Knight King
Featured, Trending News

Game Of Thrones S8 E3 Is All You Needed And More

Spoilers Ahead: Don’t read if you still haven’t seen the latest episode of Game of Thrones and want to keep the mystery alive!

“What do we say to the God of Death?”

“Not Today!”

Courtesy: Game of Thrones
Army of Winterfell

Damn right! The Battle Of Winterfell, the longest episode of the eight season of Game of Thrones is full of guts, bones, blood and finally, glory. ‘The Long Night’ is when the entire Westeros (of course except Cersei and her followers), go to war with the Army of the Dead. And boy, what a war it was.

Dothraki heading into the night
The War Begins

The third episode starts where the second left off, with everyone preparing themselves for the battle that is about to come. The entire army at Winterfell is waiting with baited breath for the Night King and his army to emerge from the winter darkness. However, before the dead arrive, Melisandre reaches the troops and lights up their swords to prepare them for the battle. The entire Dothraki clan, charged by the flaming swords, head into the darkness to fight the dead. But before anything could happen, the flames die out and few soldiers that were left ‘alive’ are seen running back. And then, ‘the long night’ finally begins.

The dead are relentless and the living fight as hard as they can. There is fire and dragon glass, crunching bones and spewing blood, bodies falling and bodies rising. And in the midst of all this, there is an epic fight between the dragons – a fight between ice and fire!

Fight of the Dragons
Fight of the Dragons

Dany and Jon, along with their dragons get blinded by a snowstorm, tussle with trees and then rise above clouds, waiting for the Night King and his dragon to arrive. On the other side, the troops fall back and Melisandre once again comes to their rescue by lighting the trenches. But does it stop the dead army? Only momentarily.

Swords light up!
Swords light up!

How do you really kill something that is already dead? The dead aren’t scared of dying and that’s why they don’t stop. The dead army finds its way inside the castle with skeletons climbing on top of other skeletons, eating and clawing their way through anything and everything living. The living, on the other hand, are tiring out and scrambling to fight for their lives. And then the dead giant enters, crunching and killing everything in vicinity including the fiesty Lyanna Mormont. But before the giant could crush her completely, she stabs his eye with a dragon glass blade. Way to go!

Also Read: Boss Makes GOT Prediction Sheet For Employees

Survivors in the Crypt
Survivors in the Crypt

Arya Stark becomes the warrior that she was training to be. Slashing, ripping and stabbing – she works her way around the dead. But when the size of the dead army chasing her keeps on increasing, Clegane and Beric Dondarrion, come and save her. In the process, Beric (the eye-patched guy who got multiple lives) finally dies. Arya and Clegane bump into Melisandre who reminds her of her destiny – “killing brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes..”.

What do we say to the God of Death?
What do we say to the God of Death?

Outside the walls, Jon and Dany are going to great lengths to kill the Night King and his White Walker dragon. Jon’s dragon is finally able to bring the White Walker dragon down, but loses its life. With both Jon and the Night King down on the ground, and Dany still on the dragon, it seems like this is the end of the King. Dany looks at the Night King, smiles and says “Dracrys”.

Dracrys
Dracrys

The dragon aims his fire directly at the Night King but does he die? Uh-oh! He is unharmed. Jon hurries after the King in an attempt to kill him, but obviously that infuriates him. Turning around, he raises the entire body of dead (the entire Winterfell army) and turns them into White Walkers. Take that, Jon Snow.

The Night King survives
The Night King survives

Dany swoops in to save Jon and lights up the entire army of the dead so that Jon can head in and save Bran. Inside the castle, Theon and his troops are bravely defending Bran from the multiple skeletons finding their way to him. Jon rushes inside the castle, fighting the dead along the way. The dead have finally made their way inside the crypt, where Sansa, Tyrion and others were hiding safely.

Lyana Mormont becomes a White Walker
Lyana Mormont becomes a White Walker

Outside, the body count is rising and the White Walker dragon is searching for Jon. Ser Jorah is fighting to keep Dany alive and safe from the dead as her dragon took off with the dead clinging on to him for their lives (or not!).

Ser Jorah defends Dany
Ser Jorah defends Dany

The Night King finally reaches Bran as the only person left guarding him now is Theon. In a last attempt to save Bran, Theon charges at the Night King who nonchalantly, kills him.

