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Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis he wrote at 24 completely crashes website due to popularity

Stephen Hawking&Apos;S PhD Thesis He Wrote At 24 Completely Crashes Website Due To Popularity

Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis is proving so popular that it has broken the internet, sort of.

Or rather, it has broken the part of the internet that Cambridge University used to put it online. So many people are trying to access the important essay that the website has completely broken.

The university expected the essay to prove popular, since it gives an insight into the mind of the 24-year-old who would go on to be one of the most recognise and important scientists in the world. But it surely can’t have expected it to be quite so popular, and bring down the Apollo system on which it is held.

Cambridge said when it posted the article online that even the library catalogue page was easily its most popular, and that it was viewed hundreds of times per month.

It hopes that popularity can encourage other students and alumni to put their PhD thesis on the university’s open access site. Essays uploaded there can be read by anyone, and Professor Hawking supported the hope that his thesis could not only help others read and understand his ideas but also inspire them to share their own.

“By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos,” said Professor Hawking. “Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.

“Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein. It’s wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis – hopefully they won’t be disappointed now that they finally have access to it!”

Anyone can now head to the Apollo system and look up Professor Hawking’s 1966 thesis, ‘Properties of expanding universes’, by clicking here. But for now that page might not load.

 

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Donald Trump open to effort to regulate Facebook political ads

Donald Trump Open To Effort To Regulate Facebook Political Ads

Donald Trump said he was open to compelling technology companies to release more information about political advertisements.

Earlier this week a trio of senators unveiled a bill that would require major tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to disclose who is purchasing ads on their platforms. They said they were responding to a drumbeat of revelations that Russia-linked actors purchased political ads, part of what intelligence agencies have called a wide-ranging effort to disrupt the 2016 election.

As multiple probes explore potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign, the president has been adamant in dismissing that effort as a politically motivated “witch hunt”. He and his allies have characterized efforts to explore Russia’s role as an attempt by Democrats to justify losing.

His CIA director, Mike Pompeo, claimed this week that the intelligence community concluded Russian meddling did not affect the election outcome, an inaccurate remark the CIA later walked back. Mr Trump also lashed out at suggestions that content on Facebook aided him.

Despite the Trump administration’s resistance to suggestions of Russia election influence, Mr Trump signaled on Sunday that he might embrace a proposal to regulate tech companies like the one that emerged last week.

Asked by Fox News interviewer Maria Bartiromo about whether the tech industry merited more regulation – “you have these companies that are more powerful than ever before”, she noted – Mr Trump said “I can go either way on it”.

“Some people talk about freedom and other people talk about ‘we want to know who’s taking ads or doing whatever’ and I would imagine something is going to come down along the line like we’re doing right now for…a normal broadcast company”, Mr Trump said, referencing the fact that political advertisements on television must disclose their funders.

Dove says it deeply regrets ‘racist’ Facebook advert

Technology companies are girding for a long fight, deploying lobbyists to shape the new proposal. They are under intense political scrutiny, with representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google invited to testify in an open hearing next month.

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Tech companies and governments fight over who's responsible for stopping terror attacks

Londoni merénylet

Governments across the world are battling with technology companies to decide the future of the internet. And it is a matter of life and death.

The UK Government is currently leading a fight to force technology companies to delete content at will, a power they claim is necessary for counter-extremism projects but which experts say will enable censorship and could even put people at great risk of attack.

And the result of that fight is likely to be profound: countries across the world are following the UK in attempting to decide what’s published online.

In recent years, the Government has focused more and more on removing the ability to discuss or spread terrorist propaganda from the internet. That marks a major departure from its previous, abandoned, strategy, which had originally focused on the security tools that were being used to protect messages.

Initially, that shift came when Theresa May was home secretary, and she attempted to force technology companies to stop using strong encryption so that intelligence agencies could read messages. This resulted in severe pushback from technology companies, which argued it wouldn’t be possible to break the security just for terrorists without endangering all of their users.

A growing agreement on that argument has led the Government to instead focus on terrorist content, not the delivery tools used to spread that content. And so the focus has become the social media and technology companies like YouTube and Facebook, rather than messaging companies like WhatsApp and Apple.

The climbdown has happened quietly but it had some major flashpoints. After the San Bernardino attack in 2015, for instance, the US government tried to force Apple to break into a phone so that it could read the messages contained inside – Apple refused and pursued legal recourse, in a tussle that was widely thought to be a test case for future collisions between technology and anti-terror police.

