during the 40s and the 50s, but unfortunately her wealth, status and influence would mean little in the end.</p> <p>Marred by illness, unresolved childhood issues and addiction, the star eventually succumbed to her pain and overdosed on barbiturates on August 5, 1962. She was born and died in Los Angeles, California.</p> <p>While the official classification of Monroe’s death was ruled as a “probable suicide,” curious onlookers and fans have never ruled out the possibility of an accidental overdose, or homicide.</p> <p>Monroe would go on to be buried in a crypt at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in LA.</p> <p>The brilliant actress’ legacy continues to live on, almost 60 years since the world lost her.</p>

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Football club accused of artistic theft

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An Indigenous artist has accused Port Adelaide Football Club of using a stolen design for their 2021 Indigenous Round guernsey, prompting an investigation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The club recently revealed the new jumper and associated merchandise ahead of their match with Fremantle on May 30.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The design was chosen after the club asked high school students to “design a guernsey that represents their family, culture and heritage”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The teen who won the competition last year, which COVID-19 delayed the use of, said at the club’s press conference on Wednesday that she had spent months painting it after finding inspiration from designs she saw on Instagram.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is a big accomplishment for me to have so many people see my artwork,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But South Australian woman Elle Campbell claims the design was her “exact painting” shared online and displayed at an exhibition as early as May 2019.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 281.1418685121107px; height:500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841368/75e502b4955fd26e13b005e9c56763f0872bea54.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5c690d694e07457fa0685707e13b1890" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Wow. This is MY painting, someone has submitted it as their own and PAFC are using it for their guernsey,” Campbell wrote alongside a photo of herself holding the painting and a screenshot proving it was on public display two years ago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I am deeply hurt by the use of this painting and the ‘artist’ claiming this work (to) be their own,” Campbell continued.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The meaning behind this painting was one of my families’ ancient burial ground at Kingston S.E. and the connection we still have with the native flora and fauna on those lands.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My mother had sent me a photo of some kangaroos coming out from the scrub to go have a dip in the water, which was the inspiration for this painting.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the press conference, the student said the top half of her design represented “the ancestors, Dreamtime stories and people looking over us” while the bottom half “represents the skin colour, the sand, the animals, the dirt, anything”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The line in the middle that’s the river, represents food source, water, it’s a way - a river that we follow in order to go somewhere.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The footprint in the river is, as I said before, the food source.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Port Adelaide confirmed they had commenced an investigation into the claims on Friday, May 21, less than 48 hours after the unveiling.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Port Adelaide is aware of allegations that surfaced on social media last night regarding the design of its Indigenous guernsey for the upcoming Sir Doug Nicholls Round,” the club said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Port Adelaide is investigating the allegations and will not make further comment until it has all the information at hand.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Campbell said she was feeling “pretty heartbroken that another Aboriginal woman has stolen my artwork that not only means so much to me but is also one of my first paintings”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The most heartbreaking part is wanting my art to be seen on my own merit, not because something like this happening. That’s now been taken away from me.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Port Adelaide and Campbell have since removed their posts from social media.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: 7NEWS</span></em></p>

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Portrait reveals Princess Diana's striking resemblance to grandmother

<p>Charles Spencer has caused a stir online after sharing a portrait of his grandmother, whom many believe shares a striking resemblance to his famous sister Princess Diana.</p> <p>The Earl posted a charcoal sketch of his grandmother, Cynthia Spencer, that was drawn in 1919 - the year she married Spencer's grandfather.</p> <p>"A very well-liked and respected figure locally, her presence is still felt: the local hospice is named 'Cynthia Spencer Hospice' in her memory," Charles wrote in an Instagram post.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CN2VRUwHZdg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CN2VRUwHZdg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Charles Spencer (@charles.earl.spencer)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The post attracted hundreds of comments from his followers.</p> <p>"I see Diana," one follower wrote.</p> <p>"Diana looked a lot like her. Beautiful portrait," another wrote.</p> <p>"A very beautiful lady… Diana really resembles her with those gorgeous Spencer eyes," yet another wrote.</p> <p>Countess Spencer passed away from a brain tumour at Althorp, the Spencer family's home, in 1972 when Diana was just 11.</p>

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Australian artists behind Prince Philip’s last official portrait speaks out: “It was a real privilege”

<p><span>The Australian artist who created Prince Philip's final official portrait has revealed what his interactions were like with the late royal ahead of his funeral on Saturday.</span><br /><br /><span>Ralph Heimans was tasked with painting the Duke of Edinburgh after he retired from royal duties in 2017.</span><br /><br /><span>He opened up to the <em>Sky News Daily</em> podcast on what it was like to spend time with the royal.</span><br /><br /><span>"As you can imagine, he's full of humour but underlying that there's a sense of seriousness about the portrait," Heimans said.</span><br /><br /><span>"And I think he was very engaged throughout the process; he enjoyed it very much and was very chatty afterwards and so it was a really enjoyable experience as well as a very extraordinary privilege."</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNdC9Nin3wT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNdC9Nin3wT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Ralph Heimans (@ralph.heimans)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>The artwork portrays the royal standing in the grand corridor at Windsor Castle, which is located in the private quarters he shared with Queen Elizabeth.</span><br /><br /><span>Prince Philip is standing side-on, with his arms behind his back, and adorned in a smart evening attire.</span><br /><br /><span>The royal sadly passed at Windsor Castle on April 9 after weeks of treatment in hospital, at the age of 99.</span><br /><br /><span>Reports say Prince Philip took a turn for the worse just a day before his death.</span><br /><br /><span>The Queen reportedly resisted suggestions that the royal be taken back to hospital in order to grant her husband's wish of dying at home.</span><br /><br /><span>Following Prince Philip's death, Heimans shared two photos of his portrait on to Instagram.</span><br /><br /><span>"It was a real privilege to paint this portrait of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 2017 when he retired from public duty after carrying out 22,219 engagements," he wrote.</span><br /><br /><span>"My thoughts are with his family."</span><br /><br /><span>Prince Philip will be laid to rest at 3 pm (12 am AEST) on Saturday April 17.</span></p>

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A life in pictures: Remembering Prince Philip

