last updated: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:32:45 -0500
Le Bourget (France) (AFP) - Rich countries should not force the developing world to entirely give up on fossil fuels, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday at the UN climate summit in Paris.
Everyone has a bad day at work now and then. But if you have one of these 15 Most Stressful Jobs in the World, even one bad day can get you or someone else killed. From EMT to Coal Miner to Ice Road Trucker, these are the jobs that will keep you up at nights!
last updated: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:39:56 -0500
Trump speaks at a rally in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday. “You know, there’s something definitely going on,“ Trump said on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe” on Monday. “You see it whether it’s in Paris or whether it’s the World Trade Center or whether it’s even one minute of silence at a soccer game out of respect for the people that died, and there was no respect by a pretty good group of people in that stadium,” Trump said.
last updated: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:40:32 +0000
The Trashy Consequences Of Meal Delivery Services
Blue Apron and its fellow meal-in-a-box services promise to disrupt dinnertime. But what are they doing to the environment?
last updated: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:53:33 GMT
The Great Divide: How markets are shaping up ahead of Fed, ECB
LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank are expected to deliver sharply contrasting policy decisions next month, reflecting how the world's two largest economies have moved from the Great Recession to the Great Divide.
last updated: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:46:09 -0500
Be still my gay heart.
When they stared deep into each other's eyes...
David Fisher / David Fisher/REX Shutterstock
...whispered into each other's ears...
Richard Young / Richard Young/REX Shutterstock
...and leaned on each other's shoulders..
David Fisher / David Fisher/REX Shutterstock
..all while sitting front row at a fashion show and not giving a shit that anyone else was around because it was all about them.
David M. Benett
Raphael Cohen climbed into the ring, through the gap between the taut ropes, one leg first, before snaking his torso through and then pulling his other foot in. His cornermen, Benny Carroll and Jimmy Halloran, who worked with him shoveling coal for the engines, held him by the shoulders, as cornermen do, and they would have steered him and kneaded his shoulders and rubbed his arms.
As he entered the ring for the first round and heard the roar of the men, his secret was surely apparent — this was Cohen’s first time in an actual boxing ring, and that moment of recognition can’t be blustered. Yes, he may have fought on street corners, and sparred and brawled in the hidden corners of the warship, but this was different. The ring was enormous. It dwarfed the space where he shoveled coal, where he had worked for precisely 614 days. And he had never stood before all these men like this, as they laughed and clapped and whistled.
He must have had the nervous panic and impatience of any first-time fighter. Boxers suffer stage fright just as actors do. Too hot, then too cold. Hands clammy in the foul-smelling 5-ounce boxing gloves borrowed from another ship. And the formal minutes before a fight, the deafening clamor of the jeers and the shouts, the panic one has to bluff and swagger through, they were new to him.
The light was dim, though the boxing ring was lit by the most advanced electric Navy deck lights of the day, 32 candlepower lamps. (A modern car headlight is 5,000 candlepower.) Diagonally across the ring, Cohen could see Jordan Johnson, a black man, calm and silent, an experienced fighter, waiting in his corner.
It was shortly after 9 p.m. on July 8, 1905. The captain of the USS Yankee, Edward Francis Qualtrough — 55, overweight, fond of liquor — looked down at his ship’s foredeck. He was entertaining a fellow skipper, and, watching from the bridge, he must have felt an irritating lack of control at what was happening on his own ship. In a makeshift boxing ring, a black man and a Jew, bare-chested in the Caribbean heat, were pummeling each other.
The fighters, both small and fast-moving men, sparred. Around them, the ship was crammed, virtually infested with spectators: Marines and sailors from every ship in the squadron languishing in the doldrums off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Six hundred men in uniform, standing, sitting, perched on the rigging and the rails, watching and laughing.
Edward Francis Qualtrough
A spectacle like this — a chaotic boxing fight taking over the ship — wouldn’t have occurred so overtly back when Qualtrough graduated the Naval Academy in 1871, 34 years earlier. But now, with Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency and his public passion for the manly art of boxing, captains were to encourage matches aboard their ships. They were called "smokers." Of course, the irony was that this smoker, between the Jewish sailor and the black sailor, conflicted with Roosevelt’s other passion, the mythology of Anglo-Saxon Teutonic America and its place in history.