That dispute took place entirely in the US but it was watched around the world. That shows just how international the debate about terrorist content and propaganda is – and how impossible it is to make one decision in isolation.

Theresa May: The internet provides a safe space for extremist ideologies to breed

The UK has pursued far more intense and intrusive snooping powers than any other government in the developed world, for example. And European courts have been much more happy about applying regulation to tech companies – forcing a number of recent decisions on to them, including the “right to be forgotten”, which forced technology companies to remove information about people that was old and unnecessary.

Even the US – a country famous for allowing its tech companies a great deal of freedom and eschewing the idea of social justice that animates European and UK courts – has signalled that it wants to limit what they’re allowed to publish, and may follow the European model.

Experts warn that because of the intensely global nature of such regulation, it becomes a race to the bottom – as soon as one government does something, other authorities will feel validated in pursuing such powers. Technology companies are so large that they require international governance and consensus, since any differences in regulation are likely to mean that companies may be forced into acting illegally in one country or the other.

The 2017 Conservative manifesto promised that the UK would become “the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet”. That was a comment seized upon by both supporters and opponents, who claimed that it showed how far Britain’s snooping laws had intruded into people’s lives, and that its leadership would be followed by oppressive regimes who could now call on the UK example for legitimacy.

That has come true. The UK’s interventions in technology regulation and snooping are thought to have become a model for other countries around the world. The UK Investigatory Powers Act, recognised to include some of the widest spying powers anywhere in the world, has now become law.

The latest intervention came from the very top of the Government this week.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Ms May repeated her belief that technology companies need to do more to get rid of content from the internet.

A colleague, Conservative MP Lucy Frazer, asked: “Yesterday, the director general of MI5 said that internet companies had an ethical responsibility to deal with ​terrorist material online.

“The Prime Minister has previously indicated that if they do not meet this challenge she will consider regulation. Will she confirm that if regulations are necessary they will be robust and enforced?”

Ms May answered with a long response that said it is a “real issue that we need to address”.

“We need to work together but I want those tech companies to recognise their social and moral responsibility to work with us to do something about this material,” she continued.

She also made several references to work that she and Home Secretary Amber Rudd had done with technology companies. She praised the Ms Rudd’s ”important work, for instance, with the tech companies, which have come together and formed a global forum looking at how to deal with terrorist material on the internet”, and praised herself for having hosted a meeting at the UN General Assembly that was attended by tech companies and countries from across the world.

But representatives of tech companies who have attended those meetings are less glowing about their effects. Several have described them primarily as PR exercises, for which there is little need to fly out all the way to San Francisco.

Despite those criticisms, internet companies are doing more to tackle terror – and making that work as public as they can. Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube this summer founded the Global Internet Forum to Combat Terrorism. It is supposed to help create new technological solutions like tools to detect bad content, and pass those findings to smaller companies.

Google, for instance, has been working on counter-speech work, which attempts early intervention before people have actually been radicalised, and tries to change people’s mind when they begin searching.

If people appear to be looking for terrorist content or propaganda – like searching “how to join Isis”, for instance – then Google will intervene with content intended to change their mind. Google has also given out Adwords grants, so that non-governmental organisations can buy ads on problematic searches for free, on which they can put links to counter-extremist content.

The technology companies claim that is a much more effective approach than the one currently being pursued by the UK Government – rather than being compelled to do the inefficient and expensive work of taking down every post, as the Government appears to want them to, they can instead use technological solutions to disrupt the “marketplace of ideas”.

But the problem isn’t simply practical or technical – it boils down to questions about what exactly technology companies are and do. Social media companies tend to refer to themselves not as publishers, which would make them liable for any content hosted there, but as platforms, a designation for which there is a much less clear regulatory and ethical framework.

“The problem is the very idea of the social media system – it is ungovernable,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. “Facebook is designed as if we are nice to each other. And we’re not.”

Ms May’s most recent comments came in the same week that the US committed to some of its most sweeping internet regulation law yet. A bipartisan bill is being introduced in the senate that would force internet companies to be more transparent and critical of the advertising they run online.

“Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google,” reads the announcement of the bill, which is backed by senators including John McCain. “The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio and satellite.”

The provisions of the bill are relatively limited – especially when compared with regulations in Europe – but they may be the beginning of more sweeping powers. Tech companies are thought to be stepping up their lobbying efforts in anticipation of more criticism and legislation, and experts suggest that the European powers may come to be more reflected in the US, too.