Theon Greyjoy
“You are a good man, Theon”

Just as the Night King is about to take his sword to kill Bran, and the White Walker dragon is about to kill Jon, and the army of the dead is becoming too much to bear for the living, Arya charges towards the Night King. He turns around and hold her by the neck. Arya drops her dagger from her raised hand, catches it in her other hand, and sticks it into the Night King. And that is how, the Night King and his army finally die.

Arya Stark - Slayer of the Night King
Arya Stark – Slayer of the Night King

Jon, Dany, Brienne, Jamie, Tyrion, Sansa, Bran and Arya live to see another day and fight another war. The dead fulfilled their prophecies and their duties – Jorah Mormont: saved his queen; Theon Greyjoy: saved Bran and got redemption; Lyanna Mormont: killed the giant and died like a hero; Melisandre: served the God of Light and showed Arya the way; Beric: saved Arya and fulfilled his destiny; Dolorous Ed: saved Samwell Tarly.

The trailer of the next episode promises to start another fight – the final fight. Who will win the final war? Who will sit on the Iron Throne? Is Dany or is Jon the rightful heir to the throne? We can only wait and watch.

Till then, keep saying ‘No’ to the ‘God of Death’.

Standard
Featured

Jon Snow Finally Knows And We Can’t Keep Calm

Spoilers Galore: Reader discretion is advised!

Winter is finally here with the eighth season of Game of Thrones. Fans have been eagerly waiting for the last installment of this series, and boy, the first episode lived up to all that people were hoping for. Every scene from the episode brought something new, and we’re here to break it down for you. So, hold your dragons.. err, horses!

The Reunions

Picture Credits: epicstream
Jon and Danaerys

The episode starts with a lot of reunions. Well, everyone is here at Winterfell – the Starks, the Lannisters, the Targareyns, and even the Tarly 😉 Jon Snow finally met Bran (it was pretty sweet), Sansa met Tyrion (a very smart encounter, especially with Sansa holding the upper hand), and Danaerys met Sansa (“Winterfell is yours, my grace”). But the best reunion of all was that of Jon and Arya – checking out each others’ swords with Arya downplaying how many she had killed with the Needle; and reminding Jon that family comes first.

Cersei And Her Sinister Plans

PC: Game of Thrones
Cersei Lannister

At the other end in King’s Landing, Cersei is delighted to learn that the Army of the Dead has broken down The Wall and are marching south. What’s more, she finally gave in to the persistent demands of Euron Greyjoy and slept with him who is insistent of putting a prince in her belly (P.S. she is already pregnant with Jamie’s child). Was it because she was missing Jamie? Or was just to keep him close and not abandon the last support she had? We’ll only know in future episodes. To make up for her disappointment in her brothers, Cersei puts a bounty on both her brothers’ heads. Yep, Jamie included. And how does she want them to be killed? With the same crossbow that Tyrion killed their father. Sweet poetic justice!

The Greyjoys

Side note: Yara Greyjoy is well and alive (while still in Euron’s captivity). But not for long. Theon, who finally found his own in the last season, comes on board and rescues Yara (also, gets a punch for abandoning her last season). All said and done, Yara was overjoyed and gave Theon her blessings when he decides to go north and fight for the Starks.

The Dragons Know

PC: onlinetv
The Dragons

At Winterfell, the dragons are scaring the shit out of everyone. The Mother of the Dragons on the other hand, isn’t getting the respect she wanted. The Lords who pledged their allegiance to Jon and declared him the King in the North are not very willing to accept a Targareyn queen. Sansa, who had been trying to keep her cellars full for the upcoming winter, doesn’t know how to feed an entire Unsullied army and the Dothraki. Also, “what do dragons even eat?” Apparently, anything they want! Danaerys is worried that her dragons aren’t eating enough. So, she takes Jon to meet them (why?!). It is a known fact that only the Targareyns can ride the dragons. How did Danaerys then not question Jon’s ability to climb on Rahegal’s back and ride him in the cold North?! Looks like even the dragons know!

