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Next-Level Gaming: The New Call Of Duty Will Penalize Players For Shooting Nazis Who Are Actually Very Fine People

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We thought we couldn’t be any more excited for Call Of Duty: WWII. Oh, how wrong we were!

Details are still trickling out about the upcoming installment in the Call Of Duty franchise, but some new info shows just how committed Activision is to giving players a truly next-level gaming experience. Today we learned that this new entry won’t just offer gamers pulse-pounding combat in a historically accurate World War II setting; it will go even further by penalizing players for shooting Nazis who are actually very fine people!

Um, can we play this game now, please?

The new “Nazi Sense” mechanic adds a whole new gameplay dimension on top of Call Of Duty: WWII’s already intense firefights. Instead of just blasting away at every enemy soldier, players will have to consider whether each individual Nazi might be an otherwise decent person who just happens to be fighting alongside some real bad apples. Shoot a Nazi who’s actually a pillar of his community and is proud of his heritage and you’ll take a blow to your health or ammo. Shoot too many decent, hardworking Nazis, and you’ll have to start over from the last checkpoint.

For hardcore Call Of Duty fans and newbies alike, this development will definitely make playing through battles like the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge even more exciting than before. With their identical uniforms, similar shouted slogans, and almost indistinguishable behavior, gamers will have to push their skills to the limit to pick out the regular-Joe Nazis from the actually evil Nazis they’re supposed to shoot. But for true completists, it will be worth it when they unlock the “Just War” achievement for beating the game without shooting a single Nazi who, in fact, doesn’t agree on absolutely everything with his comrades!

Nazi Sense brings new strategic elements to the mix, too. When Nazis who are shooting at you because they’re driven by hateful, anti-Semitic ideology are standing side by side with Nazis who are shooting at you because they’re upstanding citizens who just want to return Germany to its former glory, you might have to think twice before tossing that grenade. Clearly, this is the shot in the arm that the Call Of Duty franchise needed!

Call Of Duty: WWII doesn’t come out until November, but if this is the kind of innovation that Activision’s bringing to the table, it can’t come soon enough.

Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/next-level-gaming-new-call-duty-will-penalize-play-6513

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She kept the pregnancy that resulted from her rapenow her alleged attacker has joint custody

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A 21-year-old Michigan mother is left seeking protection after her rapist was awarded parenting time and joint legal custody of her 8-year-old child after the county surveyed her about child support.

According to the Detroit News, the survivor’s attorney says Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory S. Ross awarded Christopher Mirasolo, 27, joint custody after a DNA test established Mirasolo was the parent of the child. The attorney, Rebecca Kiessling, has filed an objection with Ross and will be seeking the survivor’s protection under the federal Rape Survivor Child Custody Act at a hearing on Oct. 25.

According to Kiessling, Ross ordered Mirasolo to be added to the child’s birth certificate and to be given the survivor’s address after the survivor filled out a county survey about the child support she received this past year. Kiessling also said despite assistant prosecutor Eric Scott’s insistence, her client was never asked for consent to give Mirasolo joint custody nor did she give it.

As part of the custody change, Kiessling said her client was notified she couldn’t move more than 100 miles from where she lived when the case was filed without the court’s consent, and she had to “come home immediately or she would be held in contempt of court.”

Mirasolo’s attorney, Barbara Yockey, said Mirasolo never initiated the paternity test nor custody change, and that this was something routinely done by a prosecutor’s office when someone applies for state assistance. The News could not reach Ross for comment, and Scott did not return requests for comment.

The survivors’ case is believed to be the first case of its kind in Michigan.

“This is insane,” Kiessling told News. “Nothing has been right about this since it was originally investigated. was never properly charged and should still be sitting behind bars somewhere, but the system is victimizing my client, who was a child herself when this all happened.”

According to Kiessling, her client was 12 when Mirasolo, then 18, forcibly raped and threatened to kill her in September 2008. Mirasolo had abducted her client, the client’s 13-year-old sister, and a friend and kept them captive for two days in a vacant house. He was arrested a month later when Kiessling’s client found out she was pregnant as a result of the rape.

Mirasolo was given a plea deal for attempted third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and he served a little more than six months of his one-year county jail sentence. In March 2010, Mirasolo committed a sexual assault of a child between the ages of 13 through 15, for which he served a four-year sentence.

