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Why doesn’t water help with spicy food? What about milk or beer?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Spicy foods taste spicy because they contain a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the major culprit. It’s found in chillies, jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and is even the active ingredient in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31334983/">pepper spray</a>.</p> <p>Capsaicin doesn’t actually physically heat up your mouth. The burning sensation comes from receptors in the mouth reacting to capsaicin and sending a signal to the brain that something is very hot.</p> <p>That’s why the “hot” chilli sensation feels so real – we even respond by sweating. To alleviate the heat, you need to remove the capsaicin from your mouth.</p> <p>So why doesn’t drinking water help make that spicy feeling go away? And what would work better instead?</p> <h2>Water-loving and water-hating molecules</h2> <p>To help us choose what might wash the capsaicin away most effectively, it’s helpful to know that capsaicin is a hydrophobic molecule. That means it hates being in contact with water and will not easily mix with it.</p> <p>Look what happens when you try to mix hydrophobic sand with water.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8cj9CpHW7w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules love water and are very happy to mix with it.</p> <p>You’ve likely seen this before. You can easily dissolve hydrophilic sugar in water, but it’s hard to wash away hydrophobic oils from your pan using tap water alone.</p> <p>If you try to wash hydrophobic capsaicin away with water, it won’t be very effective, because hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances don’t mix.</p> <p>Going for iced water will be even less effective, as hydrophobic capsaicin is even less soluble in water at lower temperatures. You may get a temporary sense of relief while the cold liquid is in your mouth, but as soon as you swallow it, you’ll be back where you started.</p> <p>Instead, a good choice would be to consume something that is also hydrophobic. This is because of an old-but-true adage in chemistry that “like dissolves like”.</p> <p>The idea is that generally, hydrophobic substances will not dissolve in something hydrophilic – like water – but will dissolve in something that is also hydrophobic, as this video shows:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5yfs-Pr_y8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>My mouth is on fire. What should I drink instead of water?</h2> <p>A swig of oil would likely be effective, but is perhaps not so palatable.</p> <p>Milk makes for an ideal choice for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that milk contains hydrophobic fats, which the capsaicin will more easily dissolve in, allowing it to be washed away.</p> <p>The second is that dairy products contain a protein called casein. Casein is an emulsifier, a substance that helps oils and water mix, as in this video:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4XeQhZRLDE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Casein plays a large role in keeping the fat mixed throughout your glass of milk, and it also has a strong affinity for capsaicin. It will readily wrap up and encapsulate capsaicin molecules and assist in carrying them away from the receptor. This relieves the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510373/">burning sensation</a>.</p> <h2>OK but I hate drinking milk. What else can I try?</h2> <p>What about raita? This dish, commonly served with Indian curries, is made primarily from yoghurt. So aside from being its own culinary experience, raita is rich in fats, and therefore contains plenty of hydrophobic material. It also contains casein, which will again help lock up and remove the capsaicin.</p> <p>Ice cream would also work, as it contains both casein and large amounts of hydrophobic substances.</p> <p>Some studies have also shown that consuming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328490/">drinks with large amounts of sugar</a> can relieve spiciness.</p> <p>What about reaching for that ice cold beer?</p> <p>This is commonly suggested as a suitable approach to stop the burning. At first glance, this may seem a good idea because capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol.</p> <p>However, most beers only contain between 4–6% alcohol. The bulk of the liquid in beer is water, which is hydrophilic and cannot wash away capsaicin. The small amount of alcohol in your beer would make it slightly more effective, but not to any great degree.</p> <p>Your curry and beer may taste great together, but that’s likely the only benefit.</p> <p>In truth, an alcoholic beverage is not going to help much unless you go for something with a much, much higher alcohol content, which comes with its own problems.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226624/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-doesnt-water-help-with-spicy-food-what-about-milk-or-beer-226624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Why a cold beer is best – chemically speaking

<p>A quiet moment in a bar has led two researchers to study how alcohol tastes at different temperatures. No, this is real science.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>“Two years ago, Xiaotao Yang and I were drinking beer together. He had just finished his doctorate degree thesis and asked me, ‘what should we do next?’” says Lei Jiang, lead author of a new study <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matt.2024.03.017" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published</a> in the materials science journal <em>Matter</em>.</p> <p>Yang and Jiang are material scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.</p> <p>“At the time, I was a scientific committee member of one of the biggest Chinese alcoholic beverage companies, and I had the idea to ask the question ‘why does Chinese baijiu have a very particular concentration of alcohol, either 38%–42%, 52%–53%, or 68%–75%?’”</p> <p>Baijiu is a clear grain liquor from East Asia. It’s typically distilled from fermented sorghum (a type of grass), though it is also sometimes made from rice, wheat, barley or millet.</p> <p>“Then we decided, let’s try something, so I put a drop of beer on my hand to see the contact angle,” says Jiang.</p> <p>Contact angle is a measure of surface tension. For example, water has a low contact angle which is why it appears bead-like when placed on a surface. Solutions with high <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/debunks-vices-alcohol/">alcohol</a> concentration, however, have a higher contact angle meaning they flatten and spread out.</p> <p>Contact angle also reveals how molecules within the droplet interact with each other and the surface below.</p> <p>After plotting the concentration of ethanol (alcohol) against contact angle, the scientists were surprised with what they found. There is no linear relationship between alcohol concentration and contact angle.</p> <p>Instead, increasing the amount of alcohol leads to a series of plateaus and sharp rises in the plot. Further experiments showed that this arises out of the formation of clusters of ethanol and water in the solutions.</p> <p>At low concentrations, ethanol forms pyramid-like structures around the water molecules. At high concentrations, the ethanol molecules arrange end-to-end in a chain.</p> <p>They also found that these structures change depending on temperature.</p> <p>For example, 38%–42% and 52%–53% ethanol solutions have distinct cluster structures at around room temperature, but this difference disappears at higher temperatures, like 40°C.</p> <p>“Although there is only 1% difference, the taste of baijiu at 51% and 52% is noticeably different; the taste of baijiu at 51% is similar to that of lower alcohol content, such as 38%–42%. So, in order to achieve the same taste at a lower alcohol content, the distribution of baijiu products ranges most within the 38%–42% and 52%–53% categories,” says Jiang.</p> <p>The researchers also found that there is an increase in ethanol chains at 5°C in 5% and 11% ethanol solutions – the concentration range of beer – giving it a more “ethanol-like” taste which is generally preferred.</p> <p>“At low temperature, the tetrahedral (pyramid-shaped) clusters become the low concentration amount, and this is why we drink cold beer,” says Jiang.</p> <p>The researchers say their research could help beverage companies produce the best flavour with the lowest alcohol concentration.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" fetchpriority="high" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Cosmos-Catch-Up-embed_728x150-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Sign up to our weekly newsletter" width="600" height="154" title="why a cold beer is best – chemically speaking 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=303282&amp;title=Why+a+cold+beer+is+best+%E2%80%93+chemically+speaking" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/chemistry/beer-taste-temperature/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/evrim-yazgin/">Evrim Yazgin</a>. </em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Aussies lament the end of ancient "Beers for Garbos" tradition

<p>Here in Australia, where rubbish collectors are celebrated annually with a frosty brew (or six), a cherished tradition is facing its untimely demise.</p> <p>Yes, you guessed it right – the legendary "Beers for Garbos" tradition, where grateful locals adorn their wheelie bins with a six-pack of beer as a token of appreciation, is disappearing faster than a cold beer on a scorching summer day.</p> <p>For generations, Aussies have upheld this festive practice, a heartwarming exchange between citizens and their garbage collectors during the most wonderful time of the year. But alas, the tides are turning, and it seems the days of beer-topped bins are numbered.</p> <p>The alarm was sounded when a concerned citizen took to the virtual streets of Reddit to lament the decline of this time-honoured tradition. "I've been doing this for 20 years, only the last two years they don't seem interested. Is this a tradition we are losing?" cried out the desperate Redditor, faced with the heartbreaking prospect of having their VB left unwanted and <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">unclaimed</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">.</span></p> <p>Speculations ran wild in the digital realm, with theories ranging from light-fingered neighbours to the outrageous notion that beer might not be as popular as it once was. However, Veolia, the giant among waste management companies in Australia, quickly extinguished the fiery speculations.</p> <p>Veolia's chief operating officer of environment, Tony Roderick, delivered the crushing blow, confirming that the "Beers for Garbos" tradition had taken its last bow. The culprit? Health and safety concerns, the perennial party poopers of workplace festivities. Roderick explained, "Packages of beer become missiles in the cabin of the truck under emergency braking."</p> <p>Picture this: a garbage truck hurtling down the suburban streets, emergency brakes screeching, and inside, a symphony of exploding beer bottles. It's a hazardous scenario that even the most seasoned garbage collector might find hard to navigate. Moreover, Veolia has a company-wide dry workplace policy, dashing hopes of a beer-fuelled trash pickup.</p> <p>But fear not, for Roderick is not entirely Ebenezer Scrooge. He encourages alternative forms of gift-giving. "Should people want to leave a small gift for their local driver, it is possible to leave it at the local depot where the driver can collect it at the end of the shift."</p> <p>So, instead of a six-pack perched on the bin, envision a quaint scene of a garbage collector picking up a thoughtful gift basket at the depot – the stuff of modern Aussie holiday magic.</p> <p>As we bid adieu to the "Beers for Garbos" era, let's raise a glass in fond remembrance. May your wheelie bins be forever adorned with the spirit of giving, even if the contents are now strictly non-alcoholic. Cheers to a new era of sober, yet equally heartfelt, expressions of gratitude for our unsung garbage heroes!</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Not all beer and pokies: what Australians did with their super when COVID struck

