Archive Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sale of 700 black market Olympics tickets halted by Brazilian police

The suspects bought the tickets legally and used social media sites in an attempt to resell them for up to 10 times the original price

Brazilian police have broken up a black-market ring that tried to illegally sell more than 700 Olympic tickets at exorbitant prices, authorities said on Tuesday.

Rios police, with the help of the local Olympic committee, busted 10 people involved in the scam.

The suspects bought the tickets legally, then used social media sites in an attempt to illegally resell them, said Donovan Ferreti, head of ticket sales for Rio 2016, as the local committee is known.

In one case, a ticket was sold for 10 times the original price from our site, Ferreti said. The illegally sold tickets had been blocked and cannot be used, he added.

Ferreti would not detail the sales prices of the illegal tickets, nor the events that they were for, but did say they were for sports that were in high demand.

Olympic ticket prices range from 40 Brazilian reais ($11) for some events to up to 4,600 ($1,250) reais for the opening ceremony.

Ticket sales for Rios Olympics have been slow, though organizers have repeatedly expressed optimism and stressed that Brazilians tend to buy tickets for sporting and entertainment events at the last minute.

Ferreti said that over half of the 7.5m tickets have been sold, with just four months left before the Olympics begin on 5 August.

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Biggest celebrity losers of 2017: From Harvey Weinstein to Ben Affleck

It’s no secret that 2017 was a rough year in Hollywood. However, some stars managed to claw their way to the New Year more unscathed than others.

While some celebs shined this year, others crashed and burned in some spectacular, and often incredibly sad, ways. To help you put your failed 2017 New Year’s resolutions in perspective, here is a list of some of the biggest celebrity losers of the year, in no particular order.

KATIE COURIC SPILLS ON MATT LAUER

Harvey Weinstein

The now disgraced movie mogul was the first in what became a long line of men in Hollywood to be accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault and abuse of power. The number of Weinstein’s accusers multiplied in a matter of weeks, prompting him to be ousted by his own company and forced to seek treatment and rehab outside of California. While he continues to deny any allegations of nonconsensual sex, 2017 was the year that brought him down. Other high-profile names in Hollywood caught up in the unprecedented conversation about sexual misconduct are Brett Ratner, James Toback, Louis C.K., Jeremy Piven and many more.

Abby Lee Miller

 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Known to most as the frustratingly rigid star of the reality show “Dance Moms,” Miller had her toughest year yet after pleading guilty to fraud. Miller tried to hide a reported $775,000 of income in 2015, The star was sentenced in May to one year and a day in prison followed by two years of supervised release. Additionally, she was fined $40,000 and is being forced to pay a $120,000 judgement. The star is currently at the FCI Victorville prison in California.

Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway… and PwC

Those who tuned in to the entire 2017 Oscars broadcast were shocked when “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz interrupted his team’s own acceptance speech on the Dolby Theater stage to announce that “Moonlight,” not “La La Land,” had won best picture. The now infamous mistake occurred when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway declared that “La La Land” had won best picture after a PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant backstage accidentally handed him the card announcing Emma Stone as best actress for her role in “La La Land.” Fortunately there were no hard feelings as Horowitz said he was “really proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight’.”

Kathy Griffin

 (2017 Invision)

The now embattled star faced an inciting moment in May of 2017 when she posed for a gory photo with a fake severed head of President Trump. The image came from a photo shoot with controversial photographer Tyler Shields, which sparked outrage across the country. The star apologized for the image saying it “went too far.” However, after the backlash made her an infamous household name, she later recanted that apology and has since said that the outrage against her was phony.

PHOTO: KATHY GRIFFIN’S BLOODY TRUMP PHOTO SHOOT

Ben Affleck

The star hasn’t had the best year, starting with his very public divorce from his wife of 10 years, Jennifer Garner. He’s since moved on to a new lady, Lindsay Shookus, which sparked rumors that the relationship began during his marriage. However, the couple claims they began dating in 2017. Soon after, he found himself in hot water again as people began calling him out for past indiscretions and sexual harassment with some of the women he’s worked with over the years. As if that’s not all bad enough, his second outing as Batman in “Justice League” is a decided flop at the box office.

Every celebrity who endorsed the Fyre Festival

2017 was supposed to be the year that the inaugural Fyre Festival took place. Billed as a destination music festival for wealthy millennials, promises of musical acts, luxury camping and high-quality food turned out to be lies. It is now considered one of the biggest failures, and potential frauds, in festival history. Rapper Ja Rule was the public face of the event, which boasted celebrity endorsements such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. Sadly, everyone whose name you’ve ever heard of backed out immediately when it became clear that the festival’s organizers were spectacularly ill-equipped and ill-prepared for the logistics of a day at the park, let alone a high-end music festival. Not only was there no music or party, but people were stranded in the Bahamas location with hardly any food or shelter. The event’s key organizer, Billy McFarland, was brought up on fraud charges for his role in the debacle.