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has passed away at Windsor Castle, at the age of 99. The news of the death of Queen’s Elizabeth II’s husband has seen a celebration of a most extraordinary life.</p> <p>Born on 10 June 1921, this year would have marked the 100th birthday of Prince Philip. How much do you know about this royal, who spent decades upon decades travelling as an ambassador for the United Kingdom alongside his wife, Queen Elizabeth II?</p> <p>To look at Prince Philip’s photos throughout the years is to understand more about the man who helped keep the British monarchy alive and well, sometimes quietly and other times not so quietly. To mark his passing, check out these images that tell the story of Prince Philip’s life.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong>Toddler life </strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840669/prince-philip-life-in-photos-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/256c98fd6aff49388a8f83937cebcb37" /></strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"> <p>He was originally Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, and he was born on the Greek island of Corfu in 1921. The son of Prince Andrew and Princess Alice, he had an unconventional childhood marked with controversy.</p> <p>His family fled Greece when he was a baby, and his mother experienced mental health issues, which led her to become institutionalised (and not of her own choice). Looking at this early Prince Philip photo, taken in 1922 when he was just around just a year old, you’d never guess at commotion surrounding him.</p> <p><strong>Schoolboy days</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840668/prince-philip-life-in-photos-4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/12c8a122c66c439aac4aa7b5938c18f0" /></strong></p> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Despite his tumultuous family life, early Prince Philip photos reveal a child who doesn’t look unlike many of his peers. When he reached school age, the young prince attended the MacJannet American School in Saint-Cloud, France, outside Paris.</p> <p>Here, he engages in a round of archery with some classmates, appearing as though they are pretending to be Robin Hood. Can you spot the Queen’s future husband? Spoiler alert: He’s second from the left. It’s not all that surprising to see Philip engaging in sport at an early age, as he continued to participate in various games throughout his life.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong>Stage star </strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840667/prince-philip-life-in-photos-5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a846ad9f7c7540c188278bc23a622adc" /></strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Who would have thought that Prince Philip was a man of the theatre?</p> <p>Sure, we’ve seen the royal on many an occasion showing an appreciation for the arts, but apparently in his younger years (back in 1935, to be exact), he even took to the stage in a school production of<span> </span><em>Macbeth</em>.</p> <p>Prince Philip would have been around 14 years old when this photo was taken of him wearing his costume and preparing to recite lines written by the Bard. Given the drama that has played out in the royal family over the years, learning the ins and outs of this tragedy may have been good preparation.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong>Military time </strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840666/prince-philip-life-in-photos-6.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e2712f1262df4076bc4fdc80e1644f0b" /></strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>You might be wondering what Prince Philip did for work in between the time he graduated from high school and eventually met his wife, Queen Elizabeth (then a princess). After graduating from Gordonstoun, Philip enlisted as a cadet in the Royal Navy, according to Army Cadet History.</p> <p>After training at RNC Dartmouth, he went on to work as a midshipman on the HMS<span> </span><em>Ramillies</em><span> </span>in 1940. That stint was followed by time aboard the HMS<span> </span><em>Valiant</em>, a battleship stationed in Alexandria. There are many Prince Philip photos of his time with the Royal Navy, but here he is pictured in 1947, giving a salute as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. This was just a few months before he and Queen Elizabeth married.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong>Royal wedding time - a true partnership </strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840665/prince-philip-life-in-photos-7.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/352b0f80b03d4592a2bd2039a39f568c" /></strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"> <p>As you can probably imagine, Elizabeth and Philip had quite an elaborate celebration when they married on November 20, 1947. According to the official royal website, their wedding cake was a 2.7 metres tall, and 2000 guests were invited to the ceremony.</p> <p>The service, performed at Westminster Abbey, aired on BBC Radio with an audience of 200 million people globally. Although their engagement was just four months long, Elizabeth and Philip had known each other for quite some time.</p> <p>They originally met at another royal wedding that took place in 1934, when Philip was a teenager.</p> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Ahead of the wedding, Prince Philip was given the title The Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich of Greenwich in the County of London. Try to say that three times fast! His first cousin David Mountbatten served as the best man at the wedding, while Elizabeth had eight bridesmaids.</p> <p>The Duke added a loving touch to the engagement ring he gave to Elizabeth: It used diamonds from a tiara that belonged to his mother, Princess Alice. Needless to say, the platinum and diamond bauble, which was crafted by jeweller Philip Antrobus, is a stunner.</p> <p><strong>A future king is born! </strong></p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="advertisement"> <div data-fuse="21928475029"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840664/prince-philip-life-in-photos-8.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/578cfb5985e241b2b4ec7d6ba574dba0" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="contentAreaRight vc_hidden-xs"> <div class="advertisement"> <p>Before Elizabeth became Queen, she and Prince Philip welcomed their first child into the world. Prince Charles was born on November 14, 1948, almost a year to the date of his parents’ first wedding anniversary.</p> <p>He was actually born at Buckingham Palace and weighed 7 pounds and 6 ounces (3.34 kilograms) at birth. He was later christened at the Palace on December 15 of the same year. T</p> <p>here are rumours that have long swirled about tension between Prince Philip and Prince Charles, most notably around the Duke of Edinburgh’s decision to send Charles to his<span> </span><em>alma mater</em>, Gordonstoun School, which Charles described as “hell on earth,” according to<span> </span><em>Express</em>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide">Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth would go on to have three more children after Charles, including Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960 and then Prince Edward in 1964. </div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"></div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"><strong>Family reunion </strong></div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840663/prince-philip-life-in-photos-9.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3d92d76a262f4d868a03c6968f82669f" /></strong></div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"> <p>It’s fair to say that Prince Philip didn’t spend a lot of time with his mother, Princess Alice of Greece, while growing up as she reportedly battled mental health issues during his teen years.</p> <p>However, he is pictured with her here at the wedding of Princess Margeritha of Baden and Prince Tomislavof of Yugoslavia in 1957. According to CNN, Princess Alice became the founder of the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary, an order of nuns, in 1949.</p> <p>Their primary goal was to care for the sick. Her nickname for Prince Philip? Bubbikins.</p> <p><strong>A life at home </strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840662/prince-philip-life-in-photos-10.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f791636f0a764f1eb95fbe616f66859d" /></strong></p> <p>In terms of Prince Philip photos, we have to admit the best ones are those that seemingly depict him and his famous family in candid, casual moments.</p> <p>It’s naive to think that these photos weren’t staged, at least in some respect, but as Philip and Elizabeth look on at Balmoral Estate while a young Charles and Anne play on a makeshift teeter-totter (simply a piece of plywood atop a log), they almost look “normal.” The castle, one of the family’s many lavish residences, is situated in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"><strong>Artistic endeavours </strong></div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840661/prince-philip-life-in-photos-11.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f896f4e443f146c8950422cdda1d45b5" /></strong></div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"> <p>For an entire year in 1969, Philip and Elizabeth’s family was filmed for a BBC documentary appropriately titled<span> </span><em>Royal Family</em>. It was broadcast on both BBC One and ITV, and while the still photos, like this one of Prince Philip painting, are all kinds of fascinating, the doc was widely panned by audiences and critics alike.</p> <p>According to History.com, the film was produced in an effort to make the Queen appear more, but it backfired. Still, we wouldn’t mind watching the documentary today with a modern-day perspective.</p> <p><strong>Charles and Diana's wedding </strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840660/prince-philip-life-in-photos-12.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a7c976b1b854465eaf98300c872ea711" /></strong></p> <p>It was 1981 when the world couldn’t get enough of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s seemingly fairy-tale wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral.</p> <p>For the big day, Prince Philip rode to the ceremony alongside Diana’s mother, Mrs Shand Kydd. Though Charles and Diana’s marriage ended in divorce, letters released by<span> </span><em>The Telegraph</em><span> </span>between Prince Philip and his former daughter-in-law appear to prove they remained good friends despite no longer being family. In one letter, Philip wrote, “I will always do my utmost to help you and Charles to the best of my ability.”</p> <p><strong>Portrait of a Prince</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840659/prince-philip-life-in-photos-13.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a2aebd143ca94947a90e3c08fb645bc7" /></strong></p> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>In 2017, Prince Philip announced that he was taking a step back from public life as a royal. The same year, this stunning painting of him standing in the halls of Buckingham Palace was released.</p> <p>According to Sky News, the Duke of Edinburgh had carried out 22,191 single engagements since his wife’s coronation in 1952. That doesn’t include the countless events he performed alongside Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>The fact that he acknowledged this was the right move for him, personally, makes a huge statement to his desire to maintain his health as best he possibly can.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos">The Queen lost her husband, the father of her children, and her lifelong best friend after nearly 73 years of marriage on April 9, 2021. In a personal statement from 1997 that was posted on Instagram to honour the couple, it read: “𝘏𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴, 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺, 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘰𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘵 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮, 𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸.”</div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos"></div> </div> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNevnXFnaoR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CNevnXFnaoR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"></div> <div class="slide listicle-slide"><em>Written by Kelly Bryant. This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/true-stories-lifestyle/history/prince-philips-life-in-50-photos?pages=1" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our <a rel="noopener" href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V" target="_blank">best subscription offer.</a></em></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p> <p><em>Photo: Getty Images</em></p> </div> </div>

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Banksy pandemic painting sells for record amount

<p><span>Banksy has achieved something not many others can claim by raking in an incredible £16.8 million ($30.18 million) for Britain’s frontline workers during an auction.</span><br /><br /><span>After selling an artwork, Christie’s auction house has said the sale would be used to fund health organisations and charities across the UK.</span><br /><br /><span>The work titled "Game Changer", features a young boy sitting on the floor playing with a nurse superhero toy while Batman and Spider-Man figurines lay in a rubbish bin next to him.</span><br /><br /><span>The picture appeared on a wall at Southampton General Hospital in southern England in May of 2020.</span><br /><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840433/banksy.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/cb3d9e75e6144335be3ff1f5530cf8d1" /><br /><span>The hospital said Banksy had left a note for workers that read: "Thanks for all you're doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it's only black and white."</span><br /><br /><span>The sale price was a world auction record for Banksy and Christie’s, the auction house said it will donate a "significant portion" of the buyer's premium to health organisations.</span><br /><br /><span>"Banksy is an extraordinary artist who is a constant barometer of nationwide sentiment," said Katharine Arnold, who runs the European post-war and contemporary art era at the auction house.</span><br /><br /><span>"With the perfect image of a little boy playing with his superhero doll, a nurse sporting the international Red Cross, he perfectly captured the essence of this moment in time."</span></p>

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Facebook is tilting the political playing field more than ever and it’s no accident