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-wang-ly-1380895">Nathan Wang-Ly</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-newell-46">Ben Newell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>What happens when people withdraw their retirement savings early?</p> <p>We’ve just found out.</p> <p>During the first year of COVID Australians who faced a 20% decline in their working hours (or turnover for sole traders) or were made unemployed or were on benefits were permitted to take out up to <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/In-detail/Withdrawing-and-using-your-super/COVID-19-early-release-of-super-(closed-31-December-2020)/">A$10,000</a> of their super between April and June 2020, and a further $10,000 between July and December.</p> <p>Five million took up the offer. They withdrew <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/covid-19-early-release-scheme-issue-36">$36 billion</a>.</p> <p>Most of those surveyed by the Institute of Family Studies said they used the money to cover <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/2108_6_fias_superannuation_0.pdf">immediate expenses</a>. But definitions of “immediate” can vary.</p> <p>Real time transaction card data appeared to show early withdrawers boosted their spending by an average of <a href="https://www.illion.com.au/buy-now-pay-later-winner-of-stimulus/">$3,000</a> in the fortnight after they got the money.</p> <p><a href="https://www.stptax.com/emergency-super-withdrawal-spent-on-pokies-beer-and-uber-eats/">One interpretation</a> said they spent the money on “beer, wine, pokies, and takeaway food, rather than mortgages, bills, car debts, and clothes”.</p> <p>In order to get a more complete picture, we obtained access to millions of anonymised transaction records of customers of Australia’s largest bank, the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0313592622001060?via%3Dihub#bfn3">Commonwealth Bank</a>.</p> <p>The data included 1.54 million deposits likely to have been money withdrawn through the scheme including 1.04 million we are fairly confident did.</p> <h2>Who dipped into super?</h2> <p>The data provided by the bank allows us to compare circumstances of withdrawers and non-withdrawers including their age, time with the bank, and banking behaviour before COVID.</p> <p>We find withdrawers tended to be younger and in poorer financial circumstances than non-withdrawers before the pandemic. Six in ten of the withdrawers were under the age of 35, a finding consistent with data reported by the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/coronavirus-early-access-superannuation-young-people/12282546">Australian Taxation Office</a>.</p> <p>Withdrawers tended to earn less than non-withdrawers, even non-withdrawers of the same age. Only 17% of withdrawers for whom we could identify an income earned more than $60,000 compared with 26% of non-withdrawers. And withdrawers had lower median bank balances ($618 versus $986).</p> <p>For those with credit cards and home loans, withdrawers were about twice as likely to be behind on repayments as non-withdrawers (9.7% versus 5.8% for credit cards, and 8.2% versus 3.4% for home loans).</p> <p>These characteristics suggest that, despite concerns of the scheme being exploited due to the application process <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-03/-are-people-being-allowed-to-access-their-super-without-scrutiny/12618002">not requiring any documentation</a>, most of those using the scheme genuinely needed the money.</p> <h2>Where did the money go?</h2> <p>Compared to non-withdrawers, those who withdrew increased their spending (on both essential and discretionary items), paid back high-interest debts, boosted their savings, and became less likely to miss debt payments.</p> <p>Withdrawers spent an average of $331 more per month on debit cards in the three months after withdrawal, and $126 per month in the following three months.</p> <p>They spent an extra $117 per month on credit cards during the first three months, which shrank to an extra $13 per month in the following three months.</p> <p>The average withdrawer spent 7% more per month on groceries than the average age and income matched non-withdrawer, 12% more on utilities such as gas and electricity, 16% more on discretionary shopping, and 20% more on “entertainment,” a Commonwealth Bank category that includes gambling.</p> <h2>Less debt, less falling behind</h2> <p>In the three months that followed withdrawing, withdrawers also averaged $437 less credit card debt and $431 less personal loan debt than age and income matched non-withdrawers, differences that shrank to $301 and $351 in the following three months.</p> <p>They also became less likely to fall behind on credit card and personal loan payments, a difference that vanished after three months.</p> <p>Our interpretation is that the scheme achieved its intended purpose: it provided many Australians in need with a financial lifeline and helped buoy them during uncertain and turbulent times.</p> <h2>Lessons learned</h2> <p>At the same time, our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0313592622001060?via%3Dihub#bfn3">findings</a> identify areas of concern. The fact that most withdrawals were for the permitted maximum of $10,000 highlights the need to carefully consider the withdrawal limit.</p> <p>While these sums might simply reflect the true amount of money individuals needed to sustain themselves, it might be that many withdrawers were unsure of how much to <a href="https://cepar.edu.au/sites/default/files/Determinants%20of%20Early%20Access%20to%20Retirement%20Savings_Lessons%20from%20the%20COVID19%20Pandemic_BatemanDobrescuLiuNewellThorp_July21.pdf">withdraw</a> – not knowing how long the pandemic would continue.</p> <p>Another consideration is how to best support withdrawers after they have taken out the money. More than half were under the age of 35, and might find themselves with a good deal less super than they would have in retirement.</p> <p>The government has already introduced <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/super/apra-regulated-funds/in-detail/apra-resources/re-contribution-of-covid-19-early-release-super-amounts/">tax concessions</a> for withdrawers who contribute funds back into their retirement savings accounts. Super funds might also be able to help, by sending targeted messages to those who have withdrawn.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/190911/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-wang-ly-1380895"><em>Nathan Wang-Ly</em></a><em>, PhD Student, School of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-newell-46">Ben Newell</a>, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/not-all-beer-and-pokies-what-australians-did-with-their-super-when-covid-struck-190911">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Australia should follow Ireland’s lead and add stronger health warning labels to alcohol

