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10 Years On, A Man I’ll Never Forget

This video popped up in my newsfeed today and it made me cry…

Video courtesy of Spread the Message

Exactly 10 years ago I worked for the Asthma society in Dublin. Each morning, we would all pile into a car or a van and get dropped off, one by one, in various locations around Dublin city to sell scratch cards to raise money. A different location everyday, I met a vast range of strange and unusual people.

During the time I worked there (roughly three weeks), I got two free tickets to see Red Hot Chilli Peppers from a guy who said his friends weren’t coming and did I want to sell them to raise money, I almost got hit by a car who hit the curb on the sidewalk a little too hard and bounced the car into my just-jumped-out-of spot (he donated $10 to me as he ‘almost killed’ me) and I spent many a time hiding in department store doorways with the security guard sheltering from the rain and chitchatting about the weather.

But the one thing that I remember the most and that I will forever remember is the homeless man I met outside the convenience store I was stationed at one afternoon.

He sat on the ground on the busy main street with his Styrofoam cup, jingling it slightly as people exited the store. He had long shaggy hair and a scruffy beard and was nestled among a backpack and a blanket. I stood diagonal to him, sporting a summer dress, an ID badge, my official vest, my scratch cards in hand and my big white money-collecting bucket at my feet.

People would walk by, ignore him, ignore me, go on with their day. We would smile at each other occasionally, he’d wave to me, watch me if a crowd came and they seemed to be getting to close to me. There’d been a rash of white buckets being stolen recently and I was worried in the busy street someone would steal my bucket, maybe he could sense that.

He’d talk to me a little, ask about my day, make comments about the street, the people. Nothing rude. Just general talk. He seemed kind and gentle, gregarious even, and I found myself sad people were ignoring him.

At the end of the day, it was time for me to pack up what little I had raised and head back to base but as I took off my vest the homeless man vacated his nest of worldly belongings and made his way over to me. As it turns out, he was equally sad people were ignoring me and with a gentle, knowing voice told me that he wants to help. He extended his weathered hand to mine and handed me some change from his Styrofoam cup. I stood staring in disbelief that this man, who has almost nothing would give me money for charity. He settled himself back into his spot on the opposite side of the sidewalk, nodded at me and smiled.

And 10 years on, I’ve never forgotten him.

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Why Liking Curly Fries Means You’re Smart

Curly Fries
Curly Fries (Photo credit: David Atkinson Images)

In a study published this week, and one which is sure to re-ignite the Facebook-privacy fire, researchers have shown that Facebook users are unwittingly revealing all about themselves through their likes.

Funded by Boeing and Microsoft Research, the study shows that Facebook can be used to accurately predict a wide range of personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, political views, personality traits, use of addictive substances and age and gender. It can even tell researchers whether or not your parents were separated by the time you were 21.

The average person has 170 likes on their profile and it demonstrates how, through looking at the very basics of information a person provides online, an automatic and accurate estimation of what that person is like unfolds.

Although one could say the same could be said by looking at a person’s Google history, Web browsing or Twitter subscriptions, the only difference here is Facebook likes are currently publicly available by default.

58,466 volunteers took part in the study offering up their Facebook like data obtained through a Facebook application.

The study was able to correctly predict if:

  • 95% of the cases were African American or Caucasian American
  • 93% of the cases were female or male
  • 82% of the cases were Christian or Muslim
  • 67% of the cases were single or in a relationship
  • 73% of the cases were smokers or not
  • 65% of the cases were drug users or not
  • 60% of the cases were the users parents were separated by the time they were 21 or not

It goes on to show how personality traits were a little more difficult to predict accurately with them only being able to predict correctly:

  • The emotional stability of users in 30% of the cases
  • The openness of users in 43% of the cases
  • The satisfaction with life of users in 17% of the cases

To explain the lower accuracy for the ‘satisfaction with life’ trait, researchers say, it’s difficult separating long-term happiness with varying mood swings on Facebook.

People post less when they’re happy but give them something to complain about and off they go like a rocket.

It also shows that people who like ‘Hello Kitty’ tend to be high on Openness and low on Emotional Stability.

