A Letter Of Resignation: What Its Like To Hit Rock Bottom

Tomas Chevalier

This is Spaceship Earth. It is, to the day, exactly as old as I am. We were both born October 3, 1982. We’ve been alive for 34 years, 10 months and 17 days. Earlier this year, I ran past it on my way to completing the very first marathon I’d ever run … a quite literally unbelievable feat for someone who was born with lungs that function at 53% capacity. The race took me 6 hours, 42 minutes and 25 seconds. Upon completion, I had a glass of champagne. I deserved it. This story is only tangentially about that.

Exactly half my life ago, some 17 years, 5 months and 8 days ago, I started a career which has been well documented — yet hidden in plain sight. It was an illustrious career, which netted me a great deal of satisfaction and joy. I am here today to announce my retirement from it. I’ve held a lot of jobs during that time — waiter, bartender, writer, musician, branding “guru”, marketing manager, mathematician, weatherman, sports columnist, podcast host — but none of them were my real career. I’m holding onto the jobs I still have. Today, I am firmly, unequivocally retiring from the sport of professional drinking. And, so I am clear on this, let me say the words that will haunt you, so that I may no longer be haunted by keeping them secret: I am John Gorman. And I am, in no uncertain terms, an alcoholic.

It’s almost my brand at this point, but, in case you’re new: I’ve spent the past year or so in a spectacular downward spiral. I am, by all metrics, less healthy and happy than I was in the Spring of 2016, when I was at my absolute pinnacle. The decline was so gentle, and the zenith so high, that I barely felt real ramifications even though I knew things were getting wobbly at the top. I still (thankfully) have my job. I still have (most of) my friends. And only very few people pointed out to me that I had “changed.”

But I, myself, could tell what was happening. So I went running for answers. I traveled the country, hoping to find them. I visited old friends in old cities. I visited ex-girlfriends. I saw baseball games. I saw concerts. I drank in dimly lit bars. I pillaged my past — the people and places and activities from it — to try and rediscover myself. Often, I didn’t find what I was looking for. Even if I had a helluva lot of fun along the way. This was piece and parcel of my life writ large — a never-ending party, a show designed to entertain those who dared to watch, at the expense of myself and my health.

In April in New York, on a very long, dimly lit night, I drank in Astoria with one of my best friends, and a woman I hadn’t seen in seven years. I had been cataclysmically drunk the entire weekend to that point, and I would continue to be right up until the morning after I’d returned to Austin. But, while at the bar, I said, frankly, “Follow me down the black hole.” I knew where I was headed, because I had already been there. Aided by cognac and fernet, I found I could be refreshingly candid with them, even if that meant being unusually dark and nihilist. And that was the easiest thing to notice: my darkness. That was new. That didn’t exist before — at least not outwardly. And that was my first warning sign that it was time for me to walk away. (The dozens of empty champagne bottles in my pantry that had been building up since Christmas of 2015 didn’t ring the alarm, but the inability to hide my sadness apparently was a bridge too far.)

My most recent ex used to compare me to Mr. Peanut Butter from for my relentless positivity. And, at the time I had met her, it was hard not to be clear skies and warm sun all the time. Everything was going my way: I was in the best shape and health of my life, my career was in the perfect spot, I had some money saved up, I had a ton of good quality relationships with friends and family, and I generally spent most of my day doing things I loved to do — music, writing, running, biking, reading and learning things. I did this, I think, because I had spent a good majority of the previous year sober. You see, I knew I had to stop drinking in the fall of 2014. And I had.

I was already out of control by that point, a man so enamored with whiskey and gin that I’d blacked out on my 32nd birthday after making out with five women — none of women were the one I was dating at the time, and, frankly, she was probably the greatest woman I’d ever dated, and, yes … she left me for good the following day — and, to quote an observer, I spent a solid hour “flopping around on the ground like a dolphin out of the sea.” I quit then. And I mostly didn’t drink for over a year thereafter. I did it without broadcasting it to the world. (Mostly.)

But I remember the day I re-started in earnest — it was the day I met the woman I couldn’t bare to be without. It was an innocent sidecar on our first date, on November 8, 2015. We broke up the week before I went to New York. And, yes, I went to New York because we broke up. I drunkenly cancelled the trip I had planned for us to go to Cuba, since that was no longer in the cards, and used that money to fly to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. And, for the first time, I was forced to reconcile with who I’d become while making peace with a past that, while wonderful, was tinged with regret. I met an ex-girlfriend to see Waitress. I met another one at a dive in Brooklyn, where I sucked down Tito’s and Soda until I was blue in the fucking face.

My darkness was suddenly front-and-center. I was confronted with it, with nowhere left to turn, because how can anyone escape themselves. I was now completely unhinged, detached from time and space and reality. I turned my drinking — as I often have, but never to the extent that I did now — into a cloak of invincibility; shielding me from consequences for my actions. Now that my tank of fucks left to give was dry, I didn’t have to give any. I started behaving … erratically. Drinking more, and more often, than usual. On an average night, some five-to-six nights per week, I would put away somewhere between 10 and 20 shots of alcohol. This has been the case for the past year. That’s not a misprint.

I was losing interest in things I once loved, and taking a liking to pursuits that could kill me if I did them long enough. Pursuits like finding my way to the bottom of a bottle — every day, many times per day. I also began numbing myself through sex, Netflix, rich foods, travel and experiences. And those were all great, because, well — what isn’t great when you’re hashtag living your best life? My behavior was Instagrammable. When I would tell people “all I do is drink until I black out, smoke until I can’t breathe, eat pizza until I can’t walk, and fuck anyone and everyone,” people complimented me on my fierce independence and brash silliness. And although I was broadcasting my sadness and self-cruelty to the world, no one seemed to get the message.

And, when those wells of distraction had run dry, or I couldn’t muster the energy to go out into the world, I began to mindlessly scroll my social media feeds — not even for the sake of connecting with people or commenting, but merely to pass the time. And I fell into a rut. And even more drinking. The quest to find the answer for the darkness became an imperative, and, arguably, the actual answer to the darkness itself. I was becoming sick and sad, cynical and weird, lazy and fearful. The walls began to close in — and then they collapsed.

