Moving Zwiftly into the future

In the ever-changing world of technology which is increasingly relied on for convenience, things are taking a turn for the physical in eSports. Gone are the stereotypes of gamers being couch potatoes who lounge in their man caves, there’s a new breed of gamer and they are drastically different from the ones you might think you know.

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Credit Jade Du Preez.

But gaming has come a long way – the 70s was the golden age of the arcade game which actually forced gamers to leave their homes and game in public, the 80s saw tech like the ZX Spectrum and Commodore VIC-20, 8-bit computers that you could code your own games on (you plugged it into your TV!), then the 90s saw more handheld gaming with the Game Boy console finding a new niche in the market, then the turn of the century ushered in the most popular age of gaming and eSports captivated the world.

eSports is different from just gaming at home – you take part in a tournament that is often live streamed to people around the world, and not just anyone takes part, it’s normally always the upper echelon of players who battle against one another. It’s the cream of the crop and there’s normally a lot of money at play.

The prize pool for Dota 2’s The International 2018 tournament was over $25 million and people have been making a living out of eSports gaming for years now, and that looks like it’s going to stay as Fortnite creators Epic Games are looking to offer $100 million in prize money for tournaments during the 2018-2019. Dota put $38 million in for the previous season ($25 million of that going into the International 2018 tournament).

There is serious money backing eSports, with millions at stake, and that’s a drastic change from when Dennis Fong (also known as his gamer tag of Thresh), recognised as the first professional gamer, was playing Quake and Doom. Over his career, he made roughly $16,000 and famously won a Ferrari 328 that was owned by id Software CEO John D. Carmack. The players who finished 17th and 18th in the International 2018 tournament made $63,830.00 – that’s almost four times Fong’s entire career winnings.

But where are things changing? Yes, gaming has become a spectacle watching by many and held in huge arenas, but where does it go next? The answer could be helpful in cycling and running video game Zwift. It allows users to connect their turbo trainers (stationary bike technology that gathers data on performance) to their account and cycle indoors whilst playing the video game which simulates a world. You can connect with friends across the globe to cycle together and the video game aspect comes with power-ups (short performance enhancing the character on screen).

So, if eSports was like a game of chess, Zwift is like playing chess whilst on a bicycle peddling up a steep hill – not easy at all. The video game really comes into its own when Zwift introduced their eSports league – the KISS Super League – which enables four Pro Continental, nine UCI Continental teams and two Zwift community teams to race each other for 10 weeks on Wednesday nights.

 

A Zwift spokesperson told EN4News: “We are now in an exciting position because we are able to connect the Zwift community with the lofty heights of the professional peloton. KISS will be a demonstration sport, illustrating how we can do this – the KISS Super League will provide high octane action for spectators worldwide featuring some of the best riders in the world.

The KISS League, however, provides an accessible eSports league for the rest of the Zwift community to compete in. It’s important that we recognise both ends of the spectrum. This is just the beginning for Zwift – we have big ambitions and will be unveiling our big plans for 2020 in the very near future.”

Is this the future of eSports gaming? Gaming whilst physically racing on a bike is immersive and highly skilled, incredibly addictive to watch and possibly one of the coolest new steps for eSports. You might not physically be able to defend yourself from demons and the undead like Dennis Fong did in Doom, but you can conquer volcanos and Alpine-like mountains in Zwift. Ushering in a new age of fit gamers, Zwift’s contributions to eSports are ones to watch.

If you want to hear more about gaming from the EN4News team, check out Liam Mackay’s Review of Battlefield V!

 

Why Some Like It Hot hasn’t gone lukewarm

In a time where movies are disposable and often formulaic, how is one of the greatest movies of all time fairing in the cut throat world of Netflix and binge watching?

“Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.”

That’s how it all started for Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, and how one of the greatest comedies of all time began, but the audience certainly does not get the fuzzy end of the theatrical lollipop. The picture follows two musicians who witness a Mafia murder and flee town disguised as women so that they can join a band travelling to Florida.