They’ve set up a website where users can test out the personality traits aspect for themselves at This was my result taken from my 120 likes:

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 16.17.16

Helpfully, it told me this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 16.18.20

I don’t ever remember liking Jeff Healey. I do like him but I don’t remember liking him. The others I’ll cop to that yes, I do like them. Crowdrise is awesome. You should all check it out when you‘re done reading this.

With a Facebook ‘like’ button adorning almost every website (and growing) it can be hard to avoid the pull of clicking like to express your feelings.

Intriguingly, the study demonstrates how individual likes and traits correlate. For example, they found the best predictors of high intelligence include ‘thunderstorms’, ‘curly fries’ and The Colbert Report’. Good predictors of male homosexuality were ‘No H8 Campaign’, ‘Mac Cosmetics’ and ‘Wicked the Musical.’ Liking ‘Britney Spears’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ were considered moderately indicative of being gay whereas people who liked ‘Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps’ were most likely to be straight men.

It’ll be interesting to see, moving forward with this study, if businesses start using it to tailor their advertisements and services more to the individual as oppose to the whole and how the publication of this study will serve to push the debate on privacy in the Digital Age.

If anyone wants to check out the study, it’s called: ‘Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior (2013)‘ – Michal Kosinski, David Stillwell, Thore Graepel published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal

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‘And so the f**k what?’ – A Quote for Monday

A quote that’s deserving of it’s very own post:

‘You all have fought for him as surely as if you were one of his parents. You’ve changed and are changing the lives of little boys and girls who realize somewhere along the way they’re just different from their other brothers and sisters…and so the f**k what?’ – Sally Field, HRC Dinner 2012

The beautiful Sally Field was presented with the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Ally for Equality Award at their 16th Annual National Dinner on Saturday night. Her youngest and gay son, Sam, presented her with the award and her speech about him, praising him, sharing her love for him, is just adorable.

You. Must. Watch. It.

It’ll make your Monday better, I promise.

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Thursday Timewasters – 05/10

I’ve spent a lot of this week reading the news as my Kindle battery died and there was nothing much else to do as once it was charged, I kept forgetting to bring it with me on the train. And so, I present, my favorite news items of this week:


Following hot on the heels of Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage, with in 24 hours, come this little item…..I’m not American, but I’d vote for you again!

On a related note, I would urge everyone to watch this video. Ketchup World, this is Shane. This past Monday marked the one year anniversary of the sudden and horribly tragic death of his boyfriend, Tom (29 years old). If anything ever happened to The Canadian One, I’d be lost. If anything ever happened to The Canadian One and then THIS happened…there are no words to describe how I would feel. This is Shane’s Story.  

Moving onto dinosaur news, my favorite kind of news!


I got nothing to say about this one but bahahahahahahahaha!

Imagine the pitch: ‘Eh, we need funding?’ ‘For what?’ ‘A study on dinosaur farts….’

In other, dinosaur related news, a variation of websites have carried the headline ‘Toddler encounters dinosaur and reacts accordingly’ thanks to this little video in which two year old Zack sees a dinosaur and reacts the way we ALL would, let’s admit it!

Yet more dinosaur related news:


AND (not dinosaur realated)


Now, you may think these are strange but a few years back, while in England  as a student and working part-time at a call center, a co-worker of mine had a rather interesting call. Hearing her giggling behind us, we all started to look out of our little booths to peer at what was so funny at her desk. As it turned out, the caller she’d been tasked with interviewing was named ‘Mr TickleMyFancy’. Apparently, as a joke and to win a bet (OF COURSE!), he’d changed his name to that. Unfortunately, during that time, he’d purchased a car and, having to use his legal name to sign the papers, poor Mr. TickleMyFancy then got a follow up service call from our call center where he was forced to explain to my giggling friend the origins of his moniker.

And finally:


Wait, so, The Pentagon quit The Avengers because of it’s UNREALITY?! Did they not have a small inkling that perhaps this wasn’t going to be the most realistic portrayal of a norse God, a rich playboy in an iron suit, a man who turns into a green giant when he gets angry and a man from the past, frozen in time and thawed out in modern day…none of that made them think it’s perhaps not the most reality based story in the world..? No?

Not done Timewasting? Find more in the Index!