I spent a morning that lasted all afternoon holed up in a hotel room in Phoenix, pounding bottles of champagne and staring into my phone hoping the meaning of life would magically appear. I was paralyzed, crippled by fear and darkness and anxiety. What’s wrong with me? And I began to think with a very specific, urgent purpose. I was going to lean into this feeling and find my way out.

I reasoned, with unusual clarity, that at the root of my drinking and my suffering is a pathological desire to not be alone. To be wanted, needed, validated and rewarded. This checked about 80% of the boxes: My steady stream of “content” I put out on my Facebook feed. My inability to say no to smoking or drinking if someone asks me to, my pathological willingness to take on more work, go to more events, and do more favors than I can realistically handle. My propensity for flirting with almost everyone. My insatiable messiah complex. My hyper-sensitivity to criticism from friends, peers and lovers. But that did not quite cut to the root of it. The question I then proposed: why can’t I be alone?

Initially, I thought I did not like myself. But as I reasoned objectively, that wasn’t always the case. There were times when I *did* like myself very much. 2015 was a prime example. In fact, I can look back at most of my life and say, yes, I was someone I would find interesting, and decent to hang out with. But I realized I felt that way in times when I was very busy — being with people, experiencing new things, accomplishing goals, performing well at tasks, making and creating. And I like all those things about me. But baseline?

I then went to baseline. I decided to drown myself in … myself. And more champagne. I ghosted social media for two weeks. I went off-grid. And I was, unsurprisingly, miserable. But I kept thinking. And kept listening. It was quiet on the outside — and loud as hell in my head.

In the midst of that quiet, that’s when I heard it: My hyper-critical, rude, caustic and abrasive internal dialogue. The voice in my head that kept directing me: You should be doing something. You shouldn’t be 34 and single. You should be farther along in your career. You shouldn’t be such a whore. You shouldn’t drink so much. You know you shouldn’t be smoking that. When are you going to get off anti-anxiety meds? Why are you so fat? Don’t eat that. Don’t drink that. That’s bad for you. You’re unhealthy. You’re weird. You’re lazy. You’re careless. You’re a fuck-up. You’re going to ruin your life. You’re going to die. No one will remember you. No one’s going to love you. You’re nothing. You should kill yourself.

And that’s when I learned. Everything I do is an attempt to silence, or escape, the impossibly cruel and exacting voice inside my head. Sometimes this manifests itself in a good way: Travelling, pouring myself into my work, learning new things, creating music, writing, rock climbing, other novel experiences. These only temporarily silence the voice. But, at my core, I realized that’s why I drank. To shut the mouth of the asshole who lives inside my head.

I swam back up to the surface and took a deep breath. There would be no deeper insight. I finally understood why I am who I am. And, the way I’d been coping with it, was not respite — it was fanning the flames.

Let’s talk for a minute about what being an alcoholic is really like. I sleep on an un-made bed, with no sheets on it, sheets that are balled up in a laundry basket, covered in cat vomit. That’s if I make it to bed. Most days I black out on the couch, watching Cold War documentaries for the sake of self-edification and yet almost nothing stays with me overnight. I mostly wake up wondering what year it is.

I started smoking a pack a day, for whatever reason, as if it’s not stupid enough to smoke anything at all while I — again — have 53% of a human lung. Imagine being born with COPD and then being like “nah, fuck it, I don’t care how I die, so I might as well die in the most obvious way possible, as soon as possible.”

I have, to the best of my knowledge, slept with over 200 women — 30 in the past six months. I do not know why. Maybe to beat back the inescapable loneliness. Actually, only for that reason. Had I been capable of loving myself, I probably wouldn’t need so many people to love me.

I’ve gotten too drunk on two dates in the past month — both of which were with people I actually, truly, adored, and still do. There were no second dates. Imagine, being able to find love and punting on it because fernet shots are so much more desirable than potential life-long companionship.

My house is a certified sty. Dishes piled on the counter-top. Nacho debris littered all over the rug. I should probably be vacuuming instead of writing this. I’m not. Imagine, coming home, wading through a pile of bottles and bullshit, and thinking “nah, that’s fine. The minefield is just the price I pay for living with myself.”

I have eaten five meals this week. Three of which were (full, large) pizzas. One of which was a pasta salad that had been sitting out at room temperature for 24 hours, but, I didn’t have the self-discipline to throw it out and eat something else. Imagine being so in the realm of not giving a shit that you willingly say to yourself “there’s definitely bacteria in this and this smells like dead squirrel, but, fuck it, I’m hungry and this tastes fine.” I’ve lost 10 pounds in the past six months, subsisting only on carbonated liquids that range from IPA to bourbon. Only eating when my body was literally craving a vegetable. (BTW, if you ever think, “Fuck, that salad looks delicious,” you’re probably farther down the path of an unhealthy lifestyle than you think you are.)

And so, now, here I stand: at the precipice, staring into the abyss, and realizing the time is now to turn the car around before it careens over the cliff. 17 years, 5 months and 8 days was just long enough to be at the peak of my powers. Or, more accurately, to be actively sabotaging me from being at the peak of my powers. I plan on spending the next 17 years, 5 months and 8 days — yes, until I am literally 52 years old, should I make it that far without dying from what I’ve already done to myself — sober. I am calling it a career. And, while, it had been a helluva ride to be sure, I want to stop the coaster and head to another amusement park.

I am, currently, drinking — one last set of drinks. Yes, I’ve written this drunk. I started at noon with a 512 IPA — the beer that I drank when I wrapped my car around a tree. I continued with champagne — the drink I never loved until I met the woman I thought I’d finally found everlasting love with, the one who I, inadvertently, drove away because my personality changed so very much after I began guzzling alcohol like it was oxygen. I, then, stopped at a bar to enjoy a shot of whiskey and a shot of fernet, just to say goodbye to the two spirits that put me in the highest of spirits. And, now, two beers: Avery Brewing Company’s Maharaja, the first craft beer I was ever given for free, the one that kickstarted my writing career (I started as a beer blogger), and La Fin du Monde, which is my favorite beer of all time, and which literally means “The End of the World” in French. It feels apt. Tomorrow, I go to the doctor, and I talk to her about the things I’ve done and where is left to go from here. Who knows what comes next.