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emmanuel-kuntsche-430354">Emmanuel Kuntsche</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paula-obrien-4221">Paula O'Brien</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robin-room-3770">Robin Room</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>From <a href="https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/labelling/Documents/q-and-a-pwl-requirements-sep-2020.pdf">August 2023</a>, Australian beer, wine, spirits and pre-mixed drinks have to warn of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-has-some-of-the-highest-rates-of-drinking-during-pregnancy-its-time-to-make-labelling-mandatory-142645">harms of drinking alcohol while pregnant</a>. But they don’t have to mention the other harms of alcohol for the wider population.</p> <p>Ireland <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/22/ireland-to-introduce-world-first-alcohol-health-labelling-policy">recently signed legislation</a> to introduce tougher alcohol warning labels, to warn about the risks of liver disease and fatal cancers from drinking alcohol. These will be in place from 2026.</p> <p>Considering the ongoing efforts of the industry to undermine the introduction of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214109X21005702">effective alcohol labelling</a> worldwide, the Irish example is an important victory for public health.</p> <p>In Australia, it’s time to put consumer health and rights before commercial interests and warn people drinking and buying alcohol of the risks.</p> <h2>Educating consumers about the health risks</h2> <p>Alcohol causes <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/alcohol">more than 200 diseases, injuries and other health conditions</a>.</p> <p>There is strong evidence that from the first drink, the risk of various cancers (of the breast, liver, colon, rectum, oropharynx, larynx and oesophagus) <a href="https://adf.org.au/insights/alcohol-cancer-risk/">increases</a>. This is <a href="https://www.cancervic.org.au/cancer-information/preventing-cancer/limit-alcohol/how-alcohol-causes-cancer">because</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p>ethanol (pure alcohol) and its toxic by-product acetaldehyde damages cells by binding with DNA, causing cells to replicate incorrectly</p> </li> <li> <p>alcohol influences hormone levels, which can modify how cells grow and divide</p> </li> <li> <p>direct tissue damage can occur, increasing the absorption of other cancer-causing substances.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Alcohol use kills <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/causes-death/causes-death-australia/2021">more than four Australians</a> a day (the highest rate in the past decade) and results in <a href="https://ndri.curtin.edu.au/ndri/media/documents/publications/T302.pdf">A$182 million of avoidable costs</a> per day.</p> <p>Yet only half of Australians know drinking alcohol <a href="https://adf.org.au/insights/alcohol-breast-cancer/">can cause cancer</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.jsad.com/doi/10.15288/jsad.2020.81.249">Research shows</a> mandatory health labelling is an important way to increase awareness and should form part of a comprehensive <a href="https://fdslive.oup.com/www.oup.com/academic/pdf/openaccess/9780192844484.pdf">alcohol control strategy</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530732/original/file-20230607-17-hl3pvs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Person pours wine into a glass at a lunch" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Many people are unaware of the link between alcohol and cancer.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/making-sure-glasses-stay-full-shot-2151108503">Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Countering industry influence</h2> <p>The alcohol industry currently uses alcohol labels and packaging as a marketing and branding tool. Alcohol warning labels help counter these marketing messages.</p> <p>Alcohol industry interests have so far succeeded in exempting alcoholic drinks from the usual <a href="https://fdslive.oup.com/www.oup.com/academic/pdf/openaccess/9780192844484.pdf">consumer information requirements</a>. Under the <a href="https://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/en/">international labelling guidelines</a>, all processed foods must have all ingredients listed on the label. But alcohol industry interests have so far succeeded in these rules <a href="https://movendi.ngo/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Hepworth-et-al-2020.pdf">not being applied to alcoholic beverages</a>.</p> <p>In Australia, the alcohol content and number of standard drinks must be <a href="https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/Pages/Labelling-of-alcoholic-beverages.aspx">listed on the product’s label</a>. However, there is no requirement, as for other foods and drinks, that ingredients (except for certain allergens such as milk or gluten) and nutritional information (energy, carbohydrates, and so on) be listed.</p> <p>Aside from warnings to pregnant women to abstain from alcohol, there is no provision for consumer information about the risks of alcohol consumption on alcohol packaging. Yet such warnings are required for other hazardous substances taken into the body, such as tobacco.</p> <h2>How Ireland is leading the charge</h2> <p>Ireland is leading the world with its alcohol labelling. From 2026, drinks containing alcohol will have to inform consumers about the specific risks of liver disease and fatal cancers.</p> <p>Labels will also have to notify buyers of the alcohol risks to pregnancy, the calorie content of the beverage, and the number of grams of alcohol it contains.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/530734/original/file-20230607-16366-8nixs9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="People walk past a pub in Ireland" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Health warning labels will be mandatory in Ireland from 2026.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/dublin-ireland-july-11-2021-outdoor-2007076256">Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The new labelling move <a href="https://www.cancer.ie/about-us/news/irish-cancer-society-statement-on-the-introduction-of-health-warning-labels-on-alcohol-products">demonstrates</a> the government has prioritised reducing alcohol-related disease and has widespread support. A recent <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/33/2/323/7067991">household survey</a> in Ireland found 81.9% of the more than 1,000 participants supported the introduction of health warning labels on alcohol.</p> <h2>Barriers to overcome in Australia</h2> <p>In 2020, in the face of intense pressure from industry groups, the Australian government decided on new labelling requirements for alcoholic beverages, but only to warn about the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-has-some-of-the-highest-rates-of-drinking-during-pregnancy-its-time-to-make-labelling-mandatory-142645">risks of drinking during pregnancy</a>. From a public health point of view, this was a mediocre compromise.</p> <p>Australia is currently considering introducing energy content (kilojoule) labelling on alcoholic beverages. This would be a positive step and but it is as far as Australia seems willing to go for now. There are no plans for Australia to follow Ireland’s lead.</p> <p>Some countries seem to be <a href="https://www.ibec.ie/drinksireland/news-insights-and-events/news/2023/05/16/strong-international-opposition-to-irelands-alcohol-labelling-proposals">gearing up</a> to use the World Trade Organization’s processes to oppose Ireland’s new labels.</p> <p>Australia <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22716074/">previously opposed</a> enhanced alcohol warning labels Thailand proposed, at the same time Australia was seeking international support for its tobacco plain packaging laws. This time, Australia should prioritise the public’s health over commercial interests and support Ireland’s alcohol warning messages in the World Trade Organization.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206985/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emmanuel-kuntsche-430354">Emmanuel Kuntsche</a>, Director of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paula-obrien-4221">Paula O'Brien</a>, Associate Professor in Faculty of Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robin-room-3770">Robin Room</a>, Professor, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-should-follow-irelands-lead-and-add-stronger-health-warning-labels-to-alcohol-206985">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Food & Wine

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From Corona beer to the coronation, the crown is branding fit for a king

<p>As a fashion statement or piece of art, crowns are distinguished by their beauty, containing rare jewels, precious metals and velvet in deep, rich colours. As a symbol, crowns are associated with majesty, authority and sovereignty. And as the coronation of King Charles III reminds us, the crown is also a superlative brand. </p> <p>Though images of crowns are often used in royal branding, it is rare for monarchs these days to actually wear crowns. In the western monarchical tradition, the British monarchy is an exception, with kings and queens undergoing a crowning ceremony. </p> <p>In the UK the crown encompasses both the monarch and the government, namely King Charles III and His Majesty’s government. The title of the Netflix drama “The Crown” has made this association clear even to international audiences unfamiliar with British constitutional principles. </p> <p>The reign of late Queen Elizabeth II was represented by a stylised image of <a href="https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/trails/the-crown-jewels/in-detail-st-edwards-crown">St Edward’s Crown</a>. King Charles III’s reign is represented by an image of the <a href="https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/news-grants/news/item/205-royal-cypher%E2%80%99">Tudor Crown</a>, which appears in the king’s royal cypher, coat of arms and the <a href="https://www.royal.uk/news-and-activity/2023-04-04/the-coronation-invitation">invitations for the coronation</a>. In time, it will be seen on state documents, military uniforms, passports and post boxes throughout the UK and the 14 realms where he is head of state.</p> <p>For monarchies, the crown is the quintessential monarchical symbol – something my colleagues and I in the field of corporate marketing research have described as <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/palgrave.bm.2550031">“the crown as a brand”</a>.</p> <p>Although the European monarchies of Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the Vatican, are known as “crowned heads of state”, they forswear coronations and eschew the wearing of crowns. Still, they all use a crown as the marque (or emblem) to represent themselves – see <a href="https://monarchie.lu/en/monarchy/orders-and-coats-arms">Luxembourg</a> and <a href="https://www.kongehuset.dk/en/the-monarchy-in-denmark/the-royal-symbols">Denmark’s</a> coats of arms.</p> <h2>Crowns of the coronation</h2> <p>The coronation of King Charles III will be a veritable festival of crowns, featuring seven crowns in total. The king will be crowned with St Edward’s crown by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he wears this crown once. But during his exit from Westminster Abbey, he will wear the lighter <a href="https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9412/CBP-9412.pdf">Imperial State Crown</a>. Queen Camilla will also be crowned with Queen Mary’s crown. The last queen consort to undergo a coronation was in 1937. </p> <p>Four other crowns will be present during the coronation, worn by the <a href="https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/about-us/heralds-officers">kings of arms</a> – senior officers who regulate heraldry (coats of arms) in the UK and participate in major ceremonial occasions. </p> <p>The three kings of arms from England’s College of Arms will wear crowns decorated with acanthus leaves and engraved with the words of Psalm 50, <a href="http://www.medievalist.net/psalmstxt/ps50.htm">Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam</a> – “Have mercy on me, O God.” Scotland’s king of arms from the Court of the Lord Lyon will wear a crown which is a facsimile of the <a href="https://exarandorum.com/2023/04/25/crown-of-lord-lyon/">Scottish royal crown</a>. Heraldry can be viewed as an early form of branding. Many UK universities, for example, have a coat of arms as their <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41262-023-00316-x">visual identity</a>.</p> <p>An eighth crown – the actual Scottish crown and one of the oldest in Europe – will not be at the coronation, but will be presented to the king at a <a href="https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23473755.king-charles-coronation-special-scottish-service-planned/">special service</a> later in the year.</p> <h2>Crown brands in business</h2> <p>The exclusiveness and majesty associated with royal crowns has meant that many organisations use a crown as their brand name or logo. The phrase “crowning achievement” refers to an excellent accomplishment. Likewise, a crown in branding communicates quality, status, class and reliability. </p> <p>Some iconic brands, such as Twinings Tea, Heinz and Waitrose, benefit from an official royal endorsement, having been awarded a <a href="https://theconversation.com/royal-warrants-are-good-for-business-and-benefit-the-british-monarchy-too-192115">royal warrant</a> by a king or queen, or other senior royal family members. They may use the royal coat of arms as a type of royal brand endorsement. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.kongehuset.dk/en/organisation-and-contact/the-royal-warrant-and-copyright/">Danish royal warrant</a> entitles an organisation to display “an image of the crown along with the company’s name on signs”. Carlsberg beer is a prominent example of this. </p> <p>Sometimes permission is granted to use the royal crown as a distinct brand marque as per <a href="https://www.logo-designer.co/the-clearing-creates-new-visual-identity-design-for-ascot-horseracing/">Royal Ascot horseracing</a>, or in a coat of arms such as in the former <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41262-023-00316-x">Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow</a>.</p> <p>Of course, while some brands have an official royal endorsement, most organisations with a crown name or logo do not have a direct association with monarchy. Sometimes the crown brand name is used for its cultural associations – see the many British pubs called “The Crown”.</p> <p>Regal branding has taken hold internationally. Among the companies using a crown name are Couronne (Korean handbags), Crown Bank (USA), Crown Class (Royal Jordanian Airways), Royal Crown Derby (English porcelain), Crowne Plaza Hotels (UK), Crown Royal (Canadian Whiskey), Crown Worldwide Distribution Group (Hong Kong) and Krone (South African sparkling wine). </p> <p>Those with a crown logo include Columbia University (USA), Cunard (UK), Dolce &amp; Gabbana (Italy), Hallmark Cards (USA), Moët and Chandon (France), Ritz Carlton Hotels (USA) and Rolex (Switzerland). </p> <p>The Mexican beer brand Corona, which uses both a crown name and logo, is the most valuable beer brand in the world, <a href="https://brandfinance.com/press-releases/18003">worth US$7 billion</a>.</p> <p>Even in a world of republics, it is clear that the crown as a brand not only endures, but flourishes. The crowning of the king and queen will be the zenith of the coronation service. For producers of Corona beer and other brands featuring crowns around the world, the visual and verbal link of crown and monarchy will be, in a way, a reminder to consumers that their products are fit for a king.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/from-corona-beer-to-the-coronation-the-crown-is-branding-fit-for-a-king-204409" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Johnny Ruffo’s Christmas present to sick children