It was also clear to Captain Qualtrough from 40 yards away that the black man was the far better fighter. His name was Jordan Johnson, a gunner’s mate from the USS Olympia, and as he stood in the dim but harsh artificial light and the heat of the tropical night, he displayed the chiseled physique of a Greek god, similar to those of the bronze nude statues that Qualtrough’s wife collected, back in Washington, D.C.
Johnson also would have been one of the only black men in sight, anywhere. All those jeering faces in the crowd, visible in the dimness, though the sun had just set — nearly all those faces belonged to white men. Black men had been shunted out of the Navy under Roosevelt. Those who remained worked in the mess halls or as obsequious servants for the officer cadre; they were made virtually invisible on the decks.
For Captain Qualtrough, too, this disappearance of the black men in the fleet was new, because when he first came aboard as an ensign in 1870, black sailors were common. But now, from his perch high on the bridge, Qualtrough could have heard the crowd of sailors under his command hissing at the bare-chested young black man in the ring.
During this period, a Jew and a black man boxing on a U.S. warship would have been seen by many as objects of ridicule — performing clowns, rather than gladiators.
As for the Jewish fighter, Raphael Cohen, he was a sailor on Qualtrough’s Yankee, though the captain never met him. Cohen worked shoveling coal in the boiler room for the engine, unskilled hard labor that didn’t bring much of a promise of a future, though it did build a distinctively muscular physique. Cohen’s torso was hairy and a pale white, but his face and arms were stained black with coal dust. In fact he and the men he worked with were known as “the black gang” aboard these coal-powered warships, and his face, dark against pale lips, must have looked like a grotesque attempt at blackface. During this period when the Navy was scrubbing itself of African-Americans, a Jew and a black man boxing on a U.S. warship, no matter how they fought, would have been seen by many of the men as objects of ridicule, perceived as performing clowns, rather than gladiators.
The Yankee was deployed to the Dominican Republic not in defense of American land or liberty, but rather on a new form of gunboat diplomacy enforced under the brash President Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s project: to take over the finances of a foreign country whose crime was that it owed money to a powerful American company. It launched a new era in American military intervention — an expedition for profit, not principle.
Indeed, Roosevelt’s influence is threaded through this story: Not only did he send the fleet on its mission, but he was also an impassioned champion of boxing in the military. And whether the idea originated with him or not, he presided over the systematic removal of black Americans from Navy life.
That boxing match between a young black sailor and a Jewish sailor aboard an American warship, and the death of one of the fighters, caused a scandal 110 years ago, threatening the careers of powerful men. Newspapers across the country picked up the story, citing lurid allegations that the bout was held “for the edification” of the officers, and that the fighter who died had pleaded that he was sick and was forced to box, even after he’d been hit so hard that an artery in his brain tore, flooding his brain with blood. It was testament to a mix of grit, glory, and stupidity. Or perhaps just obstinate greed by a crew of men hoping to win a cash prize.
And the victor, who had literally grown up in the Navy, a man who had spent nights in chains in harsh discipline, who’d been handed to the military by his parents when he was only 15 years old, he was soon ushered out of the service, abandoned and destitute in a civilian world he didn’t know.
The fight, and the fighters, are long forgotten now, but the records — the ship’s logs, transcripts of military inquests, the enlistment reports — illuminate a dramatic turning point in American ethnic and military history.
Raphael Cohen was born in 1880, at 15 Suffolk St., a tenement building full of more than 50 Russian Jews who had been part of the beginning of the migration over from the old country. Tobias, Raphael’s father, had been in the first wave, arriving from Russia in 1866, via Germany, right after the Civil War, and became a successful tailor. The seven Cohen children all grew up in one of the most crowded neighborhoods on earth.
Journalist Jacob Riis, a social reformer of the era, explored the area in 1890 when Cohen was 10 years old, and in his book How the Other Half Lives Riis called the neighborhood “Jewtown.” He wrote that “the manner and dress of the people, their unmistakable physiognomy, betray their race.” “Thrift is the watchword of Jewtown,” he added, “as of its people the world over.” Riis captured the core of the American ghetto: “Life here means the hardest form of work almost from the cradle,” he wrote.