Most people only write about getting sober after they’ve been at it a while, and it’s an inspirational story about self-discipline and perseverance. This is not that. This is a story about being the very bottom, holding onto the last blade of grass before you fall off the face of the Earth. This is a story that, while disjointed, and poorly written, is as accurate and raw of an account of where I am today as any of the most articulate theses I’ve written in my many years of writing. Actually, more so. This is, truly, me. Unvarnished. Unedited. Finally present. I am a fucking mess. A fraud. Not a failure, no, there is no such thing, but someone who can no longer be trusted to fix things on his own. Maybe I was never that person. I do not know.

I mention Spaceship Earth because on the day I ran by it, at the pinnacle of my athletic career, I was 205 pounds (I typically tip the scales at about 170) and drinking and eating myself to death. The night before, I had unpacked a bottle of champagne, and pounded it to fall asleep that night. I did this at 9 p.m. I needed to be awake in six hours. I ran that marathon hungover, sweating out booze as I ran through every excruciating minute of those 26.2 miles. I did it as a sort of penance, but also as a sort of call-to-action: “If I can do this in the state I’m in, what can I do if I actually tried?” I thought about that for a while, and realized I’d never truly tried at anything. The only thing I’d ever put my heart and soul into was the relationship I started drinking again for. Everything else has been a happy byproduct of just being alive and good at whatever the fuck I was doing at the time.

I don’t know what trying feels like. I don’t know what happiness feels like. I, increasingly, don’t know what sobriety feels like. I don’t know what I feel like. And, to be clear, now I want to know. I’ve spent half my life drinking — nearly every day, some days more than others — and now I wish to stop. This is my letter of resignation. I do not know what the future holds for me. I am scared. I am lost. I am unsure what my next career will be. I can only hope that it leads me to a place that isn’t where I am right now, because where I am right now feels like the literal Fin du Monde. And at 34 years, 10 months and 17 days old, that’s just too goddamn soon to say goodbye.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/john-gorman/2017/09/a-letter-of-resignation-what-its-like-to-hit-rock-bottom/

Nearly 3 million watched Mayweather-McGregor illegally

The Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor mega-fight Saturday night was expected to potentially break the all-time boxing pay-per-view record of 4.6 million buys. According to Irdeto, millions and millions bypassed the PPV model and watched on illegal livestreams for free.

According to Irdeto, a digital platform security company, 2.93 million people watched Mayweather knock out McGregor in the 10th round on media platforms that did not include having to pay $99.

Irdeto said it identified 239 illegal streams, and of those, 67 were shown by known pirate websites. But the other streams were discovered on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and Twitch.

“It is safe to say that the Mayweather vs. McGregor match is one of the most pirated, if not the most pirated, boxing matches that we have seen,” Mark Mulready, the VP of Cybersecurity Services at Irdeto, told the Daily Dot in an email on Monday.

This particular fight was unique because it brought together stars from two sports with two distinct fanbases, and Mulready said the numbers indicate that pirates “capitalized on the eagnerness of both fans of boxing and UFC.” Plus, Showtime and the UFC both made the fights available on their own legal livestreams, which potentially could have contributed to people watching illegally.

“While content availability is key, it may have also inadvertently caused some consumers to choose an illegal service over a legitimate service due to confusion and clever marketing,” Irdeto said in its report. “Irdeto has seen an increase in pirates creating professional websites, technology and services, fooling some consumers into thinking they are accessing a legal service.”

But Irdeto also knows not everybody was getting fooled. In a recent study of 25,000 adults across 30 countries that the security company commissioned, it found that 52 percent of consumers knowingly watch pirated video content.

Pirated streams have become an enormous problem for boxing, particularly when it comes to its PPV shows. Showtime, which produced and distributed Saturday’s PPV, said before the show it would try to crack down on illegal streams.

“It’s a reality that we have to accept,” Brian Dailey, Showtime’s VP of sports digital media, told the Daily Dot in July. “We’re going to combat it as aggressively as we possibly can. Between us and the UFC, we’re going to every resource we can, and we’re going to lean on our social partners that can help us police and be on top of it as best we can. It’s a reality that’s certainly troublesome for us. It’s just part of what we have to do.”

The answer for how to stop the illegal streams (or even slow them down), though, is still unknown.

“We’ve established anti-piracy centers before to stop illegal streams,” Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer told the Los Angeles Times in May. “There has to be more proactive measures taken, including by the distributors—AT&T, Time Warner, DirecTV—to perhaps implement legal steps… Consumers have to know they can’t watch these pirated streams and then consider if they want to purchase the PPV.”

Some who bought it legally through one of the legal streams, though, also weren’t happy, particularly because the telecast didn’t work for everybody. Due to high demand, some fans had a difficult time logging into their UFC accounts or getting the stream to load on their browsers.

The streaming problems caused the Mayweather-McGregor fight to be delayed slightly so the PPV provider could catch up with demand, but on Monday, at least one person took legal action.

Update 9:12am, Aug. 29: After initially declining to comment on Irdeto’s Mayweather-McGregor illegal stream findings, a Showtime spokesperson claimed post-publication that the company took a multipronged approach to combat piracy. “Mayweather vs. McGregor was an event of huge global appeal that attracted large scale efforts to illegally stream the telecast. During the fight, SHOWTIME and its partners successfully blocked and removed the highest number of unauthorized streams for any event in the company’s history. We did this through cooperative efforts with our distribution partners and social media platforms during the live event, as well as with proactive court action blocking third party websites that offered illegal live streams.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated for clarity and context.

H/T Forbes

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/floyd-mayweather-conor-mcgregor-illegal-streams/

New Survey Shares Womens Attitudes Towards Fertility

Trying to conceive a baby should normally be a joyous moment in a couple’s life. You’ve thought of a name and already picked out colors to paint his or her new room. However, according to a new online poll from Ava, a medical tech company for women’s reproductive health, 72 percent of women admitted to having “inconvenient or unromantic sex” just so they could try for a baby. Not exactly exciting.

