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.
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!
The move comes following a power purchase agreement between Johnson & Johnson and Ørsted, which has windfarm sites in Clare and Kerry.
Johnson & Johnson has revealed plans to move to 100pc renewable electricity across its Irish operations.
The company has entered into an eight-year corporate power purchase agreement in Ireland with Danish company Ørsted. The agreement will help to ensure that the company’s entire Irish operations will be powered by electricity from 100pc renewable sources from now on.
Ørsted will supply the company with more than 1TWh of renewable energy during this period from two windfarms located in Kerry and Clare. The agreement will also help Ørsted as it invests in its strategy to construct more renewable generation in the future.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, praised the move in the context of Ireland’s climate action plans.
“Johnson & Johnson has embraced its environmental responsibilities globally, but also here in Ireland, and this agreement will help the company to achieve its wider climate goals. We are at a crucial point in the global fight against climate change and initiatives like this should become the benchmark for all companies to aspire to,” he said.
Towards net zero
Last year, Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide VP of environmental health, safety and sustainability, Paulette Frank, spoke at Silicon Republic’s Future Human event about the company’s “bold” climate goals. From her base in the US, Frank told attendees of the virtual event that her colleagues viewed the pandemic as “inspiration to propel” its climate action “further faster.”
Sourcing electricity from 100pc renewable sources is a goal the company set to achieve by 2025. By 2030, it wants to achieve carbon neutrality in its global operations.
John Lynch, plant leader at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Ireland, said the company was proud to have met its targets in its Irish operations.
“Across our 10 sites and workforce of more than 5,000 here in Ireland, we are committed to supporting Johnson & Johnson’s climate action goals. In the last decade we have invested more than €60m in over 80 carbon footprint reduction projects.
“Today is a major landmark on our journey in Ireland to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and underlines our commitment to ensuring a better, healthier world.”
Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.
Australians are the world’s biggest consumers of health and wellness apps, punching well above our per capita weight in our quest for peak physical and mental condition, according to research from telecommunications company Uswitch. In recent years we have also been making them – with everyone from fitness influencers to mental health advocacy groups launching digital products.
I’m partial to a bit of mobile-based movement and mindfulness myself, but I have a complex relationship with wellness. While I love green juices, pilates and my “ness” being “well”, I can’t abide many contemporary uses of the word. In the diet, fitness, fashion and other industries, “wellness” can feel like a barely repackaged “weight loss”, while “healthy” has replaced “slim” as companies respond superficially to the body positivity movement without really changing their ways.
Despite wholesome beginnings in the 1950s, wellness is often framed as a goal for the financially and genetically privileged – and don’t get me started on the pseudoscience.
So I choose cautious cynicism when engaging with wellness and wellbeing products – but I’ve also been alone in my house for the greater part of two years, so I’ll try pretty much anything.
Cost: $19.99 a month
Sweat is a women’s health app co-founded by Australian fitness influencer Kayla Itsines, who boasts a worldwide social media following of more than 40 million. It offers over 30 programs for training at home or the gym, including high-intensity interval training (Hiit), low-intensity training, yoga and barre.
I did sessions from the PWR Zero Equipment program and it was all easy to follow and very doable. Audio and written instructions and onscreen demonstrations are clear, and self-accountability is super easy. It’s perfect for lockdown and for busy people cramming in exercise wherever and whenever they can. Plus, I can report that burpees are still the merciless work of Satan herself.
Itsines has created an app that exists in the wellness space with little of the self-congratulatory, quasi-spiritual hoopla other influencers lean so heavily into. Sweat isn’t pretending to be something it’s not. It’s a workout app, you do workouts on it. Yes, there are recipes and lifestyle tips but they aren’t offered as miracle pathways to a higher plane of being.
Is it my preferred mode of exercise? No. But it’s convenient and flexible and I can see myself using it when I travel. If that’s a thing that ever happens again.
ReachOut’s WorryTime is an anxiety management app from the online youth mental health service that uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to disrupt and manage repetitive thinking.
I am by no definition a youth, but I have mild anxiety and WorryTime’s methodology appealed to me. You nominate a daily time to do all your worrying and when you feel anxious, you note why in the app; every day at the designated time, you worry about what’s still plaguing you and delete what’s not. Easy!