“I anticipate the EU will be where many of these issues get played out,” said Sarah T Roberts, an assistant professor of information studies at UCLA who has studied efforts to monitor and vet internet content. Objectionable content “is the biggest problem going forward. It’s no longer acceptable for the firms to say that they can’t do anything about it.”

 

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Students cut back on alcohol and spend four times more on fitness than they once did

Students Cut Back On Alcohol And Spend Four Times More On Fitness Than They Once Did

Health-conscious students are cutting back on alcohol and spending almost four times more on fitness than they were a decade ago, new research suggests.

Student letting app SPCE, which is launching next month, commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 people and found that alcohol was at the bottom of today’s student expenditure list, accounting for just £68 of average monthly spend. Some 18 per cent of those surveyed said they spent nothing at all on alcoholic drinks.

Money spent on health and fitness, including gym memberships, exercise classes and sports clubs, was £120 on average. This was £87 more than that spent by students that graduated between 1997 and 2017.

The survey, which included students living at home, found the average cost of rent and bills to be £274.

Second only to rent and bill costs, travel is a substantial outgoing for students today – they spend an average of £235 a month, up from just £68 for those who graduated between 2007 and 2017.

For students who have a maintenance loan, the average monthly amount they receive is around £600. However, research in 2016 from NotGoingtoUni found that 87 per cent of undergraduate students surveyed ask their parents for money, on average, five times a study year. And the average annual amount withdrawn from the bank of mum and dad was £2,285 or £190.41 per month.

SPCE’s research also suggests that students are far more likely than previous student cohorts to be investing in their health and fitness.

Groceries and household items are also a bigger expense today at £157 up from £97. This figure, however, also includes students who live at home. For those living alone the expense is likely to be bigger.

Leon Ifayemi, co-founder and chief executive of SPCE, said the research suggests that the stereotype of students spending all their cash on drinking and partying is far from the truth.

He added: “For students and the parents often offering financial support to them, tracking their outgoings to ensure rent payments are met and overdrafts are not exhausted is essential to reducing stress and monetary concerns throughout the university experience.”

The cost of being a student in the UK can vary greatly between cities. NatWest’s annual student living index 2017, which surveyed students across 35 popular UK universities, found that Cardiff was the cheapest place to be a student and Glasgow the most expensive. London was the second most costly.

 

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Twitter to crack down on sexual harassment and tweets that glorify violence

Twitter To Crack Down On Sexual Harassment And Tweets That Glorify Violence

Upskirt images and messages glorifying violence are among the types of content Twitter is moving to crack down on with a harder set of rules on banned speech.

The social media company has released a new set of guidelines dictating what types of content or accounts it will suspend. CEO Jack Dorsey previewed the forthcoming rules last week by ruing that “we see voices being silenced on Twitter every day” and vowing to take a “more aggressive stance”.

“Today we saw voices silencing themselves and voices speaking out because we’re *still* not doing enough”, Mr Dorsey wrote on Friday, an apparent reference to a mass boycott of Twitter after the site temporarily suspended the account of an actress, Rose McGowan, who has publicly alleged that producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her. Dozens of women have come forward to accuse Mr Weinstein of harassment and assault. Mr Weinstein has denied that any sexual relations were non-consensual, and his legal team have called other allegations “false”.

Critics have long assailed Twitter for its lax approach to some content, saying it doesn’t do enough to suppress sexual harassment and hate speech. The new rules take aim at both, saying the result will be more abusive content getting removed.

An email to members of a Trust and Safety Council laying out the new approach was first reported by Wired, whose story Mr Dorsey referenced in a tweet.

People who post non-consensual nude images – both those who initially tweet such images and those who share them with the intent of harassing victims – will be permanently booted from the platform, whereas before first-time offenders faced temporary suspension. Twitter is broadening its definition of “non-consensual nudity” to encompass upskirt imagery, hidden camera content and “creep shots”, according to the email.

On the topic of “unwanted sexual advances”, the email is more vague. The site said it would continue to act “when we receive a report from someone directly involved in the conversation”, though it pledged to roll out improved reporting tools.

Some users criticised that strategy for suffering from the same shortcomings they say plague Twitter’s current approach to abuse – the fact the self-reporting system is deemed ineffective by some.