Also Read: You Don’t Want To Miss These Shows in 2019

The Meeting With The Tarly

Danaerys meets Samwell Tarly, the man who cured Ser Jorah Mormont and wants to thank him. Unfortunately, the meeting ends when Sam realises his family is dead. Why? ‘coz they refused to bend the knee to the Queen. Hence, they were killed by dragon fire! Depressed and looking for an escape, Sam runs into Bran, who has been waiting for ‘a friend’. Last season, Sam and Bran figured out the true lineage of Jon Snow. Putting two and two together, they realised that Jon is actually the legitimate son of Lyna Stark and Rhaegar Targareyn. Bran now pushes Sam to tell his long-time friend Jon, his true destiny.

Jon Snow Knows

PC: Daily Express
Jon in the crypt

Sam is overjoyed to meet Jonin the crypt. However, their happiness is limited. Samwell informs Jon about the demise of his family and blames Danaerys for the same. While questioning whether she is the right choice for the throne, he tells Jon his true parentage. “You are the true king. Aegon Targareyn, sixth of the name, protector of the realm, and all of it.” Jon is almost furious. “My father was the most honourable man I knew. You are telling me that he lied to me?”. Samwell then explains that Ned Stark’s sister took an oath from him to always protect Jon. If King Robert had know that Jon was a Targareyn, he would have killed Jon, just like he intended to kill Dany. After hearing the truth, Jon is completely torn. Will he ascend the throne as the true King? Or will he let his feeling for Danaerys dictate the future of the Seven Kingdoms?

The Night King Signals

Tormund Giantsbane is alive! He, and a few others, including the Beric Dondarrion, find Lord Ned Umber (a child, at most) stuck to the wall with limbs surrounding him. He was left there by the Night King and had become a part of the Dead Army. His sudden shout was enough to wake people from the dead. Thankfully, he was burn by Beric and his fiery sword.

One More Thing…

PC: Vanity Fair
Jamie Lannister

The last scene of the show sees a cloaked man atop a horse, arriving in Winterfell. The big reveal? It’s Jamie Lannister. If you remember, he left Cersei in the last season, when he realised that she only promised her armies in the North to thwart of her enemies. She didn’t really intend to keep her word. While Jamie gets of the horse, who is the first person he sees in Winterfell? Bran Stark – the same boy whom he pushed off the tower and crippled for life.

There were a lot of reunions, some breakthroughs and a lot of groundwork laid for the upcoming episodes. Jon finally knows his true parentage, Danaerys knows that one of her dragons is now a part of the Dead Army, Jamie knows that Bran is alive and well, and well, Tyrion knows that Jon and Danaerys are sleeping together. What’s going to happen next? We’ll find out next week.

Till then, prepare for winter!

Standard
zac efron
Trending News

Zac Efron As The Super Suave Ted Bundy Is Killing It

The Greatest Showman actor, Zac Efron doesn’t shy away from donning new looks. His clean-cut look was appreciated by fans who accepted him as easily when he rocked his moustache. His new look is a departure from his previous looks though. This time around, the man has something different and amazing to flaunt – his platinum blonde hair. Yes, he showed up in his new look at the Sundance Film Festival, and fans haven’t stopped talking about it since.

The occasion

Zac Efron was at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the premiere of the biopic Extremely Wicked, Shocking and Vile. He stars as notorious American killer Ted Bundy, who had raped and murdered at least 30 women in the ’70s. The story is told through the eyes of Elizabeth Kloepfer – his long-time girlfriend, played by Collins.

Ted Bundy Movie Trailer: YouTube

Fans might remember that when the trailer of the movie was released not too long ago, there was a scene where you could see Efron taking off his shirt revealing his ahem ahem, oh-so-sculpted body. Concern was expressed about the casting, and whether such a ‘ripped’ and ‘attractive’ look would glorify the serial killer that Bundy was.

via GIPHY

The truth is, despite his heinous crimes, Bundy was considered charismatic and a man with good looks. Well this might well be the reason why his victims used to easily go along with his requests that eventually led to their deaths.

Zac’s loving it

The actor told E! News, “The most exciting thing for me was being able to sort of lend that Ted Bundy charisma to the part. I hope that’s what comes across the most.” He added:

People that watched the trial, that were with him in prison, on his defense team, anybody who knew him growing up, they never had bad things to say about the guy. Not a single person. And all the way to the very end of his trial when he was finally found guilty, a lot of people still didn’t believe it…it’s kinda crazy.