I used WorryTime diligently for a while, noting my fears, my troubles and doubts and reassessing them every 24 hours. All was going well until I got busy with work, stressed about work and scared I’d stop getting work. Where the app had been a welcome task, it became a bugbear.
I was trying not to think about things that made me anxious and knowing the app contained a list of them created a classic avoidance paradigm. I skipped a day. And the next day. And the day after that. Soon the WorryTime alarm was causing me the very anxiety it was engaged to minimise. After a few weeks of this mental chicken-egg dance, I deleted the app. I may have been in the foetal position at the time.
I’m not advocating against WorryTime. It could be a great tool for others. There are no one-size-fits-all mental health salves. It would be nice if there were though.
Bibliotherapy with State Library Victoria
My favourite discovery from this whole exercise is bibliotherapy or book therapy, an age-old practice that uses literature to support better mental health and wellbeing. Basically, you read or are read aloud a prescribed text, specifically chosen to raise questions, uncover truths and encourage healing. It’s also fun to say.
In response to the pandemic, a new podcast called Bibliotherapy with State Library Victoria was launched. Hosted by bibliotherapy practitioner Dr Susan McLaine, it offers to help people “stay calmer in this fragile time”. In each episode, McLaine reads a short story and a poem and poses questions for listeners. Texts range from emerging and obscure writers to Tolstoy, Donne and Kipling.
I love this podcast. There’s something so intimate and soothing about being read to, no doubt embedded in childhood nostalgia. McLaine’s voice takes some getting used to, though to be fair I find this with most podcast hosts, but her choice of texts is excellent and she reads everything slowly and deliberately, “savouring every word and offering space between words”. It’s the closest thing to a hug I’ve had in months.
The only bad thing about it is that there are only two short seasons. After a brief search for similarly soporific, story-based podcasts and apps, I found the excellent Dreamy podcast, a collection of beautiful sleep stories by First Nations storytellers like Jazz Money and Aurora Liddle-Christie. Bringing tens of thousands of years of oral tradition into the digital world, Dreamy is “helping people of all walks of life to quiet their minds, drift into dreams, and disconnect from their devices”.
I also found Sleep Stories on the Calm app ($14.99 a month). It’s full of grown-up tales and mindful nonsense to soothe or bore you into slumber. There are even equally terrible and amazing celebrity cameos: Matthew McConaughey, Cillian Murphy and the hot duke from Bridgerton will read to you like you’re a child. Last night Harry Styles read me the worst poem I’ve ever heard – for 40 minutes. Five stars. Would listen again.
The Resilience Project
Price: $4.49 one time fee
The Resilience Project app is a “daily wellbeing journal” for all ages from a Melbourne-based organisation of the same name, providing evidence-based mental health strategies and “sharing the benefits of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness” to schools, sports clubs and businesses.
Users are encouraged to log on every day, note how they feel, record who or what they’re grateful for, perform acts of kindness and do a short guided meditation. This nice daily ritual only takes a few minutes but proves a small antidote to the current news cycle.
I don’t see myself using it long-term, because of repetitiveness and the world’s shortest attention span, but during this lockdown I’ve appreciated the nightly reminder to acknowledge my blessings and privilege and to reach out to friends.
Though it can’t do the heavy lifting where mental health is concerned, I’ll put it in my arsenal of chronic depression coping mechanisms, and try to use it in bad times. It won’t soothe what only drugs and Great British Bake Off can, but it might provide a few minutes respite.
Cost: $40 a month
The Class is an American exercise methodology-slash-mindfulness practice with semi-cult vibes, taught by a host of ridiculously hot and relentlessly cool twentysomethings who can pull off white Lycra and blend in on aGirlsset.
In fortuitous timing, founder Taryn Toomey launched online classes in late 2019, taking the Class into locked down homes around the world from 2020. Australians can access a wide selection of on-demand and live online classes, and there’s even an Australian teacher. Timezone differences narrow live options quite a bit, but most live classes become on-demand classes, so it doesn’t really matter.