Hate speech has become an unavoidable topic for dominant social media hubs like Twitter and Facebook in the months since a neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville spiraled into bloodshed, with Silicon Valley at large under heightened pressure to stifle the spread of hateful creeds.

Twitter said it would begin treating hate symbols as “sensitive media”, though the exact implications were yet to be determined, and would “take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause”.

It also said it would expand its prohibition on violent speech from direct threats, which are already banned, to messages that condone or glorify violence.

 

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Sonos One review: A speaker that music lovers will finally enjoy talking to

Sonos One Review A Speaker That Music Lovers Will Finally Enjoy Talking To

Voice assistants seem to represent the best of what films offered us in the future: the ability to control your home, your music and everything else about your life simply by talking to a digital butler. But science fiction never had them sounding quite so bad.

Despite all the hype around voice assistants, they have mostly been confined to things that make them sound terrible when they speak. Siri mostly comes out of your phone speakers, for instance, and the best the Google Assistant can do is the little rounded Google Home.

Until now. The Sonos One represents the first time that you can talk to a voice assistant and actually have its voice – and anything else it does – sound good.

You’ve spent a lot of time listening to your home speakers, Sonos or not. Now you can make them listen to you.

The new Sonos One, which integrates Amazon’s Alexa on top of one of the company’s great speakers, might represent the first time for music lovers that they can actually seize on the much hyped voice assistant technology. And no matter how much of an audiophile you are, this is the smart speaker to buy; for the tech companies, this is the home for your voice assistant to beat.

Here’s a quick thing to get out of the way: if you’ve used a Sonos Play:1 before, and if you’ve used one of Amazon’s Echos, then you already know what this does. That’s not to say that’s all the new Sonos One is – though that would be more than enough. Instead, it just means that if you’ve already heard the precision and beauty of a Sonos speaker, and experienced the strange wizardly of Alexa, you’ve got some inkling of the treat that you’re in for.

If you haven’t, then here’s a brief catchup. Sonos makes stunning speakers that are particularly notable for just how transparent they sound despite their small size, with none of the frustrating distortion of other small speakers, and which can be conveniently placed throughout your house, taking their music from the internet and doing so entirely wirelessly. Alexa has until now mostly lived inside Amazon’s Echos, and is probably the most notable of the various voice assistants, if only for the fact that she knows what you’re saying almost all of the time.

They’re both almost certainly the best things you can get at what they do. Sonos speakers connect up easily and are undoubtedly the best way of getting wireless music in your house – and throughout your house, if you buy multiple speakers and use Sonos’s app to control them. The Echo and Alexa have built up a wide range of skills and are good at both listening and responding to what you’re saying.

The problem until now was that every iteration of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers sounded terrible, good only for listening to the radio, as you’d perhaps expect a tiny little speaker shoved into a cylinder to. And Sonos could only be controlled from its app, meaning that you had to take your phone out every time you wanted to put a new song on.

The One fixes all of that. Sonos is calling it the “smart speaker for music lovers”, and for once marketing spiel turns out to be true: they were already the internet speaker for music lovers, of course, and they’ve just smartened up.

Practically, that means that Alexa – and Google Assistant, from next year – have been slotted inside of a Sonos speaker. (That speaker resembles Sonos’s existing Play:1 – despite the fact that the company claims only two parts are the same, it looks almost identical and sounds the same, too.) So you can simply shout somewhere near your speaker – you don’t have to be right next to it – to ask for a song, playlist, album or whatever else, and it will start playing.

That might sound a little silly, and you’ll probably feel silly when you first use it. But it doesn’t take long before you realise that it’s very worth it – that the ease of being able to yell requests to your little, square, electronic DJ more than makes up for having to shout in your empty kitchen.

(The kitchen is the best place for this speaker, by the way – it’s loud enough to fill most normal ones on its own, and it’s perfect when your hands are covered in flour or marigolds.)

And yell you will. For the moment you can only ask for songs through Amazon Prime Music (though you can do other things like play and pause, and Spotify is on its way), but that restriction is more than made up for how good Alexa is at searching for things on there. Misremember the name of something and it’ll start blaring out, for instance, or recite some lyrics to a song you half recall and Alexa will do the rest.

As mentioned, none of this will be surprising to anyone who has used an Echo, or Amazon’s music app on phones. But what does come as a surprise is just how good all of that sounds, with Alexa coming through a quality speaker and then playing music that actually sounds like you’d hope it would when you asked for it.