Zac Efron

Fans are quite impressed with the actor’s experiments with his looks. When asked about his newly dyed hair Efron had apparently said, “It’s just for life, bro.” Those who closely follow the actor on Instagram would know that he did give us a glimpse of his blonde hair in one of his recent posts. Hidden behind the perfectly placed beanie, it perhaps went unnoticed.

Hair-raising questions

Social media users did express grave concern; the reactions however were mixed.

As expected, fans can’t stop raving about his new look. While one user tweeted, “Zac Efron with blonde hair is a blessing.”

Courtesy: Twitter/iLovedamie
Courtesy: Twitter/iLovedamie

Another wrote, “Sooo can we talk about Zac Efron’s new hair?” Fans are rooting for the new look and how. One went on to say, “Zac Efron bleached his hair and I’m 100% here for it.” As Elle rightly points out, this is not the first time that the actor has surprised us with his looks.

He has made lighter hair shades look good and had added blonde highlights to his natural browns while he was filming Baywatch. He had gone a step further to dye his ends platinum before returning to his brown roots. What followed next was his full beard look, which we must agree added to his boyish charm.

View this post on Instagram

Novembeard

A post shared by Zac Efron (@zacefron) on

The 31-year-old actor continues to wow us with his looks and acting prowess. While we do expect the movie to enjoy a good run and reviews, we are sure Efron will have something up his sleeve to surprise us again. What next, we wonder.

Standard
mark zuckerberg
Featured, Social News

Facebook’s Secret Plans To Interconnect Messenger, WhatsApp, & Instagram

If you haven’t been on social media lately and are feeling a little disconnected, do not worry. This could well be a thing of the past. Because despite being in the middle of a privacy scandal, Facebook is working on integrating WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. This move has been initiated to create a solid messaging experience for all.

via GIPHY

The three have been functioning as independent entities so far, more like competitors. But not anymore. As reported by the New York Times, major plans are underway to integrate them.

Facebook’s secret initiatives

Facebook has always been on a mission of bringing people together building communities, and fostering friendships. So it’s no surprise that it is taking a step further and is now planning to enable cross-messaging between Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp as revealed by the NYT.

via GIPHY

Users will enjoy end-to-end encryption so that they can communicate with those not present on other Facebook platforms within the company’s ecosystem itself. Although Facebook has not specifically revealed the timeline for this, rumour mills have confirmed that it will definitely happen.

Also Read: Facebook’s new feature to help blind users

People are all for messaging these days, and social messaging has obviously become the norm, more common than calling itself. It therefore won’t be surprising at all to see people welcoming this kind of an initiative.

Competition with Apple & Google

Facebook is certainly hoping that people will hop on to this merged system as their primary mode of messaging leaving behind Google’s messaging services and Apple’s iMessage. At a time when competition is stiff and the growth is slow, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is apparently hopeful that its billions of users will stay connected and engage within Facebook’s own ecosystem and move away from competitors like Google and Apple.

Facebook Founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg/ Courtesy: Cnet
Facebook Founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg/ Courtesy: Cnet

Would it help?

So how would this help us? Well, if you are on Messenger and want to contact someone who’s only on WhatsApp, the integration will allow you to contact this person regardless of whether they use Facebook Messenger or not. Although the plans are still in a very nascent stage, the integration is expected to happen by end of 2019 or in early 2020.

via GIPHY

There is no denying that some other super-app might emerge till then rendering the whole integration effort futile. And who knows, Facebook might just take over that one too. This will help position itself stronger into the game. The possibilities can be many, but what’s good for users is the fact that all apps will incorporate end-to-end encryption as ordered by Zuckerberg to ensure that messages are protected at all costs.

A statement released to CNBC by a company spokesperson on the condition of anonymity in this regard, states:

[Facebook wants to] build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private. We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.

Facebook spokesperson

As always, only time will tell if this integration is as promising as it seems to be.

Standard
Featured

Aloha GOT Fans! Now Earn £35,000 Binge-Watching Game Of Thrones

So are you a Game of Thrones fan? Yes. Can you wait to have your favorite show to return on screens? Hell No! The excitement is just too much to contain, right? But what if you were told that you could make money by only watching it? Well, this could well be true if you were ready to take the Box Set Sabbatical by NOW TV. Are you game?