The research, which surveyed 2,093 women in Europe and the US, also showed that 78 percent of respondents were unsure of the time it takes to get pregnant.

There are several community forums and many websites where advice and support are given to women who are trying to conceive, but the truth is that some women can be quite private about the process. Lea von Bidder, co-founder of Ava, said: “For most, the reason to stay quiet was mostly to avoid persistent questioning and requests for updates.”

In total, 52 percent of women are frequently asked about their plans to have a baby.

Another interesting note was that 80 percent of women in the US said that news of other women getting pregnant caused them stress or depression. This could be because they are comparing themselves to other women who seem to get pregnant easily or even accidentally.

Bidder added in a statement that “it’s unfortunate how much stress and frustration women still experience today around the process of getting pregnant.”

The poll also highlighted the fact that 58 percent of women aged 36-40 who were surveyed had “convinced a partner” to get intimate when he was not in the mood in the hopes of trying to conceive. Julie Spiers, the marketing manager from Ava, noted: “The stereotype of couples jumping into bed to take advantage of a woman’s ovulation seems to have some basis in reality based on our findings.”

Timing sex to take advantage of mother nature can add pressure to the situation as it removes any form of spontaneity, with 67 percent saying it “takes the fun out of it.” 



Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/new-survey-shares-womens-attitudes-towards-fertility/

The app that inspires tens of millions to go cycling

Image copyright Strava
Image caption Mark Gainey did not let injury stop him from cycling for long

Thankfully for tens of millions of cyclists around the world, Mark Gainey didn’t walk away from the sport when he had a nasty crash back in 2002.

Racing his bike down a steep road in California, he hit a pothole and went flying, shattering his left arm and elbow. He required no fewer than 11 operations to repair the damage.

Many of us wouldn’t want to look at a bike again after that, but Mark got back in the saddle and a few years later he and a friend came up with the idea for what has become the world’s most popular cycling app – Strava.

If you aren’t a keen cyclist then you may not have heard of it but for those of us who do like pedalling around on two wheels it isn’t an exaggeration to say that the app has been revolutionary.

Utilising the GPS (global positioning system) software on your smartphone, it enables you to record your ride, and then see an accurate line of the route you have cycled on an electronic map.

It tells you how far and fast you have cycled, and you can compare your times over certain sections – such as popular hill climbs – with both how well you have done before and with other Strava users.

This means that you can compete to beat other people’s times and aim to be “the king (or queen) of the mountain” on a certain stretch of road.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Strava app is continuing to see user numbers soar

First launched in 2009 and since expanding to running and other sports, Strava now has tens of millions of users around the world, many of whom find it completely addictive.

The word Strava is even used as a verb, as in “I’m going to strava this ride,” and then there is the saying: “If it isn’t on Strava then it doesn’t count.”

While it has numerous rivals whose apps do similar things, such as Map My Ride and Endomondo, Strava’s user numbers tower over the others. It claims that an additional one million people join every 45 days.

But despite its vast popularity and the fact that it is backed by $70m (£54m) of investment, the company (which doesn’t reveal its financial results) is widely reported to have not yet made a profit. So what is the problem and how can it change it?

Image copyright Strava
Image caption The app was inspired by the idea to help boost camaraderie among fellow athletes

Mark Gainey, 48, says that the original genesis of the idea for San Francisco-based Strava came when he and co-founder Michael Horvath graduated from Harvard University.

“Back in the late 1980s Michael and I rowed together at Harvard. It was an incredible experience, pretty special, with great camaraderie.

“The only problem was that we then graduated and – whoosh – that all just disappeared.

“So brainstorming ideas for businesses we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to replicate that camaraderie in the boathouse.’ The idea was to create a virtual locker room for athletes to compare times. Unfortunately the technology just didn’t exist at the time.”

Fast-forward to 2008 and Mark and Michael, still friends, had not forgotten their idea. By then Mark had spent almost two decades in the software sector, while Michael was a business and economics lecturer who also dabbled in the IT industry.

By then technology had made their idea possible, with the invention of GPS recorders and the iPhone and other smartphones. And the likes of Facebook had made people used to sharing information about themselves online.

Image copyright Strava
Image caption The app has since expanded to running and other sports such as skiing

And so the two friends launched Strava, the name being the Swedish word for “strive” in reference to Michael’s ancestry.

The app was an immediate word-of-mouth hit and user numbers soon skyrocketed and haven’t slowed since.

With its largest number of users in the US followed by the UK and Brazil, commentators put Strava’s success compared with its smaller rivals down to a combination of its ease of use, and larger focus on sociability – the ability to see what friends are up to, chat and comment on each other’s rides, and give someone “kudos” for a good ride.

Mark refers to this as Strava’s “secret sauce”, and he has huge ambitions for the company. “We want to be the trusted sports brand of the 21st Century, but instead of needle and thread it is bits and bytes,” he says.

The financial problem for Strava is that its basic free offering is so good most users aren’t tempted to upgrade to its paid-for “premium” service.

The company won’t release the percentage figure for the number of premium users, but commentators say it is likely to be around the 20% mark.

Image caption Users of the app can upload their own photos

As Mark confirms that the company’s main revenue stream remains premium subscribers, it needs to see if it can increase this.

Strava is also hoping to increase the money it makes from tie-ups with sports firms, and use its data to work with local authorities around the world to improve and increase their provision of bike lanes.

To help boost Strava’s earning potential, it has recently brought in a new chief executive, James Quarles, who joined from Instagram. The change saw Mark move from that role to chairman.

Mark says: “We want to take Strava from tens of millions [in] revenues to hundreds of millions, and James will lead that.”

Image copyright Strava
Image caption Mark has switched from chief executive to chairman

UK cycling journalist Rebecca Charlton says it is hard to overstate how successfully Strava had turned itself into a “social network for athletes, a kind of home for their athletic lives”.

Meanwhile, US cycling industry commentator Scott Montgomery predicts that Strava will indeed have a profitable future.