<p dir="ltr">Johnny Ruffo has praised his girlfriend Tahnee Sims for being by his side as he continues through treatment for brain cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">The former <em>Home and Away</em> actor said that he owed everything to his incredible girlfriend who he joked had it harder than him because “she has to deal with me”. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Having Tahnee by my side every step of the way, literally and metaphorically, she's incredible. I couldn't do it without her,” he told 9Honey.</p> <p dir="ltr">"She does it just as hard as I do. She's having to deal with all the doctors and what they're saying, and then she has to deal with me once we get home as well.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The singer is going through chemotherapy once every three weeks and said he wanted to give gave as the holiday season creeps up. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ruffo partnered with Amazon Australia to help twelve superhero children from the Starlight Children’s Foundation to become official toy testers for the festive season.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cj45neCLNj2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cj45neCLNj2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Johnny Ruffo (@johnny_ruffo)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">"It brings such joy to me. It's a privilege to be able to know that you are helping them forget about everything that they're going through," he said in the Starlight Children's Foundation campaign.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I feel like I get as much out of it as the kids. It's quite cathartic for me to be able to bring joy to these children who are somewhat in a similar position."</p> <p dir="ltr">The 34-year-old was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 after struggling with multiple headaches.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ruffo then announced in 2019 that he was in remission, but by November 2020 the cancer had returned, before confirming in 2022 that his illness is terminal.</p> <p dir="ltr">He has also recently released a memoir called No Finish Line, dedicated to his girlfriend, in which he details his experiences recording music, acting, his family and loved ones.</p> <p dir="ltr">The title, he explains, is that “it wasn’t the end”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Train driving dream comes true for brain tumour survivor

<p dir="ltr">Three years after doctors found a large tumour growing in his brain, seven-year-old Broly Blackmore has seen his dream of becoming a train driver come true.</p> <p dir="ltr">The young boy from Hallett, South Australia, had the tumour removed when he was just four years old after he collapsed and was rushed to hospital by helicopter.</p> <p dir="ltr">If it wasn’t removed that night, doctors told his mother, Corrine Maidment, that he wouldn’t make it.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the years since, Broly’s life has become relatively normal, albeit with regular brain scans and physio trips - and he has had his wish of driving a train granted by the Starlight Foundation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The seven-year-old went on a trip on the Pichi Richi steam train, travelling from Quorn to Port Augusta as a “trainee train driver”.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Ever since he was only a couple of months old everything has always been about trains … diesels aren't as good as steam trains apparently," Ms Maidment said, adding that he barely slept the night before the big day.</p> <p dir="ltr">"According to everyone in the train, they weren't allowed to do anything without his say so … at one point, he told the fireman, the guy who does the coal, 'That's my seat. I need to sit there'.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was boss for the day." </p> <p dir="ltr">The Pichi Richi railway, an outback steam train experience that has been operating since 1973, later shared a sweet photo of Broly on the train.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Last Sunday, Pichi Richi Railway was able to grant a wish for a very special visitor, 7 year old Broly who was having his wish granted with help from Starlight Children's Foundation Australia’s ‘Wishgranting Program’,” the railway <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PichiRichiRailway/posts/pfbid032C45MeP339xWYPL321ZTFjXXsehYJh7pWe2xkX812DkCLCBZgZyp8UVNGVzF7ztvl">wrote</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Broly loves trains so Starlight contacted Pichi Richi Railway and Broly was lucky enough to ride in the cab of engine W934 for the day with our crew on the Pichi Richi Explorer service. </p> <p dir="ltr">“A very special day for our crew, Broly and his family.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Although Broly’s wish was given to him while he was in hospital, Ms Maidment said they had waited until he was old enough to decide how he wanted to spend it.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He's had the wish sitting there since he was in the hospital ... but we wanted to wait until he was old enough to make a decision himself so he'd know what the wish was and he'd remember it," she said. </p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4354a857-7fff-0466-bb9f-4dd255b3ba47"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Blackmore family, Starlight Foundation, Pichi Richi Railway (Facebook)</em></p>

Caring

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Olivia Newton-John’s foundation makes cancer breakthrough

<p dir="ltr">Just over two months after her passing, the cancer research foundation Olivia Newton-John founded has made a significant discovery that could affect the treatment of a highly-aggressive pancreatic cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">The study, led by Professor Matthias Ernst, the director of the ONJ Cancer Research Institute in Melbourne and the head of LA Trobe’s School of Cancer Medicine, investigated potential targets for treating pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).</p> <p dir="ltr">This aggressive form of cancer has a five-year survival rate, with nine out of ten patients still dying of the disease after receiving chemotherapy treatments due to reoccurrence in the same area or metastasis (where cancer spreads to other parts of the body).</p> <p dir="ltr">Approximately 4,260 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in Australia, with many experiencing few or no symptoms during the early stages.</p> <p dir="ltr">Professor Ernst and his team identified a novel drug target that could make PDAC tumours more responsive to chemotherapy and immunotherapy and published their results in the journal <em><a href="https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(22)01329-8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cell Reports</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">They identified a protein called HCK (hematopoietic cell kinase), which has previously been correlated with poor survival rates and has been found in 95 percent of solid tumours, including PDAC.</p> <p dir="ltr">After comparing PDAC tumours to non-cancerous samples, they found that the tumours expressed this protein at a higher rate.</p> <p dir="ltr">They then wanted to determine whether HCK was involved in the growth of tumours and metastasis, by inserting PDAC tumours into normal mice and mice that have had the gene responsible for making HCK removed.</p> <p dir="ltr">In comparison to the normal mice, the mice without the HCK gene had smaller tumours and didn’t develop metastatic lesions. </p> <p dir="ltr">This confirmed that HCK is involved in the progression of this kind of cancer and that preventing the gene from creating HCK proteins could be a potential target for new cancer treatments.</p> <p dir="ltr">The team reported that targeting HCK could help reduce immune suppression caused by the increased levels of cancer cells that reduce the ability of our immune system to identify and fight cancer, making immunotherapy treatments more effective.</p> <p dir="ltr">While he cautioned that the study was still in its early stages, Professor Ernst is hopeful that the ONJ Institute can build on their findings and run clinical trials in the future. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Because we work in the same building as our oncologist colleagues at Austin Health, our discoveries in the laboratory can be quickly translated into patient trials,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Ashleigh Poh, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the ONJ Institute added that the findings could have big implications for pancreatic cancer treatment.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The survival rate of pancreatic cancer has not improved over the past few decades,” Dr Poh said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We hope to eventually translate these findings into the clinic and improve survival outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ab3ceb5a-7fff-1dce-ba56-1a7edeb562a8"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: The ONJ Institute</em></p>

Caring

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Meghan Markle's million-dollar giveaway

<p>Meghan Markle has announced a $1 million giveaway to women in need.</p> <p>The project is the first of its kind for Meghan and Prince Harry, in partnership with their Archewell Foundation and the duchess' podcast Archetypes.</p> <p>Meghan said she was inspired by the "two things" that bring her joy: "supporting women, and the spirit of giving".</p> <p>The Archewell Foundation is partnering with the Ving project, which gives young people the chance to surprise someone in need with a $1,000 cheque ($1500 AUD).</p> <p>The project was inspired by <em>Archetypes</em>, Meghan's podcast series on Spotify which explores stereotypes and labels that hold women back.</p> <p>In a statement, Meghan said, "Two things that bring me great joy are supporting women and the spirit of giving."</p> <p>"With the return of <em>Archetypes</em>, Archewell Foundation and VING have come together to create the perfect combination of these loves."</p> <p>"By donating $1 million in grants to women in need, our hope is not to only provide support where it may be felt deepest, but also empower young adults to embrace the gift of giving at an early age."</p> <p>"I'm very proud of this partnership and the good we hope to see come from it."</p> <p>Teenagers aged between the age of 14 and 18 are being urged to nominate a woman in their life who has inspired them and defied life's hardships, and explain the reasons behind their nomination.</p> <p>Nominees must be adult US residents, non-extended or immediate family members and in need of financial assistance to be eligible for the cash prize.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Influencer slammed for holding raunchy party at retirement home

<p dir="ltr">An elderly woman has appeared to suffer a heart attack while dancing with three strippers at an aged care home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Shocking footage shared to Instagram by influencer Nadia Cartagena shows a group of raunchy dancers showing off their moves to the elderly group at Una Mano Amiga Foundation in El Prado, Cartagena.</p> <p dir="ltr">The clip then shows the woman dancing in between three male dancers before she gasps and puts her hand on her heart.</p> <p dir="ltr">Moments later she is on the floor unconscious and sirens can be heard wailing in the background, rushing to the scene.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman is then placed on a stretcher and taken to hospital in the ambulance.</p> <p dir="ltr">Nadia announced to her followers that she held an erotic party for “older adults, and I got the biggest scare of my life”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I did not expect what happened to happen, and the truth is that I am very sorry, I just wanted to give them some fun and I did not expect that situation, so I want you to comment on the situation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her post was then inundated with furious comments from followers who slammed her for being inconsiderate.</p> <p dir="ltr">“How can you do that, girl? Can't you see that they are old? They can't stand so much voltage. Some suffer from diseases,” one person wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You had too much, a party is ok but with another theme not like this,” another commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That party is out of order, that's not fun for people of that age that hurts,” someone else wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Retirement Life