“I think this is all crazy,” the survivor told the News. “They never explained anything to me. I was receiving about $260 a month in food stamps for me and my son and health insurance for him. I guess they were trying to see how to get some of the money back.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated for clarity. 

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/michigan-rape-child-custody/

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Boys at Exeter academy wear skirts in uniform protest – BBC News

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Media captionThese boys want to be cool in school

Some 30 boys have worn skirts to school in protest at being told they were not allowed to wear shorts.

The pupils from ISCA Academy in Exeter asked permission to modify their uniform because of the hot weather.

One of the boys who took part in the protest said: “We’re not allowed to wear shorts, and I’m not sitting in trousers all day, it’s a bit hot.”

Head teacher Aimee Mitchell said shorts were “not part” of the school uniform, as first reported by Devon Live.

For more on the school skirt protest, and other stories from across Devon and Cornwall.

Pupils said the idea for the protest came from the head teacher, who originally made the suggestion, although one student said he did not think she was being serious.

They said they hoped the school would reconsider its shorts policy as a result of the protest and the head has indicated it might be considered.

Image caption Walking to school, the pupils shouted “Let boys wear shorts”

Ms Mitchell said: “We recognise that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible.

“Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families.

“However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future.”

Claire Reeves, whose son is a student at the school, said she had asked the school about her son being able to wear shorts, but was “shot down”.

“I feel extremely proud of them all for standing up for their rights. People are always talking about equal right for males and females and school uniform shouldn’t be any different”, she said.

The school uniform guidelines currently allow male pupils to wear trousers. Female pupils may wear trousers or tartan skirts.

Pupils may remove their ties but must carry them with them and shirts can be untucked in class but must be tucked in when they leave the classroom.

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-40364632

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The Gambia bans female genital mutilation

President Yahya Jammeh outlaws practice that affects three-quarters of women in west African country

The Gambia has announced it will ban female genital mutilation (FGM) after the Guardian launched a global campaign to end the practice.

The president, Yahya Jammeh, said last night that the controversial surgical intervention would be outlawed. He said the ban would come into effect immediately, though it was not clear when the government would draft legislation to enforce it.

FGM involves cutting female genitalia often when girls are young to remove their labia and clitoris, which often leads to lifelong health complications, including bleeding, infections, vaginal pain and infertility. More than 130 million women worldwide are subjected to the procedure in Africa and the Middle East.

The practice is widespread in many African countries, including the Gambia, where 76% of females have been subjected to it. The age at which FGM takes place in the Gambia is not recorded, but it is reported that the trend of practicing FGM on infant girls is increasing. By the age of 14, 56% of female children in the country have had the procedure.

Highlights of the Guardians global media campaign to help end FGM

Jaha Dukureh, an anti-FGM activist whose campaign to end the practice in the country has been supported by the Guardian, spent the past week meeting cabinet ministers in the Gambia and sent them articles from the newspaper to inform them about the issue.

Im really amazed that the president did this. I didnt expect this in a million years. Im just really proud of my country and Im really, really happy, she told the Guardian. I think the president cared about the issue, it was just something that was never brought to his attention.

Jammehs announcement came late last night, as the president was visiting his home village on Kanilai as part of a nationwide tour. The announcement was unexpected for both campaigners and public.

The amazing thing is its election season. This could cost the president the election. He put women and girls first, this could negatively affect him, but this shows he cares more about women than losing peoples votes, said Dukureh.

Dukureh will return to the Gambia on Tuesday to thank Jammeh for the ban and to help with drafting the legislation that will enforce it.

A ban on FGM would be a significant development on an issue that has proved controversial and divisive in the Gambia, with some arguing that FGM is permitted in Islam, the major religion in the country.

Senior Muslim clerics in the Gambia have previously denied the existence of FGM in the Gambia saying instead that was is practiced is female circumcision. In 2014, state house imam, Alhaji Abdoulie Fatty told Kibaaro News, I have never heard of anyone who died as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM)… If you know what FGM means, you know that we do not practice that here. We do not mutilate our children.

Jaha Dukureh: Im really amazed that the president did this. I didnt expect this in a million years. Photograph: Mae Ryan for the Guardian

Mary Wandia, the FGM programme manager at womens rights campaign group Equality Now said: The ban is an essential first step towards ending FGM and we commend President Jammeh on finally announcing it.

