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One of Our Favorite Google Speakers Is Half Off Right Now

Some weeks, there are so many tall-skinny cylinders sitting around my apartment you might think I spend my time as a wizard in The Cones of Dunshire. Sadly, you'd be wrong. The job of a WIRED Gear reviewer does not include making civilizations to collect cones. It does involve testing a ton of can-shaped portable speakers. The JBL Link 20 is one my favorites, and it's half off through April 27.

Usually speakers come in, and I test them, and then they leave my cluttered life. But the JBL Link 20 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) has been so reliable and useful that I've kept it around for nearly a year and a half. It's a Google Home speaker that lets you speak to a voice assistant hands-free, like all of the best smart speakers these days. This one has Google Assistant. Unlike many smart speakers, it's also waterproof (it floats!), can connect via Bluetooth, and has a battery that holds a 10-hour charge.

The JBL Link 20 costs $100 ($100 off) at Best Buy

B&H Audio, JBL's store, and Walmart also have it. Jet lists it for $105, and Target has it for $150.

JBL's Link 10, Link 300, and Link 500 speakers are also on sale. The smaller model has weaker battery life and the larger two don't have batteries at all, but all three are also Google speakers I recommend.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

Is the Link 20 for You?

Here's what I like and dislike about the Link 20.

WIRED: The Link 20 merges the convenience and portability of the best Bluetooth speakers and the new generation of smart speakers for the home. It has an extra light to show its Wi-Fi signal strength and a light-up indicator for battery life. Muting, volume, and pausing are easy, as is activating Bluetooth. It can also charge while standing up, which isn't always true for bottle-shaped speakers.

Since it's a Google Home speaker, setup is also easy. Just download the Google Home app, click to set up a new device, and you're pretty much done. Google Assistant is currently more capable than Amazon's Alexa assistant when it comes to networking speakers and answering questions.

TIRED: The only issue I've had with the Link 20 is that it has such a strong microphone, it sometimes overpowers my other Google speakers. Sometimes, even if I'm talking to a speaker in the kitchen, the Link 20 will try to answer. Closing my bedroom door fixes this problem.

If you've ever heard a JBL speaker, your ears will feel at home. JBL's are not as clear as the absolute best speakers, like those from UE or Sonos, but they do the job well. The Link 20 can play Lizzo's new album with the best of 'em, and I can't say I've cared about much else for the past couple of weeks.


Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/jbl-link-20-speaker-deal/

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Maggots and Murder: Alabama Mens Prisons Are Pure Hell, Feds Say

A damning new report by the Department of Justice found that Alabama mens prisonsand the depraved conditions inmates have been forced to endurelikely violate the Eighth Amendment, which protects prisoners from cruel and unusual punishments.

As part of a two-and-half-year investigation, the DOJ determined that Alabama prisons have the highest homicide rate in the nation and that the violence behind bars has increased dramatically in the past five years.

The United States Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishments but the conditions found in our investigation of Alabama prisons provide reasonable cause to believe there is a flagrant disregard of that injunction, U.S. Attorney Richard Moore said.

Within one week inside Alabama state mens prisons, the DOJ recorded numerous violent attacks, sexual assaults, and contraband, such as methamphetamine and weapons.

During one horrific incident described in the report, two prisoners stood guardwatching for rarely-seen correctional officerswhile two other prisoners stabbed a fellow inmate.

The victim screamed for help. Another prisoner tried to intervene and he, too, was stabbed, the report reads. When an officer finally responded, he found the prisoner lying on the floor bleeding from his chest. The prisoner eventually bled to death. One… resident told us that he could still hear the prisoners screams in his sleep.

The investigation found that a combination of crowding and understaffing has facilitated violence and illegal activity between inmates. Prison officials told investigators they are often unable to protect inmates even when given warning.

The violations are severe, systemic, and exacerbated by serious deficiencies in staffing and supervision; overcrowding; ineffective housing and classification protocols, the report reads.

In addition to the excessive amount of violence, sexual assault, and prisoner deaths, investigators found widespread reports of hostage situations and extortion between inmates, calling it a significant problem. The DOJ established a toll-free number for prisoners to report extortion by their fellow inmates, but inspectors found that the prisons were unable to prevent or protect prisoners from the tactic.

When one prisoner reported that he was being forced into sexual acts by other prisoners while being extorted for drug money, a resource officer told him that because he was in debt to a fellow prisoner, nothing could be done.

Another inmate reported being held hostage for several days in a dormitory over a debt. Upon finally escaping, the prisoner was so badly beaten he was immediately sent to the emergency room and required two facial surgeries.

The mother of one prisoner reported to the DOJ that she and her son were being extorted for money to pay off an alleged $600 debt to another prisoner. Through texts, the extorter threatened to chop her son into pieces and rape him if she did not send him $800.

Investigators also found unsanitary living conditions at several of the facilities. Plumbing in dormitories were often found to be clogged, with standing sewage water on the floors.

Inmates reported rats and maggots in kitchen facilitiesand when one DOJ official entered a kitchen to inspect it, he became sick from inhaling toxic cleaning chemicals fumes.

Our investigation found reasonable cause to believe that Alabama fails to provide constitutionally adequate conditions and that prisoners experience serious harm, including deadly harm, as a result, said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division.

When DOJ experts shared preliminary conclusions with prison management, officials rarely, if ever, asked substantive questions, and the violence in Alabamas prisons has only increased since then, the report says.

