Who pays…? Remember It’s 2014 after all…

Dinner date - Day 122, Year 2

Rob pointed me at a piece by David Mitchell in the Guardian about who pays on the first date. He called it my favorite subject, although to be clear its not, I just find it fascinating the social, society and gender pressures at force. I’m not the only one to notice this…

Why do we cling to prehistoric dating rituals in a technological age?

The majority of us still believe that men should pay when men and women go on a first date. Is this a sexist throwback, or a necessary means of communication between the sexes?

. A survey published this month found that 77% of us think that, between a male and a female, the male should foot the bill. Of the 1,000 respondents, 73% of the women and 82% of the men said that it was for the bloke to get his card out.

What do you think about that then? Terrible? OK? Presumably about 77% of you agree that the man should pay, but then you may still think it’s terrible that you think that. Is it a harmless remnant of a more sexist age, an adorable antiquated tradition that benefits women and has survived the passing of many of those that disadvantaged them? Or is it a horrible sign of the patriarchy’s continued power? Money, the great capitalist symbol of strength, remains the territory of the penis-bearers (by which I mean possessors, not endurers).

Ok so I looked at the survey in question, what I found was slightly disappointing.

77.4% of 1,004 people surveyed across the country who are in a relationship – believe men should pay the bill on a first date. About 19% felt the bill should be split in some way. Only 3.7% said men should not pay the bill.

…study asked more than 1,000 people across the United States

Survey of 1004 people? Thats it? And its American…. In the random survey I did myself, it showed Americans tend to go with the man paying plus 1004 isn’t a lot. Moneysavingexpert did a poll a little while back and they had 13,000+ people vote.

Ok ok…! Enough… David later makes some good modern points.

Another aspect of society’s sexism is that we generally assume the man will always want to have sex with the woman. By convention, he will have asked her on the first date, and the purpose of the event is for her to see if she likes him – his approval is assumed. That’s not altogether PC. What if she turned out to be racist or talk with an interrogative inflection or constantly say “in any way, shape or form”? Is the man supposed to pay and then make himself sexually available to this harridan, purely out of gallantry?

Absolutely… Just because we’re on a date and I’m a man doesn’t instantly mean its a foregone conclusion. Trust me I’ve been on dates where the woman has wound me up so bad, I’ve just wanted to get up and leave. Certainly sleeping with them is the very last thing I’m thinking.

…we try and communicate using money. We fall back on our knowledge of ancient patriarchal conventions of what it means to pay, or be paid for, as a way of trying to send and receive signals through the fog of mutual ignorance. It’s not a good system, but it’s all we’ve got. Until we get back to our computers and can just click “like”.

I’ve heard this quite a few times in the past. The only way to tell if somebody likes you is if he (or she) pulls out his/her credit card and pays the bill. Its a clear sign of interest. In 2014, it shouldn’t be this way and I’m hoping with projects like the flirty weekend, the ability to express yourself and understand other peoples body language won’t be the complex puzzle it currently seems.

Films you may have missed in early 2014

Locke
Locke

Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) has worked hard to craft a good life for himself. Tonight, that life will collapse around him. On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job, and soul.

I heard about this film but watching it on the independent cornerhouse screen was great. Its a very simple concept but digs deep into the emotion of multitasking human communication. If you get a chance this is a film which must be seen. Tom Hardy is fantastic in this film, yes his accent isn’t great but the plot makes up for this.

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The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

A 12-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family’s ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.

Charming film with a quirky but playful plot. Its a beautifully shot film and won’t get much attention which is a shame. Lovely plot and interesting outcome.

Lucy
Lucy

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Under the Skin
Under the Skin

Jonathan Glazer’s atmospheric, visually arresting abstraction stars Scarlett Johansson as a seductive alien who prowls the streets of Glasgow in search of prey: unsuspecting men who fall under her spell, only to be consumed by a strange liquid pool.