However, Joe (Tony Curtis) falls in love with Marilyn Monroe’s Sugar Kane and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) acquires a male admirer too. Their days in paradise are numbered though, as the Mafia comes to Florida to attend a conference and they see right through their disguises.

Some Like It Hot captured the hearts of film lovers the world over and continues to do so to this day. In fact, the film is celebrating a milestone birthday – 60 years old – and it’s still going strong, featuring on some of the biggest streaming sites including Netflix.

But how has it aged in a world that doesn’t necessarily ‘get’ the movie? Although it features on all the online viewing platforms, do younger viewers want to watch a movie that’s shot in black and white and features three leading ladies who have since passed away?

Well they should, and here’s why – because those three leading ladies are legends, even if the average 15-year-old can’t name them. They were Marilyn Monroe, who died only a few years after the film was released, Tony Curtis, who appeared in over 100 films and had a career spanning six decades (he was also the father of actress Jamie Lee Curtis) and Jack Lemmon, who won two Oscars from eight nominations over his career.

 

Some like it hot-2

Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

 

But for their performances alone, they each shine in what was one of their best works. Witty and charming, Some Like It Hot has everything a good comedy should have and holds them dear, almost like it could foresee the formulaic production-line comedies of the 2000s and how they would mostly end up devoid of true, thought out humour.

Jack Lemmon sparkles in the film, often the butt of the joke but he always has a brilliant one-liner to show up Tony Curtis – like when he asks him why he’d consider marrying his admirer (another man), a thinly veiled homophobic sign of the times for the movie, snatched away when Jack Lemmon answers with ‘security!’

His attempts to dodge his admirer (who has no idea he is a man in disguise) is a highlight, which ends with the pair dancing the night away as he continues to lead and not dance like a woman. Jack Lemmon takes the challenge of playing a woman and gets lost in it over the duration of the film, and it is magical.

However, Tony Curtis seems like the leading man, the guy with all the charm and dashing good looks, but his venture into the female psyche is short lived when he also fronts as a very rich man so that he can win over Miss Monroe (when he’s actually pretending to be Jack Lemmon’s rich admirer).

Over the course of the picture, he plays three characters – Joe, Josephine (his female alter ego) and his millionaire trying to sweep Sugar Kane off her feet. And boy does he do them justice – you don’t really like any of his characters, to be honest, they’re all dimwitted and arrogant, but at the same time, you want him to get the girl and save the day. He somehow doesn’t let you dislike him enough to make you wish ill of him, and that might be because of his friendship with Jack Lemmon’s character.

But the absolute star of the show was Marilyn Monroe, she dazzled in her naïve showgirl character – but she knew so much more than she let on. Her line, “I don’t care how rich he is, as long as he has a yacht, his own private railroad car, and his own toothpaste” is what every girl is thinking.

So witty, yet so demure, you can see where the sex symbol comes out in her, but you can see this smart side to her. She’s clearly been cast as the dumb blonde, but she is so much more than that – she’s every beautifully flawed woman in film and literature, a real Rose Buchanan from The Great Gatsby. Don’t take this character at face value, dig deeper and remember the time.

A film like this one doesn’t just disappear, it’s remembered for all it’s smart one-liners and zest for comedy. It doesn’t fall flat, but maybe you should actually watch this one and not stare at your iPhone instead.

EN4News in Numbers

Too busy to read the news today? Or maybe you want to sound clever at a work function? Here are six interesting statistics we think you should know about, short but sweet.

 

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Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

EN4News in Numbers

Don’t have time to read the news? Here’s 6 interesting statistics we think you should know about, but don’t worry, we kept it short and sweet so you don’t have to read loads to get your news.

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Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

How dementia friendly is Edinburgh?

Dementia can be a lonely affliction but it doesn’t have to exile sufferers to the confines of their homes. The wider community can help the 90,000 Scottish people who battle the disease too, by making their area less daunting to tackle.