In ongoing litigation, the Alabama prison systemwhich houses over 16,000 prisoners, but is designed to hold only 9,882has admitted to being dangerously understaffed. In February 2019, the system indicated that it needs to hire over 2,200 correctional officers and 130 supervisors over the next four years.

According to the report, if, after 49 days, the prison system has not corrected deficiencies identified in the report, the attorney general may file a lawsuit.

In response to the report, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said they are making efforts to improve hiring and retention of correctional staff. The department has requested $31 million dollars in their 2020 budget, which Dunn says will allow them to hire 500 new correctional officers and increase the pay scale for all security personnel.

In response to DOJs findings, it is important to understand all the current efforts ADOC has taken and will continue to take to improve the conditions of confinement within the male prison system, Dunn said. (The governors) commitment to working closely with the Legislature to resolve this generational problem will ultimately lead to a 21st Century prison system.

Read the full report below:

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/alabama-mens-prisons-may-violate-constitution-are-pure-hell-justice-department

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Angry Nerd: Just Get Out of My Space

Hustling is the default mode of the 21st century, and I'm not above listing my adorable split-level Victorian on Airbnb during my out-of-town weekends. Need to rent a car for the day? Take mine—I wasn't using it anyway. But whoring out my bed—my own private sanctuary, complete with sweat-stained sheets and raggedy stuffed elephant named Elephant—on Recharge, the “Airbnb for naps”? I'd rather sell a kidney. The tech industry thinks that every last inch of my personal space should be for hire, that strangers should be able to rent it, on demand, by the hour, at their convenience. I call it, with eye roll heavily implied, the sublet economy. Initial moves toward the micropersonal seemed sane enough: Share the extra storage space in your garage (Spacer) or the empty parking spot in your driveway (Pavemint, CARMAnation) or that boat you spent way too much money on (Boatbound, Antlos). But now we can't look past our own noses without seeing dollar signs and feeling the guilt of unmonetized potential. Nothing is sacred, not even your laundry room (Laundromatch—now defunct, ha!). With all those student loans, can you really afford to leave your kitchen vacant instead of entrusting it to someone else's dinner party (Feastly)? You know that very relatable problem where you have a toilet that's just sitting there, not generating any revenue, most hours of the day? Put it on Airpnp, the “Airbnb of toilets”! When I volunteer to host my most intimate spaces, I sacrifice some of my basic human dignity. What's next, a service for renting out my fresh, youthful blood? What's mine is not yours. Unless you'd like to help me scrounge up the cash for a down payment on a house. Did I mention I had a kidney for sale?


This article appears in the May issue. Subscribe now.


Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/angry-nerd-get-out-of-my-space/

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Girls in gangs ‘failed by authorities’

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionNequela Whittaker was jailed at 17 – she is now a youth worker

Girls involved in gang crime are being overlooked and failed by the authorities, the children’s commissioner for England has said.

Half of children involved with gangs are girls and they “desperately need help to get out”, Anne Longfield said.

They are often used to carry knives or drugs because they are less likely to be stopped by police, she told the BBC.

The Local Government Association said “limited funding” meant councils had to prioritise those at immediate risk.

‘Under the radar’

Ms Longfield told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she was writing to the government and local authorities calling for a review into support for female gang members, who were “not getting the help they need”.

“Teachers, social workers, GPs and youth workers need to be doing more to help get these girls out of gangs,” she said.

“So many are trapped with nowhere to go.”

Two-thirds of children in England assessed by councils as being involved in gangs are boys (66%) and one third girls (34%), figures analysed by the children’s commissioner’s office suggest.

Estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest a higher figure – that as many as half may be girls.

But the Metropolitan Police Service’s gangs matrix database lists 3,000 male gang members known to the authorities in London and just 18 female gang members.

And London’s deputy mayor for policing, Sophie Linden, said a lot of girls were going “under the radar”.


Image caption Anne Longfield is writing to ask the government for a review into how girls involved in gangs are supported

Nequela Whittaker, who used to be in a gang but is now a youth worker, said girls as young as 11 were now telling her they carried weapons for “boyfriends, other counterparts and gang members”.

“As young as these girls are, they are not scared to carry a weapon and if something went wrong to use it,” she told the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

“They are the ones who are getting away with it, mostly because they are not looked upon as a person of interest, as opposed to a young male.”

Sexually exploited

Until recently, “Samira”, 18, was a member of a south London gang who had groomed her into carrying weapons from the age of 12.

“It would mostly be kitchen knives, for gang members and for my own protection,” she said.

Asked if she was aware of the harm this could lead to, she replied: “All you think about is yourself. You don’t really care about what happens to the other person.

“All you want to do is protect yourself and you’re willing to do anything to do that.”

She said she had also seen other girls being sexually exploited by senior gang members.

“I saw people getting stabbed, getting shot, people getting beaten up and getting robbed,” she said.

She is now pregnant, which she said had allowed her to escape gang culture.


Image caption Police say gender should not be a factor in who is targeted by stop and search

Ms Linden, said it was heartbreaking to hear young girls talk about being groomed and abused.

“We are doing our best to engage with those we know about and make sure we are actively reaching out to communities, to ensure we are working with young women and girls who are being exploited.

“We haven’t forgotten them.”

The Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils across England, said: “Councils are being forced to divert the limited funding they have left away from preventative work, including young offenders teams and youth work, into services to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm.”

