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Rose Callaghan: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Comedy

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Hello, I’m comedian and internet aficionado Rose Callaghan. I have ADHD and am what many would consider “underemployed” so obviously spend most of my time on the internet arguing with people on Twitter and watching TikToks.

I live and breathe the internet and unfortunately/sadly haven’t been able to stop posting since I first created an account on LiveJournal in the year 2002.

Me and the internet have had some crazy times together. Like when my OkCupid page ended up on 200 websites of “insane internet dating profiles”, or when my website kept getting hacked and diverted to Russian porn for a year.

A few years ago I made an online show called Overshare with my friend Jared Jekyll (edited by my fiance – thanks babe!) purely for discussing random weird stuff we find on the internet. I also make sketches about the greatest TV franchise ever – The Bachelor – and also did a podcast about The Bachelor and Bachelorette.

These are my favourite things on the internet.

1. Alastair Green’s lo-fi sketches

I’m really into lo-fi Twitter sketch videos. Sorry to get all earnest with you but I like with Twitter how you can break the rules of how the platform is supposed to work and represent content and conversations in different ways. Twitter isn’t where you’re “supposed” to post videos which maybe is why I really like low-fi/ad-hoc Twitter sketch videos.

If you are looking for characterisations of UK conservative types talking about British political issues that you don’t really understand and other very specific characters, then Alastair Green is your guy. I’ve been cackling over his videos for the last couple of years.

They are all filmed in front of the same white background and little to no effort is put into costuming and I am here for it.

2. ‘Is the answer India?’

I have watched this video so many times. It’s so funny and I beg of you please watch until the end. The optimism of this guy to keep taking these calls despite what keeps happening is truly inspiring.

3. Contact Tracys

As Covid wreaks havoc on Australia, the government has no choice but to recruit the best contact tracers in the biz – the Tracys. Your favourite zoomers use the magic of the internet to track down Covid cases and teach these public servants a few lessons along the way. Also love a bit of bi-representation in there. Yes king!

Featuring the very talented Freudian Nip and written by Freudian Nip along with other very funny people, Nina Oyama and Bec Shaw. Very nice!

4. Aunty Donna – Amazing Magic Compilation featuring TimTimFed!

This is my favourite of all the Aunty Donna videos, of which there are many, and I think they are all funny so this really says something!

5. Megan Stalter’s interpretation of the woman who booked Four Seasons Total Landscaping instead of the hotel for Trump’s press conference

I’m literally obsessed with Megan Stalter and basically every video she has ever done. Megan blew up during Covid and if she doesn’t have her own TV show soon I’m going to die.

I say this as much as I hate to encourage anyone who said “Why don’t you do some comedy online?!” to an out-of-work comedian during lockdown. Please don’t mention the words “zoom comedy gig” to me ever again!

6. Eva Victor when she definitely did not murder her husband

You may have noticed a trend here. Oh, you spent millions of dollars filming a comedy movie with a fancy camera? Sorry, if it’s not filmed in portrait mode using the front-facing camera of an iPhone, I’m not interested! Eva Victor posts lots of sketches on her Twitter page and they are very funny.

7. Inside Amy Schumer – Amy’s dream breakup

One of the best sketch shows to come out in the last 20 years! I could post dozens of sketches from this show because it was so funny and well-written. Heaps of these videos went super viral when they were posted online because they really hit the nail on the head with a lot of zeitgeisty issues that were affecting women at that time.

8. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard: Architectural Digest Open Door

I’m obsessed with this video series on YouTube that the magazine Architectural Digest does where celebrities show off their expensive, ridiculous houses. Usually in normal media scenarios, celebrities try to pretend like they are normal and just like everyone else. Except when they are trying to impress Architectural Digest magazine.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard’s tour of their New York brownstone is a real highlight as it becomes pretty clear that in real life they are kind of insufferable … and they really like teak. It’s like a really pretentious version of MTV cribs.

9. Joanne the Scammer: Caucasian living

Joanne is an icon and invented the modern meaning of the word “cancelled”. Honestly, truly.

10. Baby Spa videos

Are these funny or just cute? Hard to say but I am obsessed with videos of babies at these weird baby spa things where they put tiny babies’ heads in a floatie and put them in a little baby pool. Awww!

Did I also recently have a baby and am obsessed with babies? Guilty as charged!