Playing catch-up

Picture this for a moment. You are one of those people who experience a major #FOMO when your peeps talk about their favorite shows. Even worse is the fact that you haven’t even started on any of those shows because you already have too much on your plate. And to top it all, you just don’t have the time for some wholesome TV entertainment.

via GIPHY

Well, you are not alone my friend. There have been instances where people have bunked office or done an all-nighter only to end up binge-watching their favorite shows.  

The binge-watching challenge

NOW TV has conducted surveys and this is what they found. Explains Emma Quartly, Marketing Director at NOW TV, “Our research found one in seven Brits spend their holiday catching up on telly. And 40 percent say TV helps them escape and relax. So in the depths of winter, we wanted to take duvet days to another level with the first ever TV streaming sabbatical.”

Also Read: The end of GOT will leave you in therapy

So here’s the deal. You can binge watch all your favorites, including Game of Thrones, by taking an entire year out for the same. Apart from the promised £35K, which equals to a year’s pay, you will also get a smart stick and 12 months of NOW TV passes.

Now Tv facebook page
Courtesy: Facebook/NowTV

Contest rules

Of course, it’s easier said than done. The entries should come through your social media account on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, tagging @NOWTV and hashtagging #BoxSetSabbatical. You will be eligible to participate only after your entry is reviewed by a panel of judges. And that includes comedian Joel Dommett.

Joel also happens to be a self-confessed box set buff. The panel will choose candidates based on the applicant’s TV watching passion, creativity and experience. This is what Joel said while speaking about the competition:

For anyone who loves telly, this really is the most unbelievable gig. Sitting with my feet up watching my favorite shows and getting paid for the privilege is something I quite literally dream about.

Joel Dommett

NOW TV has already started accepting entries. The last date to enter the contest is 14th February 2019 i.e., Thursday midnight.

View this post on Instagram

When you’re wearing no pants and nobody knows.

A post shared by Joel Dommett (@joeldommett) on

This is a great opportunity to catch up on everything that’s happening in the world of Westeros and yet get paid for all that TV time. You are expected to apply with a photo or a video saying why you deserve to be part of this most extraordinary sabbatical.

via GIPHY

Too good to be true

The money will be divided into twelve monthly cheque payments that will be sent to the winner’s address every month. So you can be game on celebrating every day as duvet day and snuggle up watching Game of Thrones and other favorites. And all this while you’re on your way to the Iron Throne. Well, this is one opportunity you must simply not miss out on.

Standard
Social News

Single Women In China Now To Get ‘Love’ Leaves

We’re surely living in a fast-paced world. This means a constant struggle of achieving a work-life balance, while keeping a tab on your health as well as your social life. This lifestyle can be intimidating at times. And those without a partner may not be able to even look for one, given the paucity of time. But not anymore!

Well, China may just be the place you would want to be if you were a single woman over 30 years of age. Two companies in China have taken an extraordinary step and may end up leading by example.

Date breaks

This is a country where single women in their late 20s and early 30s are considered as ‘leftover’ women or Sheng Nu. At such a time, two companies have taken a bold step of giving those over 30 a much-needed date leave. Ingrained social beliefs and a traditional mindset that women who are not married by a certain age are undesirable, are perhaps the reason behind them being looked upon as leftovers. However, there are women in other countries that simply place greater emphasis on their careers and choose them over marriage. Often times, they end up not marrying at all.

Chinese couple walking on the beach
Courtesy: Masterfile

Hangzhou Songcheng Performance and Hangzhou Songcheng Tourism Management are now giving single female employees over 30 in non-frontline roles, additional 8 days of leave. They have termed this as annual dating leave. The usual leave of 7 days is given to employees during the Lunar New Year for people to go home and bond with their family. But an extra 8 days just to find the perfect partner definitely comes as a refreshing initiative.

Also Read: Tech company recruits only autistic people

Songcheng Performance
Songcheng Performance

Huang Lei, the Human Resources Manager of the company told online news outlet Zhejiang Online:

The ratio of men to women in our company is about the same. [But] women employees mostly work in internal functional departments and some are show performers. Some female staff have less contact with the outside world. Therefore, we hope to give more leave to female staff. To give them more time and opportunities to be in contact with the opposite sex.

Huang Lei, Human Resources Manager at Songcheng

Wake-up call

This move has come at a time when China has touched a historical turning point. For the first time since records have begun, deaths have outnumbered births. The 2018 statistics for the country suggest that there has been a drop of two million births. This is alarming as compared to the previous year taking the number of live births to 15.23 million.