Follow the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Facebook and Twitter – and see more of our stories here.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47952075

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‘I changed my gender after my wife got dementia’

Image copyright AoC
Image caption Stephanie, a skilled carpenter, has gained beauty therapy qualifications at her local college since her transition

When Steve Gilbert met his wife, Jill, he had just left the Royal Marines, unnerved by a growing realisation that he was attracted to men – “especially the hunky guys”.

Almost 40 years on, Jill has dementia and lives in a care home – and Steve, now Stephanie, has had gender reassignment surgery.

“I always felt female,” Stephanie says.

“But you learn to hide everything when growing up – to fit in to society.”

Steve and Jill were both into sport and fitness when they met, at their local leisure centre, near Redruth, Cornwall.

Image copyright S Gilbert
Image caption Steve and Jill on their wedding day

Jill was 18 years older, with three children from a previous marriage, so they decided to just “play it by ear” but as time went on, Stephanie says: “I fell in love with her and it just got deeper and deeper.”

Steve told Jill he felt he should be female – but when she told him marriage would change this, he put his misgivings to one side to concentrate on being a good husband and immersed himself in sport.

In his 20s, he was particularly successful at judo, coming third in his weight category in the national judo championships three years running.

But rather than going away, the feeling that he should be female grew – and in his late 40s, he decided he wanted to live as a woman.

“And, of course, that’s when the difficulties started in the marriage – arguments,” Stephanie says.

Image copyright S Gilbert
Image caption Steve immersed himself in sport, coming third in his weight category in the national judo championships three years running

After a referral to a gender identity clinic in Newton Abbot, Devon, Steve was accepted for hormone treatment – but, Jill, then in her late 60s, hated the idea.

They had all but decided to separate but Jill had a series of family bereavements and was also ill herself, with breast cancer and, later, arthritis.

So Steve decided to put his transition on hold “until things were sorted out”.

“I couldn’t put her through it.”

Soon afterwards, Jill began to show the early signs of dementia.

“At the beginning, you notice little things… and then you think there’s more to it as she repeats herself and then you find that you got like half a dozen tins of mustard powder and loads and loads of kitchen paper but no toilet paper. You think, ‘No, something’s not right.'”

Jill never recovered properly from a general anaesthetic almost nine years ago and Steve, a skilled carpenter and joiner, whose work took him all over Cornwall, became increasingly concerned about her safety while she was at home on her own.

‘Gender neutral’

“In the end, I had to take the knobs off the cooker,” Stephanie says.

“It got too much and I gave up work completely to look after her full time.”

Giving up work also gave Steve the opportunity to live as Stephanie full time.

“At home, I would just be who I wanted to be and try to look after Jill – but it wasn’t brilliant,” she says.

“I had to sort of almost be gender neutral so it was indistinguishable. She still had some of her faculties about her.”

‘Couldn’t cope’

Becoming a full-time carer was exhausting. If Jill needed the toilet in the night, she was often unable to find her way back to bed.

“As the illness developed, I ended up getting fine-tuned to her. So as soon as I heard her get up, I’d be awake instantly,” Stephanie says.

Eventually, Stephanie became so stressed and depressed that she was admitted to hospital for five days.

Jill’s children took over as carers but quickly realised how tough it was and called in social services.

“It sort of got took out of my hands. I knew she was going to have to go into care but it ended up being sooner rather than later.

“I couldn’t cope any longer,” Stephanie says .

‘An inspiration’

With Jill in a care home, Stephanie began to pick up the pieces of her life.

She went back to the gender clinic and was prescribed hormones – and there were other big changes.

“I decided I would pursue my dream of beauty therapy, I’d looked at it previously when I was Steve,” she says.

Stephanie was accepted at Cornwall College, which has “a really good diversity policy”.

“I think it just helped educate them a bit more,” she says, “because, as a trans person, I’ve always tried to let people know we’re just human beings who want to live our lives.”

Image copyright AoC
Image caption Tutors at Cornwall College say Stephanie is “an inspiration”

Her course tutor, Paula Riley, has described Stephanie as “an inspiration in her open approach to transitioning”.

Paula says Stephanie’s college work was always exceptional despite the emotional upheaval of gender reassignment and her wife moving into a care home.

In November 2017, at 59, Stephanie finally underwent surgery and returned to the college early in 2018 to complete a course in Swedish massage.

Her resilience led to her being awarded 2018 Adult Student of the Year by the Association of Colleges – and this September she will begin a higher level course in sports massage.

Image copyright Cornwall College

Sadly, Jill’s dementia has progressed to the extent that she no longer recognises her husband of 30 years at all, even if Stephanie wears a short wig and gender neutral clothes.

Stephanie now has a salon in her home and does treatments for friends, including other trans women, but she still makes her living as a carpenter and joiner on building sites, as the pay is so much better.

She finds the work tough as the hormone therapy means she has lost a lot of strength, but still displays the tenacity and humour that made her so popular at college.

“I’m back on the building site, educating the guys, winding them up something rotten,” she says.

“It’s like, oh, they just really cringe and I say, ‘Haallo!’

“I’ve got to be careful I don’t get done for sexual harassment. It’s so funny. We have a good laugh.”

Related Topics

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47854268

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Walmart to expand in-store tech, including Pickup Towers for online orders and robots

Walmart is doubling down on its technology innovations in its brick-and-mortar stores in an effort to better compete with Amazon. The retailer today announced the expanded rollout of several technologies — ranging from in-store Pickup Towers to help customers quickly grab their online orders to floor-scrubbing robots. These jobs were, in many cases, previously handled by people instead of machines.