<p>As the US presidential election polling day draws close, it’s worth recapping what we know about how Facebook has been used to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3834737/">influence election results</a>.</p> <p>The platform is optimised for boosting politically conservative voices calling for <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/facebook-algorithm-conservative-liberal-extremes/">fascism, separatism and xenophobia</a>. It’s also these voices that tend to generate <a href="https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/radical-ideas-social-media-algorithms/">the most clicks</a>.</p> <p>In recent years, Facebook has on several occasions been made to choose between keeping to its <a href="https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/introduction">community standards</a> or taking a path that avoids the ire of conservatives. Too many times, it has chosen the latter.</p> <p>The result has been an onslaught of divisive rhetoric that continues to flood the platform and drive political polarisation in society.</p> <p><strong>How democracy can be subverted online</strong></p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/us/politics/russian-interference-trump-democrats.html">The New York Times</a>, earlier this year US intelligence officials warned Russia was interfering in the 2020 presidential campaign, with the goal of seeing President Donald Trump re-elected.</p> <p>This was corroborated by <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/new-evidence-shows-how-russias-election-interference-has-gotten-more">findings</a> from the US Brennan Centre for Justice. A research team led by journalism and communications professor Young Mie Kim identified a range of Facebook troll accounts deliberately sowing division “by targeting both the left and right, with posts to foment outrage, fear and hostility”.</p> <p>Most were linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-sanctions/u-s-blacklists-individuals-entities-linked-to-leader-of-russias-ira-idUSKCN26E2HO">the company</a> also behind a 2016 US election influence campaign. Kim <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/new-evidence-shows-how-russias-election-interference-has-gotten-more">wrote</a> the troll accounts seemed to discourage certain people from voting, with a focus on swing states.</p> <p>This month, Facebook <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/06/technology/facebook-qanon-crackdown.html">announced</a> a ban (across both Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook owns) on groups and pages devoted to the far-right conspiracy group QAnon. It also <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-takes-down-network-tied-to-conservative-group-citing-fake-accounts-11602174088">removed</a> a network of fake accounts linked to a conservative US political youth group, for violating rules against “coordinated inauthentic behavior”.</p> <p>However, despite Facebook’s <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/facebooks-latest-fix-for-fake-news-ask-users-what-they-trust/">repeated promises</a> to clamp down harder on such behaviour — and <a href="https://theconversation.com/facebook-is-removing-qanon-pages-and-groups-from-its-sites-but-critical-thinking-is-still-the-best-way-to-fight-conspiracy-theories-147668">occasional</a> efforts to actually do so — the company has been <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/samantha-power-facebook-reduce-spread-misinformation/2020/10/23/d54c1bda-1496-11eb-bc10-40b25382f1be_story.html">widely</a> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/oct/14/facebook-greatest-source-of-covid-19-disinformation-journalists-say">criticised</a> for doing far too little to curb the spread of disinformation, misinformation and election meddling.</p> <p>According to a <a href="https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2019/09/CyberTroop-Report19.pdf">University of Oxford study</a>, 70 countries (including Australia) practised either foreign or domestic election meddling in 2019. This was up from 48 in 2018 and 28 in 2017. The study said Facebook was “the platform of choice” for this.</p> <p>The Conversation approached Facebook for comment regarding the platform’s use by political actors to influence elections, including past US elections. A Facebook spokesperson said:</p> <p><em>We’ve hired experts, built teams with experience across different areas, and created new products, policies and partnerships to ensure we’re ready for the unique challenges of the US election.</em></p> <p><strong>When Facebook favoured one side</strong></p> <p>Facebook has drawn widespread criticism for its failure to remove posts that clearly violate its policies on hate speech, including <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/06/28/facebook-zuckerberg-trump-hate/">posts</a> by Trump himself.</p> <p>The company openly <a href="https://about.fb.com/news/2019/09/elections-and-political-speech/">exempts</a> politicians from its fact-checking program and knowingly hosts misleading content from politicians, under its “newsworthiness exception”.</p> <p>When Facebook tried to clamp down on misinformation in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential elections, <a href="https://www.bushcenter.org/people/joel-kaplan.html">ex-Republican staffer</a> turned Facebook executive Joel Kaplan argued doing so would disproportionately target conservatives, the Washington Post <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/02/20/facebook-republican-shift/">reported</a>.</p> <p>The Conversation asked Facebook whether Kaplan’s past political affiliations indicated a potential for conservative bias in his current role. The question wasn’t answered.</p> <p>Facebook’s board also now features a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/technology/peter-thiel-donald-j-trump.html">major Trump donor</a> and vocal supporter, Peter Thiel. Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has himself been accused of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/business/media/facebook-donald-trump-mark-zuckerberg.html">getting “too close”</a> to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/22/surprised-about-mark-zuckerbergs-secret-meeting-with-trump-dont-be">Trump</a>.</p> <p>Moreover, when the US Federal Trade Commission investigated Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/12/facebook-fine-ftc-privacy-violations">Republican votes</a> that saved the company from facing antitrust litigation.</p> <p>Overall, Facebook’s model has shifted <a href="https://www.theverge.com/interface/2019/4/11/18305407/social-network-conservative-bias-twitter-facebook-ted-cruz">towards increasing polarisation</a>. Incendiary and misinformation-laden posts tend to generate clicks.</p> <p>As Zuckerberg himself <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/a-blueprint-for-content-governance-and-enforcement/10156443129621634/">notes</a>, “when left unchecked, people on the platform engage disproportionately” with such content.</p> <p>Over the years, conservatives have accused Facebook of <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/04/10/ted-cruz-threatens-regulate-facebook-twitter-over-alleged-bias/3423095002/">anti-conservative bias</a>, for which the company faced <a href="https://www.thewrap.com/trump-campaign-halts-twitter-spending-over-disgusting-bias-against-mitch-mcconnell/">financial penalties by the Republican Party</a>. This is despite research indicating <a href="https://www.mediamatters.org/facebook/study-analysis-top-facebook-pages-covering-american-political-news">no such bias exists</a> on the platform.</p> <p><strong>Fanning the flames</strong></p> <p>Facebook’s <a href="https://www.livescience.com/49585-facebook-addiction-viewed-brain.html">addictive</a> news feed rewards us for simply skimming headlines, conditioning us to react viscerally.</p> <p>Its sharing features have been found to <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146">promote falsehoods</a>. They can <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/can-voting-facebook-button-improve-voter-turnout/">trick users</a> into attributing news to their friends, causing them to assign trust to unreliable news sources. This provides a breeding ground for <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2020-10-05/conspiracy-theories-coronavirus-5g-conspiratorial-psychology/12722320">conspiracies</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0207383">Studies</a> have also shown social media to be an ideal environment for campaigns aimed at creating mistrust, which explains the increasing <a href="https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/516412-polls-show-trust-in-scientific-political-institutions-eroding">erosion of trust in science and expertise</a>.</p> <p>Worst of all are Facebook’s “echo chambers”, which convince people that only their own opinions are mainstream. This encourages hostile “us versus them” dialogue, which leads to polarisation. This pattern <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/02/21/concerns-about-democracy-in-the-digital-age/">suppresses valuable democratic debate</a> and has been described as an <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Age-Surveillance-Capitalism-Future-Frontier/dp/1610395697">existential threat to democracy itself</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Facebook’s staff hasn’t been shy about skewing liberal, even suggesting in 2016 that Facebook work to <a href="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/04/facebook-employees-asked-mark-zuckerberg-if-they-should-try-to-stop-a-donald-trump-presidency/">prevent Trump’s election</a>. Around 2017, they proposed a feature called “<a href="https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/23/18154111/facebook-common-grounds-feature-conservative-bias-concerns-shelved-joel-kaplan">Common Ground</a>”, which would have encouraged users with different political beliefs to interact in less hostile ways.</p> <p>Kaplan opposed the proposition, according to <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebooks-lonely-conservative-takes-on-a-power-position-11545570000">The Wall Street Journal</a>, due to fears it could trigger claims of bias against conservatives. The project was eventually shelved in 2018.</p> <p>Facebook’s track record isn’t good news for those who want to live in a healthy democratic state. Polarisation certainly doesn’t lead to effective political discourse.</p> <p>While several <a href="https://about.fb.com/news/2020/10/preparing-for-election-day/">blog</a> <a href="https://about.fb.com/news/2020/08/preparing-for-myanmars-2020-election/">posts</a> from the company outline measures being taken to supposedly protect the integrity of the 2020 US presidential elections, it remains to be seen what this means in reality.</p> <p><em>Written by <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-brand-290376">Michael Brand</a>, Monash University. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/facebook-is-tilting-the-political-playing-field-more-than-ever-and-its-no-accident-148314">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Prince Louis’ most precious moments in pictures

<p class="p1">It may be his goofy expressions or his attempt at perfecting the royal wave, but Prince Louis has managed to win the hearts of royal fans around the globe. The 2-year-old and the youngest of the Cambridge clan gets into plenty of mischief and thankfully, it’s all caught on camera.</p> <p class="p1">We’ve watched him grow from a newborn into a handsome little boy, and it seems people just can’t seem to get enough of the Prince.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CF4dvUDFPEK/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CF4dvUDFPEK/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">We've got some questions for you, @DavidAttenborough...🌍🕷️🐒</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/kensingtonroyal/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Duke and Duchess of Cambridge</a> (@kensingtonroyal) on Oct 3, 2020 at 5:59am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p class="p1">While he may never become king, that doesn’t take away from his popularity, and due to being the youngest, there is a certain fascination surrounding him.</p> <p class="p1">His most recent appearance was when he asked the famous Sir David Attenborough a question about animals, marking the first time people heard him speak.</p> <p class="p1">With his cherub face and golden hair, Louis has forged a name for himself.</p> <p class="p1">Take a look at some of Prince Louis’ most precious moments throughout the years.</p>

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Life on Venus? Traces of phosphine may be a sign of biological activity