A couple relaxing outdoors
A couple relaxing outdoors

Although the one-child policy was abolished in 2015, the number of births still suggests that people have taken note of the fact that an ageing society and dwindling workforce could tarnish economic growth.

So after continued measures to control the population, the country is now exploring ways to increase fertility. Life expectancy has gone up and China expects a quarter of its population to be over 65 by 2040. This means that the situation could become grave unless there is a sizeable workforce to take care of the ageing demographics.

LinkedIn China

A survey was conducted recently by LinkedIn China and L’Oreal China. This suggests that almost 80% of the women born after 1995 fell into the ‘economically independent’ category. On the other hand, the remaining 20% chose the ‘loving wife and mother’ option.

Recently, a school in Hangzhou had also come up with an ‘extra two days off each month’ initiative for single, stressed-out teachers. This certainly served as a move to uplift employee morale. The supposed ‘love leave’ was also much appreciated.

Standard
Social News, Trending News

Deadpool 3 In The Works? Ryan Reynolds Is Dropping Hints

Deadpool has managed to receive plenty of appreciation from the very beginning. So much so, that Deadpool 2 had garnered hype and attention from the word go. And fans of the franchise were getting way more updates than they could handle. Not surprising then, Deadpool 3 is living up to the whole euphoria the superhero franchise has managed to build with each installment. So what’s in store for the much-awaited third one? Any guesses?

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Courtesy: GQ

The excitement begins

Are they taking the story forward? Are they giving out any clues? Well, for starters, suffice to say that the development on Deadpool 3 has already begun. Ryan Reynolds who plays the popular superhero has confirmed this and we definitely are all ears. While in China for the release of a much milder version of the sequel called Once Upon a Deadpool, a re-cut version of Deadpool 2 with added footage, he told us something that could well increase our expectations from the third installment.

He spoke during a press conference. As reported by Variety, this is what the superhero had to say, “[The producers and writers are] looking to go in a completely different direction.” And that’s not all; “Often, they reboot or change a character maybe like four movies too late,” he added.

Also Read: Blake Lively wins free coffee for life from Hugh Jackman

Perhaps this is what Rhett Reese, Deadpool 2 producer and co-writer meant when he told CinemaBlend, “contracts back down” into something “personal and small.” This was after Cable, Domino and X-Force members were added to the Deadpool 2 universe.

Rewind

As the Merc with a foul mouth, Reynolds is the favorite in the X-Men universe. He bowled us over with his amazing portrayal of the anti-hero. While speaking to Screen Rant, both the writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese had revealed their plans for Deadpool 3 earlier. “We’re constantly in touch with Ryan (Reynolds), and we’re always throwing ideas back and forth via text and phone conversations. So, it’s always at the front of our minds. We’ll get there when the time is right, but as of right now, X-Force is next up,” Wernick had divulged.

YouTube

According to the chronology that we’ve established, X-Force will be next, before Deadpool 3. It’s a bit of the ‘Iron Man 1, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3’ model, in that sense. X-Force isn’t being written by us. It’s being written and directed by Drew Goddard, or at least that’s the plan right now. We’re not involved with that one. We do anticipate there will be a Deadpool 3 at some point, but it’s just a little premature, because it will definitely take a backseat to X-Force for the time being.

Rhett Reese

The wait begins

Once Upon a Deadpool is a PG-13 edition of the movie and during its brief theatrical run, $6 million is all it made. Whether this was due to the fact that the original had made it to home media way before this version appeared on screen or not, is not known. We wonder if fans were really up for this insipid version of their superhero. After all, his irreverent edge is hugely responsible for the all the popularity he garners. While the makers may have several things planned for the franchise, fans do have their own expectations.

Standard
Social News, Trending News

Facebook Hurting Us The Most. Shares Personal Data With Companies

Did you know that since 2010, our very favorite social media platform Facebook has given access of our personal data to more than 150 companies? Well, while the dust refuses to settle on the tech giant’s breach of privacy issue, there have been companies that were given the right to read and delete private messages of users. Surprised? Read on.

Is your data safe? Think again

The New York Times revealed how our data has been compromised due to Facebook’s data-sharing business partnerships. Those who have enjoyed access include top giants such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and even Yandex- the Russian search engine. While the partnerships may have been cemented at different times, they were active in 2017 and were exempted from the privacy rules.