The retailer says it will add to its U.S. stores 1,500 new autonomous floor cleaners, 300 more shelf scanners, 1,200 more FAST Unloaders and 900 new Pickup Towers.

The “Auto-C” floor cleaner is programmed to clean and polish the store’s floor after the area is first prepped by associates. Publicly introduced last fall, the floor cleaner uses assisted autonomy technology to clean the floors instead of having an associate ride a scrubbing machine — a process that today eats up two hours of an employee’s time per day.

Built in partnership with Brain Corp., Walmart said in December it planned to deploy 360 floor-cleaning robots by the end of January 2019. It’s now bumping that rollout to include 1,500 more this year, bringing the total deployment to 1,860.

The Auto-S shelf scanners, meanwhile, have been in testing since 2017, when Walmart rolled out 50 robots to U.S. stores. It’s now adding 300 more to production to reach a total of 350.

These robots are produced by California-based Bossa Nova Robotics, and roll around aisles to scan prices and check inventory. The robots sit in a charging station until given a task by an employee — like checking inventory levels to see what needs restocking, identifying and finding misplaced items or locating incorrect prices or labeling.

In the backroom, Walmart has been testing FAST Unloaders that are capable of unloading a truck of merchandise along a conveyor belt in a fraction of the time it could be done by hand. The machines automatically scan and sort the items based on priority and department to speed up the process and direct items appropriately.

Unloading, the company noted earlier in testing, was also a heavily disliked job — and one it had trouble keeping staffed. Last summer, Walmart said it had 30 unloaders rolled out in the U.S. and was on pace to add 10 more a week.

Now, 1,200 more are being added to stores, bringing the total to 1,700.

The Pickup Towers have also been around since 2017, when they arrived in 200 stores. A sort of vending machine for online orders, the idea is that customers could save on orders by skipping last-mile deliveries, as shipping to a store costs Walmart less. Customers then benefit by getting a better price by not paying for shipping, and could get their items faster.

In April 2018, Walmart rolled out 500 more towers to U.S. stores. It’s now adding 900 more, which will see 1,700 total towers in use across its stores.

The company claims all this tech will free up its employees’ time from focusing on the “more mundane and repetitive tasks” so they can instead serve customers face-to-face.

Of course, that’s what they all say when turning over people’s jobs to robots and automation — whether that’s fancy coffee-making robotic kiosks, burger-flipping robots or restaurants staffed by a concierge but no kitchen help besides machines.

Walmart, however, claims to still have plenty of work for its staff — like picking groceries for its booming online grocery business, for example. Grocery shopping, generally, accounts for more than half its annual sales, and more of that business is shifting online.

The company also said that many of the jobs it automated were those it struggled to find, hire and retain associates to do, and by taking out the routine work, retention has improved.

“What we’re seeing so far suggests investments in store technology are shaping how we think about turnover and hours. The technology is automating pieces of work or tasks, rather than entire jobs,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “As that’s happening, we have been able to use many of the hours being saved in other areas of the store — focused more on service and selling for customers,” they continued.

“We have now added over 40,000 jobs for the online grocery picking role in stores over the last year and a half. These jobs didn’t exist a short time ago. The result so far: we’ve seen our U.S. store associate turnover reduced year-over-year,” the spokesperson added.

The tech announced today will roll out to U.S. stores “soon,” Walmart says, but didn’t provide exact dates.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/09/walmart-to-expand-in-store-tech-including-pickup-towers-for-online-orders-and-robots/

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Man Asks To Use Market’s Bathroom, And Employee Allegedly Stabs Him

When Harold Williams needed to answer nature’s call on March 16, he asked the employees of a Florida market if he could use their bathroom.

The Bahamian native said he received permission, but then one of the employees of Pines Market stabbed him in the face when he attempted to use the facilities.

Williams says he believes the incident was racially motivated and wants charges against his attacker increased from aggravated battery to attempted manslaughter or attempted murder, according to NBC Miami.

“I don’t know what motivated him to attack me, but I watch the news in the United States and I see how black and brown people are treated, and I can’t help but wonder if he stabbed me in the face because of the color of my skin,” Williams said, according to the station.

There’s a sign posted at Pines Market that reads, “No public restroom. Do not cross beyond this point,” but Williams said he didn’t see the sign and that the two clerks on duty gave him permission to use the bathroom. One employee, 24-year-old Fawaz Hassan, accompanied him to the rear of the market, according to CBS Miami.

On the way to the restroom, Williams says, Hassan reached out toward his face and struck him. Williams said he first thought Hassan had punched him but quickly realized the employee had stabbed him in his left cheek.

He described the weapon as a kitchen knife between 8 and 10 inches long.

“The only thing I asked was to use the restroom, and I was attacked. The man nearly took my life,” Williams said.


Harold Williams says his doctor told him he may need surgery to repair the muscle in his jaw.

Williams’ attorney Jasmine Rand told CBS Miami that surveillance video supports her client’s story. 

“There is video evidence of my client entering the store. The video evidence before he was stabbed and after he was stabbed it is very clear that my client was not committing any crime,” she said. “My client was unarmed, unprovoked, and it’s unjustifiable.” 

Surveillance video showed Williams entering the business and then retreating with his hands up after being stabbed, police said.

“I didn’t say anything to him. I just said, ‘Sorry, I wanted to use the restroom,’” Williams told local station WPLG TV.