The fast pace of the big city might not seem like the kind of place to accommodate dementia but there are 7,647 people (as of 2017) in the City of Edinburgh area who live with it every day. And it’s not just a health concern for the elderly, it affects more than 40,000 under 65 in the UK. So, how can the city help make Edinburgh a more welcoming place for dementia sufferers? Simple changes can make a real difference to those living with the disease.

Dementia

Infographic designed by Jade du Preez for EN4 news 

How has Hollywood changed since the Lily White Oscars of 2016?

The 2016 Oscars will forever be seared into film lovers minds as the year that people of colour called the Oscars out for neglecting to recognise them – it was a courageous step that sparked widespread outcry; but has anything been done to act on it?

Dubbed the ‘Lily White’ Oscars because the vast majority of actors and actresses nominated where white, more diversity was demanded. Change did come, but maybe not in the form that people were expecting.

The issue of diversity in film has run parallel to the Black Lives Matter campaign. Both have played a big part in forcing change in society, including black comedian Kevin Hart being announced as the next host of the Oscars (before he was removed due to past homophobic comments) and Alicia Keys hosting the Grammys, however there remains a persistent gap in the nominations tables. In 2017, Casey Affleck won the Best Actor award but was only up against one other black male and Emma Stone won the Best Actress award that same year, also only up against one other black woman. Then in 2018, 2 years after a light was shone on the lack of diversity, two black men were nominated for Best Actor when Gary Oldman took the award, but there were no black women up  against Frances McDormand at all. But stand out movies of the last 2-3 years have featured black actors – Detroit, Widows, Fences, Hidden Figures and Moonlight are all recognisably distinguished and deeply meaningful films featuring people of colour. So they’re making the movies that should be prime Oscars bait, but still not winning the awards. This is slightly fishy, and yet the water muddies further because this is not a singular issue.

 

BEST ACTOR AND ACTRESS

Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

 

The struggle that people of colour face has unlocked a whole new world of strife that has widely been overlooked. Other ethnicities were struggling to see themselves on screens, in particular the Asian community. But they faced white washing as actresses like Scarlett Johansson played an originally Asian character in Ghost In The Shell, but because of our new worldly views, she was slammed for her choice in role. Sandra Oh os the only Asian woman in history to win two Golden Globes after her 2019 win for TV series Killing Eve – a feat that she topped off by thanking her parents on stage and telling them in Korean how much she loves them. A strong sentiment for any Asian youngsters with a keen interest in the performing arts, but her trailblazing didn’t stop there. She was the first Asian woman nominee for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and she also hosted the whole night. What a year it’s been for her! And with huge films like Crazy Rich Asians giving an enticing glimpse of Asian culture creating an appetite for more – where has the Lily White Oscars of 2016 left us?

If anything it’s created a safe space for people of colour to thrive and be recognised, and opened the door to other issues like white washing and cultural neglect. Where it has actually solved the problem for black people is another question and far harder to answer. It is very possible that people of colour will soon be winning left, right and centre, clearly they are taking the projects that should get them there but whether they will physically win the awards remains to be seen. They are being represented and given more fantastic roles than ever but the nominations and trophies on mantelpieces just doesn’t seem to be happening. And the issue of Asian representation seems to be moving so much faster – with Sandra Oh kicking butt and Crazy Rich Asians stars Henry Golding and Constance Wu becoming household names – we can only hope that the Lily White Oscars has begin put an end to racial exclusion and is putting a true talent at the forefront of the arts.

Fat Cat Thursday: The worst day of the year?

FTSE 100 CEOs aren’t the most popular people in the UK at the best of time but coining the January 4 as Fat Cat Thursday may repulse people further.