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D.B. Cooper, the changing nature of hijackings and the foundation for today’s airport security

<p>Though many Americans may associate airport security with 9/11, it was a wave of hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s that laid the foundation <a href="https://theconversation.com/an-entire-generation-of-americans-has-no-idea-how-easy-air-travel-used-to-be-166082">for today’s airport security protocols</a>.</p> <p>During that period, a hijacking occurred, on average, <a href="https://today.ku.edu/2019/06/10/first-soviet-hijacking-triggers-insights-cold-war-boundaries">once every five days globally</a>. The U.S. dealt with its own spate of mile-high crimes, convincing reluctant government officials and airport executives to adopt the first important airport security protocols.</p> <p>The subject of <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt21063148/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0">a new Netflix docuseries</a>, hijacker D.B. Cooper emerged as something of a folk hero during this era. While other more violent hijackings might have played a bigger role in prompting early airport security measures, it was the saga of Cooper that captured the imagination of the American public – and helped transform the perception of the overall threat hijackings posed to U.S. air travel and national security.</p> <h2>Incidents become impossible to ignore</h2> <p>The first airplane hijacking happened in <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/hijacking">1931 in Peru</a>. Armed revolutionaries approached the grounded plane of pilot Byron Richards and demanded that he fly them over Lima so they could drop propaganda leaflets. Richards refused, and a 10-day standoff ensued before he was eventually released.</p> <p>That remained a somewhat isolated incident until the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aircraft_hijackings">late 1940s and 1950s</a>, when several people hijacked airplanes to escape from Eastern Europe to the West. In the context of the Cold War, Western governments granted these hijackers <a href="https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/hijacking-and-right-asylum-aerial-piracy-and-international-law-p">political asylum</a>. Importantly, none of the airplanes hijacked were flown by U.S. carriers.</p> <p>Beginning in the early 1960s, however, hijackers began targeting U.S. airlines. Most of these individuals were <a href="https://www.tsi-mag.com/the-cuban-hijackings-their-significance-and-impact-sixty-years-on/">Cubans</a> living in the U.S. who, for one reason or another, wished to return to their native land and were otherwise blocked due to <a href="https://www.thecubareader.com/blog/the-strange-story-of-the-us-cuba-hijacking-accord">the U.S. embargo</a> against Cuba.</p> <p>U.S. officials responded by <a href="https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/49/46502">officially and specifically making hijacking a federal crime</a>. Though the new law didn’t stop hijackings altogether, the crime remained relatively rare. When they did occur, they usually didn’t involve much violence.</p> <p><a href="https://www.aerotime.aero/articles/15042-take-me-to-cuba-the-skyjacking-craze-of-the-1960s">Officials wanted to downplay hijackings as much as possible</a>, and the best way to do this was to simply give the hijacker what they wanted to avert the loss of life. Above all, airline executives wanted to avoid deterring people from flying, so they resisted the implementation of anxiety-inducing security protocols.</p> <p>That changed in 1968. On July 23 of that year, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine <a href="https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/on-this-day-el-al-flight-426-hijacked-by-pflp-674735">hijacked an El Al flight</a> from Rome to Tel Aviv. Though that 39-day ordeal ended without any loss of life, it ushered in a new era of more violent – often politically motivated – hijackings of international airlines.</p> <p>From 1968 to 1974, U.S. airlines experienced <a href="https://www.vox.com/2016/3/29/11326472/hijacking-airplanes-egyptair">130 hijackings</a>. Many fell into this new category of politically motivated hijackings, including what has become known as the <a href="https://www.hsdl.org/c/tl/dawsons-field-hijackings/">Dawson’s Field hijackings</a>. In September 1970, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked four aircraft, including three belonging to U.S. carriers, and forced them to land at Dawson’s Field in Libya. No hostage lives were lost, but the hijackers used explosives to destroy all four aircraft.</p> <p>Additionally, and more worrying to U.S. officials, two different groups of hijackers, <a href="https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2001-sep-23-mn-48746-story.html">one in 1971</a> and <a href="https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2016/06/06/detroit-skyjacker-airplane-explanation/85314438/">another in 1972</a>, threatened to crash planes into nuclear power plants.</p> <h2>Cooper inspires copycats</h2> <p>Amid this dramatic rise in the number of hijackings, on Nov. 24, 1971, a man known to the American public as <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/db-cooper-hijacking">D.B. Cooper</a> boarded a Northwest Orient 727 flight from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle. Shortly after takeoff, he showed a stewardess the contents of his briefcase, which he said was a bomb. He then instructed the stewardess to take a note to the cockpit. In it, he demanded US$200,000 in $20 bills and four parachutes.</p> <p>Upon arrival in Seattle, Cooper allowed the other passengers to deplane in exchange for the money and the parachutes. Cooper then ordered the pilot to fly to Mexico but low and slowly – <a href="https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/db-cooper">no higher than 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and under 200 knots (230 mph, 370 kph)</a>. Somewhere between Seattle and a fuel stop in Reno, Nevada, Cooper and the loot disappeared out the back of the aircraft via the 727’s <a href="https://saverocity.com/taggingmiles/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2016/07/727-Aft-Stairs.jpg">aft stairwell</a>. No one knows for sure what happened to him, though some of the money was recovered in 1980.</p> <p>Cooper wasn’t the first person to hijack an American airliner and demand money. That dubious honor belongs to <a href="https://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,909374,00.html">Arthur Barkley</a>. Frustrated with his inability to get government officials to take seriously his dispute with the IRS, on June 4, 1970, Barkley hijacked a TWA aircraft, demanding $100 million and a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Barkley’s efforts failed, and he ended up confined to a mental institution.</p> <p>The idea that Cooper might have succeeded, however, clearly inspired several imitators. While it remains uncertain whether Cooper lived to enjoy the fruits of his escapade, none of his imitators did. They included <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/richard-floyd-mccoy-jr">Richard McCoy, Jr.</a>, <a href="https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/article_1aac5de6-6eb4-5245-a126-7adf324d5eb2.html">Martin J. McNally</a> and <a href="https://www.wfmz.com/features/historys-headlines/historys-headlines-skyjack-of-1972/article_940d5703-8e18-528b-80c4-443b3607b6b0.html">Frederick Hahneman</a>, all of whom successfully parachuted out of the aircraft once they received their ransom payments, only to be eventually caught and punished.</p> <h2>Tightening the screws</h2> <p>In response to the spate of more violent and costly hijackings, the U.S. government established the <a href="https://www.ibm.com/blogs/systems/a-brief-history-of-airline-security-hijackings-and-metal-detectors/">first anti-hijacking security protocols</a>. Most of them aimed to prevent hijackers from getting on aircraft in the first place. The measures included a hijacker profile, metal detectors and X-ray machines. Specific to Cooper, airlines retrofitted aircraft with a devise known as a <a href="https://www.wikimotors.org/what-is-a-cooper-vane.htm">Cooper vane</a> that made it impossible to open aft stairwells during flight.</p> <p>The protocols put in place in the 1970s also laid the foundation for the expansive security measures taken after 9/11. A series of court cases upheld the constitutionality of these early measures. For example, <a href="https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/328/1077/1428246/">United States v. Lopez</a>, decided in 1971, upheld the use of the hijacker profile.</p> <p>More importantly, in <a href="https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/454/769/438142/">United States v. Epperson</a>, a federal court ruled in 1972 that the government’s interest in preventing hijackings justified the requirement for passengers to pass through a magnetometer at the airport. And in 1973, the Ninth Circuit Court, in <a href="https://casetext.com/case/united-states-v-davis-51">United States v. Davis</a>, declared that the government’s need to protect passengers from hijackings rendered all searches of passengers for weapons and explosives as reasonable and legal.</p> <p>These rulings upholding early anti-hijacking measures helped create <a href="https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/post-9-11-challenges-aviation-security-homeland-security-law-and">the strong legal grounds</a> for the rapid adoption of the more rigorous security protocols – including detailed identification checks, random pat-downs and full body scans – adopted after 9/11.</p> <p>The mystery surrounding the fate of Cooper may have afforded him an outsized place in American popular culture, but his crime should also be remembered as one in a consequential wave of hijackings that finally forced the U.S. government, airline executives and airport officials to adopt the first versions of the security measures travelers take for granted today.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/d-b-cooper-the-changing-nature-of-hijackings-and-the-foundation-for-todays-airport-security-185562" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

International Travel

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The truth about becoming a foster carer while retired