Of course it’s a place that survives now as imagined kitsch, evoked on the walls of Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, and countless delis with their knishes and lox and herring. But even those foods meant something other than what they do now. “Pickles are favorite food in Jewtown,” wrote Riis. “They are filling, and keep the children from crying with hunger.” He recounts walking the streets at night, when a “dirty baby, in a single brief garment,” as he describes it, “tumbles off the lowest step, rolls over once, clutches my leg with unconscious grip, and goes to sleep on the flagstones, its curly head pillowed on my boot.”
It was a noisy neighborhood, and it evolved fast as Cohen grew up, just around the corner from the giant Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue. A former Baptist church, it was transformed into a thing of the Old World by the immigrants from eastern Europe. The hulking building still stands, derelict now, after years of Hasidic prayer.
Down the street from Cohen’s building on Suffolk Street was Sach’s Café; the place was the unofficial headquarters for the radicals and atheists of the day. Emma Goldman, the fiery anarchist, held court, loud and fast in Russian and Yiddish.
Then, in 1898, when Cohen was 17, a patriotic fervor washed through the Lower East Side. Youngsters started dreaming of being soldiers. War with Spain was coming. The Hearst newspapers provided daily accounts of Spanish atrocities to the rest of America, and so did the Yiddish newspapers.
It was so over-the-top that the Commercial Advertiser in the spring of 1898 ran a story titled “Ghetto War Spirit,” with a subheading: “Jews Bear Spain an Old Grudge — Manila a Victory for Israel — ‘God Gave America the Job of Smashing Spain.’” Somehow the Spanish-American War, the reporter found, was now seen as a vehicle for vengeance against Spain for its atrocities of centuries past, for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand’s old war against the Jews, and the crimes of the Inquisition. America — through this war — was offering its new Jewish immigrants not just the chance to remake themselves, but the chance to seek vengeance against the old, cruel Europe that had treated them so disdainfully.
A tailor quoted in the article said, “They tortured the Jews and banished them from their land and now the God of Israel is getting even with them. It is an old story, more than four hundred years old, but the High One never forgets.”
Cohen's enlistment papers
It was in this environment that, in May 1898, Cohen's father accompanied Isidore, Raphael’s older brother, to the recruiting office. Because Isidore was a minor, a witness had to sign. The recruitment document shows that the witness was Moritz Tolk, a notary, and later an alderman, who operated out of his brother’s saloon down on Canal Street, where he helped sweatshop workers get their papers.
Isidore enlisted in Troop I of the 4th Cavalry, although it is impossible to see how he could ever have ridden a horse in his life. He was sent off to Kentucky for basic training and from there he joined his unit to steam to the Philippines. In the end, he was too late to fight the Spanish, who abandoned the troublesome colony to America shortly after the U.S. invaded.
Instead of vengeance for the Jews for the atrocities of the Inquisition, the 4th Cavalry just did battle with angry Filipino rebels. U.S. troops used the “water cure” — known today as waterboarding — to get the rebel captives to talk; they sometimes killed prisoners. But while his brother fought jungle warfare in Mindenao, Raphael, back in New York, just worked as a day laborer.
He got married in March 1903 to a girl from the neighborhood, a block away, named Sadie Shasam. The two didn’t live together for long. It’s unclear what went wrong, because the records on him go blank for some months, right after the marriage. But in September, he walked to the doors of the big Navy recruiting station down on 319 Market St. in Philadelphia. On his enlistment form, as he signed up for a four-year stint, Cohen wrote “single.”
The records show that he was given a cursory physical examination. Height 5 foot 4½ inches. Eyes brown and hair black. Weight 123 pounds. “Hirsute,” wrote the Navy surgeon who examined his hairy body, when Cohen was standing naked.
“Circumcised,” the doctor noted, too.
Bill Bragg for BuzzFeed News
Just as the noise from the crowd was overpowering, in that instant, after the bell rang, was when Cohen stopped hearing it. Cohen rushed in hard and fast, with all the intensity of a spider, not necessarily boxing but bullying. He tried to buffalo Johnson into a corner with a right swing and then a left.
A zbokh, they might have said in Cohen’s old neighborhood, on the alley near Grand Street, if he landed a punch, Yiddish for a hard hit. And then a zetz. Wild swings.
But Johnson slipped both punches with ease, sidestepping with the gentle ballet steps of a fighter, and his move left him wound up like a spring to unleash a powerful left hook to Cohen’s head. A klap, as they would have said.