A law must now be enacted and properly implemented to ensure that every girl at risk is properly protected. The government needs to show strong commitment and prioritise this issue in a country where three quarters of women have been affected and reductions in prevalence have been slow to materialise.

Though support for FGM is widespread in the Gambia, reports have shown that public support for the practice has dropped in recent decades among women across all age groups.

Support for the continuation of the practice is strongest among the countrys richest women and varies dramatically in different ethnic communities, with 84% of Mandinka women supporting the continuation of FGM compared with 12% of Wolof women.

This year FGM was banned in Nigeria, which joined 18 other African countries that have outlawed the practice, including Central African Republic, Egypt and South Africa.

Somalia, which has the highest prevalence of FGM in the world, has indicated it would like to end the practice, with a spokeswoman for the ministry for womens affairs saying it was committed to make this happen despite significant resistance in the country. Currently, 98% of girls aged between four and 11 are subjected to FGM in Somalia.

The Guardian launched a major campaign to end FGM around the world in 2014, with the support of the campaign petition website, Change.org.

The Guardian Global Media campaign works closely with local activists in the Gambia, Kenya and Nigeria to help them provide education and awareness on the issue and hope to expand the campaign to Sierra Leone, Senegal and Uganda next year.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/24/the-gambia-bans-female-genital-mutilation

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So Coconut Oil Is Actually Really, Really Bad For You

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Youd be hard pressed to find someone who doesnt like coconuts. They are furry spheres of deliciousness, after all. Coconut water though is pointless it doesnt have any clear health benefits and its just a saltier version of normal water.

Then theres coconut oil. Its the latest cooking fad, and people all over the Web are claiming that its much healthier than any other oil out there. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, coco-nutcases, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is just as unhealthy as butter and beef dripping.

According to a key advisory notice published in the journal Circulation one which looks at all kinds of fats and their links to cardiovascular disease coconut oil is packed with saturated fats. In fact, 82 percent of coconut oil is comprised of saturated fats, far more than in regular butter (63), olive oil (14), peanut oil (17), and sunflower oil (10).

Saturated fat, unlike others, can raise the amount of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, which increases your risk of contracting heart disease in the future. It can be found in butter and lard, cakes, biscuits, fatty meats, cheese, and cream, among other things including coconut oil.

A recent survey reported that 72 percent of the American public rated coconut oil as a healthy food compared with 37 percent of nutritionists, the AHAs review notes. This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press.

A meta-analysis of a suite of experiments have conclusively shown that butter and coconut oil, in terms of raising the amount of bad cholesterol in your body, are just as bad as each other.

Because coconut oil increases [bad] cholesterol, a cause of cardiovascular disease, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil, the AHA conclude. In essence, there is nothing to gain and everything to lose by using coconut oil in cooking.

STOP. Do not do this. Africa Studio/Shutterstock

If you already have high bad cholesterol levels, then coconut oil is potentially quite dangerous to consume or use in acts of culinary creations. Swapping it out for olive oil, according to the AHA, will reduce your cholesterol levels as much as cutting-edge, cholesterol-lowering drugs.

So next time you see anyone claiming that coconut oil is good for you or that its pro-health and anti-everything bad! you can confidently tell them that theyre spouting bullshit.

Its important to remember though that a little bit of fat is definitely good for you, as fatty acids are essential for proper absorption of vitamins. Unsaturated fats are generally thought to be quite good for you in this regard; you can find them in avocados, fish oil, nuts, and seeds.

[H/T: BBC News]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/coconut-oil-bad/

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Indonesian Pro Soccer Goalie Dies After Collision During Match And It’s All Caught On Video

This is so, so sad.

A goalkeeper for an Indonesian professional soccer team died this weekend from injuries sustained during a match in the country when he collided with another player, went down hard, and immediately started convulsing until first responders rushed on to the field to help him.

The goalkeeper, a 38-year-old veteran athlete named Choirul Huda, was pronounced dead not long after colliding with his own teammate, defender Ramon Rodrigues, and an opponent during a game between Huda’s team, Persela Lamongan, and the opponents Semen Padang.

While Huda was conscious immediately after the collision — and the collision itself doesn’t even look too out of the ordinary on video — he quickly collapsed and fell unconscious, and he was quickly taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The entire thing was captured on video, too (below) — but be warned, because it is pretty graphic and unsettling:

So scary — and what’s scarier still is the collision was a relatively common one that takes place in so many soccer games. For whatever reason, the impact led Huda to stop breathing, where he eventually suffered cardiac arrest.