“They say in the technology sector that the first is the winner, and the second is forgotten, and Strava has definitely beaten its rivals.

“Somebody has done a great job on the marketing side and the app is very easy to use. They are now at the stage where they own a vast audience, and if you are in that position you will get profitable.”

Mark adds: “We are the world’s social network for athletes, but I’m also very pleased that we are simply encouraging more people to be active.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41186824

South Asia floods: Mumbai building collapses as monsoon rains wreak havoc

Flooding across India, Nepal and Bangladesh leaves parts of cities underwater as storm moves on to Pakistan

At least 21 people are dead and more than a dozen others trapped after monsoon downpours caused a building to collapse in Mumbai.

The four-storey residential building gave way on Thursday morning in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar, after roads were turned into rivers in Indias financial capital. The city has been struggling to cope with some of the heaviest rainfall in more than 15 years.

Rescue workers, police and residents helped pull 13 people out of the rubble and were looking for those buried beneath. Authorities have advised people living in an adjacent building to evacuate after it developed cracks following the collapse.

The death toll could have been much worse, officials said, because the building, which houses a nursery school, collapsed half an hour before children were due to arrive at 9am.

Thousands more buildings that are more than 100 years old are at risk of collapse due in part to foundations being weakened by flood waters.

Across the region more than 1,200 people are feared to have died and 40 million are estimated to have been affected by flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Vast swaths of land are underwater in the eastern part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where more than 100 people have reportedly died, 3,097 villages are submerged and almost 3 million villagers have been affected by flooding, according to officials. Army personnel have joined rescuers to evacuate people from the area.

The storm reached Pakistan on Thursday, lashing the port city of Karachi, where at least 14 people have died, and streets have been submerged by water. The countrys meteorological department forecast that the rains would continue for three days in various parts of Sindh province, where authorities closed schools as a precaution.

People make their way through flooded streets after a heavy downpour in Karachi on Thursday. Photograph: Rehan Khan/EPA

Up to 97mm (3.8in) of rain has been recorded in some areas of Karachi, filling the streets with muddy water, sewage and rubbish.

Among the dead was an eight-year-old boy who was crushed when a building belonging to the Federal Investigation Agency collapsed. Most of the dead were electrocuted, leading the citys energy provider, K-Electric, to cut power to certain areas.

Some feeders have been switched off in view of safety concerns in areas with waterlogging, and restoration work will be expedited in affected areas as soon as standing water is wiped out, Sadia Dada, the director of marketing and communication for K-Electric, told Dawn newspaper.

About 6,000 villagers are threatened with flooding after the rains breached the Thado dam on the Malir river. The army has been called in to help with evacuation, and has also provided Karachis city administration with water extraction pumps.

Windstorms and rain are also expected in the Balochistan and Punjab provinces. The meteorological department said rains were also expected in the capital, Islamabad, and in Pakistans portion of Kashmir.

One third of Bangladesh was believed to be underwater and the UN described the situation in Nepal, where 150 people have died, as the worst flooding in a decade.

The floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools in the south Asia region, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to classes, Save the Children said on Thursday.

The charity said hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education was not prioritised in relief efforts.

South Asia flooding map

We havent seen flooding on this scale in years and its putting the long-term education of an enormous number of children at great risk. From our experience, the importance of education is often undervalued in humanitarian crises and we simply cannot let this happen again. We cannot go backwards, said Rafay Hussain, Save the Childrens general manager in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

We know that the longer children are out of school following a disaster like this the less likely it is that theyll ever return. Thats why its so important that education is properly funded in this response, to get children back to the classroom as soon as its safe to do so and to safeguard their futures.

Floods have caused devastation in many parts of India. Unprecedented rainfall in Assam in the north-east has killed more than 150 people. About 600 villages are still underwater even though the torrential rain began earlier this month.

Rhinos in Assams Kaziranga nature reserve had to flee to higher ground. We get flooding every year but I have never seen anything quite like this in my life, Ashok Baruah, a farmer, told journalists.

In Bihar, the death toll has reached 514, with people still living in makeshift huts days after the flooding started. However, the flood waters, which turned fields into lakes, appear to be receding.

In Mumbai, the rain forced nurses and doctors at the busiest hospital in the city to wade through wards knee-high in filthy water to move patients to the first floor. Outside the King Edward memorial hospital, a man going to visit his wife who was due to have a caesarean had to wade through flooded streets to reach her. Children swam or paddled down the streets lying on planks of wood.

Flood victims in the city included a doctor who fell down a manhole and another who died after being trapped in his car while waiting for the water to recede. Others living in the low-lying areas most affected by the flooding were swept away into the sea or died when walls collapsed.

Map of building collapse

As train services ground to a halt, hundreds of thousands of commuters were stranded, unable to go home.

TV commentators voiced the anger of those caught in the chaos. The TV personality Suhel Seth lashed out at the scoundrels, rogues, villains, rascals, incompetents and useless fools in the municipal authority for not being better prepared for the annual monsoon flooding.

The deluge brought back memories of the 2005 floods that killed more than 500 people in the city.

Why does nothing change? Why are we left to fend for ourselves when they had weather forecasts warning them of extremely heavy rainfall? asked the author and columnist Shobhaa De.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/31/south-asia-floods-fears-death-toll-rise-india-pakistan-mumbai-building-collapses

Ryanair cuts cabin baggage limit to speed up boarding – BBC News

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Media captionRyanair reviewed its second carry-on bag allowance after “abuse” contributed to delays

Ryanair has said many customers will no longer be able to take two pieces of luggage into the cabin.

The budget airline said passengers without priority boarding would have to put their second bag in the hold free of charge at the gate.

For bigger bags Ryanair is cutting fees from £35 to £25 to encourage customers to check in more luggage.

Ryanair said it was making the changes from November to ease delays after too many customers took two bags on board.


The airline said earlier this year it was a victim of its own “niceness” after allowing customers to bring a second carry-on bag for free.

It said “abuse” of that policy was contributing to flight delays, with people taking on bags up to three times the permissible size.

Under the changes announced on Wednesday, Ryanair passengers without priority boarding will only be able to take one smaller carry-on bag on board the aircraft.