Sonos seems to be very relaxed about how you play music through its speakers. It’s not only letting Alexa in, but it’s already allowing you to start your music from within the Spotify app. And the same thing will happen with almost everything on your iPhone, including Apple Music, next year – Sonos is adding support for AirPlay 2 when it comes out, meaning that you’ll be able to send music or the audio from YouTube straight from your phone.

The Sonos One at its launch event

Combined with the addition of Alexa controls from your Sonos, this is almost as much of a significant update as the One itself. It will come to most speakers through a software update, and doesn’t require you to buy anything new, but represents a significant change and improvement in the way that you use your speakers.

Despite that, the app has undergone a complete redesign, and Sonos appears still to be focused on that as a way of listening. As has been the case for a long time, the app is probably the most disappointing part of the experience: the new look is appreciated, and mostly helpful, but fails to get rid of some of the frustrations and complications that have been part of the Sonos experience for a long time.

That’s despite a whole host of incredible features. Sonos’ TruePlay, for instance, uses the app and your phone to adjust the sound of your speaker to best suit your room. And the sheer number of sources that it can deal with is incredible. But there’s still something fundamentally confusing and slightly too cumbersome about the app, despite the various and very worthwhile fixes.

Part of this is perhaps inevitable, since the app has to function as a hub for a ridiculous amount of content: millions of songs from every streaming service you can think of, and many you’ve never heard of. Even Apple Music and Spotify – which only have to look after their own libraries, and play them to one set of headphones – don’t always work properly and have trouble keeping up. And the app is improving, certainly.

What’s more, all of this is also what makes the One so exciting. Once the speaker has gone through its very quick and easy set-up process, you don’t actually ever need to open up any app ever again – you can just talk to the Sonos One, or indeed any other Alexa-enabled device, and have it play music around your house.

The new Sonos speaker is a little more square, but is otherwise remarkably similar (Sonos)

That’s because the Sonos One arrives with proper Amazon integration throughout the Sonos line – even for the speakers and Echos that are already in your house. Just tell Alexa what to play and in what room to do it, and your speakers will start doing it. It’s properly integrated, so that when you start speaking to Alexa, your Sonos speakers will dip their sound a little so that you can be heard. This is entirely free, barring the expense of those products,

(The Sonos One is £199 on Amazon, whose own Echo Plus sells for £139.99. If you can afford the extra expense, then it would be a very silly decision indeed not to pay for the Sonos One. But I would certainly forgive you for buying the £49.99 Echo Dot, which can be placed on top of your existing Sonos speaker and now give it all the same functionality, with the exception of having to tell Alexa that you want music to play in the living room, for instance. You’ll also miss out on the strange feeling of hearing Alexa’s robot voice come through a high quality speaker.)

Given the amount of engineering, agreements and alterations that went into building this speaker, it really boils down to something rather simple. Sonos, which already makes the best home sound system speakers you can buy, is now giving you an extra way of playing music. It’s not asking for any more money for doing so, and is making it easy to add that functionality even if you’re not going to be buying the One.

There are few situations the One won’t fit into. The sound is powerful – and if it’s not powerful enough, you can buy two and have them work as a stereo pair. (Bizarrely, a One won’t work in that way with a Play:1, despite the fact they sound the same.) And it’s packed into a beautiful, small box, of the kind that you won’t be ashamed to display on your bookshelf or kitchen counter, but which is little enough to be hidden away without anyone noticing it. That size comes with compromises of course – it doesn’t sound especially bassy, and won’t go incredible loud – but it’s good as you’d expect from something the size of a small bird.

The question of whether to buy it is just as simple, too, and it mostly boils down to: yes, you should. If you want to listen to music in your house, and don’t want to go to the expense and bother of buying a Hi-Fi, then Sonos was always the obvious choice. The One just also answers a few more questions: if you were thinking of buying an Echo, and can afford it, then get this instead.

Sonos already made the best sounding and looking speakers, and at a reasonable if not cheap price. And now, as well as listening, you can start talking too.

 

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Modest fashion: How covering up became mainstream

Modest fashion How covering up became mainstream

Flick through the racks in a high street store and you’ll notice that wrist-length sleeves and high necks have appeared on dresses, hems are a little longer, and corsets are showcased beneath plain polonecks and crisp, white shirts on manequins. And it’s all thanks to the rise of something called modest-wear.