Williams made it to a nearby urgent care center, where employees did a CAT scan. Although the knifing didn’t damage any vitals, Williams said his doctor told him he may need surgery to repair the muscle in his jaw.

Police took Hassan into custody and charged him with aggravated battery.

Hassan’s attorney Eric Schwartzreich claims his client felt the need for self-defense when Williams attempted to go to the back of the business, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“He had to defend himself and stabbed the victim in the face,” Schwartzreich said. “It was not a random attack. He’s not a psychopath. It wasn’t done for any racial animus. It was done because of what [Hassan] perceived to be a need for a legal self-defense.”

There was no evidence that Williams had a weapon or intended to commit a crime in the business, investigators said.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/harold-williams-stabbed-bathroom_n_5c9e9b0ee4b00ba6327d2d23

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Age is no barrier: meet the world’s oldest top athletes

Richard Godwin catches up with five pensioners, aged up to 108, who thrive on extreme exercise


Edwina Brocklesby: triathlete, 76, Kingston-upon-Thames

I didnt do any exercise at all until I was 50. I remember trying out for the long-jump team at university for a laugh and I couldnt move for two weeks afterwards. So that was the end of my athletics career. And then I had three children and I was busy with my job. I was a social worker and ran two adoption agencies.

One day, I went to see an old friend from Nottingham University who was running a marathon. I thought that would be fun to do, at least a half marathon, anyway. I came back and told my husband and he laughed and said I wouldnt even be able to run as far as Northampton, which was about three miles from where we lived at the time. Its good to have a challenge like that! Sure enough, it did inspire me to run my first half marathon.

Then my husband died when I was 52. By then I had a small group of running friends and they were brilliantly supportive. I trained as a counsellor myself, but I found running better than counselling for dealing with grief. For one, you always feel better after youve been for a run as the endorphins kick in. But I think what is more important is the social element. Youre with people who support you and value you. You can talk if you want to, or you can be silent if you want to.

The running club was only small, but it did have one place in the London Marathon and thats when it became more serious for me. I ran my first marathon in 1996, when I was 53. I moved to London and became a member of the Serpentine Running Club and, with them, I completed my first London Triathlon when I was 58. I dont have an anterior cruciate ligament in either knee my daughter told me that Id need surgery if I kept pounding the streets like I used to and thats how I got into cycling and swimming as theyre a little easier on the joints. When I started swimming, at 56, I couldnt do crawl at all and swam breaststroke with my head above water like most women of my age. But swimming is a wonderful feeling. It might have something to do with our spending the first nine months of our gestation suspended in water.

Theres so much evidence that if you keep physically active, you dont experience some of the difficulties associated with ageing. There are lower rates of type 2 diabetes among the active, but falling over is the biggest thing. If you can keep your bone and muscle strength up, youre less likely to fall and you might also be able to prevent yourself from hitting the ground if you do fall. Falls are one of the things that costs the NHS the most money.

Im getting slower as I get older, of course I am. I do manage to run 5k, but I walk a bit more. I feel lucky that I can still jog along the Thames.

Edwina Brocklesby is the director of Silverfit, a charity that promotes physical activity among ageing people. She is also the UKs oldest Ironman triathlete. She was recently awarded the British Empire Medal

Eddy Diget: personal trainer, 74, Milton Keynes

Eddy
Mature people are much more aware of the goodness that can come out of training: Eddy Diget. Photograph: Pl Hansen/The Observer

Ive always trained: cross-country running; ice skating; roller skating; fencing; cycling I represented England in the Commonwealth Games in Perth 1962 in diving and swimming. Ive been doing weight training for about 45 years now and I was British bodybuilding champion twice, once at 58 and once at 68. Ive been a stuntman. I was a medical officer in the Royal Navy. And I have been recognised as a Shaolin Master for my commitment to Chinese martial arts. Some Shaolin monks turned up at my studio in Oxford Brookes one day in their saffron robes and presented me with a piece of parchment. I broke down and wept. It was such an honour.

In a way, I have my father to thank. He was an extremely aggressive man. A big man, too. He used to knock me and my mother about quite a bit. The only way I could escape from him was to be outside and thats how I discovered sport.

One day, when I was 16, I was fishing at Tooting Bec ponds when my mum came round with a black eye. She said: Joes in a real bad mood. Hes coming to find you. All of a sudden, my father came down the hill and started punching me. I think I was coming up to a brown sash in kung fu at the time and I just tore into him. It was over in seconds, 16 years of pent-up fear and hate. I blinded him in one eye, which I wasnt happy about. But after that we were the best of mates. And he was a different man. A respectful man. He never touched my mother again.

People have become more educated about being fit over the years, especially the over-50s and over-60s. Mature people are much more aware of the goodness that can come out of training.

But younger people in particular are looking for a quick fix. The personal trainers are all 10mg of this, 10mg of that. Its become too complicated. You see the same people come into the gym every day, doing the same exercises. Its so they dont have to think about it. But the more you change it, the more results youll get.

I am a rehab consultant, so I train people who have had cancer, wheelchair users, people with chronic regional pain syndrome, amputees. But I also train Ironmen, ultra-marathon runners and an Olympic fencer. It really is an extreme diversity of clients and I feel incredibly privileged and humbled to do it. Personal training is not really about the training, its much more to do with the person.