His team, not knowing the extent of the injuries at the time, played the rest of the match before they all went to the hospital — and that’s where they found out their teammate had been pronounced dead.

The team honored Huda on Twitter after the match (below):

‘The Real Legend of Persela,’ as Huda was called, had been with the team since 1999, playing in more than 500 matches as a very critical member of the team.

So, so sudden — and so unbelievably sad.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Choirul Huda’s family, friends, teammates, and loved ones.

[Image via YouTube.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-10-15-indonesia-pro-soccer-goalkeeper-dead-collision-on-field-video-choirul-huda-persela-lamongan-ramon-rodrigues-video-youtube

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Virtual march helps people with disabilities join the Women’s March on Washington

Image: Vicky LEta/Mashable

Activism isn’t always accessible and the Women’s March on Washington is no exception.

For people who might not have the physical ability or stamina to join Saturday’s massive public protest, disability activists created the Disability March an online movement that allows people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to participate virtually in the event.

The Disability March organizers invite people living with disabilities to submit their names, photos and a statement on why they want to “march.” The images and text will be uploaded to the website in time for the Women’s March on Jan. 21, creating a virtual archive of people showing solidarity with the main event in Washington, D.C.

“I began to wonder about other ways to be visible, especially for our community, besides marching”

Sonya Huber, one of the organizers, was inspired to create the online movement after she realized attending the Women’s March wouldn’t be the best idea for her health. A disability rights activist and professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, Huber lives with a few autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid disease and Hashimoto’s disease. She also experiences some mobility problems.

“The march, combined with the drive, would have done a number on my immune system at the beginning of a busy semester,” she told Mashable.

But Huber knew she wasn’t alone, and she wanted to do something to help broaden access to the march for her community.

“I began to wonder about other ways to be visible, especially for our community, besides marching even though the march will of course include many disabled people,” she said. “Since the disabled community is going to be so impacted by the Republican agenda, it seemed that giving people a platform to tell their individual stories was most appropriate.”

Image: Disability March

The Disability March is an all-volunteer effort, made for the disability community, by the disability community. It’s also an official co-sponsor of the Women’s March on Washington.

Huber said about 50 online “marchers” have signed up to participate in the virtual march so far, and she expects more people to submit their stories throughout the week.

Some images and testimonies of Disability March participants are already live on the movement’s website, but the bulk of photos and statements will be uploaded Friday and Saturday to coincide with the main march.

Disability March organizers are also coming up with activist-oriented tasks for participants, designed with various levels of ability and comfort in mind. While still in planning stages, the goal is to offer tangible actions for people to still make an impact.

“In keeping our whole community in mind, our vision for a just society will be more inclusive and our activism will be more effective.”

Huber hopes the online march will draw attention to the faces and stories of people who will be heavily affected by the Trump administration, especially the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act and attacks on Medicaid.

“I hope that this small effort which rides the wave of so much other disability activism can help get the word out about the large number of people with invisible and visible disabilities who need an outlet for sharing their stories and who want to be active,” she said.

The Disability March also challenges other activist efforts to take inclusivity and different types of participation in social movements seriously.

“We are not a peripheral community,” Huber said. “In keeping our whole community in mind, our vision for a just society will be more inclusive and our activism will be more effective.”

If you want to join the Disability March, you can fill out the short online form here. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Jan. 20.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/18/disability-march-womens-march-on-washington/

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Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens

Its important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. Im going to tell you that libraries are important. Im going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. Im going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: Im an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living through my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So Im biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

And Im here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Which supports literacy programs, and libraries and individuals and nakedly and wantonly encourages the act of reading. Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read.

And its that change, and that act of reading that Im here to talk about tonight. I want to talk about what reading does. What its good for.

I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldnt read. And certainly couldnt read for pleasure.

Its not one to one: you cant say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.

And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction.

Fiction has two uses. Firstly, its a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if its hard, because someones in trouble and you have to know how its all going to end thats a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, youre on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

I dont think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of childrens books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. Ive seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy.

Enid
No such thing as a bad writer… Enid Blytons Famous Five. Photograph: Greg Balfour Evans/Alamy

Its tosh. Its snobbery and its foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isnt hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.

Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a childs love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian improving literature. Youll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.