At the same time it is lowering checked-bag fees and increasing the check-in bag allowance from 15kg to 20kg.

Analysis: By Richard Westcott, Transport Correspondent

Put simply, from November, Ryanair won’t let you bring your wheelie bag into the cabin any more, unless you pay to be a priority boarder.

But you’ll still have to carry that bag through security, which means you still can’t pack razors, liquids etc. They then take it off you at the gate, for free.

Ryanair makes money by filling its planes and minimising delays on the ground.

But full planes don’t have enough space for everyone to have a wheelie bag, which leads to that big, time-consuming bun fight before every flight where the late boarders are looking for bag space.

By changing the policy, Ryanair will cut delays and save money. That keeps fares down, but it means you’ll have your own delay, waiting for your bag to come around the carousel at the other end.

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs, said: “These bag policy changes will cost Ryanair over 50m euros (£46m) per annum in reduced checked bag fees.

“However, we believe offering bigger bags at reduced fees will encourage more customers to consider checking-in a bag, which will reduce the high volume of customers we have with two carry-on bags at the boarding gates.”

How much will I pay for baggage?

The range of fees for putting baggage in the hold is so varied that some airlines produce hefty tables detailing the various charges.

The cost depends on the date of departure, the route, and the ticket type, as well as the obvious elements such as the size of the luggage.

Travel with equipment such as golf clubs brings additional costs. Most airlines charge a lot more than the prices below for baggage that is checked-in at the airport rather than online.

The major competitors to Ryanair include:

  • easyJet – charges between £13 and £30 for hold luggage up to 20kg
  • Wizz Air – charges between 16 euros (£15) and 55 euros for hold luggage up to 20kg
  • Norwegian – various charges ranging from £7 to £50 for the first piece of hold luggage
  • British Airways – free luggage allowance on some tickets, but on basic fares can range from £20 to £60

Ryanair carried nearly 13 million customers in August, 10% more than a year ago, and its planes were 97% full.

It flew 126 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of August, a rise of 13%.

The airline reported a 55% rise in pre-tax profits to 397m euros (£356m) in its most recent quarter.

Rival easyJet said on Wednesday that it carried 8 million passengers last month, a rise of 9%.

Shares in Ryanair and easyJet both fell about 1% in London.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41171871

Dyson expecting no Brexit deal

Image copyright Getty Images

Leave campaigner Sir James Dyson expects the UK to leave the EU with no deal, and trade to default to World Trade Organization rules and tariffs.

Sir James, who founded the engineering firm Dyson, told the BBC such an arrangement would “hurt the Europeans more than the British”.

However, former Bank of England chief Lord King said he was “not impressed” with preparations for failed talks.

It is “very important” the UK has a fall-back position, he said.

“I don’t think the negotiations are going in the way that we might hope,” he told the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

“I think you need a separate team that is responsible for insuring that if negotiations do break down… then we are capable of saying if you don’t want an agreement, we are capable of leaving and trading with you under, for example, WTO terms. It’s not a first preference, but we can do it.”

‘No single market’

Sir James told the BBC’s Today programme that Dyson, which became famous through its innovative vacuum cleaners, already pays the WTO tariff into Europe “and it hasn’t hurt us at all – we’re one of the fastest growing companies in Europe”.

He said UK business did not need a transitional period to separate from the European single market, saying he thought the term “single market” was “quite wrong”.

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“It’s a series of different markets with different languages, with different marketing required and different laws…. it’s actually a very highly complex and broken up market,” he said.

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Media captionSir James Dyson says Britain will likely trade under WTO rules post-Brexit on Radio 4’s Today programme

Sir James added that “business is about uncertainty”.

“There’s always uncertainty in business, about exchange rates, conditions in markets, natural disasters…

“I think uncertainty is an opportunity, and the opportunity here is actually that the rest of the world is growing at a far greater rate than Europe, so the opportunity is to export to the rest of the world and to capitalise on that,” he said.

‘No illusions’

However, the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield, told the Today programme that the pound and business confidence had been hit by the Brexit vote.

“We should be under no illusions, Brexit is having an effect on the economy, no question. It’s the same for everybody, and the main effects are sterling and confidence.

“Uncertainty is one of the consequences of this, and of course businesses never like uncertainty, because it makes it hard to plan for the future.

He called for “a serious parliamentary debate, to figure out what kind of Brexit we’re going to have in the best interests of the country and the economy.”

‘Dyson degree’

Sir James’ comments came as 33 undergraduates began studying at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology.

The student engineers have begun a four-year degree, during which they will be mentored by Dyson’s scientists and engineers who will teach alongside academics from Warwick University.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson challenged Sir James 18 months ago to help train engineers in the UK.

Sir James said: “It is a great opportunity, and I think a great step forward in the way that higher education is provided.

“We’re paying these people, they’re getting about 40 days a year more academic time than you’d get at university, plus the fact that they’re working with some of the best scientists and engineers in the world.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41265718

A Millennials Unsolicited Career Advice (That Really Works)

I feel like I give unsolicited advice all the time. Like, something will happen to me and I’m like YO THIS WORKED FOR ME ONE TIME THIS SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE CONSTITUTION OR SOMETHING. Most of the time I don’t really know what I’m talking about but I just go with it because I’m damn good at pretending.

Eh, whatever.

So, I’m about to give some unsolicited advice again. Because, I can.

This post is for people who are like me: sorta broke (but ~woke~), sorta lost, and sorta hate using the term “adulting” because you seem to be so damn bad at it. Am I making enough money? Is this the right career move? When’s the last time I got my teeth cleaned? Sh*t rent was due yesterday. I’m broke, but wanna go to Sweetgreen? I only made out with that one dude last night, right? Why did I save a number in my phone as “Justin Tall Blue Shirt?” <—tru story

Grad school is about to begin so on paper, yes, I do have my shit together. But like, it still feels like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Ya feel me? It’s a weird age to be at. 24. Old enough to be considered a “young professional” but not quite old enough to know how the hell people afford a down payment on a home. Falling in between entry and mid-level positions. Might have 2 years of experience, but not 5+. Making decisions with the mindset that “nothing is permanent” yet wondering when you’ll be satisfied enough to make something permanent .