A sudden hammer of pain. Cohen staggered, and Johnson moved in closer with a right, then a left, and Cohen toppled to the platform.
In the end, it would have been better if Cohen had stayed down.
The fight might have ended then, after the first few seconds. Cohen was down. The crowd hissed at Johnson, who headed to the neutral corner, leaning on the ropes, and they laughed at the little Jew lying there. The referee, George Pettingill from over at the USS Detroit, began the slow count as Cohen lay groggy.
As he lay there, knocked down that first round, the bright deck lights were above Cohen, set against the night Caribbean sky and the silhouette of the bridge and the 5-inch guns. Pettingill was silhouetted there too. And Pettingill counted loud and slow. “One!” he said. “Two!” “Three!” “Four!” Five! Six!” Cohen scrambled to his feet finally.
Pettingill waved the fighters together again. They fought hard to the end of the first round, but Johnson kept Cohen heading back, retreating, and retreating.
In the end, it would have been better if Cohen had stayed down. If he had, he might have lived.
The more you know.
1. You get such a thrill from correcting other people's grammar.
2. 80% of your sentences begin with "Actually,".
3. If you get the sense that someone doesn't understand your joke, you're more than happy to explain it to them.
4. You just wish people would stop complaining about oppression.
5. Before you turn the page of a book, you lick your finger.
6. Because you're a terrible listener, you love to interrupt people during conversations.
7. You've never once used your turn signal.
8. You love to comment on articles online.
9. You hate washing your hands after pooping.
10. For some strange reason you think people care about your opinions on Pumpkin Spice Lattes and selfies.
11. When you're at the movies, you make loud and unfunny comments after each trailer. Because for some strange reason you think people care about your opinions.
12. Your favorite pickup line involves quotes from both Anchorman and Borat.
13.Your offensive opinions are just a "parody."
14. At least 3 people have listed you in their contacts as "Don't Answer."
15. You know that when people call you "The Funny One" they usually just mean "Asshole."
16. Your catchphrase is "Why is this news?"
17. Taking up space on the subway is your favorite hobby.
18. Your other favorite hobby is making negative comments about other people's appearance.
19. You deliver your opinion in the form of a fact.
20. Nobody passed the Ice Bucket Challenge on to you, but you did it anyway.
21. You wipe back to front.
22. You say say "'Murica"/"'Merica."
23. You still think it's funny to complain about Nickelback and Dane Cook.
24. You think the "friend zone" is a real thing that exists.
25. You think hurt feelings are the same thing as oppression.
26. When it comes to issues related to toxic masculinity, violence against disabled men, men of color, LGBTQ men, and trans men you've stayed awfully quiet.
27. You're genuinely unpleasant to be around.
Hey dummy! Why are you doing adult stuff when this 360° puppy video exists?
Basically these puppies we met were too cute for just one angle of visual information.
So we placed them in a room with a 360° camera setup.
And wouldn't you know it, they delivered cuteness in every direction...
The 16th-century Chinese novel Fengshen Yanyi tells the story of Nezha, a child deity who can’t quite keep from killing people. First, he nearly kills his mother, who carries him in utero for four agonizing years before birthing “a huge meatball” that rolls around “in mad circles like a wheel.” As a boy, Nezha kills a series of important people with his toys, which he keeps forgetting are lethal weapons, and to avoid retribution against his family, he disembowels himself, absolving them of responsibility. After Nezha's death, his father burns down a temple built in his honor, calling him “impudent,” a troublemaker. This enrages Nezha’s spirit, who beseeches his master, Superiorman Paragon, for help. Superiorman Paragon obliges, crafting Nezha a new body out of lotus flowers and bestowing a gift: two “wind-fire wheels," aboard which Nezha sets out to seek revenge.
The Chinese have lots of names for hoverboards, which are all made here, mostly in the vast southern province of Guangdong: They call them huaban, “skateboard,” or pinghengche, “balancing wheels,” or diandongpinghengban, “power balance board.” But people in the know, young people on the internet, cool people, call those goofy two-wheeled scooter thingies feng huo lun or fung fo leon: wind-fire wheels. The name doesn’t just describe the board; it also describes the rider: someone young, someone who likes to show off, someone who is maybe a little bit of a punk.
Also, someone incurious. Nezha doesn’t wonder where Superiorman Paragon actually got the nifty wheels — he just uses them. They’re just there.