We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. (Also, do not do what this author did when his 11-year-old daughter was into RL Stine, which is to go and get a copy of Stephen Kings Carrie, saying if you liked those youll love this! Holly read nothing but safe stories of settlers on prairies for the rest of her teenage years, and still glares at me when Stephen Kings name is mentioned.)

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. Youre being someone else, and when you return to your own world, youre going to be slightly changed.

Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.

Youre also finding out something as you read vitally important for making your way in the world. And its this:

The world doesnt have to be like this. Things can be different.

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

Its simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere youve never been. Once youve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

And while were on the subject, Id like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if its a bad thing. As if escapist fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.

If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldnt you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.

As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.

Tolkien's
Tolkiens illustration of Bilbos home, Bag End. Photograph: HarperCollins

Another way to destroy a childs love of reading, of course, is to make sure there are no books of any kind around. And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the childrens library every morning and working his way through the card catalogue, looking for books with ghosts or magic or rockets in them, looking for vampires or detectives or witches or wonders. And when I had finished reading the childrens library I began on the adult books.

They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader nothing less or more which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old.

But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.

I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.

I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value. For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories they were always good for a meal and company. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service.

In the last few years, weve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. Thats about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.

A
Photograph: Alamy

Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio. But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content.

A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. And mental health information. Its a community space. Its a place of safety, a haven from the world. Its a place with librarians in it. What the libraries of the future will be like is something we should be imagining now.

Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.

Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open.

According to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, England is the only country where the oldest age group has higher proficiency in both literacy and numeracy than the youngest group, after other factors, such as gender, socio-economic backgrounds and type of occupations are taken into account.

Or to put it another way, our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are. They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable. All of these things. And as a country, England will fall behind other developed nations because it will lack a skilled workforce.

Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.

I think we have responsibilities to the future. Responsibilities and obligations to children, to the adults those children will become, to the world they will find themselves inhabiting. All of us as readers, as writers, as citizens have obligations. I thought Id try and spell out some of these obligations here.

I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.

We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.

We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.

We have an obligation to use the language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not to attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.

We writers and especially writers for children, but all writers have an obligation to our readers: its the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.

We have an obligation to understand and to acknowledge that as writers for children we are doing important work, because if we mess it up and write dull books that turn children away from reading and from books, we ve lessened our own future and diminished theirs.

We all adults and children, writers and readers have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. Im going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. Its this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair. Someone had to imagine a way that I could talk to you in London right now without us all getting rained on.This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city, exist because, over and over and over, people imagined things.

We have an obligation to make things beautiful. Not to leave the world uglier than we found it, not to empty the oceans, not to leave our problems for the next generation. We have an obligation to clean up after ourselves, and not leave our children with a world weve shortsightedly messed up, shortchanged, and crippled.

We have an obligation to tell our politicians what we want, to vote against politicians of whatever party who do not understand the value of reading in creating worthwhile citizens, who do not want to act to preserve and protect knowledge and encourage literacy. This is not a matter of party politics. This is a matter of common humanity.

Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. If you want your children to be intelligent, he said, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.

This is an edited version of Neil Gaimans lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14 at the Barbican in London. The Reading Agencys annual lecture series was initiated in 2012 as a platform for leading writers and thinkers to share original, challenging ideas about reading and libraries.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

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2 week diet

Stop Believing the Lies: There Is NO SUCH THING As “Fat-Burning Foods.”

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Here’s What You Can Do Instead to Lose 8 to 16 Pounds in Just 14 Days.

Did You Know That Your Body Is Stuck in “Fat Mode” for 20 Hours a Day?
Learn How New Research Can Unlock Your Hidden Fat-Burning Potential.

Fact: Many Americans Spend 83% of Their Time Gaining Fat Instead of Burning It.
With the Right Body-Changing Strategy, You Can Burn 8 to 16 Pounds of Fat in Just 2 Weeks.
Click Here!
In America, we’ve achieved something incredible:

Virtual freedom from the dangers of predators. Nature’s most vicious animals are no match for humans.

But one danger still haunts us. Something stuck with us that we can’t fight off.

In fact, it’s killing more Americans than any other cause of death.

Obesity-related illness.

 

Here’s a glimpse of what Americans are suffering from:

Heart attacks and strokes that immediately end the lives of people we love.
Back and joint pain that keeps you stuck on the couch and ruins your mood from the moment you get out of bed.
Plus diabetes, liver failure, sore muscles, arthritis, and other ailments that cost thousands of dollars in prescription medication every year.