I’m in yet another transition phase. But I feel like I’m always in a goddamn transition phase!!! My life seems to be one big stupid transition!!

I sorta like it though tbh.

Currently, I’m in search for a job that is conducive to my grad school schedule and is the “best next step.” If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you my top priority is a job with benefits, PTO, and a 401k (love ya mom!), which is the “normal” thing to search for, right? Ideally, yes.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been totally rebelling against the “normal” shit to do since the moment I decided to pack my life and move away without a job. I think you already knew that though. The opportunities have been great and moving to this city has been by far the best decision I could’ve made for myself. But now, life is different.

I’m at yet another point where I have to make a big decision. However, my schedule is no longer ~go with the flow~. There’s class. There’s a big re-brand on my blog I promised myself I’d upkeep. There’s a freelance business I’m trying to launch. There’s graduate fellowships and 9-5s to apply to. There’s shit. A lot of shit.

When the hell are you going to stop talking about yourself and give your silly unsolicited advice?

Sorry, sorry. I tend to rant. Again, you prob already knew that though.

So, like I said, I’m back as a free agent in the job world. Unfortunately, I’m no #TB12 so I don’t have people lining up tryna get me on their team. Someday, Beth. Someday. Somehow, I have to make it seem like I’m #TB12 amongst a bunch of Peyton Mannings.

Challenge accepted.

Being totally candid: I HATE COVER LETTERS. Like, ooooooomg do I detest them with a burning passion so deep I can practically feel the flames beneath my fingers as I type. Ok, dramatic. But really, I hate them.

I like writing fun shit. I like using profane words as I please and venting about my daily struggles to you beautiful people. I like wandering around the city, finding the next best coffee shop with overpriced cappuccinos, sitting my ass down in a chair close to an outlet and just writing. It’s what I’m good at.

Companies don’t care about my personal problems–shocker!! But, they also claim to want “personality.” They want cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles that not only prove that you are #TB12 amongst the Mannings, but also ones that provide a breath of fresh creativity and flair that distinguishes you from the rest.

Ok, so you worked at a marketing agency and ran a digital campaign. Cool. So did the next guy.

I filled out an application for a brand strategy firm works directly with healthcare initiatives and promotes wellness campaigns — sweet! One question was something along the lines of “Write about yourself in 250 words. What makes you unique? Make it interesting!” Ah, perfect.

Here’s what I wrote:

Hi, I’m Beth. Storyteller, content creator, blogger, and social media lover who lives vicariously through herself. Like every millennial, I love avocado toast, overpriced iced coffee, and Instagram Boomerangs. Unlike every millennial, I’m not afraid to vocalize my ideas, push creative boundaries and take risks.

I have a knack for connecting with people. When bartending, hearing people vent to me about their failed marriages and/or mid-life crises can be a bit much, but in the marketing field, this quality works out in my favor. I like talking to people, and they like talking to me, too.

I believe that we all have a unique story to tell. Combine my ability to take risks, tell stories, and connect with people is perhaps why my 20-year-old brain decided it would be a good idea to start a personal blog in college. Blog About It, a site that once started as a hobby has transformed into a compelling and distinct personal brand that people love to read. To be specific, a tribe of 3.5k people of from all ages, genders, and backgrounds with a consistent readership of over 10k views per month. The whole blog is about yours truly, but the stories still connect to thousands.

Like I said, I have a knack for connecting with people.

Omg stop bragging about yourself Beth. Shush. It’s my JOB to brag in this scenario. Tryna be #TB12 remember?

On top of this prompt, I still needed to submit a cover letter. UGGGGHHH. WHYYYY THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVVERRRR. Ok, sry. #firstworldproblems

We’ve been told time and time again that employers can tell when you send the same generic thing to everyone and just switch up the company name. Guilty as charged.

…but like, it makes it so much easier tho.

I have zero experience in the healthcare industry. Zero. One of the qualifications included having some sort of experience in this field. But I really want this job. Rather the an just writing it off as “WELP, they’re never gunna pick me so f this!!!!” I took a different route.

Let’s tug at the emotional heart strings, shall we?

After listing my qualifications, skills, accomplishments, experience, blah blah blah I added an additional paragraph at the end.

Healthcare was genuinely never a field I could see myself entering into. My health has always been in check, only heading to the doctor’s for routine check ups. November 2015 was when everything changed. After experiencing months of discomfort, I went to the doctor’s to try and find a solution to the pain I was experiencing. Immediately afterwards, I was quickly and unexpectedly diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. Since then, my interest in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry has significantly increased. I aim to be an advocate and an active participant in the movement towards providing everyone with the healthcare they need.


This paragraph is entirely true. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been forced to develop an understanding about the healthcare industry and escape the ignorance towards it. Sorta like politics.

I may joke about not knowing shit about #adulting, but I do know a thing or two about how f’ed this healthcare industry has become. It only took a few “Oh shit I’m about to be out of medication and my insurance company failed to tell me that my plan no longer supports this brand of insulin so I’m about to be screwed,” type of scenarios for me to understand the complexity and annoying AF industry I’m forced to be a part of on the reg.

Point being, I found a way to connect with this potential employer. I was different in my approach in both writing prompts. I decided to ditch the “normal” boring stuff and hit ’em with some Blog About It type of shit (profanities and ex-boyfriends excluded).

In the past week, I’ve applied to about 20 jobs. With most, being honest, I took the lazy route and pulled the “Marketing Cover Letter” document from my Google Drive and switched up a few words. How many have gotten back to me?

One. That “one” was the company I just described.

Diabetes, you suck usually, but you may have landed me a job! Tysm!!!!

I feel like I always address the ~haters~ at the end of blog posts saying stuff like, “So, some of you will read this and think OMFG stop bragging Beth,” followed by a plea to read this from a different perspective. I’m not gunna do that today. Sry.

I won’t apologize for unsolicited advice that I’m not even sure works. Lol.