<p dir="ltr">Foster care is something not many retirees think about or consider due to misunderstandings of how the system works. </p> <p dir="ltr">The rewarding potential of foster care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable kids and young people is endless and can easily fit into your lifestyle.  </p> <p dir="ltr">Susan Barton AM, Founder of Lighthouse Foundation, a Melbourne not-for-profit organisation, says the misconceptions about foster care needs to be cleared up. </p> <p dir="ltr">She spoke to <em>Over60</em> about the benefits and how to become a foster carer.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What sort of support is available for those wanting to foster while retired?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">I’m very proud of the support Lighthouse Foundation offers to our carers, including those who want to foster while retired. Our carers should never feel alone. There’s always a helping hand nearby or a sympathetic ear ready to listen at the end of the phone.</p> <p dir="ltr">All our carers can use our ‘Hub Home’ – a central place to access support and services for themselves and the children they look after. This ‘Hub Home’ unites foster carers in a local area and is a safe and warm place for children and families to receive therapeutic care and access trauma informed support and advice.</p> <p dir="ltr">As an organisation we place significant importance on the role of community and community support. By creating a central space through our ‘Hub Home’, our aim is to allow carers to develop friendships, build support systems, learn from one another, and interact with those going through the same experiences.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ‘Hub Home’ is also used for respite care. All carers need a break every now and again. A few days off, gives a foster carer the chance to recuperate and return well rested and ready to give their all to the role. In-home carers are another great support system offered by Lighthouse Foundation. This is where someone comes to your home and provides a helping hand - they can demonstrate, or explain, anything from the physical work requirements of the role, to how to go about caring for a young person, and how to respond to certain situations. And, we also have team of psychologists who are on hand for foster carers to lean on for support.</p> <p dir="ltr">We never want our carers to feel isolated or overwhelmed. We think of Lighthouse Foundation as an extended family and our aim is for everybody to feel loved and supported.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How long is the process to become a foster carer when retired?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The process takes between six to 12 months – depending on the pace you set for yourself. As soon as you begin the process, you’ll be invited to access a number of support groups and training opportunities and receive regular contact from Lighthouse Foundation. So, while it takes time to become a qualified carer, you’ll feel included and part of the Lighthouse Foundation family almost instantly.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How does the retiree benefit from foster care? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">There are so many ways to benefit from fostering, and I speak from personal experience! As a carer you’re making a significant difference to the life of a young person but you’re also serving yourself by spending time with a younger generation. Being a positive presence in a young person’s life, especially one who’s had a difficult start to life, is a really beautiful thing and greatly enhances your own life experience. It gives you a greater perspective, a renewed purpose, a sharper focus and really shows how precious life is. It can be truly energising. There are endless ways in which you feel and experience life differently once you’ve fostered a young person. Of course, it’s not always easy, but retirees have so much life experience to share with young people and can be some of the best, most effective carers.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How many different types of foster care are available? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Foster care is more varied than people believe.</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Respite care is where a carer provides a child with regular and/or occasional time away from the primary carer so the primary carer can have a short period of restorative time. As a respite carer you might care for a child on the weekend, or for one week a month, or every couple of months.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Emergency care, on the other hand, may occur in the event of a crisis where a child or sibling group require urgent overnight care. In this type of care, you may have the child for a few days or even a week, but the intended goal is to move the child to a more permanent carer.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Short term care can last from a few weeks to months, with the intention of returning the child to their family of origin as quickly as possible.</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Finally, long term care, which is six months or longer, is where you really commit to becoming a stable, loving and nurturing influence in a young person’s life.</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">It’s possible for children to switch between foster care requirements and as you go through training to become a carer, you’ll discover what level of care you’re best suited to. We sometimes encourage new carers to dip their toe in the pool of foster care by starting with shorter placements. This helps carers gain experience before moving on to more permanent care and longer placements.</p> <p>Returning the young person to their family of origin is always the intended goal of foster care – this is something many people don’t realise. Sometimes this happens quickly, and other times children will be with a carer for much longer. As a carer you have agency to choose the type of care that works best for you.</p> <p><strong>How much time do you need to commit to foster care?</strong></p> <p>This varies depending on the type of foster care you decide works best for you. What’s most important is that you’re consistent and flexible in your commitment to caring for a young person.</p> <p>If you choose to become a respite carer, you’ll be paired with a child who you’ll see regularly and repetitively. You’ll become a part of that child’s support network, potentially seeing them once a month over two years, for example. While there’s no set amount of time you need to set aside to foster, carers must be reliable and committed to building both rapport and a long-term relationship with the child they care for.<br /><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/04/Screen-Shot-2022-04-26-at-3.09.18-pm.png" alt="" width="964" height="1140" /><br /><strong>Will I be rejected as a carer because of my age?</strong></p> <p>I’m 75 and I’d still be considered as a carer so there really isn’t an age limit. Respite care is a great place to start as a retiree – and in some ways it’s a bit like having your grandkids for the weekend. </p> <p dir="ltr">You might find you have a lot of energy and resilience and that the experience is really rewarding. As a retiree you might also have a significant amount of time to commit and be able to offer a young person the long- term stability and relationship they so desperately require. </p> <p dir="ltr">Having an older respite carer is such an amazing opportunity for a young person too. For example, retirees will be able to offer time and support that other longer-term carers can’t. You might be able to guide a child through the process of looking for a job, completing a school project or mastering a hobby they love.</p> <p><strong>Can you foster a child if you’re single?</strong></p> <p>Of course! Your relationship status is part of the assessment when applying to become a carer, along with other factors like how resilient you are as a single parent, whether you’re financially stable and whether you live alone and attend work. Each child and carer will have varied individual needs, which we understand. We try and match you with a child whose requirements fit your lifestyle, and the special characteristics and life experience you have to offer.</p> <p><strong>Do you need a large home to be a foster carer?</strong></p> <p>A spare bedroom is (almost) all you need! We match you based on your individual situation. For example, if you’re really courageous and want to take on a sibling group of three or four children, of course we’d love you to have a fair bit of room. But if you’re caring for an individual young person, perhaps a teenager, who loves to spend time reading or on their computer, there’s less need for big open spaces for them to run around in.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Can you back out of foster care if it’s not the right fit? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">You can always change your mind. Foster care is a really rewarding experience for the right person, so we’d never put you or the child through something if it wasn’t quite right.</p> <p dir="ltr">We hope that by the time you’ve completed the training you’re well-resourced to make an informed decision about becoming a carer. We guide you along the way and can offer advice on what might fit best with your lifestyle.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even when you have a child in your care, there’s an option to finish your placement. Lighthouse will always support your decision and to help find solutions to challenging situations. We hate to lose loving carers, so we’ll encourage you to consider alternatives. Downshifting from full-time care, to respite care is not uncommon and can enable you to remain in a child’s life in a new capacity</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Can you foster a child on a single income or pension? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Yes! We’re not concerned about the amount of money you have but we will ask that you’re financially stable and able to meet the needs of the young person in your care. Carers do get a stipend to help support the needs of the young person too.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Can you nominate the age of the child you’d like to foster? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">You can put forward your preferences, and Lighthouse Foundation will try to match you accordingly. Maintaining flexibility and an open mind are key though. For example, you may have a preference for an older child, but some children are independent and capable beyond their years, and could make for a good match. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Retirement Life

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5 things to know about foundation models and the next generation of AI