And so, almost overnight, are hoverboards. They’re in MTV awards shows and Justin Bieber videos; in suburban high schools and on city sidewalks. They’re a physical commodity, but they’re also a meme — popularized by celebrities, shared endlessly on Twitter and Instagram and Vine, discussed to death by the chittering idea factory that is the English-language internet. Wiz Khalifa’s tweet calling the boards “the technology everyone will be using in the next 6 months” has been retweeted some 34,000 times; when Kendall Jenner posted a video of herself flailing around on a model called the PhunkeeDuck this summer, more than 1.1 million Instagram accounts liked it. According to Alyssa Steele, divisional merchandising manager at eBay, the site currently has about 10,000 listings for hoverboards; in the first two weeks of November, one was being sold there about once every two minutes. Over the past week and a half, that number has ramped up to one board every single minute of the day. Hoverboards are clearly, loudly, definitely here — but still, most Americans have only the faintest idea about where they actually come from.
Johannes Mann / Corbis
That place is, more likely than not, Shenzhen, a former fishing village in southern China that, in 1979, became the country's first “Special Economic Zone,” in which corporations from around the world could operate unencumbered by prohibitive Communist business restrictions. Between then and 2014, its population grew from 30,000 to 15 million, nearly twice the size of New York City.
Today, Shenzhen is a rambling, smog-browned kingdom devoted to the production of electronics. It and the other great manufacturing cities of China's Pearl River Delta — an industrial megalopolis home to about 80 million people — are the only places in the world that are truly equipped to build the amusements of our contemporary culture almost as soon as we name them. They offer people (on the cheap), plenty of space, and a network of closely aligned, one-stop-shop parts suppliers: a combination known in the manufacturing world as a “turnkey solution.” Shenzhen is where Apple infamously contracts with Foxconn to make many of its electronics, and where many of China’s high-tech firms make all manner of things for you to plug in. It’s where most of the gadgets in your home come from, and where most of the ones in your office come from, too.
Shenzhen is also, and only very recently, the hoverboard manufacturing capital of the world. In the smoke and asphalt of Bao An, a sprawling industrial flatland roughly the size of Philadelphia that serves as one of the city’s main manufacturing districts, hundreds of factories churn out much of the world’s supply of the boards, which are then shipped, rebranded, and sold around the globe.
Gaoke Times Technology Co., Ltd., in Bao An, Shenzhen.
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News
One of those factories is Gaoke (or “High Tech”) Times, a midsize plant situated on 120,000 square feet in a Bao An industrial park. The facility’s brown concrete walls have been decorated in 5-foot-high, bright red metal characters announcing corporate slogans. “WE LET OUR CUSTOMERS BE SATISFIED, OUR EMPLOYEES GROW, AND OUR PARTNERS MAKE PROFIT,” reads one, in Chinese. “BE: AGGRESSIVE. REALISTIC. CONFIDENT,” reads another. Inside, 60 employees — about a 10th of the company’s workforce, most of whom live in a ramshackle dormitory next to the factory — churn out 600 boards in a day, for customers in the U.S., U.K., Dubai, and Australia.
Nearby, a bustling street hums with small restaurants and shops catering to Gaoke’s employees; above them rise identical two-story gray cement apartment blocks, balconies draped with laundry. Across from the the factory’s security gate, a small store stocks discontinued Gaoke products — televisions, rice cookers, English-language instruction cassette tapes — still in their original shrink-wrapping, to be sold at a discount to the factory’s workers. According to the shopkeeper, they’re a captive market and an easy way for Gaoke to get rid of dead stock.
On an October morning, in a suite of corporate offices on the top floor of one of Gaoke’s factory buildings, Fang Zuoyi, the company’s fortysomething general manager, sat unwrapping a pack of cigarettes. Fang’s office was littered with spare parts; empty hoverboard boxes; and a promotional poster board mock-up depicting one of Gaoke’s boards, superimposed enormously on top of an image of the factory. Two flights below, the oily smelling production floor was empty; it was noon and the workers were at lunch. But their labor was everywhere. Boxes stamped “Kaiser Baas,” an Australian distributor that markets Gaoke’s boards as “Revo Gliders,” lay neatly stacked next to finished boards wrapped in loose plastic and stored vertically, sorted by color. On a table sat a nearly finished board missing only the top half of its plastic case. In the research and development department, the young engineers tasked with breaking down existing products and figuring out how to rebuild them sat, feet propped up on their desks, surrounded by disemboweled scooters.