<p>The discovery that the atmosphere of Venus absorbs a precise frequency of microwave radiation has just <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-020-1174-4">turned planetary science on its head</a>. An international team of scientists used radio telescopes in Hawaii and Chile to find signs that the clouds on Earth’s neighbouring planet contain tiny quantities of a molecule called phosphine.</p> <p>Phosphine is a compound made from phosphorus and hydrogen, and on Earth its only natural source is tiny microbes that live in oxygen-free environments. It’s too early to say whether phosphine is also a sign of life on Venus – but no other explanation so far proposed seems to fit.</p> <p>This video shows how methane was detected in the atmosphere of Mars. The process is the same for finding phosphine on Venus.</p> <p><strong>What makes an atmosphere?</strong></p> <p>The molecular makeup of a planet’s atmosphere normally depends on what its parent star is made of, the planet’s position in its star’s system, and the chemical and geological processes that take place given these conditions.</p> <p>There is phosphine in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, for example, but there it’s not a sign of life. Scientists think it is formed in the deep atmosphere at high pressures and temperatures, then dredged into the upper atmosphere by a strong convection current.</p> <p><strong>Join 130,000 people who subscribe to free evidence-based news.</strong></p> <p>Although phosphine quickly breaks down into phosphorus and hydrogen in the top clouds of these planets, enough lingers – 4.8 parts per million – to be observable. The phosphorus may be what gives clouds on Jupiter a reddish tinge.</p> <p>Things are different on a rocky planet like Venus. The new research has found fainter traces of phosphine in the atmosphere, at 20 parts per billion.</p> <p>Lightning, clouds, volcanoes and meteorite impacts might all produce some phosphine, but not enough to counter the rapid destruction of the compound in Venus’s highly oxidising atmosphere. The researchers considered all the chemical processes they could think of on Venus, but none could explain the concentration of phosphine. What’s left?</p> <p>On Earth, phosphine is only produced by microbial life (and by various industrial processes) – and the concentration in our atmosphere is in the parts per trillion range. The much higher concentration on Venus cannot be ignored.</p> <p><strong>Signs of life?</strong></p> <p>To determine whether the phosphine on Venus is really produced by life, chemists and geologists will be trying to identify other reactions and processes that could be alternative explanations.</p> <p>Meanwhile, biologists will be trying to better understand the microbes that live in Venus-like conditions on Earth – high temperatures, high acidity, and high levels of carbon dioxide – and also ones that produce phosphine.</p> <p>When Earth microbes produce phosphine, they do it via an “anaerobic” process, which means it happens where no oxygen is present. It has been observed in places such as activated sludge and sewage treatment plants, but the exact collection of microbes and processes is not well understood.</p> <p>Biologists will also be trying to work out whether the microbes on Earth that produce phosphine could conceivably do it under the harsh Venusian conditions. If there is some biological process producing phosphine on Venus, it may be a form of “life” very different from what we know on Earth.</p> <p>Searches for life beyond Earth have often skipped over Venus, because its surface temperature is around 500℃ and the atmospheric pressure is almost 100 times greater than on Earth. Conditions are <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2017.1783">more hospitable for life</a> as we know it about 50 kilometres off the ground, although there are still vast clouds of sulfuric acid to deal with.</p> <p><strong>Molecular barcodes</strong></p> <p>The researchers found the phosphine using spectroscopy, which is the study of how light interacts with molecules. When sunlight passes through Venus’s atmosphere, each molecule absorbs very specific colours of this light.</p> <p>Using telescopes on Earth, we can take this light and split it into a massive rainbow. Each type of molecule present in Venus’ atmosphere produces a distinctive pattern of dark absorption lines in this rainbow, like an identifying barcode.</p> <p>This barcode is not always strongest in visible light. Sometimes it can only be detected in the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are invisible to the human eye, such as UV rays, microwave, radio waves and infrared.</p> <p>The barcode of carbon dioxide, for example, is most evident in the infrared region of the spectrum.</p> <p>While phosphine on Jupiter was first detected in infrared, for Venus observations astronomers used radio telescopes: the <a href="https://www.almaobservatory.org/en/home/">Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array</a> (ALMA) and <a href="https://www.eaobservatory.org/jcmt/about-jcmt/">James Clerk Maxwell Telescope</a> (JCMT), which can detect the barcode of phosphine in millimetre wavelengths.</p> <p><strong>New barcodes, new discoveries</strong></p> <p>The discovery of phosphine on Venus relied not only on new observations, but also a more detailed knowledge of the compound’s barcode. Accurately predicting the barcode of phosphine across all relevant frequencies took <a href="http://www.tampa.phys.ucl.ac.uk/ftp/eThesis/ClaraSousaSilva2015.pdf">the whole PhD</a> of astrochemist Clara Sousa-Silva in the <a href="https://www.ucl.ac.uk/exoplanets/research/spectroscopy-exoplanets">ExoMol group</a> at University College London in 2015.</p> <p>She used computational quantum chemistry – basically putting her molecule into a computer and solving the equations that describe its behaviour – to predict the strength of the barcode at different colours. She then tuned her model using available experimental data before making the <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1410.2917">16.8 billion lines of phosphine’s barcode</a> available to astronomers.</p> <p>Sousa-Silva originally thought her data would be used to study Jupiter and Saturn, as well as weird stars and distant “hot Jupiter” exoplanets.</p> <p>More recently, she led the detailed consideration of <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.05224">phosphine as a biosignature</a> – a molecule whose presence implies life. This analysis demonstrated that, on small rocky exoplanets, phosphine should not be present in observable concentrations unless there was life there as well.</p> <p>But she no doubt wouldn’t have dreamed of a phone call from an astronomer who has discovered phosphine on our nearest planetary neighbour. With phosphine on Venus, we won’t be limited to speculating and looking for molecular barcodes. We will be able to send probes there and hunt for the microbes directly.</p> <p><em>Written by Laura McKemmish, UNSW; Brendan Paul Burns, UNSW, and Lucyna Kedziora-Chudczer, Swinburne University of Technology. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/life-on-venus-traces-of-phosphine-may-be-a-sign-of-biological-activity-146093">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Behind the new Samsung Fold: how the quest to maximise screen size is driving major innovation

<p>To enlarge a phone, or not to enlarge a phone? That is the question. In the world of flagship smartphones, there seems to be one clear trend: bigger is better.</p> <p>Manufacturers are trying to strip away anything that might stand in the way of the largest possible slab of screen. There is also growing demand for thinner phones with diminishing <a href="https://www.lifewire.com/bezel-4155199">bezels</a> (the area surrounding a screen).</p> <p>This trend has now culminated in the latest innovation in smartphone design, the <a href="https://www.t3.com/au/news/best-folding-phones">foldable screen phone</a>. These devices sport thin <a href="https://www.techradar.com/au/news/what-is-oled">OLED</a> self illuminating screens that can be folded in half.</p> <p>The newest release is the <a href="https://www.theverge.com/21427462/samsung-galaxy-z-fold-2-review">Samsung Galaxy Z fold 2</a> – a device that is almost three-quarters screen and has extravagant overtones rivalled only by a hefty <a href="https://www.samsung.com/au/smartphones/galaxy-z-fold2/buy/">A$2,999 price tag</a>.</p> <p><strong>Hear from them</strong></p> <p>But to prevent the phones themselves from growing to unwieldy size, manufacturers are having to find ways to balance size with usability and durability. This presents some interesting engineering challenges, as well as some innovative solutions.</p> <p><strong>Internal design complexities of folding phones</strong></p> <p>Modern phones still typically use a thin LCD or plastic OLED display covered by an outer glass panel.</p> <p>Folding displays are a new category that exploit the flexibility of OLED display panels. Instead of simply fixing these panels to a rigid glass panel, they carefully engineer the panel so that it bends – but never quite tightly enough to snap or crack.</p> <p>Internal structural support is needed to make sure the panel doesn’t crease, or isn’t stressed to the point of creating damage, discolouration or visible surface ripples.</p> <p>Since this is a mechanical, moving system, reliability issues need to be considered. For instance, how long will the hinge last? How many times can it be <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/4/20898484/samsung-galaxy-fold-folding-test-failure-durability">folded and unfolded</a> before it malfunctions? Will dirt or dust make its way into the assembly during daily use and affect the screen?</p> <p>Such devices need an added layer of reliability over traditional slab-like phones, which have no moving parts.</p> <p><strong>Large screen, thin phone: a recipe for disaster?</strong></p> <p>Each generation of smartphones becomes thinner and with smaller bezels, which improves the viewing experience but can make the phone harder to handle.</p> <p>In such designs, the area of the device you can grip without touching the display screen is small. This leads to a higher chance of <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/study-19-percent-of-people-drop-phones-down-toilet/">dropping the device</a> – a blunder even the best of us have made.</p> <p>There’s an ongoing tussle between consumers and manufacturers. Consumers want a large, viewable surface as well as an easily portable and rugged device. But from an engineering point of view, these are usually competing requirements.</p> <p>You’ll often see people in smartphone ads holding the device with two hands. In real life, however, most people use their phone with <a href="https://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-design/research-on-mobile-interaction-behaviour-and-design/">one</a> <a href="https://alistapart.com/article/how-we-hold-our-gadgets/">hand</a>.</p> <p>Thus, the shift towards larger, thinner phones has also given rise to a boom in demand for assistive tools attached to the back, such as <a href="https://www.androidcentral.com/best-popsockets">pop-out grips and phone rings</a>.</p> <p>In trying to maximise screen size, smartphone developers also have to account for interruptions in the display, such as the placement of cameras, laser scanners (for face or object identification), proximity sensors and speakers. All are placed to minimise visual intrusion.</p> <p><strong>Now you see it, now you don’t</strong></p> <p>In the engineering world, to measure the physical world you need either cameras or sensors, such as in a fingerprint scanner.</p> <p>With the race to increase the real estate space on screens, typically these cameras and scanners are placed somewhere around the screen. But they take up valuable space.</p> <p>This is why we’ve recently seen tricks to carve out more space for them, such as <a href="https://www.techradar.com/au/news/this-is-the-worlds-first-smartphone-where-half-the-screen-is-a-fingerprint-scanner">pop up</a> cameras and <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=phone+screen+hole+for+camera&amp;source=lmns&amp;bih=598&amp;biw=1280&amp;rlz=1C5CHFA_enAU871AU871&amp;safe=active&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjXvcyoveDrAhUwhUsFHXvqBYMQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA">punch-hole</a> cameras, in which the camera sits in a cutout hole allowing the display to extend to the corners.</p> <p>But another fantastic place for sensors is right in front of us: the screen. Or more specifically, under the screen.</p> <p>Samsung is one company that has suggested placing selfie-cameras and fingerprint readers behind the screen. But how do you capture a photo or a face image through a layer of screen?</p> <p>Up until recently, this has been put in the “too hard basket”. But that is changing: Xiaomi, Huawei and <a href="https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/262497-samsung-patent-shows-phone-camera-inside-display">Samsung</a> all have patents for <a href="https://www.phonearena.com/news/samsung-galaxy-s21-s30-under-display-camera_id125174">under-display cameras</a>.</p> <p>There are a range of ways to do this, from allowing a camera to see through the screen, to using <a href="https://www.rp-photonics.com/microlenses.html">microlenses</a> and camera pixels distributed throughout the display itself – similar to an insect’s <a href="https://www.britannica.com/animal/insect/Nervous-system#ref250944">compound eye</a>.</p> <p>In either case, the general engineering challenge is to implement the feature in a way that doesn’t impact screen image quality, nor majorly affect camera resolution or colour accuracy.</p> <p><strong>Laptops in our pockets</strong></p> <p>With up to 3.8 billion smartphone users <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/">expected by 2021</a>, mobile computing is a primary consumer technology area seeing significant growth and investment.</p> <p>One driver for this is the professional market, where larger mobile devices allow more efficient on-the-go business transactions. The second market is individuals who who <a href="https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/"><em>only</em> have a mobile device</a> and no laptop or desktop computer.</p> <p>It’s all about choice, but also functionality. Whatever you choose has to get the job done, support a positive user experience, but also survive the rigours of the real world.</p> <p><em>Written by Andrew Maxwell. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/behind-the-new-samsung-fold-how-the-quest-to-maximise-screen-size-is-driving-major-innovation-145700">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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100-year-old postcard finally gets delivered!