<p>If you’ve seen photos of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/06/technology/openai-images-dall-e.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a teapot shaped like an avocado</a> or read a well-written article that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/08/robot-wrote-this-article-gpt-3" target="_blank" rel="noopener">veers off on slightly weird tangents</a>, you may have been exposed to a new trend in artificial intelligence (AI).</p> <p>Machine learning systems called <a href="https://openai.com/dall-e-2/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DALL-E</a>, <a href="https://openai.com/blog/gpt-3-edit-insert/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GPT</a> and <a href="https://ai.googleblog.com/2022/04/pathways-language-model-palm-scaling-to.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PaLM</a> are making a splash with their incredible ability to generate creative work.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">DALL·E 2 is here! It can generate images from text, like "teddy bears working on new AI research on the moon in the 1980s".</p> <p>It's so fun, and sometimes beautiful.<a href="https://t.co/XZmh6WkMAS">https://t.co/XZmh6WkMAS</a> <a href="https://t.co/3zOu30IqCZ">pic.twitter.com/3zOu30IqCZ</a></p> <p>— Sam Altman (@sama) <a href="https://twitter.com/sama/status/1511715302265942024?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 6, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>These systems are known as “foundation models” and are not all hype and party tricks. So how does this new approach to AI work? And will it be the end of human creativity and the start of a deep-fake nightmare?</p> <p><strong>1. What are foundation models?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2108.07258" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Foundation models</a> work by training a single huge system on large amounts of general data, then adapting the system to new problems. Earlier models tended to start from scratch for each new problem.</p> <p>DALL-E 2, for example, was trained to match pictures (such as a photo of a pet cat) with the caption (“Mr. Fuzzyboots the tabby cat is relaxing in the sun”) by scanning hundreds of millions of examples. Once trained, this model knows what cats (and other things) look like in pictures.</p> <p>But the model can also be used for many other interesting AI tasks, such as generating new images from a caption alone (“Show me a koala dunking a basketball”) or editing images based on written instructions (“Make it look like this monkey is paying taxes”).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Our newest system DALL·E 2 can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language. See it here: <a href="https://t.co/Kmjko82YO5">https://t.co/Kmjko82YO5</a> <a href="https://t.co/QEh9kWUE8A">pic.twitter.com/QEh9kWUE8A</a></p> <p>— OpenAI (@OpenAI) <a href="https://twitter.com/OpenAI/status/1511707245536428034?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 6, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p><strong>2. How do they work?</strong></p> <p>Foundation models run on “<a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-neural-network-a-computer-scientist-explains-151897" target="_blank" rel="noopener">deep neural networks</a>”, which are loosely inspired by how the brain works. These involve sophisticated mathematics and a huge amount of computing power, but they boil down to a very sophisticated type of pattern matching.</p> <p>For example, by looking at millions of example images, a deep neural network can associate the word “cat” with patterns of pixels that often appear in images of cats – like soft, fuzzy, hairy blobs of texture. The more examples the model sees (the more data it is shown), and the bigger the model (the more “layers” or “depth” it has), the more complex these patterns and correlations can be.</p> <p>Foundation models are, in one sense, just an extension of the “deep learning” paradigm that has dominated AI research for the past decade. However, they exhibit un-programmed or “emergent” behaviours that can be both surprising and novel.</p> <p>For example, Google’s PaLM language model seems to be able to produce explanations for complicated metaphors and jokes. This goes beyond simply <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/2204.02311" target="_blank" rel="noopener">imitating the types of data it was originally trained to process</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/457594/original/file-20220412-10836-vaj8rb.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A user interacting with the PaLM language model by typing questions. The AI system responds by typing back answers." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The PaLM language model can answer complicated questions.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://ai.googleblog.com/2022/04/pathways-language-model-palm-scaling-to.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Google AI</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><strong>3. Access is limited – for now</strong></p> <p>The sheer scale of these AI systems is difficult to think about. PaLM has <em>540 billion</em> parameters, meaning even if everyone on the planet memorised 50 numbers, we still wouldn’t have enough storage to reproduce the model.</p> <p>The models are so enormous that training them requires massive amounts of computational and other resources. One estimate put the cost of training OpenAI’s language model GPT-3 at <a href="https://lambdalabs.com/blog/gpt-3/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">around US$5 million</a>.</p> <p>As a result, only huge tech companies such as OpenAI, Google and Baidu can afford to build foundation models at the moment. These companies limit who can access the systems, which makes economic sense.</p> <p>Usage restrictions may give us some comfort these systems won’t be used for nefarious purposes (such as generating fake news or defamatory content) any time soon. But this also means independent researchers are unable to interrogate these systems and share the results in an open and accountable way. So we don’t yet know the full implications of their use.</p> <p><strong>4. What will these models mean for ‘creative’ industries?</strong></p> <p>More foundation models will be produced in coming years. Smaller models are already being published in <a href="https://openai.com/blog/gpt-2-1-5b-release/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">open-source forms</a>, tech companies are starting to <a href="https://openai.com/blog/openai-api/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">experiment with licensing and commercialising these tools</a> and AI researchers are working hard to make the technology more efficient and accessible.</p> <p>The remarkable creativity shown by models such as PaLM and DALL-E 2 demonstrates that creative professional jobs could be impacted by this technology sooner than initially expected.</p> <p>Traditional wisdom always said robots would displace “blue collar” jobs first. “White collar” work was meant to be relatively safe from automation – especially professional work that required creativity and training.</p> <p>Deep learning AI models already exhibit super-human accuracy in tasks like <a href="https://theconversation.com/ai-could-be-our-radiologists-of-the-future-amid-a-healthcare-staff-crisis-120631" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reviewing x-rays</a> and <a href="https://www.macularsociety.org/about/media/news/breakthrough-artificial-intelligence-ai-helps-detect-dry-amd/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">detecting the eye condition macular degeneration</a>. Foundation models may soon provide cheap, “good enough” creativity in fields such as advertising, copywriting, stock imagery or graphic design.</p> <p>The future of professional and creative work could look a little different than we expected.</p> <p><strong>5. What this means for legal evidence, news and media</strong></p> <p>Foundation models will inevitably <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-01/historic-decision-allows-ai-to-be-recognised-as-an-inventor/100339264" target="_blank" rel="noopener">affect the law</a> in areas such as intellectual property and evidence, because we won’t be able to assume <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/us-copyright-office-rules-ai-art-cant-be-copyrighted-180979808/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">creative content is the result of human activity</a>.</p> <p>We will also have to confront the challenge of disinformation and misinformation generated by these systems. We already face enormous problems with disinformation, as we are seeing in the <a href="https://theconversation.com/fake-viral-footage-is-spreading-alongside-the-real-horror-in-ukraine-here-are-5-ways-to-spot-it-177921" target="_blank" rel="noopener">unfolding Russian invasion of Ukraine</a> and the nascent problem of <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-2-billion-images-and-720-000-hours-of-video-are-shared-online-daily-can-you-sort-real-from-fake-148630" target="_blank" rel="noopener">deep fake</a> images and video, but foundation models are poised to super-charge these challenges.</p> <p><strong>Time to prepare</strong></p> <p>As researchers who <a href="https://www.admscentre.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">study the the effects of AI on society</a>, we think foundation models will bring about huge transformations. They are tightly controlled (for now), so we probably have a little time to understand their implications before they become a huge issue.</p> <p>The genie isn’t quite out of the bottle yet, but foundation models are a very big bottle – and inside there is a very clever genie.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/181150/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/aaron-j-snoswell-1331146" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Aaron J. Snoswell</a>, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Computational Law &amp; AI Accountability, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dan-hunter-1336925" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dan Hunter</a>, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/robots-are-creating-images-and-telling-jokes-5-things-to-know-about-foundation-models-and-the-next-generation-of-ai-181150" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: OpenAI</em></p>

Technology

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"Pink flamingo": Jett Kenny explains bizarre new hairstyle

<p dir="ltr">Model and former <em>SAS Australia</em> contestant Jett Kenny has drastically changed his hair colour for a good cause. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sharing the incredible snaps to Instagram, Jett showed off bright pink locks in support of his friend’s daughter who was diagnosed with leukaemia. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jett has already raised a whopping $8,200 for the Leukaemia Foundation and will cut his hair on April 9, in honour of his friend’s daughter.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When I said pink, I meant PINK,” he wrote in the caption.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A whopping $8200 has been raised so far for team #allinforaspen and @worldsgreatestshave</p> <p dir="ltr">“Nine more days till it all comes off, let’s see what targets we can hit next. Let’s smash 10k!”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CbwyASkhCx2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CbwyASkhCx2/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jett Kenny (@jettkenny)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Jett shared his own story on the World’s Greatest Shave website, saying his hair might also not grow back.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I started growing my hair in 2012 and has been long and tied up ever since being able to do so,” he wrote. </p> <p dir="ltr">“There’s a strong chance my hair may not grow back as, like my father, I’m leaning towards the bald side of life.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So please donate what you can, but more importantly, share this with all of your family and friends and encourage them to donate and share also! To see how much we can raise together as a team!</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thankyou for your support!”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the time of the publication, Jett had raised $21,146.51 of his $1,000 goal. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Coronation Street star dies after sudden accident

<p dir="ltr">British actress Maggie Fox, known for her roles on <em>Coronation Street</em> and <em>Shameless</em>, <a href="https://celebrity.nine.com.au/latest/maggie-fox-dead-sudden-accident/d25e9cd5-b1ed-4852-95ff-cba0b642b5ba" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has passed away</a> following a “sudden accident”.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is understood she was 58 when she died, reportedly passing with her loved ones surrounding her at home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sue Ryding, Fox’s comedy partner, announced the news on social media, writing that Fox’s family were “in a state of shock” after her passing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of Maggie Fox, my comedy partner of 40 years and co-Artistic Director of LipService. Maggie passed away yesterday with her family around her,” Ryding wrote on Tuesday night.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-8732801b-7fff-1ad1-f66c-efa517a99f33"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“Consequently, the Spring Tour of Chateau Ghoul has been cancelled. As you can imagine I am completely heartbroken.”</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FLipServiceTheatre%2Fposts%2F10160212086563641&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="781" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">Ryding recalled how the pair first met as students studying drama at Bristol University in the 1970s and reflected on their relationship since.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We were in a very serious production of Ibsen’s The Lady For the Sea but for some reason the audience was on the floor laughing. A tragedy for Ibsen (he was good at those) but the launch of an epic comedy partnership,” Ryding wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our theatre company LipService was officially launched in 1985 and we have written 22 original comedies, touring all over the world, managing to have children in between!</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s notoriously difficult to present new work in theatre and we are really proud that we managed to do so and to build an audience for it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We are still all in a state of shock as this was very sudden following an accident.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ryding revealed that a digital version of their latest work, Chateau Ghoul, would be shared later in the year “in memory of Maggie”, as well as live events using archived footage.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0bb40d89-7fff-3e03-1255-922eb1edd7f5"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to thank their fans for supporting them over the years, promising that more details would come.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Really sorry to hear about the death of Lipservice’s Maggie Fox. I know how well loved she is in Manchester in particular. She will be sorely missed. <a href="https://t.co/ooSeD3W0FB">pic.twitter.com/ooSeD3W0FB</a></p> <p>— Rachel Fox (@therealdaftbear) <a href="https://twitter.com/therealdaftbear/status/1506238880269447173?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 22, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Tributes to Fox soon emerged online from fans, colleagues and others in the theatre world, with many praising her talent and sending their thoughts to her family.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So sad to hear the news about Maggie Fox,” theatre publicist Duncan Clarke wrote. “I had the pleasure of working with her &amp; she was such a wonderful lady.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4654b448-7fff-5e62-a176-d3d9c89a57e4"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“Even had the honour of sharing the stage with her once in a cameo as a Ninja in the fab Jane Bond. My thoughts are with Sue &amp; Maggie’s family.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Maggie Fox. We completed a bathroom renovation for her last year and some other repairs round the house. Last time I saw her she was on the mend so I’m shocked by today’s news, I was actually next door to her today too. A really lovely woman. Thoughts to her husband and daughters</p> <p>— James (@Stellify_J) <a href="https://twitter.com/Stellify_J/status/1506306413647253507?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 22, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Heartbroke to read of the sudden passing of the incredible, hilarious Maggie Fox, who alongside Sue Ryding has entertained audiences since 1985,” one fan shared.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve been lucky enough to see you many times.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-72217a0d-7fff-7eab-af5c-9f1a8fa0a6a3"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“I can’t even fathom the depth of devastation.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Maggie Fox of <a href="https://twitter.com/LipServicetour?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LipServicetour</a>. Maggie and Sue have been bringing their brilliant comedy partnership to Harrogate Theatre for years and were much loved by all.Our thoughts go out to Maggie’s family, friends and of course Sue. <a href="https://t.co/svn0npxjwn">https://t.co/svn0npxjwn</a></p> <p>— Harrogate Theatre (@HGtheatre) <a href="https://twitter.com/HGtheatre/status/1506213750763888644?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 22, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Incredibly sad to hear this news about the brilliant Maggie Fox. Much love to Sue and their families x,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to her role as Ruth Audsley on <em>Coronation Street</em>, Fox was known for her work in <em>Reckless</em> and <em>The Forsyte Saga</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-4c05a526-7fff-99a6-dd54-fb33576e2231"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: LipService Theatre (Facebook)</em></p>