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Rocket men: Bezos, Musk and Branson scramble for space supremacy | Space

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It was a week in which two space-faring billionaires tussled again in their futuristic game of cosmic oneupmanship. And this time, for once, Elon Musk was not at the party.

The declaration that Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and world’s richest man, was heading into space next month on the first crewed launch of his Blue Origin New Shepard rocket was followed quickly by an apparent leak from within Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic empire that the British tycoon might look to upstage him with a Fourth of July Independence Day spectacular of his own.

Branson’s team was quick to downplay the possibility, insisting a date for his first spaceflight had yet to be determined. But beyond what some might see as vain billionaires using real-life rockets as playthings, the episode underscores how close the lucrative yet still fledgling commercial space industry has come to routinely launching paying passengers into outer space and achieving a goal two decades in the making.

On Saturday, the winner of an auction for a seat to accompany Bezos and his brother Mark on next month’s big space adventure will be announced on the Blue Origin website. On Thursday, the bidding reached $4.2m for the 11-minute round trip.

“Many congratulations to Jeff Bezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans,” Branson said in a tweet directed at his rival. “Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space … ”

Absent from Branson’s tweet was any mention of Musk, whose nonconformist Space Exploration Technologies Corporation – better known as SpaceX – has grown from a shaky start in 2002 to become the dominant player in the commercial space sector, and a key partner of the US space agency, Nasa. The company is already regularly flying astronauts to the international space station, and is renting out its Dragon space capsule this fall for its first private spaceflight, taking a crew of four on a three-day orbital odyssey.

With differing longer-term ambitions and goals, the three billionaires have collectively upended the traditional government-funded and directed model for human spaceflight and are shaping a thriving new commercial space era, according to Matthew Weinzierl, a Harvard Business School professor and an expert in the economics of space.

“SpaceX’s recent achievements, as well as upcoming efforts by Boeing, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic to put people in space sustainably and at scale, mark the opening of a new chapter of spaceflight led by private firms,” he said.

Elon Musk at the Kennedy Space Center in January 2020. ‘Musk is totally about Mars.’
Elon Musk at the Kennedy Space Center in January 2020. ‘Musk is totally about Mars.’ Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

“They have both the intention and capability to bring private citizens to space as passengers, tourists and eventually settlers, opening the door for businesses to start meeting the demand those people create over the next several decades.”

Weinzierl expects there to be a gradual shift from money spent in space to benefit Earth, such as investments in telecommunications and internet satellites and infrastructure, to the so-called space-for-space economy, including mining asteroids or the moon for materials that will be necessary to support human habitat and fuel deeper-space missions to Mars or beyond.

Bezos and Musk always had loftier goals in mind, even as they were taking their first tentative steps in the space industry, experts say. But their visions diverge beyond flying humans in low Earth orbit, or even suborbital flight, as Bezos’s brief July venture will be.

“Musk is totally about Mars. His passion is to get people to Mars as a backup plan to Earth, and to make humanity a multi-planet species,” said Marcia Smith, founder and senior analyst of spacepolicyonline.com.

“Bezos is interested in the moon, and in the space between Earth and the moon. He wants to move all of the heavy industry off Earth and into cislunar space. He talks about rezoning Earth for light industry and habitation.

“So they both are interested in trying to save Earth because of all the problems Earth is having, but they have very different visions as to how that’s going to happen.”

Nasa has embraced both billionaires as it pursues its own exploration programs. In April, the agency chose SpaceX to build the spacecraft to return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972, a decision Blue Origin has challenged. The enigmatic Musk reacted in typically bellicose fashion, tweeting: “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol” in reference to Bezos’s so far unsuccessful efforts to launch a crew into space.

Blue Origin, meanwhile, is developing a separate, reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle, New Glenn, under a Nasa contract to supply satellite delivery capability, although the project has stalled.

The operations of both companies have the potential to attract billions of dollars of investment to the US through commercial clients, and Weinzierl sees space as the “ultimate industry of the future”, though he says it may take longer than this century to reach its potential.

“The sector has changed a great deal over the last two decades, largely in that there are new competitors seeking to serve private customers in addition to governments,” he said.