<p>A woman from Michigan ended up receiving a postcard in her mailbox which had been sent almost exactly 100 years ago.</p> <p>Brittany Keech from Belding, east of Grand Rapids said the message took her by surprise and is now on the hunt of the relatives of the intended recipient.</p> <p>The postcard had a stamp on it with George Washington’s face and was postmarked October 29th, 1920 having been sent right before Halloween of that year, from Jamestown, Michigan.</p> <p>Keech is now hopeful that she’ll be able to track down the descendants of the people whom the message was intended.</p> <p>“This might be something that their parents can say, 'yea I remember when your great-great grandma would tell me stories’.”</p> <p>So far, she has posted it to a local Facebook group which features local stories where it has garnered over a hundred comments.</p> <p>If the family is not found, she says she may donate it to the local museum in Belding.</p> <p>One member of the community, Robby Peters, has begun the search to find relatives.</p> <p>“I do some genealogy research as a hobby,' said Peters to the<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/09/12/with-1920-postmark-mail-is-delivered-michigan-home-100-years-late/" target="_blank"> Washington Post.</a> </p> <p>“I started helping my own family, and I kind of caught the bug after that.”</p> <p>Peters found a Roy McQueen in the 1920 census who lived at the same address where Keech is currently residing with her husband and two children.</p> <p>McQueen was originally from Canada and moved to America in 1887.</p> <p>He was married to a Nora Murdock and was the manager of a produce company.</p> <p>The likely author of the postcard is Florence 'Flossie' Burgess, the daughter of Nora Murdock's sister, according to Peters.</p> <p>“I found census records, death records and marriage records,” he explained. “The postcard contained a couple of names and it had a destination, so I had an idea of where to start searching.”</p> <p>“I built a family tree,” Peters said. “It doesn't look like Roy and Nora had children, and Flossie seems to have remained unmarried, so there are no direct descendants.”</p>

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Nelson Mandela’s final photos

<p>Nelson Mandela, the legendary leader who helped to end apartheid in South Africa and later became the country’s first black president, had largely withdrawn from public life by 2011. But he agreed to one last photoshoot: A portrait-sitting for photographer Adrian Steirn’s “21 Icons” project, a multimedia series highlighting those who played a role in shaping modern South Africa.</p> <p>Steirn, one of South Africa’s leading photographers, captured Mandela at his boyhood home in the village of Qunu, located in the nation’s Eastern Cape Province. The photoshoot would become one of Mandela’s last.</p> <p>Mandela’s portrait in the 21 Icons project took careful consideration. “We had to come up with a concept that was both viable and meaningful,” Steirn told <em>Reader’s Digest</em>.</p> <p>The final result was a photograph titled “A Reflection of Dignity,” which captured Mandela’s “majestic aura and humble spirit simultaneously,” HuffPost.com wrote. “The concept of the mirror allowed him to step out of the portrait and ‘reflect’ on South Africa today and the part he played in that process,” according to Steirn.</p> <p>A South African himself, Steirn says that his deep admiration for Mandela inspired him to create the “21 Icons” project. Shaking the leader’s hand for the first time “was amazing,” he says.</p> <p>“You hear so much about this man, living in a country that is based around his narrative.” But Mandela – or Madiba, as he was affectionately nicknamed by South Africans – quickly put Steirn and his crew at ease.</p> <p>“He was the kind of guy that made you feel like the important one. That was his gift,” Steirn says.</p> <p>Mandela and Steirn shared a laugh together during a brief pause in the photoshoot. “At the end of the day, one of the great lessons for me was you can’t idolise anyone,” Steirn says. “We are all human.”</p> <p>In 2013, Adrian’s stunning photo of Mandela with the mirror was purchased by a private art collector for $200,000 – the highest price ever paid for a local portrait. Part of the proceeds were donated to the construction of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg, which opened its doors in 2017.</p> <p>Damon Hyland, a member of Steirn’s crew for the “21 Icons” project, arranged the lighting for the photoshoot. The photos were not enhanced in any way, according to Steirn, allowing the room’s natural light to illuminate the shot.</p> <p>The portrait-sitting was one of the last before Mandela’s death, and the power of the moment made the crew emotional at times.</p> <p>“In those moments, it becomes very clear that no matter what colour we are or what gender we are… it doesn’t matter what we achieve in life. We’re all mortal,” Steirn says.</p> <p>Steirn, Hyland, and Meme Selaelo Kgagara positioned Mandela’s mirror for the shot. Though Steirn and his crew were nervous before the photoshoot, he says that Mandela’s good-natured and kind personality soon calmed their jitters. “There was a humbleness around Mandela, there was a humour about Mandela that set him apart,” according to Steirn. “He was a very real man.”</p> <p>Steirn photographed Mandela for the last time in 2013 – two days before the leader was admitted to the hospital with a lung infection.</p> <p>Mandela was watching the National Geographic channel, Steirn recalls. “He gave so much to this country; he represented unity to South Africa. Knowing we would lose him was an impactful, intense moment,” Steirn says.</p> <p>“In my own way, it was goodbye.”</p> <p>A few months later, Mandela passed away in his home.</p> <p><strong>IMAGES:</strong> Courtesy Adrian Steirn</p> <p><em>Written by Brooke Nelson. This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/culture/see-the-last-photos-ever-taken-of-nelson-mandela" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.co.nz/subscribe" target="_blank">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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How to stamp out COVID-19 in New Zealand again

<p>Auckland, and possibly other parts of New Zealand, almost certainly have more cases of COVID-19 in the community than the <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/media-releases/4-cases-covid-19-unknown-source">four new cases confirmed</a> yesterday.</p> <p>Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern activated a <a href="https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/pm-comments-auckland-covid-19-case">resurgence plan</a> late yesterday, placing all of Auckland back under alert level 3 restrictions from today until midnight on Friday to allow time for contacts to be traced and tested.</p> <p>But until we can identify the chain of transmission, New Zealanders should prepare for restrictions to remain in place for longer.</p> <p>All four new cases are within one family in South Auckland, with no links yet discovered to quarantine or border facilities. But family members work in different places across different suburbs, which means the restrictions need to apply to the whole city.</p> <p><strong>Get news that’s free, independent and based on evidence.</strong></p> <p>Get newsletter</p> <p>When Melbourne found itself in a similar position a month ago, the city’s strategy was to lockdown specific suburbs. Unfortunately this failed to contain the virus.</p> <p><strong>Quick return to restrictions</strong></p> <p>Swift and decisive action is important, and we support the decision to place stricter conditions on Auckland and to return the rest of the country to alert level 2. We should all be very cautious.</p> <p>Everyone working at the border or in managed isolation will be tested and pop-up stations have opened across Auckland to carry out mass testing. But it is quite possible someone within the wider contact network of the cases has travelled outside Auckland. People who have travelled to Auckland in the last two weeks should act as if they are under level 3 restrictions and stay home from work.</p> <p>Whether we are in Auckland or not, we should all resume social distancing, working from home if we can, and wearing a mask if possible when we go out. If we do the right things now, there’s a good chance we will be able to contain this community outbreak before it spreads too much further.</p> <p>We’re going to need to do a lot of testing to work out how far the virus has spread. It’s more effective at this stage to target high-risk groups rather than testing people at random. People with symptoms or people who have been identified as close contacts of known cases should be prioritised for testing.</p> <p>If you are offered a test or you don’t feel well, you should get tested, but if you feel fine, just stay at home.</p> <p><strong>Contact tracing</strong></p> <p>Rapid contact tracing is going to be key to getting the virus under control. <a href="https://www.tepunahamatatini.ac.nz/2020/08/10/successful-covid-19-contact-tracing-systems-for-new-zealand/">Our recent modelling</a> shows that if we can trace and quarantine 80% of contacts within two days on average, it will go a long way to containing the outbreak.</p> <p>Contact tracers are also doing backward tracing – finding the source of infection so we know how many other cases are out there – as well as forward tracing, which means quarantining contacts so they don’t pass the virus on.</p> <p>For Auckland, moving to alert level 3 reduces the number of contacts most of us have. This will make the job easier for contact tracers over the coming days as they may only have to trace one or two contacts per person rather than ten or more.</p> <p>Everyone should now draw up a list of where they’ve been and who they’ve seen for the last two weeks. This is also a wake-up call to redouble our efforts to keep diaries of activities and to use the <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-resources-and-tools/nz-covid-tracer-app">NZ COVID Tracer app</a> to keep a record.</p> <p>The Tracer app has the added advantage that the Ministry of Health can automatically notify anybody who has visited the same location as a confirmed or potential case. We encourage Aucklanders in particular to check their apps, diaries and bank accounts to compile as much detail as possible of places they have visited or people they have met over the last 14 days.</p> <p><strong>What happens next</strong></p> <p>What happens next really depends on the results of the contact tracing investigations already underway. There is a lot of luck involved in the early stages of an outbreak like this one. If we are lucky, many of those infected may not have yet have passed the virus on.</p> <p>But it’s also possible there may have been a superspreading event, for example at a workplace or social gathering. In that case, there could be a large number of cases already out there. Although the alert level is currently in place until Friday, we should be prepared for this to be extended, depending on how many cases we find in the next three days.</p> <p>Back in February, when we had our first cases of COVID-19, the situation was very different. We had an open border and most cases were international travellers or their close contacts.</p> <p>We were also getting around 80 new cases a day by the time we went into lockdown in March. This time we have locked down with a smaller number of cases and we still have strict border restrictions in place.</p> <p>This should give us confidence that if we all do the right things, we will be able to get the outbreak under control much faster than last time.</p> <p><em>Written by Michael Plank, Alex James and Shaun Hendy. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/new-zealand-is-on-alert-as-covid-19-returns-this-is-what-we-need-to-stamp-it-out-again-144304">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Are there ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains? Computers can see a distinction