Different companies have enjoyed access to a varying extent. For example, Microsoft’s search engine Bing could access names of friends of virtually all Facebook users without their consent. While Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada went a step further and could even read, write and delete their private messages.

via GIPHY

Others such as Amazon, Microsoft and Sony could get contact information of users through their friends. Despite the said attempts of prohibiting such access, Yahoo and Yandex reportedly retained access. And that’s not all; Apple was given the power to see users’ contacts as well as their calendar entries. This was, irrespective of whether their data sharing was disabled or not.

Also Read: Users are deleting Instagram and you should too

YouTube – Facebook data share

So like it or not- these companies sought hundreds of millions of people on a monthly basis by way of applications. The biggest concern is that some of these partnerships are active even today.

The shadow of doubt looms

Facebook is already receiving a lot of flak for such breaches and its privacy policies are being heavily scrutinized. But Facebook refuses to accept such claims. Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, revealed in a blog post saying:

None of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC.

Konstantinos Papamiltiadis

As Times reporter Nick Confessore points out through his tweet, Facebook believes that an explicit consent of users is not really necessary since its business partners which they prefer to call as ‘integration partners’ are in fact ‘functionally extensions of Facebook itself’.

Nick Confessore Twitter page
Courtesy: Twitter/nickconfessore

The Times report definitely raises some very valid questions and two U.S. Senators have already expressed the need for a federal privacy law. What’s ironic is that despite such arguments, Facebook admits that it’s got work to do to regain people’s trust.

Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of product partnerships, said in a blog post,

In the past day, we’ve been accused of disclosing people’s private messages to partners without their knowledge. That’s not true — and we wanted to provide more facts about our messaging partnerships.

Ime Archibong, V.P. Product Partnerships at Facebook

Netflix, Spotify cry foul

Meanwhile, Netflix and Spotify cry foul. Netflix released a statement saying, “At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so.” Spotify on the other hand said something similar. “We have no evidence that Spotify ever accessed users’ private Facebook messages,” it said.

via GIPHY

With their stock falling by more than 7 percent after the article got published, Facebook indeed has a lot of work to do. Or else, it will continue to lose its ‘friends’.

Standard
Shade
Trending News

‘Ello Manhattan! Marvel Introduces New Drag Queen Superhero

Marvel is happy to unveil the first drag queen superhero. Fans are loving her. And we must say, she’s fabulous. Even her name has charmed everyone. Guys, meet Shade, the mutant drag queen. As the newest addition to the X-men comics’ lore, she is introduced in the fourth issue of the Iceman comic.

The epic introduction

This is how Shade had introduced herself after a fellow mutant’s performance, “Ello Manhattan. It’s your emcee, Shade. And I got none to throw at Dazzler’s set. Let’s give her another round of applause.”

Writer Sina Grace and artist Nathan Stockman are the brains behind this wonderfully awesome character. Most would know Iceman is the only monthly series that has a queer lead and the introduction of this superhero has added to its popularity.

Also Read: George RR Martin teases GOT fans

Says Grace to the LGBTQ website The Advocate:

I really wanted this series to push readers to new and better stories about the whole queer experience and how it applies to being both a mutant and a superhero. There’s a million different queer perspectives and we’re only scratching the surface.

Grace
New drag mutant Spade
New drag mutant Shade

The spin-off also happens to be the return to the series for Grace who was on board for the 2017 series that was cancelled just after 11 issues in spite of the fact that it had a GLAAD Media Award nomination.

What’s surprising was that the sales figures were dismal despite the critical acclaim it received. Shade will hopefully be seen more often; in Iceman No.5 and also in a special annual edition – X-Men: Winter’s End which is expected in February. More appearances are likely but the details have not yet been revealed.

Awesome superpowers

From the time she’s arrived on the scene, everyone’s going gaga over her powers. With the help of her handheld fan she can teleport effortlessly and enter a pocket dimension. The sassy superhero teleports with a ‘thwoooorp’.

Marvel superhero Shade

The drag queen clicked with fans instantly when she teleported into the first ever Mutant Pride Parade eventually becoming its master of ceremonies, and look forward to more frequent appearances in the near future.