As the name suggests, modest-wear is clothing that conceals rather than accentuates the shape of the body. Recently, mainstream brands have found themselves playing catch-up to appeal to women who dress modestly for religious and cultural reasons, including Muslims, Jews and Christians. This has collided with the natural fashion cycle which has ushered in long, flowing and lose-fitting clothing as an antithesis to the boundary-pushing, revealing outfits that were in vogue a decade ago (remember underwear as outerwear, Lady Gaga’s shock tactics and Rihanna’s S&M video?).

Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies at the London College of Fashion and author of Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, has been studying modest looks since the mid-2000s. In the past two seasons in particular she has noticed modest fashions hitting the highstreet. Skinny jeans have been ditched in favour of wide-legged trousers and other androgynous looks that feed off the popularity of brands like Commes des Garcons. And as Nigella Lawson showed when she stepped into the sea in a birkini in 2016, sometimes women just don’t want to show flesh regardless of their beliefs.

At the same time, Muslim fashion designers and influencers in the UK and Jewish and Christians in the US are filling gaps that they have spotted in the market, using social media to gain influence and set up online stores. Factor in brands attempting to appear more “woke” to appeal to millennial consumers in an uncomfortable political climate – just think of the inclusion of a hijabi photographer in that widely panned Pepsi ad – and it’s no wonder that modesty is now mainstream.

“Today, individuality is celebrated and again social media has been a key platform for people to express their individuality,” says Altaf Alim, the co-founder commercial director of Aab, a modest fashion brand that launched in 2007.

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The houndstooth drawcord kimono and houndstooth shirt dress by Aab

“Ten years ago it was very difficult to find clothing that was both suitably modest but also on trend.” Now, Aab is working with the Debenhams – the first major UK department store to sell Muslim clothing. Recently, their swim wear collection sold out within days of going online.

“What was available was either frumpy or boring and this is really how the industry came about. It’s fair to say it started out as a cottage industry with designers making dresses with a modest silhouette but with personality. Today there is lot’s of choice from independent designers right through to the high street. Consumer choice is always a good thing,” she argues.

But, some will ask, isn’t this all a bit oppressive? Neither Lewis nor Alim agree that that is the case. There are still plenty of revealing clothes in stores, and Alim stresses that Aab isn’t trying to replace those outfits. The collision of modest fashion designers attempting to appeal to a wider audience while mainstream brands are trying to appear more inclusive has  somewhat put to bed this question, argues Alim.

“Ironically this is no longer an argument any more as all the mainstream designers are championing modest fashion as the ‘go to’ look. It’s all very en vogue at the moment. However in the earlier days you always wanted to be careful when talking about modest fashion so as to be sure that you weren’t implying that any other fashion was immodest,” she says.

Simi Polonsky who founded The Frock NYC, an orthodox Jewish fashion brand, with her sister agrees. “I feel that society is slowly taking a turn in that they are focusing less on the nuances of a modest woman’s specific dressing guidelines and honing in on the truth behind the ‘modest movement’.”

Alim says she’s had “so many” responses from women who say Aab dresses have given them a renewed sense of confidence, adding: “we want our brand to be inclusive of everyone be they faith or non-faith.”

As #teamFrock ventured outside for a photo shoot of the new #Frock2way the passersby called out ‘great models’, which I happen to agree with completely 💃🏻. Sharon said we were model citizens, which I couldn’t agree with more considering we are 4 very different women, with very different bodies, all wearing the same new Frock. I wore it as a dress over my workout gear, Tirzah over her #FrockEz, Chaya over the #frockshirtdress and Sharon over her #FrockBasic, (did I say effortless and throw-on?) Thus illustrating the #Frock2way is for anyone, the way clothing should be. The only thing is, it won’t actually be available to everyone this time😱#LIMITEDEDITION. So Watch out for email over the weekend! Tirzah is wearing size XS Simi, size S Chaya, size L Sharon, size XS 📷 @rii.c

A post shared by Chaya & Simi (@thefrocknyc) on

That’s all well and good, but it would of course be naive to ignore the fact that modest clothing is another way to market towards consumers from Muslim-majority countries with young populations and many, many petrol dollars. That might explain why the movement has mothballed so fast. From a dearth of stylish modest clothing, in the space of a year or so, London hosted its first Modest Fashion Week, Uniqlo teamed up with fashion design Hana Tajima to release a collection of hijabs. DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger have all tested the water by releasing one-off collections during Ramadan and Eid. Dolce and Gabbana meanwhile launched a permanent range of hijabs and lose robes, or abayas. But the luxury fashion house was criticised for using white models, proving that cashing in on a cultural sensitive area of the market can be tricky.