 

Even our children are suffering the consequences.

My Daughter Was Thin, But She Was Suffering from My Weight.

When I was overweight, I thought, “You know, it’s not so bad. I can live with this.”

But then one day, my chest started to ache, my breathing intensified, and I thought I was having a heart attack.

In that moment, my daughter looked up at me with the most terrified expression I’ve ever seen.

I knew I couldn’t leave her behind, so I decided to look into the real causes of my weight gain.

I Was Spending 20 Hours a Day Gaining Fat, Even if I Ate 3 Meals a Day.

I was shocked when I found out that our bodies can only be in one of two states.

Either we’re burning fat… or we’re gaining it. There’s no in-between.

And many Americans are unknowingly spending 20 hours a day stuck in the fat-gaining mode, especially those that are overweight.

20 hours a day!

And the only time they’re actually burning fat… is when they’re asleep.

That’s when I realized that no matter how much exercise I did, no matter how healthy I ate, it wouldn’t matter unless I could fix that problem.

I had to find a way to force my body into fat-burning mode for more than 4 hours a day.

Finally, a friend introduced me to a new system that works with nature’s big secret to keep my body in fat-burning mode for 12 hours a day or more… and I lost over 12 pounds in just 2 weeks!

I Burned Over 8 Pounds of Fat in 2 Weeks By Working With Nature, Not Against It.

Your body has a natural ability to burn fat.

In fact, with the right strategies, you can burn a surprising amount of fat in a few short weeks.

So what are they?

Well, the plan I made works in 3 phases, and they’re incredibly easy to follow.

Basically, here’s how it works:

It shifts your body into fat-burning mode for 3 times as long. By multiplying your fat-burning time, you make weight loss easy and cancel the need for difficult workouts.
Plus… it showed me how to make my workouts easier and more effective.
Finally, I dropped over 1 pound daily, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was.

At the end of 2 weeks, I had lost over 8 pounds of fat.

I kept it up and continued to lose more.

And yes, I look amazing.

But what really mattered wasn’t the weight loss.

I made a change for my daughter.

I’m Going to Live to Watch My Grandchildren Grow Up.

I may not be old enough to have grandchildren yet… but I’m no longer worried that I’m going to die before my daughter is ready to have kids.

We’ve really connected again, going out to the park and playing games like we used to. I can even go shopping all day long without aches and pains in my back!

So I shared these strategies with some of my friends who wanted to lose a little weight, and they were also shocked at their results.

In fact, some of them lost more weight than I did… up to 16 pounds in 2 weeks!

So my friends told their friends… who told their friends… and eventually, the secret got out.

People Started Offering Me Money for My 2 Week Diet.

I couldn’t believe it when complete strangers started emailing me, asking for my diet.

I had no idea it was going to become such a big deal!

That’s when I realized that I had to package my system for anyone who wanted to start burning fat and looking their best.

So I decided to put together all the information I had on this strategy and put it online.

The only problem is…it costs a lot of money to do this.

I was a little overwhelmed by how much I had to pay to build a website and package it all up in a nice little ebook.

So yes, I have to charge people for these strategies.

But when people are losing 8-16 pounds per week, I’m not hearing any complaints!

You can click here to get your copy of The 2 Week Diet right now.

I’m Going to Save You $20 on These Fat-Burning Secrets.

When I showed my website to a friend, he told me I was crazy for making my book so cheap.

“You should be charging twice as much, at least. I’ve seen books like yours for $60 or more.”

He works in marketing, so he thinks everything should be expensive. (Sorry, Dave.)

I just couldn’t do that. I really wanted people to be able to afford this book and use it to change their lives.

So I did the math and figured out exactly what I have to charge to get my money back on this whole thing, and that’s how I chose the price. I’m not trying to maximize my profits. I don’t care to find out the top price that I can get you to pay.

I simply want my highly-effective system to spread like a healthy wildfire and pay its own bills.

If you can help me cover my costs, I’m more than happy to give you these secrets at the bare minimum price.

So click this link to get full access to these fat-burning tricks, and I promise…no, I guarantee…you will lose 8 to 16 pounds in 2 weeks!

Good luck!