On introducing new (s)heroes

As Dr. Ormond, who specializes in women in comics and subcultural identities, rightly pointed out to UNILAD how the introduction of Shade gives the company a chance to renew the superhero genre. She said, “Marvel and DC have been criticized for not showing enough of these types of characters across the various media of their expanded universe, so I can see why they decided to introduce her. It was a sound business decision as much as an appeal to their fanbase.”

Drag Queen superhero Shade from Marvel Studios
Courtesy: Digitalspy

​Fans of the comic book would know that Bobby Drake, Iceman’s alter-ego is an openly gay man who is seen struggling with his many overlapping identities. The introduction of the mutant has happened at a time when the company did not have a particularly good track record as far as LGBTQ+ representation is concerned and were criticized along with rivals DC by GLADD.

Something for the queer community

GLADD had raised the issue in their annual report, particularly pointing at Marvel and DC, stating:

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore that LGBTQ people remain almost completely shut out of Hollywood’s big budget comic book films that have dominated the box office over the past several years.

The introduction of the drag queen superhero comes as a welcome relief, also the fact that Kevin Feige has promised to usher in openly gay characters soon. Fans would remember how two scenes were cut from Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther to avoid depiction of same-sex lovers.

Standard
Social News

Elephants Evolve To Not Grow Tusks Due To Incessant Poaching

Be it man or animals, the need for survival has been paramount and at the forefront of everything we do. So why should elephants be any different? Turns out, ‘tuskless’ is becoming a common phenomenon among elephants. Scientists tell us why.

The War Effects

The civil war that gripped Mozambique for 15 long years has not just left its mark on the land and the minds of people, but also on the oldest herd of elephants. Having survived the long war that was partly financed by poached ivory, it comes as no surprise that the daughters of about one third of the surviving elephants are born toothless.

PC: Instagram/elephantvoices

Not many would know that almost 90 percent of the animals were killed – either to feed the hungry fighters or for ivory that fetched a fortune. Poaching has apparently, triggered an evolution among elephants causing them to give up their tusks. As opposed to previous statistics that suggested that only 2-4 per cent of African female elephants were born without tusks, the figures have changed after the war. The biological advantage that they get due to this trait in Gorongosa could be the reason for this evolution.

This Explains

More and more elephants are being born without tusks.
PC: Instagram/elephantsalive

Dominique D’Emille Correia Gonçalves, ecologist and conservation biologist throws light on this subject. As reported by the Mail Online, he said: “Ivory poaching targets big tusked animals, so it removes the ‘big tusk’ gene out of the population. The elephant population today is derived from most of the elephants who survived the war, where they were heavily poached for their tusks. The key explanation is that in Gorongosa National Park, the tuskless elephants were the ones which eluded poaching during the civil war and passed this trait onto many of their daughters. These tuskless elephants are growing from the survivors of poaching, so while we are not talking about evolution yet, we could be talking about the removal of certain genes from the population.”

Also Read: Brit Who Snorted Coke Off Escobar’s Grave Gets Death Threats!

The Staggering Statistics

Reports suggest that Gorongosa was inhabited by about 4000 elephants in the late 70s but the numbers dwindled to a huge extent post the war. As per Joyce Poole’s recent (yet to be published) research, 51 percent of the 200 known adult females who are war survivors and aged 25 or more, are tuskless. And that’s not all. 32 percent of females born post war are tuskless.

A baby elephant holding on to a tusk.
PC: Twitter/rickygervais

Poole is an elephant behavior expert and National Geographic Explorer, and has interesting insights to offer about this evolution. She explains, “A male elephant’s tusks are bigger and heavier than those of a female of the same age. But once there’s been heavy poaching pressure on a population, then the poachers start to focus on the older females as well. Over time, with the older age population, you start to get this really higher proportion of tuskless females.”

Not Just Mozambique

Countries that have witnessed heavy poaching for ivory have noticed this shift as well. In South Africa, this shift in female survivors and their daughters is significant. Statistics pertaining to the Addo Elephant National Park in the early 2000s indicate that 98 percent of the 174 females were tuskless.

A family of elephants
PC: Instagram/elephantvoices

Tusks have an important role to play in the lives of elephants since they help them dig the ground for water or minerals, scrape the bark off trees and even compete for mates. However, with survival mode on, these animals are modifying themselves to become tuskless. While it may help them against poaching, it’s not ideal. As reported by BBC, “…an elephant without tusks is a crippled elephant”.

Standard