Lewis also warns that the commercialisation of grassroots trends aren’t always entirely positive for the respective groups. She points to the members of the LGBT community who worry that the recognition of the “pink pound” in the past two decades has sanitised the civil rights movement, as major corporations sponsor pride parades and release themed products.

“I think there are pluses and minuses,” says Lewis. “In terms of being constricted as a consumer segment you need to be careful of what you wish for. It’s potentially great if you are fashion conscious Muslim. But if you go to iftar [the breaking of the fast during Ramadan] every day and you start to need a different outfit because it becomes a fashion parade that might be unwelcome and oppressive to some.

She adds: “It’s all very well to cover but if the clothes were produced by sweated labour and have a terrible impact on environment then how does that fit in with your ethics?”

But for women who have felt ignored by the mainstream for decades, modesty as a movement is an exciting new frontier in fashion.

“Modesty is about an attitude, it is all-inclusive to any woman from any faith, background or age who chooses to take a stand in how they present themselves,” says Polonsky. “Seeing that there is a strength and respect in that, is changing the perceptions surrounding modesty, and a modest woman in general.”

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Driving the Mercedes Unimog

Driving the Mercedes Unimog

Unimogs are all about context. See one in the middle of London and it will freak you out. Seeing one in a quarry or a forest is perfectly natural.

Mercedes’ built-for-purpose Unimogs have been carrying out extreme agricultural and municipal duties since the early 1950s. Their first function was to cut and haul timber. These days, the ‘Mog’s modular, flexible design allows it to be put to a variety of uses including tunnel-cleaning, animal feed-hauling, snow-ploughing and even train-towing. Unimogs have competed on Dakar Rally raids and starred in Hollywood movies – check out ‘Hound’ the Autobot from Transformers: The Last Knight.

We did. It was at the Unimog Live event at the Millbrook Proving Ground, where we got to drive a few of these awesome machines.

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Smaller Unimogs have three-number names. The smallest of all is the U218. Its 177bhp power figure might not sound much, but its 553lb ft of torque will see over most obstacles, helped by portal axles that sit above the wheel hub centres to give it a mighty 347mm of ground clearance. The top speed is 56mph, the fuel consumption is, er, 7.4mpg. Apparently that’s quite good for a truck like this.

Once you’re in the spring-mounted seat looking at a sackful of buttons, hydraulic controls, and the massive steering wheel, you realise this is rather more than a giant-sized G-Wagen.

If you choose Vario Pilot when ordering, the entire steering assembly can be moved over from one side of the cabin to the other. On the steering column is a manual gear selector and clutch. The electro-pneumatic system lets you pre-select a different gear on the fly, dipping the clutch slowly until the ratio is engaged. Then you have to operate the multi-stage engine brake and diff locks. There’s plenty to keep you occupied. If you’re a wuss you can go for a normal automatic gearbox.

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The course we tackled looked murderously hard, but in fact it turned out to be quite the opposite in the Unimog. It sailed through everything. Water, ascents, and descents that would bury most off-roaders were all shrugged aside.

Mercedes says a Unimog will conquer a 45-degree gradient even when it’s fully loaded. Deep pool wading was laughably easy. Across very rutted ground you can actually hear the chassis flexing. If things get mega-sticky you can drop or raise the tyre pressures from the cabin.

We also tried out the much bigger U5203. It has a longer wheelbase and a 1200mm fording ability which, believe us, is a lot. It was better over the rutted stuff than the smaller truck, and again it was far too capable to be bothered by the sort of sections we’d hesitate to walk on without crampons.

No new Unimog can be had for a mere five-figure sum, but drive one of these babies down Ken High St and we guarantee you’ll get more attention than that loser in the Lamborghini. Especially if you get Brabus to tweak the mechanicals a bit.

Tony Middlehurst is a writer for PistonHeads.

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Lifestyle

The 11 safest cities in the world

The 11 safest cities in the world

Big cities aren’t necessarily unsafe.

In fact, some of the safest cities in the world are urban hubs that boast low crime rates and high levels of safety.

The Economist’s 2017 safe cities index, sponsored by NEC, ranked 60 cities based on the factors of personal security, digital security, health security, and infrastructure security.