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News
In the two decades Gaoke has been here in Shenzhen, it has made desktop phones, then DVD players, televisions, mobile devices, and eventually tablets, which today are the largest part of its business. Hoverboards, Fang explained over strong tea boiled on a desktop hot plate, were new. About six months ago, at the request of some of the company’s existing tablet customers, Gaoke had started manufacturing them. New product crazes present struggling businesses and eager entrepreneurs alike with an opportunity to leave behind glutted markets, and the nature of China’s booming electronics business is to be adaptable to the whims of a global market. “Whenever there is a popular product,” Fang said, “everyone gets involved.”
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News
It is understood that hoverboards come from China in the same way it is understood that Spam comes from pigs: vaguely and glibly. Among those who made them popular — me and you and Skrillex and that guy your dad saw at Starbucks last month — the prevailing notion seems to be that they all roll off the same assembly line somewhere in the developing world. But the truth is that China’s hoverboard industry is already breathtakingly large and absolutely flooded. And it was built essentially from scratch, as so many Chinese novelty industries are. While the Western internet was still quibbling about what to call the damn things, a massive industrial organism was shuddering into place halfway across the world; today, Fang Zuoyi estimated that there are at least 1,000 factories in the Shenzhen area making hoverboards. If he’s right, that’s more than two new factories a day since the release of the Chic Smart, thought to be the first mass-market hoverboard.
But whether or not it stays this way — whether hoverboards end up underneath every Christmas tree in America or on the shelves of the Gaoke company store, discounted for the people who made them — depends on the persistence of the capricious global consumer market, fomented by social media, which over the past six months has anointed these gliding hunks of metal and plastic its objet du jour and accepted their rapid appearance more or less unquestioningly, even though the facts around them are totally bizarre. You can’t generally buy them in brick-and-mortar stores, only off sketchy-looking Shopify sites that sometimes list fake physical addresses, or out of trucks in big cities, or in barely regulated mall kiosks. Big chains can’t even decide whether to sell them online. The price spread of the boards makes no sense: Some of them are $1,800 and some of them are $300, but they all look the same.
It’s as if the boards have come here faster than the places that should be selling them can handle. This is not a coincidence. The hoverboard industry that has unfurled in the concrete of Bao An and other similar districts is on-demand IRL content production, a super-flexible churn that hands us the playthings of social-media-driven seasonal diversion. It is the funhouse mirror reflection of the viral internet, the metal-and-cement consequence of our equally flexible commercial hype machine. It happened before with selfie sticks, and before that with drones. It may soon happen with virtual reality headsets and body-worn police cameras. It happens all the time.
Call it memeufacturing. It starts when a (typically) Western company, eager to cash in on a product made popular by the social internet, contracts a Chinese factory to make it. From here, the idea spreads throughout the elaborate social networks of Chinese electronics manufacturing until the item in question is being produced by hundreds and hundreds of competitors, who subcontract and sell components to each other, even as they all make the same thing. It reaches its saturation point quickly. It moves from product to product without sentiment. And it is proof that our never-ending digital output, our tweets and Vines and Instagrams and Facebook posts, has the power to shape the lives of people on the other side of the world.
Hoverboards could stay wildly popular, and Gaoke could remain a hoverboard factory. Or they could go away, and it could become something else. It all depends on the whims of people on the other side of the planet.
“When we see a demand, we change our business direction,” Fang said, simply. “It is about survival.”
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News
In October, nearly 4,000 exhibitors gathered at a 1 million-square-foot convention center jutting into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor. They were here to meet some of the people looking to buy and resell fung fo leon, hoverboards, self-balancing two-wheel scooters, power balance boards, whatever you wanted to call them. As long as you were interested in buying them, it didn’t matter. As long as you were interested in buying something.
On the ground floor of the convention center, a 22-year-old named Natalie Cheung stood handing out fliers, a hoverboard idling next to her feet; she told me she was getting paid 45 Hong Kong dollars (about $5.80 USD) per day to point people in the direction of “featured products,” which included heart-rate-sensing earbuds, a drone the size of a small flapjack, and a “2-wheel Electric Scooter” with “ultra endurance” and “refined aesthetic.” On floor after floor, cavernous halls housed thousands of identical metal and plastic booths, each one representing a factory, most of them on the Chinese mainland. Together, they offered everything imaginable that can be plugged in, from televisions and tablets to alarm systems and electronic toothbrushes; hair dryers and flashlights to megaphones and industrial relays; UV disinfectors and toasters to underwater cameras and digital Bible readers.