“At the same time, Nasa and other public agencies are still the dominant sources of funding and specific plans for space beyond low Earth orbit, where the private satellite market has long been active. Even SpaceX, for all its success, wouldn’t be where it is without Nasa’s partnership.”

Smith argues that Musk has created his own luck to position SpaceX as the leading pioneer in the new private space market.

Richard Branson on the floor of the New York stock exchange after Virgin Galactic went public in October 2019.
Richard Branson on the floor of the New York stock exchange after Virgin Galactic went public in October 2019. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Musk has really transformed the business, and brought commercial business back to the United States, by lower prices and reusability. He has really made a change,” she said.

“Bezos is trying to build this New Glenn rocket and is having setbacks with the engine.”

John Logsdon, the respected professor emeritus at George Washington University and founder of the Space Policy Institute, phrased the differences between the two tycoons another way, in a 2018 interview with the Guardian.

“Musk’s style is to brag about things and then do them. Bezos’s style is to do things and then brag about them,” he said.

“I’d call it competition, and competition is the American way of life.”

As for Branson, the Virgin founder scored a major success last month when his SpaceShipTwo rocketplane reached an altitude of 55.4 miles, either in space or at the edge of it, depending on which calculation of the Karman Line, the perceived boundary of outer space, is being used. It brings his long-awaited but much-delayed aspiration of a profitable space tourism business a significant step closer to realization.

How relevant the Bezos brothers’ flight aboard New Shepard, his rocket named as a tribute to Alan Shepard, the first American in space, will be to Blue Origin’s wider ambitions is open to question, although Weinzierl, the Harvard professor, sees it as more than a publicity stunt.

“It’s about demonstrating in the most powerful way he can that he trusts in the technology,” he said.



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FTC approves $61.7m settlement with Amazon for pocketing driver tips • The Register

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The US Federal Trade Commission on Friday announced the approval a consent order against Amazon that requires the company to pay $61.7m to resolve charges that for two and a half years it took tips intended for Amazon Flex drivers and concealed the diversion of funds.

The deal was proposed in February but required sign-off from the US trade watchdog. It arises from FTC charges that Amazon misrepresented both to Amazon Flex drivers and to the public what the company would pay for delivery work.

The tech giant launched its Flex service in 2015, promising drivers – which it classified as independent contractors and referred to as “delivery partners” – that it would pay $18-25 per hour for the delivery of goods from Amazon.com, Prime Now (household goods), Amazon Fresh (groceries), and Amazon Restaurant (takeout).

Amazon’s ads made promises like, “You will receive 100 per cent of the tips you earn while delivering with Amazon Flex.”

However, during the period from late 2016 through August 2019, drivers – who, as independent contractors, paid for their own car, fuel, maintenance, and insurance – saw only a portion of the promised gratuity when customers opted to tip.

That’s because Amazon allegedly, without telling its drivers, shifted to a “variable base pay” rate, which varied by location, wasn’t disclosed to drivers, and was frequently lower than the promised hourly range.

“Under the variable base pay approach, for over two and a half years, Amazon secretly reduced its own contribution to drivers’ pay to an algorithmically set, internal ‘base rate’ using data it collected about average tips in the area,” the FTC complaint [PDF] explains.

“The base rate varied by location and sometimes varied within the same market. But this algorithmically set ‘base rate’ often was below the $18-$25 per hour range that Amazon had promised at the time of drivers’ enrollment and in specific block offers.”

To make up any difference between the base rate and the advertised minimum, Amazon is said to have used some or all of any tip left by customers to meet its payment commitment. For example, if Amazon set a base rate for a region at $12 and the customer left a tip of $6 via Amazon’s electronic tip collection system, then the company paid the driver only $12 and augmented the payment with the $6 tip, instead of paying the $18.

To conceal this calculation, Amazon displayed driver earnings in its driver app as the combination of its base rate and any tip rather than listing the two amounts separately. As described in the FTC complaint, Amazon did so deliberately and adopted a strategy to avoid communicating to drivers that their earnings had been affected by its pay rate change.

“Amazon employees also acknowledged internally that Amazon was using customer tips to subsidize its minimum payments to drivers, and that these subsidies were saving Amazon millions of dollars at the drivers’ expense,” the complaint explains. “In August 2018 emails, Amazon employees referred to the issue as ‘a huge PR risk for Amazon’ and warned of ‘an Amazon reputation tinderbox.'”