Personal security takes into account urban crime, terrorism, and other violence. Digital security measures threats like cyber attacks. Health security considers healthcare access, hospitals, and emergency services. Infrastructure security looks into cities with safe buildings, roads, and bridges. The Economist analyzed 49 indicators across each aspect of security in order to come up with a score out of 100. Safer cities received higher scores.

Overall, however, The Economist found that man-made dangers, like cyber threats, terrorism, and inequality-induced violence are on the rise in urban areas.

No US cities cracked the very top of the list — San Francisco came closest, with a ranking of 15.

On the other hand, Japan and Australia each saw two cities make the top 11.

Here are the safest cities around the globe:

11. Frankfurt, Germany

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(REUTERS)

Overall score: 84.86

Personal security ranking: 11

Digital security ranking: 16

Health security ranking: 3

Infrastructure security ranking: 23

10. Zurich, Switzerland

Overall score: 85.2

Personal security ranking: 20

Digital security ranking: 19

Health security ranking: 4

Infrastructure security ranking: 10

9. Hong Kong

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(Anthony Wallace/AFP)

Overall score: 86.22

Personal security ranking: 7

Digital security ranking: 5

Health security ranking: 24

Infrastructure security ranking: 7

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Overall score: 86.72

Personal security ranking: 9

Digital security ranking: 13

Health security ranking: 10

Infrastructure security ranking: 4

7. Sydney, Australia

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()

Overall score: 86.74

Personal security ranking: 12

Digital security ranking: 12

Health security ranking: 6

Infrastructure security ranking: 9

6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Amsterdam, Netherlands (Jeroen Swolfs)

Overall score: 87.26

Personal security ranking: 10

Digital security ranking: 4

Health security ranking: 12

Infrastructure security ranking: 6

5. Melbourne, Australia

Overall score: 87.3

Personal security ranking: 8

Digital security ranking: 11

Health security ranking: 9

Infrastructure security ranking: 7

4. Toronto, Canada

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Toronto, Canada. (Shutterstock)

Overall score: 87.36

Personal security ranking: 5

Digital security ranking: 6

Health security ranking: 11

Infrastructure security ranking: 14

3. Osaka, Japan

Overall score: 88.87

Personal security ranking: 3

Digital security ranking: 14

Health security ranking: 1

Infrastructure security ranking: 11

2. Singapore

Overall score: 89.64

Personal security ranking: 1

Digital security ranking: 2

Health security ranking: 13

Infrastructure security ranking: 1

1. Tokyo, Japan

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Japan’s cherry blossom (seen here in Tokyo in 2017) is within reach for £248 (AFP/Getty Images)

Overall score: 89.8

Personal security ranking: 4

Digital security ranking: 1

Health security ranking: 2

Infrastructure security ranking: 12

Read more:

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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Lifestyle

National Chocolate week: Top tips to taste chocolate better

National Chocolate week Top tips to taste chocolate better

It sometimes seems like there’s a national day or week for almost everything – but National Chocolate Week on 9 – 15 October is certainly one to circle in the calendar.

To celebrate, one of the Godiva chocolate experts, Domenico D’Amore, reveals top tips to taste chocolate better.

In this video, the Godiva London flagship store manager starts with a common mistake with chocolate.

“Never put your chocolate in the fridge,” he said.

Storing precious chocolate in the fridge is a big no-no, as it impairs the flavour. If you have already made this mistake, best to take the chocs out of the fridge and allow them to warm through to room temperature for at least half an hour before eating.

“Don’t rely on descriptions to choose your chocolate,” is his next tip.

“It’s better to read the descriptions after you have tasted the chocolate, not before. The surprise of flavours will make you think more about each bite and what you are tasting – you’ll get so much more out of the experience, and may even discover a new flavour you like,” he added.

And finally, Domenico’s last but definitely the most difficult one to follow: “eat one piece at a time.”

GodivaChocs

Top tip: eat chocolate one piece at a time

While it may be tempting to finish a whole block in one sitting, the chocolate will be more enjoyable one piece at a time according to the expert.

“Take a small piece and let it melt in the mouth for five to six seconds – wait for it to spread around the mouth, and then chew. Keep the mouth closed and breath in through your nose – this empowers all of the senses for the most enjoyment,” he said.

Buy any chocolate box from Godiva’s Signature Gold or Truffles Collection and enjoy free personalisation. Available on: Thursday, 12 October at Godiva Canary Wharf (12pm-6pm) or Friday, 13 October at Godiva St Pancras (12pm-6pm).

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