Though the fair was a huge production, it is probably more useful to think of it not as one discrete event, but as a single destination in a rolling regional spectacular. A week after the Hong Kong show, many of the exhibitors would pack up and head to Canton Fair in Guanzhou, an extravaganza so intense the powers that be divided it into six separate “phases.” After that, they’d move on again: Chinaexhibition.com lists 25 electronics fairs in China and Hong Kong between now and September 2016.
Natalie Cheung directs traffic at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair Autumn Edition.
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News
At least 30 hoverboard manufacturers had paid for booths at the show, most of them clustered together in a maroon-carpeted hall the size of a football field. Each was staffed by three to six uniformed and smiling salespeople, standing ready to approach idling customers with pamphlets neatly stapled to business cards, delivered with two hands, the way you set down a tray in a cafeteria. Each was here to convince potential buyers that its product was different from the dozens of others in the same room, which its salespeople did via a set of stock responses: That they had superior quality control (a claim that was impossible to verify on the spot, and likely difficult to verify at the factory), or that they manufactured key components in-house, or that their batteries were better (a claim that was also fuzzy: With a few minor exceptions, the factories all used replaceable components, meaning any customer with the money could shell out for nice batteries).
And none were particularly shy about the fact that their factory may have, as recently as days before, made something entirely different: e-cigarettes, DVD players, Bluetooth speakers, earbuds, drones. One factory, Gamtec, was so new to making hoverboards that its staff hadn’t had time to fit pictures of the board into its most recent catalog. They had printed a supplement.
Most of the hoverboard factories at the show began making the boards because they received a request from a distributor with which they had a previous relationship. Or at least they claimed to; others almost certainly started making boards when they learned of other factories converting to hoverboards, though they would never admit it.
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News
“The first rule of Hobbit Club is there’s no Tolkien about Hobbit Club.”
Finally, the app we didn’t know we needed is here.
Good news, crazy cat people! An app called Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector has recently been released in English and it’s glorious.
Hit-Point Co. / Via imgur.com
You place objects and food for the cute lil' critters to come and play with.
Over time you can collect cute objects for your cute cats to play with, cutely.
It's kind of like Pokémon but with cats and everyone gets along.
The cats get more and more bizarre as you go on, also like Pokémon.
Hit-Point Co. / Via imgur.com
For those of you who used to play Kawaii Pet Megu before it came to an untimely end, this will surely fill the hole that has been left in your heart.
JK nothing could ever fill that void.
Gree International, Inc.
Post description goes here.
Or when you try to trick others into doing it for you.
“She’s the same exact person. She just looks different.”
On Monday, Kylie Jenner is going to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show talking about things like Caitlyn Jenner, Tyga, and getting bullied.
In a clip for the show, Ellen asks Kylie if she "likes Caitlyn better than Bruce," and the 18-year-old said yes.
CBS / Via ellentube.com
Kylie was extremely supportive of Caitlyn. "She's really living her authentic true self and I feel like that's awesome," she said.
"I want to be someone from my generation to like be an example because I think that's so awesome and I think that other girls and boys my age will maybe see that I'm so accepting and be accepting of other people too," Kylie continued.
CBS / Via ellentube.com
And explained that she's "known for a while that there was something, but it was never talked about."
"I've honestly known about it for a really long time and we actually caught him then dressing up as a girl when my sister and I were like 6 and 7, maybe," Kylie said. "So we've known for a while that there was something, but it was never talked about."
CBS / Via ellentube.com
The most wonderful closed-caption error in history has given Eli Manning a perfect new nickname.
In that brief but magical moment Eli Man died and Penguin Boy was born in a flash of light and sound.
Will Varner / BuzzFeed
When researchers at Yale University put these questions to U.S. adults, most failed miserably. Can you do better?
Check out the full results of the Yale survey here.
It’s a beautiful day outside…time to play video games with the windows open.
This representation of villain logic.
When your mom didn't understand that you have to wait for it to save.