News

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Grieving Maggie Beer finds amazing way to honour her late daughter

<p>Australian culinary legend Maggie Beer and her husband Colin have found a heart-felt way to honour their late daughter Saskia. </p><p>Saskia, who shared her mother's passion for cooking and ran her own business, is about to be honoured in the form of a Churchill Fellowship. </p><p>"It allows people for, say, four to eight weeks, depending on what they envisage doing, of going overseas to find something that can't be learnt in Australia... that's the strength of it, and when they bring it back, they have to give back to the community in large what they have learnt," Maggie told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p><p>"Through the Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship, the people who are awarded that Fellowship will pay tribute to Saskia's life and continue her legacy through their passion for food," Winston Churchill Trust CEO Adam Davey said.</p><p>Two years ago, Maggie and Colin were blindsided by the sudden death of their 46-year-old daughter, who passed away unexpectedly in her sleep in February 2020. </p><p>Maggie said the beginning of the pandemic gave their family valuable time to grieve together. </p><p>"COVID to me was a bit of a gift, to isolate... we didn't want to talk to anyone except for our very closest," Maggie said.</p><p>After her daughter passed away, Maggie found solace in the kitchen: a space that they both shared a deep love for. </p><p>"My happy place is being in the kitchen... so it gave me comfort," Maggie said.</p><p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Tourists fined for “just having a beer” in Colosseum

<p dir="ltr">Two tourists have received a hefty $1200 fine after breaking into the Colosseum in Rome and having a beer after it was closed.</p> <p dir="ltr">The pair, aged 24 and 25 according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/nov/17/us-tourists-fined-800-for-breaking-into-colosseum-for-beer" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, climbed to the second tier of the tourist attraction in the early hours on Monday (local time).</p> <p dir="ltr">They<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/tourist-fined-1200-illegal-act-colosseum-rome-200613025.html" target="_blank">reportedly</a><span> </span>chatted over some beers while the amphitheatre was closed to the public.</p> <p dir="ltr">The American tourists climbed over high railings, walked to the second level, and settled at a spot overlooking the city,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/tourists-rome-colosseum-beer/index.html" target="_blank"><em>CNN</em></a><span> </span>reported.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, they were spotted by a member of the public at about 5.30 am who alerted the police.</p> <p dir="ltr">They told police they were “just having a beer”, the Italian press reported, but were then fined by police for illegally entering the Colosseum.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the<span> </span><em>BBC</em>, the pair were fined a total of 800 Euros, or $AUD 1250.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, this isn’t the first time tourists have broken the rules at the Colosseum.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2015, two California women left their tour group and etched their initials into the structure, an action which is strictly forbidden.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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The “loneliest woman in America” who brewed root beer for thousands of visitors

<p dir="ltr">From 1934 to 1986, Dorothy Molter lived alone on the Isle of Pines in Minnesota’s million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Her home was 25km by canoe from the nearest road and 50km from the nearest town, and the waters and wilderness surrounding it played home to bald eagles, swans, deer, bear, and the occasional moose.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the summer, she operated a fishing camp, but lived in almost permanent solitude during the winter. Her interesting choice of residence wasn’t what cemented her<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/dorothy-molter-root-beer-lady" target="_blank">legacy</a>, however: it was the root beer she brewed with lake water and served to visitors. Thanks to this hobby, she became known as “the root beer lady”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Molter fell in love with the woods in 1930 during a family fishing trip, and after struggling to find work as a nurse during the Depression in her home city of Chicago, she returned. A man named Bill Berglund promised her that if she stayed to help him run his fishing camp, he would leave her the four-cabin resort in his will. True to his word, when he died in 1948, Molter took over.</p> <p dir="ltr">She gained a reputation as a wilderness “first responder”, using her nursing training to help injured canoers and animals alike. Her tendency to help those who were injured earned her another nickname, “Nightingale of the Northwoods”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jess Edberg, executive director of the Dorothy Molter Museum, said that despite all of this, it was her decision to live in solitude that most intrigued people. “An unmarried woman living alone in the wilderness was a curiosity,” she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">Molter herself once swore that she wouldn’t marry unless she found a man who could “portage heavier loads, chop more wood, or catch more fish” than her. It’s a good thing Molter was so self-sufficient, because living in such isolation is not for the faint of heart. Without electricity, a telephone, or running water, she chopped her own wood, hauled lake water, and harvested ice in winter to preserve food in warmer months. Communication, whether by mail, telegraph, or word-of-mouth, often took days.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her isolation was only exacerbated by the US government’s attempts to preserve the wilderness surrounding her home. After float plane flights to the island ended in 1952, Molter was dubbed the “loneliest woman in America” in the press.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Wilderness Act of 1964 mandated that residences and buildings had to be removed from the area. Molter ignored repeated orders from the US Forest Service to vacate, and eventually, following a groundswell of public support, she was allowed to stay on her island as a “volunteer-in-service”, although she was forced to close her camp. This made her the last resident of the Boundary Waters.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the cessation of flights to the area, it became impossible to transport drinks, so naturally, Molter began making her own root beer. She bought flavoured syrup from the nearby town or local Boy Scout base, and blended it with sugar, yeast for carbonation, and lake water in a 30-litre crock. She bottled the resulting beverage in hundreds of empty glass bottles she had collected over the years, with nowhere to dispose of them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the quality of the drink not always being consistent, as many as 7000 visitors managed to consume around 12,000 bottles of the homemade soda, with the local Boy Scouts being particular fans.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Molter passed away at her cabin in 1986, a group that dubbed itself “Dorothy’s Angels” managed to move her buildings to the nearby town of Ely and create a museum in her honour. The Dorothy Molter Museum sits in a woodsy area at the edge of the town, offering visitors a sample of root beer and a taste of Molter’s quiet life.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Buddy Mays/Corbis via Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Downton Abbey: A New Era full teaser FINALLY released

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Only a week ago, it was announced that the new teaser trailer for </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Downton Abbey: A New Era</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> would only be shown in cinemas ahead of showings of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Belfast</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fortunately, those of us that haven’t been to the cinema can now enjoy it from home, with the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.empireonline.com/movies/news/full-teaser-trailer-online-for-downton-abbey-a-new-era/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">release</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of the footage online.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2ZLjAORkXS0" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the release of the new trailer, more of the film’s plot has been revealed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Specifically, Dame Maggie Smith’s Violet Crawley reveals that she had a casual fling in the past that has resulted in her inheriting a French Villa.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845740/downton1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/65764e4a03a342509dd9174c34fdafd7" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @downtonabbey_official (Instagram)</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plus, the family are gearing up to welcome a royal visitor to the estate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The film also promises to include the wedding of assistant cook Daisy Mason to footman Andrew Parker.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845741/downton2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/172d00698e014b368b3a3a4e57822057" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Universal Pictures UK / YouTube</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The list of returning faces includes: Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Laura Carmichael (Lady Grantham), Jim Carter (Charles Carson), Brendan Coyle (Mr Bates), Michelle Dockery (Lady Crawley) and Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates).</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845742/downton3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/9f2f1567c0724ca79f57a3111e92b8da" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @downtonabbey_official (Instagram)</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Joining them are newcomers Hugh Dancy (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hannibal</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">), Laura Haddock (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Guardians of the Galaxy</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">), Nathalie Baye (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Catch Me If You Can</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">), and Dominic West (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Wire</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Directed by Simon Curtis and scripted by Julian Fellows, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Downton Abbey: A New Era</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is due to arrive in cinemas on March 18, 2022.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @downtonabbey_official (Instagram)</span></em></p>

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