Id never been ill in 74 years, never even been inside a hospital. But last year, thanks to the NHS bowel screening programme, I learned I had bowel cancer. I went in on the 19 November at 11am and came out a 8.30pm with a whole section removed. Im pleased to say Ive never had any pain at all because of my fitness. The consultant commented on it before my surgery. He said: I dont see many people with your stamina or your outlook. But Im a fatalist. Theres nothing I can do about it. Im just pleased I caught it. And now I feel fabulous. I feel on top of the world.

Eddy Diget is a stuntman, model and personal trainer at the DW Fitness First gym in Milton Keynes

Gwyn Haslock: surfer, 73, Truro

Gwyn
I entered my first competition in 1965 as the only woman, and then I was the first proper British ladies champion in 1969: Gwyn Haslock in Cornwall. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

My family always used to go to the sea when I was growing up. We all started surfing in the 1950s on the north coast of Cornwall with wooden belly boards, which are like planks of wood. Then the lifeguards started to import Malibu longboards, which were 10ft long, and before long they started making them there in Newquay. I bought a secondhand one and started properly surfing in 1965.

I wasnt what youd call a typical surfer like in the Beach Boys songs. A lot of the good surfers worked in the surfing trade, in surf shops and so on, but I worked for the council as a shorthand typist. It was very 9 to 5, but I surfed at weekends.

I just liked the sea. And when I saw people standing up as if they were walking across the water, I thought, Id like to have a go at that. It took me about a month before I could stand up and a year before I got any style. I entered my first competition in 1965 as the only woman, and was the first proper British ladies champion in 1969. But like any sport, youre always learning.

I always say to people, the most important thing with surfing is paddling. Youve got to paddle out, so you have to duck dive under the waves or push yourself over them. Then youre out the back, as we call it. Youll see a lovely wave coming, paddle for it and up you get. You need to be fit to build up the momentum and then its like floating in air, but across the wave. Sometimes its just seconds, sometimes the wave peels and it can go on and on. Sometimes at Fistral, you get nice long rides right along the beach. But the conditions are never the same and it always tests you.

Ive never seen any sharks in Cornwall. I have surfed near dolphins and you do see seals sometimes. I sprained my wrist once, but Ive never had any bad accident. I know my limits and now I wear my helmet. I want to enjoy it.

I never married. I lived with my mother until she died seven years ago, and Ive been retired for eight years now. When I was working, I couldnt go surfing in the week so much, but now I can go whenever I like, which is good as it gets busy at weekends. Back in the 60s there was a lot more water space it wasnt like now when everyones in there. I like playing tennis, too. I do a bit of fencing. Gardening. Theres lots of things to do.

Ive surfed in Wales, Ireland, France and once in Portugal. Australia and New Zealand they dont appeal to me at all. I did go to California on holiday once and we drove through Malibu and I wasnt that impressed with it to be honest. We have plenty of surf down here, why do I need to go anywhere else?

Gwyn Haslock was Britains first competitive female surfing champion

Ida Keeling: sprinter, 104, Harlem, New York

Ida
I go to the gym, ride my bike, work out, stretch, reach, do push-ups: Ida Keeling with her daughter. Photograph: Poon Watchara-Amphaiwan

I was 67 when I started running. I had lost my two sons to drug-related violence in 1978 and then in 1981. It was so quick. They were stabbed up or shot up or whatever they did to them. Too quick. No warning. It just broke me. I was very depressed.

My daughter Cheryl came by one day and saw I was down in the dumps. That isnt usually who I am. She wanted to take me out for a mini run and since I was already so down I said: All right, go ahead. And it did good for me. It kept me moving. I could feel myself getting stronger and feeling more free. It helped me immensely. And Im still running now.

I grew up in Harlem, USA, in San Juan Hill they call it Hells Kitchen now. I was one of eight children. Everybody was poor. There was already a Depression there even before they called it a Depression. But there are happy memories. Children dont have to pay rent. My dad took us to Central Park on his day off from the factory. We had a good time, looking at all the fishes swimming and doing all the things children do: run, play, jump, roll and all that type of stuff. In the summertime when it was hot, the police department would put a sprinkler on top of the fire hydrants for the children to play in.

We hung swings from the fire escapes at the back of buildings. And on Saturdays the bigger boys from around the corner would turn up with a pail and a couple of wooden spoons to drum on it and wed do the Charleston, the drag, and everything else. We played hooky from school to go and watch the Lindy Hop dancers at the Apollo. We had some good times coming from bad times. But Harlem changed when drugs came in. Everybody wanted to make this quick money. And it dragged in my sons.

I felt like I was being held in a grip, or like I was in a bag or something. But the more I ran, the faster and stronger I became. As I was running like crazy, I released the hold that death had on me. From then on, I belonged to track and field. I said, shoot, sprinting is faster. Im not going to do all this long-distance, Im going to sprint. I wanted to go as fast as I could.

Now Im 104, Im not so fast. But I go whatever distance I can and if I start a race, I finish it. Im always the winner for my age group as I dont have no competition. Im usually chasing myself. But I go with what Ive got left. I go to the gym, I ride my bike, I work out, I stretch, I reach, I do push-ups, I do upper weights, I get on the floor and turn my feet up over my head, and when I dont get out, I stay right here and work out in my room. Im as healthy as a 25-year-old, my doctor says. I have no intention of slowing down. Age aint got nothing to do with it. When you really want to do something for yourself, go and do it. And if you fail, try, try, try again.