This horrible feeling.
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry but this is perfect.
Windfall Films has created an animated video starring former Doctor Who actor David Tennant to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, and it's absolutely delightful.
The video explains how Einstein combined space and time in one theory, as well as his ideas about the origins of the universe.
The video also shows how scientists have tested Einstein's theory against the properties of dark energy and dark matter – the makeup of 95% of the universe.
It's perfect that the former Time Lord would lend his voice to describing the wonders of time and relative dimensions in space.
Jon Snow is the love child of Jar Jar Binks and Harry Potter. Prove us wrong.
Jar Jar Binks was secretly a Sith Lord throughout the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and pulled the strings to put Emperor Palpatine in power and destroy all Jedi.
To make a very long story short, Jar Jar Binks is not a bumbling idiot, and is using his goofy antics as a cover. He's actually a very competent fighter and a powerful Force user who manipulates everyone in the prequel trilogy into putting Palpatine in power, and is directly responsible for the death of all the Jedi and the rise of the Empire.
Lucasfilm / Via cheezburger.com
The friends from Friends literally reserved that table at Central Perk all day, every day.
If you've ever been to a crowded coffee shop in New York City, you know how hard it is to get a seat for one person, let alone six. The Friends friends got around that by reserving their table every day. (Okay, not a fan theory, but still, I bet you never noticed that little "reserved" sign during the ten season run of Friends.) (Also, douche move reserving that prime spot every day, assholes.)
NBC / Via buzzfeed.com
Homer Simpson has been in a coma since April of 1993, and everything that has happened on The Simpsons since then has been an elaborate coma dream.
After Bart pranks Homer (by shaking up a can of beer) and puts him in a coma, this fan theory states that we must be seeing Homer's coma dreams because the tone of The Simpsons makes a huge shift, and goes from being a relatable show about an American family to a wacky series of insane misadventures like Hank Scorpio and Maggie shooting Mr. Burns. This may also explain why the characters don't age after 22 years on the air.
Fox / Via buzzfeed.com
Glenn isn't dead.
If you're caught up with The Walking Dead you probably mourned along with the rest of us when Glenn gets dragged into a pack of walkers by a dying Nicholas. Except, there's a lot of evidence (both in real life and in the show) to suggests Glenn managed to escape the dire situation.
AMC / Via buzzfeed.com
Lookin’ good, ladies.
So Amy Schumer, comedy kween, posed topless for the 2016 Pirelli calendar and it's pretty great.
Pirelli / Annie Leibovitz
So did tennis champ Serena Williams.
Pirelli / Annie Leibovitz
Shot by Annie Liebovitz, this year's calendar reflects a sea change from previous calendars.
Mostly because a lot of the women have clothes on.
“When Pirelli approached me, they said they wanted to make a departure from the past.
They suggested the idea of photographing distinguished women," said Liebovitz. "After we agreed on that, the goal was to be very straightforward. I wanted the pictures to show the women exactly as they are, with no pretense."
Pirelli / Annie Leibovitz
As a reminder, here's what the Pirelli calendar typically looks like.
Yup, lots of model butts.
Pirelli Calendar / Via melissaodabashbikiniqueen.blogspot.com
So. Much. Satin.
The world saw its fair share of celeb fashion moments in 2015. Taylor Swift and her #squad jumped at every available opportunity to show off the fact that they ~never go out of style~...
Jason Merritt / Getty Images
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
After baby Zeke fell asleep in line, Santa made lemonade out of lemons.
“Hello baby” “Hi infant”
When David failed on a fantastical level.
When Gordon was forced to look deep inside himself.
When this guy's failure was magnified.
When Sergio's poetry didn't go unnoticed.
Bippity Boppity Bloop!
This is Erykah Badu. She's a pretty big deal in the hip-hop music scene, and if you don't know about her, please upgrade your life ASAPtually.
Last night the Soul Train Awards aired on BET and Badu was the host.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
During a segment of the show, Badu pretended to receive a call from rapper Iggy Azalea.
The shade happened when Badu stated, "Oh yeah, you can come (presumably to the awards ceremony) 'cause what you're doing is definitely not rap."
Just moments before, Badu talked about how there wouldn't be any awards given out for hip-hop, another reason why her diss to Azalea dug deep since her skills on the mic are questionable.
Is Miss Badu wrong though?