Brian Flatt
Creator of The 2 Week Diet & Weight Loss Consultant

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Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against ‘no shorts’ policy

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Dozens of pupils at Isca academy in Exeter stage uniform protest after school insists they wear trousers despite heatwave

Some had borrowed from girlfriends, others from sisters. A few had gone the extra mile and shaved their legs. When the Isca academy in Devon opened on Thursday morning, an estimated 30 boys arrived for lessons, heads held high, in fetching tartan-patterned skirts. The hottest June days since 1976 had led to a bare-legged revolution at the secondary school in Exeter.

As the temperature soared past 30C earlier this week, the teenage boys had asked their teachers if they could swap their long trousers for shorts. They were told no shorts werent permitted under the schools uniform policy.

When they protested that the girls were allowed bare legs, the school no doubt joking said the boys were free to wear skirts too if they chose. So on Wednesday, a handful braved the giggles and did so. The scale of the rebellion increased on Thurday, when at least 30 boys opted for the attire.

Quite refreshing was how one of the boys described the experience, pointing out that if even Royal Ascot had allowed racegoers in the royal enclosure to remove their jackets, then the school ought to relax its dress code. Another said he rather enjoyed the nice breeze his skirt had afforded him.

A third, tall boy said he was told his short skirt exposed too much hairy leg. Some of the boys visited a shop on their way to Isca the name the Romans gave to Exeter to pick up razors to make sure they did not fall foul of any beauty police.

Ironically, the temperature had dropped in Exeter to a more manageable 20C, but some boys said they had enjoyed the freedom afforded by the skirts and that they might continue.

The school said it was prepared to think again in the long term. The headteacher, Aimee Mitchell, said: We recognise that the last few days have been exceptionally hot and we are doing our utmost to enable both students and staff to remain as comfortable as possible.

Shorts are not currently part of our uniform for boys, and I would not want to make any changes without consulting both students and their families. However, with hotter weather becoming more normal, I would be happy to consider a change for the future.

It was too late. The revolution was picked up by media organisations across the globe, and Devon county council was forced to help the school out with inquiries. A spokesperson said: About 30 boys arrived at school this morning wearing school skirts. None of the boys have been penalised no one was put in isolation or detention for wearing a skirt.

The mother of one of the boys who began the protest said she was proud of him. Claire Lambeth, 43, said her son Ryan, 15, had come home earlier in the week complaining about the heat. He said it was unbearable. I spoke to a teacher to ask about shorts and she said it was school policy [that they could not be worn]. I did say this was exceptional weather, but they were having none of it. If girls can wear skirts, why cant boys wear shorts?

Ryan came up with the idea of wearing a skirt, so that evening we borrowed one. He wore it the next day as did five other boys. Then this morning I didnt expect it to take off like that. The school is being silly really this is exceptional weather. I was very proud of Ryan. I think it was a great idea.

Another mother said: My 14-year-old son wanted to wear shorts. The headteacher told them: Well, you can wear a skirt if you like but I think she was being sarcastic. However, children tend to take you literally, and because she told them it was OK, there was nothing she could do as long as they were school skirts.

A third mother said: Children also dont like injustice. The boys see the female teachers in sandals and nice cool skirts and tops while they are wearing long trousers and shoes and the older boys have to wear blazers. They just think its unfair that they cant wear shorts in this heat.

There were signs that the revolution might be spreading. The Guardian has heard of at least one more school in Wiltshire where one boy turned up in a skirt, although it did not go down quite so well with his friends.

And schoolboys were not the only ones making controversial dress choices because of the heat. Michael Wood, who works as a porter at Watford general hospital, claimed he was facing disciplinary action from his employers Medirest for rolling his trousers up to try to cool down. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the case, but said: The health and safety of our colleagues is always our number one priority.

What happened to summer school uniforms? Matthew Easter, managing director of the schoolwear supplier Trutex, said they had become less popular for reasons of economy. Its really up to the individual school to decide, but the headteacher is in a difficult position. A decade or so ago, summer wear was more popular, but theres been a change recently to try to make uniforms as economical as possible. Summer uniforms are only worn for a matter of weeks.

If parents havent bought uniform shorts, then some children may feel disadvantaged, so perhaps the decision in this case is simply down to fairness.

It may be that the weather will solve the problem for the school. The Exeter-based Met Office situated up the road from the school predicts pleasant, but not searing, temperatures over the coming week.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/teenage-boys-wear-skirts-to-school-protest-no-shorts-uniform-policy

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