Fauja Singh: marathon runner, 108, Redbridge

Fauja
Freedom for me is being independently mobile: Fauja Singh, who ran a marathon at 89 and stills walks 5m a day. Photograph: Hindustan Times via Getty Images

I was born in a village in Punjab in India in 1911. My memories are of a simple life without the stresses that people all over the world seem to have nowadays. I came from a farming family, and we learned to live within our means after working hard and honestly. We remembered God and were thankful to him. We shared with others less fortunate than ourselves. This is in keeping with the three tenets of my Sikh religion.

I had a happy childhood and I was nurtured because I was weak. I couldnt walk until l was five. I wanted to be sporty, but until then, I lacked the strength. But I enjoyed watching all the simple sporting activities that were prevalent in the rural environment at the time. And I remember the joy all around me when I became strong enough to be able to walk.

As I never went to school, I farmed all of my working life. It was always handy to be able to run after straying cattle, but that was about as exciting as it got.

I didnt really run competitively until I arrived in England 20 years ago.

Since then I have been looked after by one of my two remaining sons this is the Asian culture where the parents are looked after by their children. I dont speak English and not being able to communicate with those whom you meet does pose problems, but a smile always helps. I am usually accompanied, but over time I have become familiar with the routes and places I visit regularly. It must be equally frustrating for those who want to communicate with me. One thing is for sure: shouting or saying things slowly does not make it easier this is what I observed from tourists visiting other countries! Being illiterate and monolingual does have its advantages I am not aware of any abuse that may be directed at me. Anyone who is different sadly suffers this in the modern world.

When I attempted to run a marathon for the first time at 89, the reactions were mixed. Some were excited to see if I could do it and wished me well, others doubted I could do it. Those who have been constant in supporting me were my coach, Harmander; my running club, Sikhs in the City; and my family.

Training was easy: I just followed the instructions of my coach without question. If it was a training run, he never let me be exhausted as he said it is good to train but not so good to strain. When it came to the race, I was simply awestruck by the support from the crowds along the route. My coach always ran alongside me and held me back from exerting myself too much in the early stages of the race. He then encouraged me to keep going later on in the race, when the going got tough. I also then started talking to God to help me get through to the finish.

I dont think I ran competitively in the true sense it was simply a case of me finishing a distance as fast as I could. My records seem to be simply a by-product of my age. Records are meant to be broken and I wish the person who breaks my records all the best. If running a marathon at my age has inspired others to not give up then I am pleased to have had a positive impact on society.

My last race was the Hong Kong 10km in 2013 when I was 101. Currently, I am not able to run as I have a hernia, but I remember fondly the feeling of freedom when I used to run not so long ago. I am just pleased that I am still mobile and independent. I still walk about five miles each day.

Freedom for me is being independently mobile, and retaining a sound mind and a positive outlook. The rest is up to God.

Fauja Singh has been awarded the British Empire Medal. He is thought to be the oldest person to complete a marathon, but as India did not issue birth certificates in 1911, the record is deemed unofficial. This interview was translated by Harmander Singh

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/apr/07/age-is-no-barrier-meet-the-oldest-top-athletes

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Facebook to ban white nationalism and separatism content on platform


A Lin-Manuel Miranda follow is almost worth more than the presidency.
Image: emma mcintyre/getty images

Mayor Pete husband’s Chasten Buttigieg is a rare thing: a Twitter celebrity who deserves his fame. 

So it was a beautiful thing to see Lin-Manuel Miranda, an equally deserving Twitter celebrity, follow Buttigieg on Twitter. But it wasn’t just that Miranda followed Chasten. It was how Chasten responded that brought joy to the rest of the internet.

“Doing a quick bit of laundry. Hear loud scream. Run into kitchen terrified, expecting to see @Chas10Buttigieg in pool of blood,” Pete wrote on Twitter. “Am thereupon informed that @Lin_Manuel is following my husband, whose life is now complete.”

You would think that Chasten Buttigieg’s husband becoming president would be his life goal. But I get it. Lin Manuel Miranda is a nearly perfect human. Hamilton deserves the obsessive following.

A Miranda following is the approximate equivalent of ten thousand presidential endorsements, using social media math.

Folks on Twitter understood the feeling.

Congratulations to Chasten Buttigieg on nearly becoming president. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/chasten-buttigieg-lin-manuel-miranda/

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Masterchef winner not planning restaurant

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Media captionThe Masterchef 2019 winner on her show highlights.

Retired banker Irini Tzortzoglou has won this year’s MasterChef – and quickly said she has no plans to start a new career running a restaurant.

The 61-year-old triumphed in the BBC One show’s first all-female final.

For the final three-course challenge, she cooked red mullet with a squid risotto, griddled rosemary lamb chops and a fig and hazelnut baklava.

Irini, who took inspiration from her Greek childhood, grew up in Crete and now lives in Cartmel, Cumbria.

She was one of 56 amateur chefs who competed for the coveted MasterChef trophy in the show’s 15th series.

Over the course of several gruelling rounds of cooking challenges, they were whittled down to the final three.

Irini was particularly pleased to have been in the show’s first all-female final and said she wished she could have shared her trophy with her fellow finalists Jilly McCord and Delia Maria Asser.


Image caption Irini beat off competition from Delia Maria Asser (far left) and Jilly McCord

She said: “It happened so quickly that I felt all the final that the three of us were like one.

“We were all doing our own thing, but actually we were in unison – so my instinctive reaction was: ‘Can I share it? Can I share it with my friends?'”

Irini continued: “We are just lucky we are three women who love and respect each other and have grown to be very fond and appreciative of each other’s talents.”