Lucy feels like Limitless but something there is something special about it. Its got all the set pieces but throws in a bunch of reasonable stuff about evolution. I can’t help but feel Lucy wouldn’t have happened unless the director had seen her in Under the skin. I mean Scarlett Johansson is great (hey I’m fan) and I tend to love the roles shes in but Lucy and Under the Skin really showed shes got a lot more depth to the roles she takes.

Mindscape
Mindscape

A man with the ability to enter peoples’ memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.

This is like a cross between inception and the cell. Although the movie does drag a little, the concept is a intriguing one and the twist does come as a bit of a shock.

Edge of tomorrow
Edge of tomorrow

Major Bill Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously demoted and dropped into combat. Cage is killed within minutes, managing to take an alpha alien down with him. He awakens back at the beginning of the same day and is forced to fight and die again… and again – as physical contact with the alien has thrown him into a time loop.

Tom Cruise again is at it. Hate the guy but love his acting. Edge of tomorrow feels like sourcecode but crossed with oblivion. The results is a sometimes laugh out loud funny film (Doug Liman is good at that) which has its dark moments. Lots of lessons to be learned from it but without being too preachy. Tom once again plays next to a strong English female role. Last time Andrea Riseborough in Oblivion and now Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow, and boy oh boy is Emily great in this film. Just don’t be put off by Tom Cruise, go watch it

Bad wolves
Big Bad Wolves

A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings – a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.

I don’t know where to go with this film. Its brutal, disturbing and crafty put together. Its also funny in parts  like a tarantino film but its certainly not. I would put this in the same kind of category as Oldboy and  Ichi the Killer. Well worth seeking out if you like your comedy pitch black and action slightly twisted?

13 Sinds
13 Sins

A bright but meek salesman, drowning in debt as he’s about to get married, receives a mysterious phone call informing him that he’s on a hidden camera game show where he must execute 13 tasks to receive a multi-million dollar cash prize.

I’m not one for horror type films but I like a great thriller. Concept is simple, but as you can imagine the tasks quickly ramp up to insanity. Its interesting to see where the balance of shame, greed and sunk costs come together.

Filth
Filth

A bipolar bigoted junkie cop, manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure promotion and win back his wife and daughter.

I didn’t know what to expect but thought I’d give it a try. It didn’t look great and I was giving it the thumbs down till the twist when it all clicked and I was seeing parallels with Trance.

fault in our stars
The Fault in Our Stars

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a patient named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Not my usual kind of film but I watched it anyway, interested in the neat innocent relationship which was developing between the two main characters. Like Filth, Trance, Mindscape, etc, the twist comes as bit of a shock. I’m sure people will see it from a mile off but to be honest I wasn’t expecting a twist, so when it came it really hit home. Good film to remind you about the important things in life.

Why was my internet throttled?

Over the last few days my internet has felt super slow. I couldn’t work out why? So after a number of tests on my local gigabit network, turning things on and off I decided something was happening further up the pipe. But what? Ping times to all the usual big services was fine. But pull up a webpage and it was hit or miss that it would load half the components.

It was time for a email by to my ISP (ukfsn.org) asking what was going on? The email I got back within a hour or so said this…

I’ve just checked the line and I can see that it is showing as being blocked due to repeated copyright infringement notices.

Please contact Enta support to resolve this.

Unfortunately I am not able to resolve this for you as they will require confirmation from you that you are not engaging in file sharing or similar activities around material that is subject to copyright restrictions.

Enta provide the actual pipe to my ISP (ukfsn) as they provide to many others. Generally ukfsn care little about (within extremes) what you do with the internet and don’t monitor its customers. But it seems somebody further up stream is doing it for them and worst still they are throttling bandwidth.

I called Enta, they explained what they thought was happening and suggested I should turn off all machines and devices on the connection till I know what’s happening. I explained I had already done so and seen nothing suspicious and they turned the throttling off, saying they will monitor the situation. At no point was I blamed which was good because I was planning on going crazy if they dared accuse me.

I originally thought it was a government thing but Hadley pointed me at this story.