When questioned by a reporter about its Flex pay practices in February 2019, Amazon offered a response that ducked the question, the complaint says. In May 2019, the FTC told Amazon it was investigating the company’s Flex payment practices. Then in August 2019, Amazon announced an “Updated Earnings Experience,” offering terms similar to its initial unfulfilled commitment – to let drivers keep 100 per cent of any tips.

The $61.7m settlement represents the amount of tips that Amazon allegedly withheld from drivers and it forbids Amazon from misrepresenting the likely income of drivers and from changing how tips are used as compensation without prior driver consent. Those requirements will last 20 years and be subject to civil penalties of $43,792 per violation.

The FTC says it will disburse the funds to affected Flex drivers within six months of receiving payment and driver information from Amazon.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment. ®

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How subsea cables are making Ireland attractive for investment

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Digital Realty’s Mike Hollands discusses the subsea cable landscape and why it’s such an important sector for Ireland.

As the world becomes more connected than ever before, subsea cables have become a vital network for data travelling around the globe.

These long cables lie on the ocean floor and send data as pulses of light inside thin strands of wires, or optical fibres, within the cable.

There have been a lot of major infrastructure moves in the subsea cable industry in recent years in order to meet the growing demands for data.

Just this week, Google announced its plan to build a new subsea cable between the US and Argentina, which is expected to begin operations in 2023. This follows another two cables being built by Google and Facebook between Asia and the US.

According to Mike Hollands, senior director of market development at data centre giant Digital Realty, there are more than 400 existing subsea cables worldwide.

“As organisations bring on new technologies and solutions such as AI and IoT at scale, the explosive growth of digital business is requiring new subsea cable systems with greater capacity and increased resilience.”

‘Existing and planned subsea cables ensure that Dublin is able to take advantage of the data gravity megatrend’
– MIKE HOLLANDS

From an Irish perspective, there are currently four subsea cables connecting the island of Ireland to the US and eight systems linking the island to Britain.

“According to Host in Ireland, there are 70 operational data centres located in the country, and subsea cables have been a key component of making Ireland such an attractive location for investment in digital infrastructure,” Hollands added.

“In the next few years, we will see new subsea projects for the first time connecting Ireland directly to Norway, Denmark, Iceland and France.”

This acceleration of subsea projects will put Ireland in an incredibly strong position in terms of digital infrastructure.

A Digital Gravity Index from Digital Realty in 2020 suggested that Dublin will be among the top cities that will contribute to Europe’s growth in data in the coming years.

Globally, Ireland’s capital is also expected to outpace cities and data centre hubs like Mexico City, Sao Paulo and even Shanghai to be among the top 20 cities to experience annual data growth by 2024.

“Data gravity is the phenomenon of large amounts of data attracting more data and applications into the same place,” said Hollands. “Cities with strong, open data exchanges with other cities often generate the greatest data gravity, bringing major strategic advantages to businesses in those cities.

“Existing and planned subsea cables ensure that Dublin is able to take advantage of this megatrend, and cope efficiently with the high volume of data activity.”

In addition to the development of new cables, Hollands told Siliconrepublic.com that these cables will also become smarter, incorporating seismic and environmental detection features to support the scientific community in preserving our environment.

“A good example of this is [the] recently launched Ellalink cable between Brazil and Europe.” This cable, for which construction was completed at the beginning of June, will act as both a digital data highway and as a means to provide real-time, accurate and relevant data on seabed conditions.

Navigating challenges

While the future for subsea cables may be promising, there are also challenges and barriers to the growth of the industry.

From a geopolitical point of view, tensions between countries can cause serious problems when it comes to the transference of data.

For example, plans for a Facebook-Google cable between the US and Hong Kong were cut after four years in the making after concerns were raised about direct communications links between these regions.

Hollands also said the demand for so many projects has put pressure on the supply part of the industry. “There are limited number of cable-laying ships and subsea cable operators are having to carefully schedule their projects in order to meet their delivery timelines,” he said.

However, he added that new projects are also seeking to connect countries via new, diverse routes and landing points. “This helps improve the overall resilience of the networks that use them, ensuring that all the services delivered by the internet avoid downtime.”

Interxion is running a webinar on insights into Ireland’s subsea cable landscape on 15 June at 2:30pm. More information is available here.

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