Image caption Irini Tzortzoglou said she wouldn’t follow past winners in opening a restaurant

Irini said being filmed throughout the series did not bother her because she remained “totally focused”.

In an interview on BBC Breakfast, she said: “The cameras didn’t disturb me because you really need to ignore them if you want to cook.

“And the guys are fantastic, Gregg [Wallace] comes and relaxes you – he used to joke with me about Greek history, challenge me, laugh with me – and then John [Torode] is like a younger brother who cares for you, he wants you to do as well as you want to.

“They didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I loved being around them.”

Past winners of the show, such as 2005 champion Thomasina Miers and 2011’s Shelina Permalloo, have gone on to own their own restaurants.

But despite impressing some of the biggest names in the food industry throughout the competition, Irini’s future plans do not involve opening her own professional kitchen.

“I don’t think that at my time of life I want to run a restaurant,” she said.

“I want to spend more time with my mum and I would love to go round Greece and do some research – maybe make a programme, if I’m lucky.”

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk,

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-47751390

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Underwater Restaurant Has Been Completed In Norway And It Looks Out Of This World

The first, the largest and the most research-friendly. Under is the world’s largest underwater restaurant with a total seating capacity for 100 guests, it’s the first of its kind in Europe, and it also functions as a research center for marine life. The Snøhetta-designed dining experience started operating just yesterday but people are already adding it to their Norway destination lists.

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

In Norwegian, ‘under’ means both ‘below’ and ‘wonder.’ Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s 111-foot long monolithic form breaks the surface of the water to rest on the seabed below. Taking it a step further, the structure is built to eventually fully integrate into its marine environment, as the roughness of the concrete shell will function as an artificial reef, welcoming limpets and kelp to inhabit it.

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Thick concrete walls allow it to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions and, like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive panoramic window offers a view of the seabed as it changes throughout the seasons and varying weather conditions.

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: snohetta

Under is a natural progression of our experimentation with boundaries,” Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen said. “As a new landmark for Southern Norway, Under proposes unexpected combinations of pronouns and prepositions, and challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment.”

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: underlindesnes

“In this building, you may find yourself underwater, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline.”

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: underlindesnes

The restaurant focuses to create a fine dining experience based on high quality, locally-sourced produce, emphasizing on sustainable wildlife capture. Danish expatriate Nicolai Ellitsgaard from the acclaimed restaurant Måltid in Kristiansand is the Head Chef, bringing an international, 16-person kitchen team with experience from top Michelin restaurants.

Image credits: under

Image credits: under

In Norway, Lindesnes is known for its intense weather conditions, which can change from calm to stormy several times a day. Upon arriving at the site, the visitor’s impressions of the unruly outdoors quickly dissolve as they are ushered through into the hushed, oak-clad foyer. The rich interiors create a warm, welcoming atmosphere inside the restaurant.

Image credits: Inger Marie Grini

Image credits: Inger Marie Grini

As a metaphor for descending from land to sea, textile-clad ceiling panels reference the colors of a sunset dropping into the ocean, accompanying one climbing down the stairs. Moreover, the elegance of the finely woven ceiling panels provides the building with a serene ambiance.

Image credits: underlindesnes

Image credits: underlindesnes

The furniture perfectly represents the philosophy of the whole project as well; to build solid structures for the future without compromising the natural beauty that lies inherent in the raw materials.

Image credits: http://www.ingermariegrini.no/

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

But Under isn’t just a restaurant. The building also houses a marine research facility. It welcomes interdisciplinary research teams that will be able to study marine biology and fish behavior through cameras and other measurement tools that are installed on and outside the facade of the restaurant. They will be able to document the population, behavior, and diversity of species that live in the surrounding areas. The goal of the research is to collect data that can be programmed into machine learning tools that monitor the population dynamics of key marine species on a regular basis.

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: underlindesnes

According to Snøhetta, Under is a story of contrasts: the contrast between the landscape and the sea as well as above and below. The project underscores the delicate ecological balance between land and sea and draws our attention to sustainable models for responsible consumption.

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

It emphasizes the coexistence of life on land and in the sea and introduces a new way of understanding our relationship with our surroundings – above the surface, under the water, and alongside the life of the sea.

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

Image credits: Ivar Kvaal

“For most of us, this is a totally new world experience. It’s not an aquarium, it’s the wildlife of the North Sea. That makes it much more interesting. It takes you directly into the wildness,” Rune Grasdal, lead architect of Under, told Dezeen. “If the weather is bad, it’s very rough. It’s a great experience, and to sit here and be safe, allowing the nature so close into you. It’s a very romantic and nice experience.”

Image credits: Snøhetta

Image credits: Snøhetta

“The idea was to make a tube that would bring people from above sea level down under the sea,” Grasdal said. “That transition is easy to understand, but it’s also the most effective way to do it. It also feels secure, but you don’t feel trapped.”

Image credits: Snøhetta

Image credits: Snøhetta

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/europe-first-underwater-restaurant-under-snohetta-norway/

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This Ultra Modern, Luxury Tiny House is Pretty Impressive

Living Big in a Tiny House recently toured Matt and Lisa’s impressive tiny house with some interesting features and design elements.

Matt’s skill as a builder is evident and he also runs his own kitchen and bathroom remodelling business. You can see the video tour embedded above and find more information and photos on the tiny house here.

Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/ultra-modern-luxury-tiny-house-tour/

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