The British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), which together with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) has agreed the voluntary regime with the ISPs, said that the warning letters issued by ISPs will be sent out on the basis of evidence gathered by the rights holders.

“In order to help protect their copyrights, rights holders monitor public peer-to-peer swarms, looking for their copyright content being made available illegally,” the BPI said in a statement. “When they discover copyright content being made available illegally, they capture the evidence, verify the copyright content and record the IP address, date and time stamp. A summary of this evidence is then be provided to the ISPs, who establish which of their customers was using the IP address on that date and at that time and send an ‘alert’ to that subscriber.”

I’m still a little unsure if what they did was really fair or even legal? I want to see the evidence, but what can I do with it? Maybe I’ll get a few days credit to my truly unlimited connection? A letter of apology? Is it worth it? Tell you what if it happens again I’ll be spitting blood!

Manchester’s Flirty weekend starts Thursday 27th November

Marina's portrait I - IMG_8005 ed bw

Is Manchester ready for the Flirty weekend? Are you ready for the flirty weekender?

Starting Thursday 27th November we have a exclusive Flirtology workshop in Manchester. The next day will see one more evening of the premiere flirting workshop, then Saturday night a special event we are calling “the starter” hosted by myself and Jody. If all goes well, we may take to the airwaves of BBC Merseyside to reflect on how the Manchester flirty weekend went.

More details will be coming soon, but look out for it… you won’t want to miss this!

Miss America Pageant gives more scholarships to women than any other?

Somebody pointed me at John Oliver’s Last week Tonight show, the other day. They said I will be spitting blood watching it. And to be honest they were not wrong.

Unfortunately to watch it, you need to be in America or on a VPN as its geo blocked.

However basically its all about how The Miss America Pageant claim to give more scholarships to women than any other organisation in America. And if you like me and John Oliver are thinking this has got be bollox. You would be wrong!

Yes a organisation which objectifies women, parades them around like dolls, dismisses women who have had children and many other things. Gives out more scholarships to women than any other…. in America!

Seriously wtf! *sad face*

You call that positive discrimination?

Becky, Rosie, Jasmine - The R&D girls

Rosie recently wrote her feelings about women speakers at conferences and the small backlash against encouraging women to speak.

Most people I’ve spoken to agree that attempts to increase diversity are a goodthing. Inevitably however, there are some that immediately cry ‘positive discrimination!’. I find myself trying to combat the same old misconceptions time and time again

So she runs through some of those misconceptions people cling to when talking about women at conferences. The big one which I hear over and over again is… positive discrimination.

Conflating terms: positive discrimination, quotas, and diversity targets

People often use the phrase ‘positive discrimination’ when they mean something else entirely. Positive discrimination, otherwise known as affirmative action, is the process of; given two equal candidates; preferring the one who is usually disadvantaged by discrimination. This is different to quotas, where a certain number of places are reserved for disadvantaged minorities. This is different again from diversity targets, which as they describe, are a target, not a mandate. Targets often involve simply trying to attract a wider, more diverse range of people to apply for a role, with no preferential treatment after that stage. For brevity, I shall group these under the term ‘diversity measures’. You may take issue with one kind of diversity measure and not with another, but let’s get our definitions straight from the start.

Rosies right, there’s too many people calling things by the wrong name. Sometimes they do it cause fuss and confusion, sometimes its by accident. What ever the reason,  the choice of words tend to strike up visions of people getting ahead not on their own merit and blah blah before you know it, there’s the sliver of anger and before long the rest of the terms come to the minds and out pops…

  • I just want the best person, regardless of gender
  • We should be blind to gender!
  • Women don’t like diversity measures, they’re patronising
  • There just aren’t enough qualified women around
  • It results in a drop in quality
  • Diversity measures are inherently unfair

Yes I know you all have heard this from people we know, and should know better… Ugh. So what we going to do about it?

300 seconds is back in Manchester on Adalovelace day 14th October. Last time we hosted it at the BBC and it was a great night full of enjoyment and a real good chance for some great women to gain some confidence public speaking.