It refers to the fact that only four days into the New Year, the majority of top bosses will have earned the average Brits’ yearly income. The average UK annual salary is £28,758 for full-time employees but some CEOs are making roughly £4.99 a minute, which means they make around 120x that of the average UK full-time worker. Although these big wigs have been facing salary cuts on an annual basis, they are still earning millions. By now (18th January 2019) the majority of CEOs will have earned £129,411 – that’s almost the price of a Lamborghini Huracan (£155,400)! To put it into further context, this is what FTSE 100 CEOs can buy roughly every four days on their salary:

Boots

Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

Review: Jack White at the Usher Hall

Kris Krug

Jack White doesn’t allow photography during his show, so this generic image will have to do. Credits to Kris Krug

There’s a reason this article doesn’t have any photos — it’s because Jack White wouldn’t let me take any.

It was a drunken night of crazy antics as Jack White blew into the Scottish capital like an American hurricane, and in a matter of hours, he was gone again – leaving some audience members baffled and others enthralled. Whether he started the show already drunk, no one will know, but he definitely ended it that way. Swigging champagne like there was a grape draught, playing his guitar with said bottle and then tearing down half his set up, I couldn’t tell if I found his music entertaining or if it was just his unpredictable stumbling.

His music was not the clearest, only his greatest hits were completely audible, but that was arguably decades of muscle memory — playing Seven Nation Army every night since 2003 would drive me to the bottle too. Sixteen Saltines and Steady, As She Goes were perfection but the rest of the show was a little rough around the edges. He stumbled around, tearing down the cymbals, screaming into the microphone to the point that the feedback was almost deafening, conducting his band (he never uses a set list, he just reads the room), acting like a total diva, but then the nicest man would come through when he actually addressed the crowd.

He went from crazed drunkard to concerned busker so quickly it could give you whiplash.

When he came out for the encore (which he waited way too long to come out for), he proclaimed that he would play until 11pm and if anyone needed to leave, to get the last train home, then please feel free to leave. Not the Jack White who ran around the stage leaving guitars on the floor before reaching for his bottle of champers again.

Just before the end of the show, he got the support act Demob Happy on stage to jam through a song (or two, it was hard to figure out when one song stopped and another started) and profusely thanked the crowd, and blessed them, their family, their friends, all of Edinburgh and all of Scotland… the only person he forgot to bless was the family cow. He then embarked on a half hour encore (it was a two and a half hour show, getting your money’s worth) and scaled the piano (yes, he scaled it, almost crashed off of it trying to smash his guitar and then stepped off it in a very lacklustre fashion, probably realising he was too smashed himself).

Special mention has to go out to Jack White’s tech, who spent more time on stage than off, untangling him after he’d done his laps of the stage, and tuning his guitar every time he dropped it, fixing his microphone set up when he trashed it, and just generally saving the day when instruments got in Jack’s way.

All in all, it was a very entertaining show, but if you came for the music and not the full Jack White experience, then you might be left disappointed. Just don’t expect to use your phone to take photos of him or take a phone call, because he doesn’t like that either – he makes you lock your phone away before the gig even starts. It’s all Jack White or nothing at all.

Opinion: Should Hillary Clinton still have to answer for her husband’s affair?

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Hillary Clinton in Arizona, 2016. Photo by Gage Skidmore (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/25982365345)

 

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”

These will be the words forever synonymous with Clinton – even though Hillary Rodham Clinton never had the affair that has marred Bill Clinton’s political career. She will always be remembered and scrutinised as the woman that stood beside her husband when the going got tough, even though so many women do this. In the late 1990s it surfaced that Bill had had an affair with White House Intern Monica Lewinsky. An impeachment charge began and even though he had the highest end-of-office approval rating for a US President since World War II, the scandal severely impacted his career until the end of his term in 2001.

 

But this article isn’t about Bill Clinton or whether he was right or wrong to have engaged in any form of affair with Lewinsky, or whether the several sexual misconduct claims against his name are legitimate. This is about Hillary Rodham Clinton, and for once Bill isn’t going to highjack this one.