<p>How useful are the well-known and hotly contested categories of “male brain” and “female brain”?</p> <p>Among experts, nobody really questions that anatomical sex differences in the brain exist. But since the advent of brain science, the scientific community has been divided over how many differences there are, which ones have been definitively proven, how large or small they are, and what they actually mean.</p> <p>And, over the past several years, a new debate has been brewing among experts. Do anatomical differences in the brain “add up” to two clearly recognisable (sex-specific) brain types? Or do they rather “mix up” and form idiosyncratic combinations or “mosaics”, independent of sex?</p> <p><strong>A mosaic of male and female features</strong></p> <p>The mosaic hypothesis was supported by the results of a <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/112/50/15468">ground-breaking study</a> published in 2015 by Daphna Joel and her collaborators at Tel-Aviv University.</p> <p>Using brain scans of more than 1,400 participants, Joel and company identified the 10 regions showing the largest differences in size between men and women. Next, they classified each region of each brain as “male-typical”, “female-typical” or “intermediate”.</p> <p>Most of the brains turned out to be “mosaics” of male-typical <em>and</em> female-typical features, rather than being consistently male-typical (“male brains”) or female-typical (“female brains”). Joel concluded that brains “cannot be categorised into two distinct classes: male brain/female brain”.</p> <p><strong>Algorithms can ‘predict’ sex from brain data</strong></p> <p>Critics of the mosaic brain theory, however, point to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hbm.24462">machine-learning algorithms</a> that can use a brain scan to “predict” an individual’s sex with 80 to 90 percent accuracy.</p> <p>If an algorithm can classify brains into sexes so easily, the argument goes, it must be recognising some underlying difference.</p> <p>To some extent, this is a disagreement about what the terms “male brains” and “female brains” should entail. For Joel, using these categories would only be justified if, for example, knowing somebody had a “female” or “male” brain allowed you to predict other things about their brain’s features.</p> <p>But for Joel’s critics, the important thing is predicting the individual’s sex. It doesn’t matter whether or not slotting somebody’s brain into a sex category gives you more information about its structure.</p> <p>Most machine-learning classification algorithms are “black boxes”, which means they don’t reveal anything about <em>how</em> they combine brain features to define “male” and “female” brains. Despite the accuracy of the algorithms, their definitions may not even be consistent: <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00399/full">some evidence</a> suggests the algorithms use different brain features when classifying different subpopulations of females and males.</p> <p><strong>Algorithms’ sex prediction may depend on head size</strong></p> <p>And now even this classification accuracy is under challenge. A research team led by one of us (Carla Sanchis Segura) published <a href="https://rdcu.be/b50w1">a new study</a> that considers a neglected complication. On average, women have smaller bodies, heads and brains than men.</p> <p>In the early days of brain science, these differences in body and brain were mistakenly taken as evidence of (white) men’s intellectual superiority. But in recent years, it has been recognised that head size variation poses a problem for neuroscientists interested in sex differences.</p> <p>When you see a female/male difference in the size of a brain region, how do you know if you are seeing a specific effect of sex? It might simply be a difference between larger brains (more of which belong to males) and smaller brains (more of which belong to females), or a combination of the two.</p> <p>Neuroscientists try to solve this problem by statistically “controlling” for head size. But exactly how is this done?</p> <p>There are several different statistical methods in use. The current “gold standard” for assessing their validity is comparing the sex differences in the brain they find with those obtained in selected groups of females and males matched to have similar head sizes.</p> <p>Using this “gold standard”, the Sanchis-Segura research team found, <a href="https://bsd.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13293-019-0245-7">in an earlier study</a>, that not all currently used methods are effective and valid. They also found that the method used has a major impact on the number, the size and even the direction of the estimated sex differences.</p> <p>Having worked out which statistical control techniques are the most valid, Sanchis-Segura and her team were able to investigate an important question: to what extent does the high accuracy of “brain sex” classification depend on head size variation?</p> <p>The researchers tested 12 different sex-predicting machine-learning algorithms with data that had been properly adjusted for head size variation, data that had been poorly adjusted, and data that had not been adjusted at all.</p> <p>The algorithms delivered highly accurate results when using both raw data and poorly adjusted data. But when the same 12 algorithms were fed with properly adjusted data, classification accuracy dropped to 10% above ‘chance’, at about 60% accuracy.</p> <p>One particularly deflationary finding of the study was that the algorithms achieved high accuracy if they were given just one piece of information – namely, head size!</p> <p>These new findings continue to challenge the usefulfness of the categories “male brain” and “female brain”. Sex certainly affects the brain, and sex effects are important to study. But current attempts to classify brains into the categories “male brain” or “female brain” using machine-learning algorithm seem to add little beyond what has been known since the inception of modern science – that men, on average, have larger heads.</p> <p><em>Written by Cordelia Fine. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-there-male-and-female-brains-computers-can-see-a-distinction-but-they-rely-strongly-on-differences-in-head-size-143972">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Million-dollar painting deemed almost worthless

<p><span>One guest on BBC's Antiques Roadshow was left deflated on the show after they learnt a portrait thought to be an original Lely painting was almost worth nothing.</span><br /><br /><span>The visitor appeared on the show with one of the experts, to find out the true value of the artefact that had been passed down through his family. </span><br /><br /><span>He revealed the artwork was purchased in an auction in the 1850s, before it was placed in the home of the current owner - having been passed down through the family.</span><br /><br /><span>The piece was believed to have been painted by the popular artist Sir Peter Lely, who was around in the 1600s.</span><br /><br /><span>However the expert had to break the news that the piece was not an original and most likely a copy painted in the 19th century - two centuries after Lely's paintings.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837079/painting-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/34b3a7c3aa9d45c993f2bf049755e4c2" /><br /><br /><span>It featured all the parts of a painting by this artist, even documented as one of his works in an auction catalogue from the time it was purchased.</span><br /><br /><span>The show expert says it was obviously not original - but if it had been; it would be worth around a million dollars. </span><br /><br /><span>However, due to the artwork likely being a dupe, he said the it’s value dropped down dramatically to almost nothing. </span><br /><br /><span>He explained: "The question is, is it by Lely? The catalogue of 1845 you've just shown me says Lely doesn't it, quite clearly. But in those days they had somewhat a looser interpretation of the trade description act, if it indeed ever existed.</span><br /><br /><span>"The thing about Lely, the great portrait painter that he was, is that when he died he left hundreds of unfinished portraits and versions of portraits already done.</span><br /><br /><span>"His students and studio assistants finished them really quickly, and sold them all so that his entire estate including his collection of old masters made something like £30,00 in the 17th century, which was a massive amount of money. He was so popular.</span><br /><br /><span>"It effectively flooded the market with versions of his pictures done by lesser hands, the question is, is it one of those?"</span><br /><br /><span>The expert went on to reveal what the portrait could really be worth. </span><br /><br /><span>"The secret here is not to look too closely I’m afraid, you can tell I’m softening you up for a bit of a blow,” he said. </span><br /><br /><span>"Sorry but I think, I’m afraid, this is a shadow of a dream. It's not even by a studio assistant. I think it's a much later copy.</span><br /><br /><span>"Something about the reduced scale, of course it should be massive, makes it look more domestic. Something about the frankly Victorian idea of a 17th century frame, it's been copied.</span><br /><br /><span>"And the colours are slightly gaudier than you’d expect, a little bit of clunkiness in the drawing of the hand, and then put on top of that this brown finish which is quite deliberately antiquing it, I think what we're looking at is a 19th century copy."</span><br /><br /><span>The expert went on to say despite the guest’s disappointments that if it was an “original Lely, it would be pretty well around a million pounds.” </span><br /><br /><span>"But as it is, it's probably worth around I don't know, £600. I'm sorry to let you down."</span></p>

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Bride demands refund from wedding photographer over Black Lives Matter support

<p>An American wedding photographer said a couple tried to cancel their contract after she expressed her support for Black Lives Matter in a social media post.</p> <p>Shakira Rochelle, a photographer based in Cincinnati, Ohio, shared her support of the movement on her social media pages. The post read: “Shakira Rochelle Photography stands in solidarity with the black community. The black lives matter movement has my endless support.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBEt3EblKff/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBEt3EblKff/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Shakira Rochelle Photography stands in solidarity with the black community. The black lives matter movement has my endless support ✊🏼.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/shakirarochellephotographyy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Shakira Rochelle🌿</a> (@shakirarochellephotographyy) on Jun 5, 2020 at 5:34pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Rochelle later received a text message from a client requesting her deposit back.</p> <p>“We have done a lot of talking and we cannot bring ourselves to support anyone who is so outspoken on matters that simply do not concern them as well as someone that does not believe that ALL lives matter,” the bride wrote on the text.</p> <p>“We … feel that you aren’t stable enough to complete the job we need from you.”</p> <p>Rochelle told the bride that the deposit was non-refundable, as per their signed contract. “I wish you a lifetime of growth and I would like to thank you for your donation to Black Lives Matter,” the photographer concluded.</p> <p>The bride told Rochelle she would be “hearing from our attorney”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">I love it here. <a href="https://t.co/hKH4WFOSk2">pic.twitter.com/hKH4WFOSk2</a></p> — Q.🍫 (@PINKdot_COM) <a href="https://twitter.com/PINKdot_COM/status/1272880090003771393?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 16, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>The screenshots of the messages – which Rochelle posted on her personal Facebook account – went on to become viral on social media sites. A Twitter post with pictures of the exchange has received more than 1.1 million likes.</p> <p>On Wednesday, Rochelle released a statement addressing claims that her post was fabricated.</p> <p>“There is a photoshopped screenshot circulating stating that coming forward with this story was a business tactic to make a profit on the BLM movement,” she said.</p> <p>“This is the most incredibly absurd thing I have ever heard. The original post started out private until a friend asked if she could share it. I never had the intentions or the desire to go viral for this or anything else.”</p> <p>Rochelle explained that prior to the incident, she had been booked until winter and was not seeking for more clients.</p> <p>“I have always stood up for human rights and will continue to do so. I have marched with my loved ones as well as alone. My intentions are pure,” she said.</p> <p>“Please know that what you saw from me was the complete story.”   </p> <p>Black Lives Matter protests have been initiated across the US and around the world following the killing of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.</p>