If anything Rosie or I have said chimes with you, and you want to make a difference. Apply to be a speaker, its rewarding and you will be doing something positive which will help pave the path for others to follow in your footsteps.

Do you know how to flirt?

Geeks talk sexy flirting workshop

If the answer is yes, then great…

However if the answer is maybe or simply no… You might want to consider it a gap in your knowledge and its time to learn?

Flirting is one of those things nobody ever really teaches you, as a human being you are expected to know how to flirt. If your lucky friends in school will guide you in the right direction but if your not, you are wondering how it all works…

3 years ago as part of the Geeks Talk Sexy series we did a practical session at the closing. That closing session was run by my good friend Nicole, who once took me on a flirting tour in London. It was fun and I learned a interesting side of me when it came to flirting. So years later, we got talking and Geeks Talk Sexy workshop was born.

Now to be fair Nicole used the flirtology workshop format without really asking permission and we tacked a discussion with a friend about pickup artists and the game on the end. The thought was to guide people through the fun of  flirting and then expose them to the darker side.

The event went well and although some people did get asked to leave the cooperative supermarket, the group bonded well and there was a real sense that together everybody learned something new about themselves.

So I’ve been thinking ever since, maybe its time for a proper official flirtology workshop in Manchester? I have been in touch with Jean Smith and we’ve agreed Manchester’s screaming out for a official flirtology workshop.

Details are still being worked out but look out for a workshop before the end of the year…

Wearables are now, oh? OK now?

Google Glass in CEX

The one thing Apples Watch announcement did this week is legitimise the sector of wearables, people are saying.
This might be true but frankly just because Apple joined the many other companies building products which are made to be warn.

I personally think the Apple watch is a little ugly and the route Apple’s taken of bundling more power into the watch than others isn’t ideal. In my mind what will define wearable is power and interface.

Although Apple may make a big deal about its interface, I have deeper concerns about the power usage. Same as I have for all the ideas to put a computer in a wearable product to be honest.

Laugh at Google Glass all you like but its limitations were actually interesting and the crappy applications all seems to be about using Glass for things it was never meant to do, like augmented reality. Wearables have strong limitations and should do one or two things really well. This is why I still like my pebble watch. It does notifications really well.

Creativity in the limitations and less is more, is something I feel Apple may have missed? Regardless, its good hear all the years/decades of other wearable tech are now legit thanks to Apple (snark)

Through the Illusion of the Apple distortion field

iCow Syncing

You got to hand it to Apple, they always have the press eating out their own bowl. You only have to look at the latest apple announcement for the apple watch.  This use to be termed the Steve Jobs distortion field then when Steve died, there was a fear that Apple may not be able to keep things up without their leader.

However this turned out to be not true (to a degree).

How does Apple manipulate the media and press has been a question which many have asked, and very have been brave enough to come forward and explain how. Those who do tend to get put on the blacklist and starved…

Apple can already tell what a review is going to say from [a publication’s] pre-coverage, and they’re not going to give you a review unit if you’re not going to play ball.” In other words, Apple feeds the writers who will do its bidding, and starves the ones who won’t follow its messaging.

One such brave people is Mark Gurman from 9to5mac. Who wrote a super detailed look at the distortion and absolute manipulation Apple roll across the media. 9 indepth pages of stuff everybody kind of guessed or knew but dare not write about? Don’t expect to see Mark at any Apple press events for the next 10 years at least.

Perceptive Radio on BBC Radio 4

Official Perceptive Radio photo

It finally happened… Perceptive Media  and more specifically Perceptive Radio got a mention on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours today. Now to be fair this isn’t the first time its been mentioned on the BBC but to have futurebroadcasts.com mentioned live on air, should increase the sample size for feedback which is critical for our research into Perceptive Media.

In usual style I made an archived version on archive.org. Although to be fair the You and Yours stays on iPlayer for about a year at a time.