Kevin Spacey

Following the Weinstein allegations, some men began speaking out against Spacey and claimed the actor abused them — in some cases when they were underage. The horrifying accusations cost Spacey his hit series, “House of Cards.” Spacey has since announced he is seeking help. 

Kendall Jenner

 (Reuters)

While her famous sisters made headlines for their relationship and pregnancy rumors, Kendall Jenner became a trending topic in 2017 for her Pepsi commercial that seriously missed the mark. The commercial showed Jenner at a protest. In the ad, Jenner is seen approaching a police officer and handing him a can of Pepsi as a demonstration carries on. The ad received a lot of backlash on social media with some charging that it was making light of the Black Lives Matter movement. The commercial was quickly pulled and Pepsi apologized for it. Also worth noting is her participation as a celebrity endorser of the above-mentioned Fyre Festival.

Matt Lauer

 (NBC)

Matt Lauer almost made it through 2017 with his career in one piece, but in late November, the “Today” show announced Lauer had been fired following a “detailed complaint” of sexual harassment from a fellow employee. The longtime host issued an apology as more women began speaking out against him, leaving his network, NBC, and his co-hosts to report on his misbehavior in lurid detail. Lauer noted in his apology that his new “full time job” would be trying to repair the damage he had caused.

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Jason Silva: On Love, Empathy And The Great Beyond

Albert Camus once said,

““.

But only once in a while do we manage to find people who hold up this thought and let themselves be defined through it.

One such person is film-maker, television personality and Emmy nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s TV series Brain Games, airing in 171 countries, Jason Silva. He also a digital filmmaker and the creator of the original series Shots of Awe. His videos have been seen over 100 million times across all channels. Jason is also an international keynote speaker, frequently giving speeches to companies like IBM, Microsoft, Intel and many more. Follow his Facebook page by hitting LIKE, here.

I managed to catch up with Jason for an exclusive interview that went beyond what we see on television screens, delving deep into the psyche of one of the best minds of this generation.

Here’s what went down when I sat down with Jason Silva:

Sayan – Let’s start at the start. You went to an international school. How do you think that shaped the way you interact and communicate with people?

Jason – Yes, attending an international school in Venezuela was an inspired, diverse, eclectic experience. It very quickly gave me a sense of the world, and an openness to other cultures in an environment of mutual respect and curiosity. This is the one world perspective. One planet. I developed a sense of intuition about how to relate to people of wildly different backgrounds.

– From what you’ve experienced over the years through all the places you’ve been to and all the things you’ve done, how would you describe the connection that one human feels towards another and how that is changing with the times and with the progresses in technology?

– There is a term I’ve come across that describes the magic of connecting with someone, that feeling of being understood. That term is “intersubjectivity”, which essentially means that when you ‘connect’ with someone else, two become one, two minds, two subjective worlds, temporarily merge. It’s a beautiful experience, and it is precisely this capacity for common experience that binds human beings together. Recently, neuroscientists have confirmed that when we click with someone, our brain waves actually begin to mirror each other. It’s called Brain Coupling, and it feels delightfully amazing. Technology will only augment and deepen the ways in which we can connect. Virtual reality will allow us to visit each other’s minds, share visions as never before. Tools will continue to break boundaries and warp geographies.

– How and Why do you think Cinema (given your love for it) with characters that we know mostly aren’t real, can actually transcend the barriers of communication and make people understand realities about themselves and the world at large, more than what real people around them can make them understand?

– When we watch movies a magical thing happens: we assume the viewpoint of the main character. Essentially we take on their point of view and vicariously experience whatever happens to them. Narratologists call this ‘the deictic shift’. This is pure magic. Our mind can mirror the character’s mind, we model their world, within our minds. When this happens, our self awareness disappears, we are quite literally outside ourselves. This is pure empathy because we assume the trials and struggles of the character, which means we move beyond our self conscious concerns. It’s a beautiful thing; and a glimpse of our most perfect moments, when we realize we are all one.

– We’ve talked about AI and I’ve heard you talk about how bots can be everywhere in the near future. Do you really think that these automatic machines can be empathetic, to the extent they mirror human emotions or even go beyond to create a kinder world?

– I do think that artificial intelligence will eventually model and mirror human intelligence in all of its spectrums – including having a rich emotional life. My view is that of Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly who says technology is organismic, a living thing, the seventh kingdom of life. He calls it The Technium, and thus we should see the eventual emergence of true non biological minds as simply the next wave of evolution.

– Do you think art and technology go hand in hand in the sense that they serve the same purpose in terms of how they affect people and how they are indispensable to the human race?

– Yes. Art and science are two sides of the same coin. Two interpretive frameworks, two lenses for understanding the world. Two languages. I think the role of science is to push the boundaries of the quantifiable, of all that is empirically measurable…. and I think the role of art is to look deeper than the journalist’s literal grid, and quantify our subjective world, that which exceeds the empirical.

– Where do you think love figures in this age where everything is changing at a million frames a second and can technology in all it’s glory and pomp, ever be as important to the human being as love itself?

– Love stems from the religious impulse, from the human desire to merge with the transcendent, with the great beyond. We are hungry for some kind of ultimate meeting to absolve our existential yearnings and unending thirst for understanding— and love teases at an ultimate answer. Love, like God, is a cosmic stand-in for that which we struggle to articulate. And while it’s hard for any romance to bear the burden of godhood, we keep striving for this kind of ecstatic transcendence in the iris of a lover’s eye, because anything less would be giving up.

– In most of your projects we’ve seen you talk about the advancements in the sciences and how that’s going to radically change the face of everything human, very soon. How are these advancements going to help reduce the severely increasing mental strain that we are facing today in every aspect of our lives? And more importantly, can this strain reduce given how social media affects the common man now?

-We are dealing with turbulent times of rapid change. So much advancement can be dizzying, and have unintended consequences. I get that. But we must not lose sight of the prize, or our sense of direction. We are moving towards more possibilities, more communication, and more creativity. Things are getting better, even when our social media filter bubbles prevent us from seeing it. The challenge is to zoom out, pierce the veil, move beyond fear, and work together to leverage these technologies to make this a better world.

– How can we all contribute to giving back to our planet?

– Make your voice heard. Make media. Upload videos about things you’re passionate about. Contribute mindfully and passionately. Be curious. Stay alert. Be KIND. Above all, BE KIND.

– One advice you received and one that you’ll want to share with the world.

– FOLLOW YOUR BLISS AND BE KIND. ALSO: passion exists at the intersection of 3 or more things you’re really curious about.

– Finally, they say that we know where we were heading when we arrive there. So after all this time, does Jason Silva know where he is going?

– Ha. Jason Silva wants to understand it all. I am hungry for ultimate meaning and understanding. Poetic rapture. Bliss on tap. Neural nirvana. Truth. Visionary understanding. Love.

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Lewes school adopts new ‘gender neutral’ uniform policy – BBC News

Image caption Girls in trousers on the first day at Priory School

A secondary school is making its uniform “gender neutral” by prohibiting new joiners from wearing skirts.

Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, made the change after “concerns” raised over the length of skirts, and catering for a handful of transgender pupils.

Starting this autumn term, all new students must wear trousers, while returning students have the option to wear either trousers or skirts.

Head teacher Tony Smith said the move addresses “inequality and decency”.

Skorts allowed in heatwaves

He added: “Respecting people’s rights are very important. We believe in rights and responsibilities, we believe in equality and we believe in fairness. We want to treat everybody the same.

“We hope that it will provide a smart, comfortable and affordable alternative to the current uniform.”

From now, all new pupils at the school will have identical shirt, tie, jumper and trousers, with an alternative summer uniform, following complaints about how unsuitable the previous uniform was during the hotter months.

Pupils will now be able to wear a polo shirt and trousers, and in extremely high temperatures, PE shorts or skorts – shorts made to look like skirts.

Image copyright Priory School
Image caption The new uniform “addresses the current issues of inequality and decency” said the head teacher

Frank Furedi, sociologist at the University of Kent said: “You start with uniform on Monday, by Tuesday you’re going to say, ‘maybe we shouldn’t use the pronouns he and she’.

“By Wednesday, you’re going to talk about having gender neutral bathrooms. In so doing, you’re raising fundamental questions about people’s identity.”

Some parents have supported the move. One interviewed outside the school said: “[My daughter] will whinge about wearing trousers, but it’s tough.

“There’s certain work uniforms you have to wear and it’s tough. It’s not a fashion show, she’s there to learn.”

Other pupils and parents were critical on social media though – saying its “too draconian” – and unfair that older pupils would still be allowed to wear skirts.

Posting on BBC South East’s Facebook page, Jeanetta Kelsey said: “What happened to a bit of choice? Skirts, shorts, trousers, as long as it’s uniform.”

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