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Australia’s decisive win on plain packaging paves way for other countries to follow suit

<p>The decision, <a href="https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news20_e/435_441abr_e.htm">handed down on June 9 by the World Trade Organisation’s appeals body</a>, that Australia’s plain packaging tobacco control policy doesn’t flout WTO laws marks the end of almost a decade of legal wrangling over this landmark public health policy. And more importantly, it paves the way for other nations around the world to follow Australia’s lead.</p> <p>In 2012 Australia became the first country in the world to implement <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2011A00148">tobacco plain packaging laws</a>, having recognised that the tobacco industry uses packaging both to market cigarettes and to undermine health warnings.</p> <p>The industry has long acknowledged the powerful role of packaging design in attracting consumers and reinforcing brand image. A <a href="https://www.printinnovationasia.com/single-post/2017/01/18/The-Premiumisation-of-Cigarette-Packaging-in-Indonesia">2017 trade article</a> on the “premiumisation” of cigarettes explained the rationale behind glossy packaging:</p> <p><em>Features such as velvet touch, soft touch, etching, rise and relief can be applied across the surface of the packaging to make the product more impactful and raise customer engagement. The look of the packaging such as intense metallics through the use of foil simulation inks can also give cigarette packaging the luxurious effect and adds on to the premium feel of the product.</em></p> <p>A Cancer Research UK video shows how children react to glossy cigarette packs.</p> <p>The “plain packaging” mandated by Australia’s laws is in fact anything but. It features <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/smoking-and-tobacco/tobacco-control/tobacco-plain-packaging">graphic, full-colour health warnings</a> presented on a drab brown background. Brand logos, designs, emblems, and slogans are banned; product brand names remain, but must appear in a standardised font.</p> <p>The result means tobacco packages can no longer serve as mini billboards that make cigarettes look aspirational and desirable.</p> <p><strong>Legal challenges</strong></p> <p>The tobacco industry launched three separate legal challenges to the law. First, JT International and British American Tobacco filed a lawsuit in the Australian High Court. Next, tobacco firm Philip Morris sought legal protection for its packaging designs under an existing investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. Finally, the industry filed a dispute through the WTO on behalf of four tobacco-producing countries: Cuba, Honduras, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic.</p> <p>In 2012 the High Court <a href="https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/litigation/decisions/au-20121005-jt-intl.-and-bat-australasia-l">ruled in favour of the Australian government</a>, and in 2015 the investment treaty tribunal <a href="https://www.tobaccocontrollaws.org/litigation/decisions/au-20151217-philip-morris-asia-v-australia">dismissed Philip Morris Asia’s claim</a>. The WTO also <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wto-tobacco-ruling/australia-wins-landmark-wto-ruling-on-plain-tobacco-packaging-idUSKBN1JO2BF">ruled in Australia’s favour</a> in 2018, but the Dominican Republic and Honduras appealed.</p> <p>That appeal was denied last week, meaning all legal challenges to Australia’s plain packaging laws have now been finally and decisively overruled – more than a decade after the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd <a href="https://tobaccolabels.ca/australia-announces-plain-packaging/">first announced the policy</a> in April 2010.</p> <p><strong>No more industry blocking</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/435_441abr_conc_e.pdf">WTO’s appeal body agreed</a> plain packaging laws are likely to improve public health and that they are not unfairly restrictive to trade.</p> <p>The appeal was not expected to succeed, so the ruling comes as no surprise. But despite this, legal wrangling has become a <a href="https://untobaccocontrol.org/kh/legal-challenges/court-cases-litigation-policy-brief/">standard tobacco industry practice</a>, particularly through international channels such as the WTO. One reason is because the slow and cumbersome legal process can serve as a deterrent to other countries, who may hold off implementing similar laws until the legal outcome is known.</p> <p>Encouragingly, this stalling tactic seems to be losing its power. Countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, and New Zealand have all forged ahead with plain packaging legislation despite the outstanding appeal.</p> <p>Now, however, lower-income countries can also confidently pursue plain packaging measures <a href="https://www.mccabecentre.org/news-and-updates/tobacco-plain-packaging-legal-victory-for-australia.html">without fear of falling foul of the WTO</a>.</p> <p><strong>What next?</strong></p> <p>Australia’s plain packaging law was groundbreaking at the time. But now the tobacco industry has responded with a range of tactics to exploit loopholes and offset the impact on their brands, meaning governments need to come up with yet more countermeasures.</p> <p>Once plain packaging was implemented, the tobacco industry quickly trademarked new brand names, such as Imperial Tobacco’s <a href="https://open.sydneyuniversitypress.com.au/9781743323977/rtec-the-future.html">Peter Stuyvesant + Loosie</a>, which contains 21 cigarettes instead of 20, and advertises the bonus cigarette within the name.</p> <p>Canada’s <a href="https://www.cancer.ca/en/about-us/for-media/media-releases/national/2019/plain-packaging-regulations/?region=qc">plain packaging laws</a>, enacted in February 2020, directly control the size and shape of the cigarettes themselves. For example, the law bans slim cigarettes targeted at young women who associate smoking with slimness and fashion.</p> <p>Widespread plain packaging could also help curb the <a href="https://theconversation.com/big-tobacco-wants-social-media-influencers-to-promote-its-products-can-the-platforms-stop-it-129957">uprise in tobacco marketing via social media influencers</a>. A tobacco pack covered in gruesome disease imagery doesn’t make for inspiring social media content.</p> <p>The WTO upheld Australia’s plain packaging laws because the government had convincing public health research to show the positive impact of plain packaging on public attitudes to smoking.</p> <p>Seen in that light, the decision isn’t just a win for public health. It’s also an encouraging sign that evidence-based policies can defeat even the deepest of corporate pockets.</p> <p><em>Written by Becky Freeman. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-decisive-win-on-plain-packaging-paves-way-for-other-countries-to-follow-suit-140553">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Be careful with photos and how you talk: How to protect your grandkids online