 

Hillary has had a distinguished career in both law and politics. She earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Yale Law School in the early 70s, and not even 6 years later she was the first female partner at a law firm in Arkansas. She gave birth to her only child, Chelsea Clinton in 1980 and between 1978 and 1993, she earned more money than Bill did – it was only when she became First Lady of the United States did Bill’s salary surpass her. This would make her the first First Lady to have a postgraduate degree to her name and have a career until she entered the White House. Carl Bernstein says in his book, A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, that she was apprehensive about getting married and feared that her hard earned achievements would be jeopardised by someone else – little did she know that her future would be fraught with nightmares. She made the unpopular decision in the 1970s to keep her last name as “it showed that I was still me.” She seems to want to keep her identity so badly and not lurk in the shadow of her husband – but it seems that the majority of people want to tear her down for the actions of someone else.

 

I want to know why we have such an issue with women in power in the West. Hillary has admitted in the past that her approval rating as First Lady was not the best, but she was arguably the most empowered, independent First Lady up until that point in history. She donned her bullet-proof vest and worked hard, she set an example for First Lady’s to come. Someone had to be the first First Lady to take the role by the reigns and achieve great things – you probably don’t know much about her accomplishments before she even walked into the White House. Of course, you know about Bill’s affair, you know about Monica Lewinsky, you know about his denial and then impeachment charges. But you don’t know that in the 1970s she helped set up Fayetteville’s first rape crisis centre and was the first female Senator for New York.

 

After her unsuccessful campaign to be the first female President of the USA, the sexism projected towards Hillary Rodham Clinton became incredibly clear. People feared that Bill would highjack her presidency, they brought up his affair again, they scrutinised her for not leaving him, they scrutinised her outfits, they overanalysed every word that fell from her mouth. But no one picked on her opposition Donald Trump’s questionable tie, his multiple wives, his sexual misconduct charges. When it seemed like she had been given the platform to shine on her own during a different time (20 years after Bill’s affair), she was once again subjected to sexism.

 

The word ‘first’ is used 12 times in this article for a reason, because Clinton was a pioneer in the field of politics and was a successful woman in law, but people still  condemn her because of her husband’s actions. It seems that Hillary’s worst nightmares have become a reality, even with the momentum of the #MeToo movement and her tireless advocacy of gender equality. The moral of the story here is to look beyond the towering figures of powerful men, to the women fighting harder for their place at the table. The women you find might surprise you.

 

Hillary Clinton

Report reveals gender pay gap in City of Edinburgh Council

The City of Edinburgh Council will address a gender pay gap issue that has surfaced since a report revealed that male staff are paid more than women.

The pay gap ranges from 5% difference for staff and 20% difference for part-time employees within the City of Edinburgh Council, where roughly 70% of staff are women. Men are paid on average £13.47, while women earn on average £12.79 — a difference of 68p an hour.

Labour Councillor and member of the Finance and Resources Committee, Mandy Watt, said:

“Work that is done mainly by female employees is not properly valued by society. Women are expected to ‘break the glass ceiling’ if they want the gender pay gap to be closed. It would be fairer to simply pay more for the work that women do now. If the Council was not constrained by austerity, I would want this to be considered as a policy proposal.”

Edinburgh Councillors seem to agree that measures need to be put in place for the pay gap to end. 

Conservative Councillor Graham Hutchison said:

“As is the case in any organisation, the Council’s employees are our most valuable resource and are critical in terms of delivering frontline services to the citizens of Edinburgh.  It is worth noting that the gender pay gap in the Council is comparatively low but with women making up some 70% of our workforce it is an issue which must be promptly addressed.  A report on the Gender Pay Gap to the last meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee, on which I sit, was approved unanimously by all members showing the commitment of Councillors of all political stripes to eliminate the pay gap entirely.”

There is a difference between the gender pay gap and equal pay (which is to pay the same amount of money for the same work, without regard for gender). Equal pay has been achieved in the City of Edinburgh Council.

The city council will continue to investigate several other issues in the workplace, such as occupational segregation (when men and women tend to take on particular roles) and the male to female ratio in regards to senior positions.

Gender Pay gap

 

 

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