Frequented by celebrities including Alicia Keys, Naomi Watts and Emma Stone, the Class is a mat-based, music-driven “cathartic workout experience” designed to “strengthen the body and balance the mind”. It’s yoga meets Les Mills meets clubbing. Movements are simple, repetition is key and loud exhales are encouraged. You may do squats for a whole song, free dance for another and star jumps for the next. In between, there’s stillness.
Teachers speak a kind of motivational psychobabble that is at once intolerable and addictive. It verges on the spiritual and flirts with cultural appropriation but remains just secular enough that I don’t turn it off. “Be in your power”; “You are enough”; “Softness is your birthright” and so on. Many teachers end their sessions with “I love you” which I somehow don’t hate.
At first, I struggled to put aside my prejudices against self-indulgent, pseudo-mystical wellness fads and find peace with beautiful women telling me to accept myself while making me do burpees. But the more I did it, the more I was able to just let go and roll with the theatre. Plus, it’s actually a very good workout.
I am now willingly paying for the Class. Let’s never speak of this again. I love you.
In brief Whether or not non-fungible tokens are a flash in the pan or forever, malware operators have been keen to weaponise the technology.
An investigation was triggered after a number of cryptowallets belonging to customers of the largest NFT exchange OpenSea got mysteriously emptied. Researchers at security shop Check Point found a nasty form of NFT was in circulation, one that came with its own malware package.
People were receiving free NFTs from an unknown benefactor, but when they accepted the gift the attackers got access to their wallet information in OpenSea’s storage systems. The code generated a pop-up, that if clicked, allowed wallets to be emptied.
After disclosing the issue Opensea had a fix sorted within an hour – we wish others took such prompt action – and the platform appears to be secured. But beware of “free” gifts, particularly where money is involved.
Crime doesn’t pay? really?
A US Treasury report has said that in the last three years ransomware operators using over 60 different variants have siphoned off $5.3bn in Bitcoin payments.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network report [PDF], first spotted by The Record, said that the ransoms taken in the the first six months of this year amounted to $590m, up from $416m for 2020, and the problem is getting worse, according to ten years of 2,184 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) analysed by the agency.
“If current trends continue, SARs filed in 2021 are projected to have a higher ransomware-related transaction value than SARs filed in the previous 10 years combined, which would represent a continuing trend of substantial increases in reported year-over-year ransomware activity,” the Treasury team warned.
Arming robots with sniper rifles, not worrying at all
US-based Ghost Robotics showed off an unusual new gadget this week at a meeting of the Association of the United States Army – a sniper rifle robot.
The robotics firm already has unarmed robot dogs acting as sentries at Tyndall Air Force Base but mounted a 6.5mm sniper rifle with a range of up to 1,200 meters (3937 feet) with both day and night vision cameras. The manufacturers were at pains to point out that this is not autonomous in any way and a human always controls the trigger, the robot just gets into position to keep its human operator safe.
The robot caused something of a storm, and Ghost Robotics CEO Jiren Parikh attributed this to the emotional connection robot dogs evoke and decades of movies about killer robots.
US warns critical water systems under attack
American online watchdogs at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a security advisory following a spate of attacks against water and waste management facilities.
Since 2019 CISA said it had recorded five attacks against water systems, mostly ransomware but also aa former employee at Kansas-based water company who tried to tamper with drink water quality using credentials that should have been revoked when they left the biz.
For ransomware operators such businesses are tempting targets. Since water is such an essential service, it’s no-doubt thought that they’d be more likely to pay up rather than cause widespread disruption and panic.
Ukrainian cops cuff botnet suspect
The Security Service of Ukraine announced this week that they had arrested a man accused of running a massive botnet and charging for its use.
The man, a resident of Ivano-Frankivsk region in the west of the country, is said to have been running a botnet made up of over 100,000 infected systems. His opsec wasn’t great, he used telegram to tout for customers and, police say, made use of “electronic payment systems banned in Ukraine.”
A search of the suspect’s premises revealed computer equipment used to operate the botnet, and data stolen from botnet participants. Police say the suspect was also a representative of legitimate Russian payment service Webmoney, which is however under sanctions from the Ukrainian government.