<p>Parents have many things to worry about. It’s easy to stick our heads in the sand and assume bad things - like sexual abuse - won’t happen to our kids.</p> <p>But online sexual abuse is <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/28/us/child-sex-abuse.html">increasing at an exponential rate</a>.</p> <p>Last week, the Australian Federal Police <a href="https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/afp-dismantles-australian-online-network-alleged-child-sex-offenders-and">announced it had busted</a> an alleged child sex offender network, <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/crime/nine-men-charged-14-children-saved-in-australian-federal-policeled-child-sex-abuse-investigation/news-story/639fd7f63a3426748af0e533d7efd067">warning</a></p> <p><em>“child exploitation in Australia is becoming more prolific … this type of offending is becoming more violent and brazen.”</em></p> <p>The risks are especially high at the moment, as we spend more time on devices during the <a href="https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/blog/covid-19-online-risks-reporting-and-response">pandemic lockdown</a>.</p> <p>For example, recent media reports have warned about <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/18/parents-schools-urged-supervise-children-zoom-amid-fears-child/">Zoom calls being hijacked</a> by offenders showing child abuse material.</p> <p>This article, based on our work as parenting and maltreatment experts, looks at how parents can protect their children from online sexual abuse.</p> <p>In <a href="https://theconversation.com/use-proper-names-for-body-parts-dont-force-hugs-how-to-protect-your-kids-from-in-person-sexual-abuse-139970">a separate piece</a>, we also look at how to protect kids from in-person sexual abuse.</p> <p><strong>How common is online sexual abuse?</strong></p> <p>Online sexual abuse occurs across many platforms including social media, text messaging, websites, various apps, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat and <a href="https://theconversation.com/dark-web-study-reveals-how-new-offenders-get-involved-in-online-paedophile-communities-131933">the dark web</a>.</p> <p>Very broadly, it includes asking a child to send sexual content, a person sending your child sexual content, “sextortion” (coercing or manipulating children for sexual gain), and viewing, creating or sharing child exploitation/ abuse material (sometimes <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-in-a-name-online-child-abuse-material-is-not-pornography-45840">inappropriately referred to as “child pornography”</a>).</p> <p>A <a href="https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/media/1747/how-safe-are-our-children-2019.pdf">2018 survey </a>of more than 2,000 children in the United Kingdom found one in seven children had been asked to send sexual information. And one in 25 primary school children (that’s roughly one in every class) had been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked picture or video by an adult. </p> <p><strong>Who are the abusers?</strong></p> <p>Online abusers are most likely to be <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1079063210370708">Caucasian males</a> who are attracted to prepubescent children.</p> <p>They <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24627189/">differ from in-person abusers</a> in that they are less likely to have easy physical access to children, have higher internet use, higher levels of education, and are less likely to have a criminal history. However, some people abuse children both online and in person.</p> <p>Importantly, some online sexual abuse is also committed by other adolescents <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09649069.2013.851178">under the age of 18</a>, creating and sharing sexual images.</p> <p>Research estimates <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/2018/02/16/sexting-what-does-research-say">16% of Australian children</a> between 10 and 19 receive “sexts” - sexually explicit or sexually suggestive texts or images via phone or internet - and 10% send them.</p> <p>Some image sharing occurs in genuinely consensual peer relationships, and this is generally not abusive. However, any coercion to share sexual content constitutes abuse.</p> <p><strong>Which children are most at risk?</strong></p> <p>Children with poor psychological health, poor relationships with their parents, low self-esteem, and those who have been exposed to other forms of abuse, are more <a href="https://capmh.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13034-019-0292-1">at risk</a> of online sexual abuse.</p> <p>Age-wise, girls aged 11 to 15 are at the <a href="https://www.ecpat.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ECPAT-International-Report-Trends-in-Online-Child-Sexual-Abuse-Material-2018.pdf">highest risk</a> for child exploitation, although it also happens to very young children.</p> <p><strong>Tips for protecting your child</strong></p> <p>Here are some practical steps you can take to minimise the risks facing your child online and to help them safely navigate online challenges.</p> <p>These are based on known patterns of online abuse and identified factors that place children at greater or lesser risk.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Take care with photos</strong>. Consider who you allow to take photos of your children and where you share photos to ensure they don’t get misused.</li> <li><strong>Talk openly to children and teens about sex so they don’t seek out advice or information online from individuals</strong>. Children who are knowledgeable may be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213495000173">less likely</a> to be targeted. In particular, talk about <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1524838017738726">consent</a>, and what is consensual behaviour between kids, and what is not.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Talk with teens about the safe sharing of images</strong>. This includes the risks associated with sharing photos of themselves in provocative poses or in revealing clothing. This conversation should start early and get more developed as your child grows up. A lot of child exploitation <a href="https://www.ecpat.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ECPAT-International-Report-Trends-in-Online-Child-Sexual-Abuse-Material-2018.pdf">material</a> is taken by teens or by people known to the children then shared more widely.</li> <li><strong>Be interested in the online lives of your children and know their online friends</strong>. Do this routinely, just as you do with their real-life friends. Be attentive to changes or special friends. Keep these conversations going. Listen to their experiences.</li> <li><strong>Encourage attendance at school-based prevention programs</strong>. And then talk with your kids about what they’ve learned to reinforce the messages or answer any questions.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Talk with your kids about how to respond to sexual innuendo or unwanted advances and when to tell an adult</strong>. Start by asking kids for examples of sexual innuendo and the types of things people might say online. Then brainstorm ways the best ways to respond. For example, teens could withdraw from conversations or block acquaintances. Or say something like “I’m not into that kind of chat” or say “No thanks, not interested” to any invitations or requests.</li> <li><strong>Talk with teens about online safety</strong>. This includes restricting who can view or reshare posts. You may need to upskill yourself first.</li> <li><strong>Know what your child is doing online</strong>. <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/2/e510?casa_token=3wbclJn_dlIAAAAA%3AfwLi9RZYcZqnCLzFfYZON9iQGf9uCymE7EEGNc5g49bLcN9_NVKjPRPO5w7E6O-_I182ayPkbSVVIw">Monitor</a> their online behaviour, rather than relying only on software controls, which are less effective.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Keep the computer in a communal area</strong>. Ensure their computer use occurs in communal areas of the home and restrict kids’ access to mobiles at night. If possible, do this from an early age and make it routine, so teens don’t get the message you don’t trust them.</li> <li><strong>Build your child’s esteem and confidence</strong>. Children with low self-esteem are more susceptible to online grooming designed to make children feel special.</li> <li><strong>Meet your own needs</strong>. Children are at greater risk of abuse when parents are struggling with their own mental health or substance issues. If you need help <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">get support</a> or talk to your doctor.</li> </ul> <p><strong>More resources for parents are available via <a href="https://bravehearts.org.au/">Bravehearts</a> and at <a href="https://www.esafety.gov.au/">esafety.gov.au</a>.</strong></p> <p><strong>If you believe your child is the victim of grooming or exploitation, or you come across exploitation material, you can <a href="https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/report">report it via ThinkuKnow</a> or contact your local police.</strong></p> <p><strong>If you are a child, teen or young adult who needs help and support, call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.</strong></p> <p><strong>If you are an adult who experienced abuse as a child, call the Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 or <a href="https://www.blueknot.org.au/Helpline">visit their website</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Written by Divna Haslam and Ben Matthews. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/be-careful-with-photos-talk-about-sex-how-to-protect-your-kids-from-online-sexual-abuse-139971">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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A chemical engineer explains: What makes pepper spray so intense? And is it a tear gas?

<p>In recent weeks, the world has looked on as governments use chemical irritants to control protesters and riots. Whether it’s tear gas, pepper spray, mace or pepper balls, all have one thing in common: they’re chemical weapons.</p> <p>Chemical warfare agents have been used twice in Sydney in the past week alone. Police <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-07/sydney-police-defend-pepper-spray-use-on-protesters/12330558">pepper-sprayed</a> demonstrators at Central Station, following Saturday’s major Black Lives Matter protest.</p> <p>The next day, tear gas <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-08/tear-gas-fired-into-exercise-yard-of-sydney-long-bay-jail/12332572">was used</a> to break up a fight at Long Bay jail, as prison guards filled an exercise yard with tear gas canisters – also impacting nearby residents.</p> <p>These events followed the deployment of <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/05/politics/park-police-tear-gas/index.html">chemical riot control agents</a> – specifically “pepper bombs” – in Washington DC last week. They were used to clear protesters from a public park so President Donald Trump could walk from the White House to a nearby church for a photo opportunity.</p> <p>The White House made a highlight reel to celebrate Trump’s heroic walk across the street for his bible photo op...</p> <p>US Attorney General William Barr said “<a href="https://www.factcheck.org/2020/06/the-continuing-tear-gas-debate/">there was no tear gas used</a>”, claiming “pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.”</p> <p>I’m a chemical engineer and chemist who studies chemicals in the environment. So I thought I’d clear the air about what makes pepper spray such a powerful chemical irritant, and a chemical weapon.</p> <p><strong>What’s inside pepper spray?</strong></p> <p>The active compounds in pepper spray are collectively known as capsaicinoids. They are given the military symbol OC, for “oleoresin capsicum”.</p> <p>The most important chemical in OC is capsaicin. This is derived from chilli peppers in a chemical process that dissolves and concentrates it into a liquid. Capsaicin is the same compound that makes chillies hot, but in an intense, weaponised form.</p> <p>Not all capsaicinoids are obtained naturally. One called nonivamide (also known as PAVA or pelargonic acid vanillylamide) is mostly made by humans. PAVA is an <a href="https://cot.food.gov.uk/committee/committee-on-toxicity/cotstatements/cotstatementsyrs/cotstatements2002/pavastatement">intense irritant</a> used in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/09/pepper-spray-used-in-non-violent-situations-in-prison-pilot">artificial pepper spray</a>.</p> <p><strong>Is pepper spray a tear gas?</strong></p> <p>We’ve established pepper spray is a chemical, but is it also a kind of tear gas?</p> <p>“<a href="https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/riotcontrol/factsheet.asp">Tear gas</a>” is an informal term and a bit of a misnomer, because it isn’t a gas. Rather, tear gas refers to any weaponised irritant used to immobilise people.</p> <p>More specifically, tear gas is often used to describe weapons that disperse their irritants in the air either as liquid aerosol droplets (such as <a href="https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a28904691/how-tear-gas-works/">gas canisters</a>), or as a powder (such as pepper balls). This definition distinguishes tear gas from personal self-defence sprays which use foams, gels and liquids.</p> <p>Tear gas canisters typically contain the irritants 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) and phenacyl chloride (CN). Both CS and CN are man-made chemicals discovered in a lab, unlike capsaicin (the traditional ingredient in pepper spray).</p> <p>But despite capsaicin coming from chilli peppers, pepper spray is still a weaponised irritant that can be delivered as an aerosol or powder. It should unequivocally be considered a type of tear gas.</p> <p><strong>Pepper spray as a weapon</strong></p> <p>The chemical irritants OC, CS and CN have military symbols because they are chemical weapons. They are termed “<a href="https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/06/10/rubber-bullets-protesters-victoria-snelgrove-boston">less-lethal</a>” because they are less likely to kill than conventional weapons. Their use, however, can still <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2020/06/08/tear-gas-and-pepper-spray-can-maim-kill-and-spread-coronavirus/#47f17a2a725f">cause fatalities</a>.</p> <p>Technically, pepper spray and other tear gases are classified as lachrymatory agents. <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-tear-gas-139958">Lachrymatory agents</a> attack mucous membranes in the eyes and respiratory system.</p> <p>Pepper spray works almost instantly, forcing the eyes to close and flood with tears. Coupled with coughing fits and difficulty breathing, this means the targeted person is effectively <a href="https://healthland.time.com/2011/11/22/how-painful-is-pepper-spray/">blinded and incapacitated</a>. Because lachrymatory agents work on <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544263/">nerve receptors</a> that help us sense heat, they also induce an intense burning sensation.</p> <p>The combined effects of pepper spray can last anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour.</p> <p>Lachrymatory agents emerged on the <a href="https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/germans-introduce-poison-gas">battlefields of World War I</a>. Artillery shells were filled with chemicals such as <a href="https://www.compoundchem.com/2014/05/17/chemical-warfare-ww1/">xylyl bromide and chloroacetone</a> and fired at enemy soldiers. Agents that induce choking, blistering and vomiting were added as the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/science/chemical-weapons-world-war-1-armistice.html">chemical arms race</a> escalated.</p> <p>In the 1920s, the <a href="https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/bio/1925-geneva-protocol/">Geneva Protocol</a> was enacted to ban the use of indiscriminate and often ineffective chemical weapons on the battlefield. Today, the unjustified use of chemical riot control agents <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/201242913130963418.html">threatens to erode</a> the systems that are meant to protect us from the most dangerous weaponised chemicals.</p> <p><em>Written by Gabriel da Silva. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-makes-pepper-spray-so-intense-and-is-it-a-tear-gas-a-chemical-engineer-explains-140441">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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