Islington Wharf, a 1gig fibre internet wonderland

Fibre optique

Yes you heard me right…

You may have a nice view, a large balcony, heck a swimming pool on top of the building. But have you got 1gig bit fiber to your flat?

No? Thats a real shame for you. Maybe you should give a hyperoptic a call now…

I just got conformation that Islington Wharf will be getting hyperoptic’s 1gig fibre connection to each and every flat. Yes thats 1GIG per flat!

This is perfect timing as I’m just about to order myself the Almond plus router. I’m just hoping I can move with UKFSN or Andrews and Arnold’s too.

What will I do with this much bandwidth? Well self hosting is a consideration along with being able to access all my media anywhere and everywhere with Plex. I’m also wondering if a more distributed model is viable, cutting out the 5 stacks?

Pick up vs Flirting, where do you stand?

BBC Merseyside radio studio

I had the pleasure of joining Jody again on Nguana’s Upfront show.

If you have not heard the other times we have been on the show, do check them out. My favorites being Who pays on the first date and the height debate.

We touched on pickup in part which was the less sleazy side of pickup (more seduction I guess) and how it blurs with flirting. It was a lively discussion and lots of fun, just right for a Sunday evening. I even got the question suggested to me by Coldclimate ages ago in as a conversation starter.

Question: Who would win in a fight at the beach between a Giant Squid and a Bear?

You can answer and give your reasons using the google form we setup. Maybe I should put it out to qriously?

Regardless, I finally got Ngnana to pay for a date! This is pretty massive, I’ll be interested to hear what happens… I can just imagine the same experience I had but this time dished out from myself and Jody.

Next time its about long distance relationships… so look out for the same fun, spiky and fruitful conversation in late September…

As usual you can listen to the whole show including the timely love advice for Leomar at the end via BBC iPlayer for the next few days or I clipped a version and ripped out the music for copyright reasons on archive.org.

Smell as an indicator of interest?

DSC00503 alena

A while ago I wrote about the idea of finding partners by smell.

In the modern world of dating theres a lot of gimmicks setup to catch the eye of the potential singles market. Everyone knows about the free weekenders online daters get sucked into. But sometimes something seems so far fetched it might actually work…

One such idea a friend had was the idea of picking someone by smell. Now this concept isnt’ actually new. Pheromone parties were all the range a while back.

The get-togethers — which have been held in New York and Los Angeles and are planned for other cities — ask guests to submit a slept-in T-shirt that will be smelled by other participants.

Then, voila! You can pick your partner based on scent, or so the theory goes.

Interestingly enough,  Zoe sent me a link to a experiment the science museum are doing around the same concept. Nick named, sensory speed dating.

Forget love at first sight – what about love at first sniff?

Feel and sound out your match as we explore the invisible hormonal magnets that draw us together.

Who knows, you might even get lucky…

First of all I’m confused. Is it really speed dating? Is it aimed at getting people together? Why is it open to all ages? Why is there a adult only version?

I did call it a gimmick but frankly anything which puts single people in one place and good to talk will generally get a higher success than doing nothing.

I mean it works for other animals, so go figure!

Mistakes are simply opportunities missed

Mistakes

I am in love with this idea right now… It comes from something I heard on NPR’s Ted hour about making mistakes.

The show is made up of a few TED talks but groups them together under one general theme. In the part which made me pick up my ears, a bunch of jazz musicians, improvise around each other and their mistakes (as such).

HARRIS: So someone could conceptually perceive that as a mistake. And the only way that I would say it was a mistake is in that we didn’t react to it. It was an opportunity that was missed. So it’s unpredictable, we’ll paint this palette again, he’ll play it. I don’t know how we’ll react to it, but something will change. We’ll all accept his ideas or not.

Mistakes are simply opportunities missed!

Collaboration or as I’m reminded by Jon, CoDesign is based on these principles. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

It’s much more organic, much more nuance, it’s not about bullying my vision or anything like that, it’s about being here in the moment, accepting one another, and allowing creativity to flow.

Beautifully said…!

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer