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Cameron James: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Culture

I’ve missed people. Thanks to something called Covid-19 (look it up), I’ve been around other human beings less and less over the past couple of years. And I’ve missed you! I’ve missed overhearing couples bicker on the train, and watching Insta girls’ photoshoots get ruined by their dog, and seeing cocky business guys with Bluetooth headsets trip over on the footpath.

And most of all I’ve missed my favourite brand of real-world comedy: the moment when absurdity meets reality; the strange brew of “absolutely 100% real” and “that has to be fake”.

Luckily for me, the internet has a bunch of this sorta stuff on it, so it turns out I didn’t need real life at all! Here’s 10 of my faves. There’s some magic in these clips that says something powerful about humanity striving for connection. Or maybe it’s just funny to see people screw up. You be the judge.

1. Philomena Cunk

This is exactly what I’m on about. Diane Morgan (genius character comedian) embodies her dense and rude journalist character Philomena Cunk so fully and completely that when real experts sit opposite her in an interview setting they are forced to react. Will they mock her? Or try to help her? It’s watching real people have to decide in the moment whether to be empathetic to a dumb asshole. I love it, and I love her, but we’re both in long-term relationships plus she’s never heard of me so it probably wouldn’t work out.

2. The high five

You either like Jackass or you don’t. I won’t waste valuable words trying to convert the second group. All I’ll say is this clip is a real life Looney Tunes of harmless fun, and I wish it went for another 30 minutes.

3. Oh, hello

Remember when the internet acted all shocked and surprised when John Mulaney split with his wife, then went on a bender, then started dating a celebrity, then got that celebrity pregnant? I wasn’t surprised. Because the dark, manic side of Mulaney has always been right in front of us in his character of George from Oh, Hello. This is a 90-minute improvised conversation where you get to watch Mulaney’s mind work in real time in response to unrehearsed questions from the moderator and the crowd, and – guess what – he’s evil as hell.

4. Rude talking car

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Comedians and married couple Brendon Walsh and Amanda Conrad host the podcast the World Record Podcast where they spend 99% of their time prank-calling local businesses and testing the patience of middle management. It’s addictive listening. These two are artists at keeping people on the hook, and guiding them towards snapping. This one features a soulful performance from Amanda as a lady whose car AI keeps insulting her.

5. Nathan Fielder and John Wilson

These dudes made two of my favourite shows of the last decade. Nathan For You and How To with John Wilson were flipsides of the same coin, capturing real human beings in moments of their most absurd. This clip begins as a genuine behind-the-scenes video, but soon morphs into performance art from two guys who love cringe as much as I do.

6. David S Pumpkins

OK this has nothing to do with my theme of “absurdity v reality”, but it’s a go-to sketch I watch when I need a cheer-up. Plus there’s something incredibly surreal in seeing acclaimed actor Tom Hanks commit so fully to the most outrageous SNL character piece since the days of MacGruber. Yeah, now we’re back on theme! It’s Tom Hanks (Oscar winner) doing something wacky! That kinda fits.

7. This Country

The Office made its debut in 2001 and everyone tried to copy its mockumentary format, but none ever really lived up to it. Until This Country. Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper are a sibling duo from regional Britain who’ve made a comedy about class that’s the closest thing I’ve seen to being a real documentary – mostly because the rest of the cast is made up of the real-life locals of their home town.

8. Xtremers

Kyle Mooney is now on SNL, but in the early internet days when he first started posting on YouTube, I had no idea who this guy was. YouTube sketch was so new and unformed that I even thought this guy might be a real interviewer for a few seconds. His style – of being nervous to talk to even the most ordinary of people – instantly makes forces his subjects to step up and take charge of the interview. So funnnyyyyyyyyyy.

9. Who Is America?

This was Sacha Baron Cohen’s big comeback to pranking people on TV and I can’t explain to you how excited me and all my comedian friends were. This prank on former Republican politician Jason Spencer (he was forced to resign after what he does in this clip) was a highlight. How on Earth does he get people to do this? And how do they believe the insane prosthetic job?

10. Kate Berlant and John Early

The idea of getting the highly coveted standup comedy spot on The Tonight Show, and wasting it with a semi-scripted meltdown is so inherently funny to me. I love to imagine regular Americans at home watching it with furrowed brows, not realising it’s a bit.

  • Cameron James is a comedian and podcaster. You can follow him on Instagram, listen to his podcasts, and see his new stand up show Electric Dreams live around the country in 2022

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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