People may not seem to give a shit about your personal life, especially potential employers. But they do…to some extent. You are, hopefully, far more interesting than overused buzzwords and action verbs. When I started this blog I thought, “nobody’s gunna read this, they don’t care about my problems.” People are nosy AF. They do care. Well, most people.

Like I said in my writing prompt, we all have a unique and compelling story to tell. Sure, we all may be in this weird stage of existing as “young professionals-yet-totally-not-professional” but I think that there’s a lot to extract from that.

You can sorta broke and still be woke (Are you sick of me saying that? Because I’m totally not). You are marketable beyond the bullet points on your resume. Employers should know that. After all, they are hiring you and not the thesaurus you totally used to see how many ways you could say “created” or “developed.” I see you.

You don’t have to have diabetes or a blog (just lol’ed at this part of the sentence idk why) to tell a story. We all have our kinks and hobbies that aren’t “resume worthy” but still can be spun into making you the ~super profesh~ G.O.A.T that you are–or at least gives the illusion that you are. Nobody likes generic or boring…well I definitely don’t.

Ok, done giving my unsolicited advice. Good luck y’all. I’m about to text “Justin Tall Blue Shirt” and ask him on a date. Jk.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/beth-cormack/2017/08/a-millennials-unsolicited-career-advice-that-really-works/

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Under Investigation For False Health Claims

An advertising watchdog has filed a complaint against Gwyneth Paltrow’s now infamous lifestyle company, Goop. The nonprofit Truth in Advertising (TINA) sent out a letter to two district attorneys connected to the California Food, Drug and Medical Task Force, criticizing the company for promoting over 50 unsubstantiated (and illegal) health claims.

“TINA.org’s investigation revealed that the company uses unsubstantiated, and therefore deceptive, health and disease treatment claims to market many of it products,” states the letter.

It’s not the first time Paltrow’s company has been called out for its totally bizarre and in no way scientifically accurate health claims. Remember when Goop told women to put a $66 egg up their lady parts? Apparently, this increases orgasms, hormonal balance and “feminine energy” (whatever that means). Of course, doctors and other health professional responded immediately by pointing out that is utter bullshit.

Goop began life in 2008 as a weekly newsletter, sent straight from Paltrow’s kitchen. Now, it’s a fully fledged online publishing company. This year it even branched out into events, launching the “Goop Wellness Summit” where entry was $500 a pop, but for an extra $1,000 you could have lunch with Paltrow. Visitors could also enjoy a day of crystal therapy, aura reading, and anti-oxidant IV drips, on top of the workout classes and panel discussions.

From wearable stickers made from spacesuit material (false) that “promote healing” (false) to earthing (which has something to do with walking around barefoot, electrical static, and insomnia, but don’t ask Paltrow, she’s already admitted “I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about!”), the site’s made some pretty shaky health claims over the years. But not only are they touting completely unsubstantiated, and in some case harmful, medical advice, they are selling readers the products they promote at extortionate prices.

The letter continues by saying: “TINA.org has catalogued a sampling of more than 50 instances in which the company claims, either expressly or implicitly that its products – or third party products that it promotes – can treat, cure, prevent, alleviate symptoms of, or reduce the risk of developing a number of ailments ranging from depression anxiety, and insomnia, to infertility, uterine prolapse, and arthritis, just to name a few.”

TINA.org said they’d been in touch with representatives from Goop but when they sent them example links of articles on the website containing false health claims, “the company made only limited changes” to the site. 

“For these reasons, TINA.org urges your office to commence an investigation into the marketing claims being made by Goop and take appropriate enforcement action,” states the letter.

As to whether the California Food, Drug, and Medical Task Force responds to this suggestion, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/gwyenth-paltrows-goop-under-investigation-for-false-health-claims/

California Catholic school under fire for removing and relocating ‘alienating’ religious statues

A California Catholic school is facing a backlash from parents after officials took down some religious statues — including one of Mary and baby Jesus — over concerns that they were “alienating” prospective students.

The head of the San Domenico School in San Anselmo said parents of some prospective students who visited the campus – which was founded in 1850 and serves 671 students grades K-12 — expressed concern about the religious figures, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

“If you walk on the campus and the first thing you confront is three or four statues of St. Dominic or St. Francis, it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn’t want to further that feeling,” Amy Skewes-Cox, who chairs the school’s board of trustees.

Cecily Stock, who is head of the school, said most students are not Catholic.

“Over the last few years we’ve had fewer Catholic students as part of the community and a larger number of students of various faith traditions,” Stock said. “Right now about 80 percent of our families do not identify as Catholic.”

An official, who described the institution as California’s oldest independent school and first Catholic school, told Fox News a “large number of religious statues” were recently relocated to other parts of the school’s campus and some were donated to “appreciative recipients.”


“Our goal in this shift was in alignment with our strategic plan that was approved by our Board of Trustees and Dominican Sisters of San Rafael in June of 2016 and reflects our commitment to continuing a 167-year tradition of inclusive education,” Kimberly Pinkson, director of marketing and communications, told Fox News.

But for some parents, such as Shannon Fitzpatrick, who has an 8-year-old son enrolled at the school, the movement of the statues represents what she believes is a steady erosion of the San Domenico’s Catholic image.

“Articulating an inclusive foundation appears to mean letting go of San Domenico’s 167-year tradition as a Dominican Catholic school and being both afraid and ashamed to celebrate one’s heritage and beliefs,” Fitzpatrick wrote in a letter to school officials, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

“In our time here, the word ‘Catholic’ has been removed from the mission statement, sacraments were removed from the curriculum, the lower school curriculum was changed to world religions, the logo and colors were changed to be ‘less Catholic,’ and the uniform was changed to be less Catholic,” she added.

Kim Pipki, whose daughter left the school two years ago, told the newspaper that at the center of the uproar is a statue of Mary and baby Jesus that was featured in a ceremony where children would place a crown on her head.


“People were shocked that the statues were pitched in the basement,” she said.

But Pinkson told Fox News the statues were “temporarily stored in the downstairs of our library.”

Amy Skewes-Cox, who leads the school’s board of trustees, said at least 18 of the school’s 180 religious icons remain on the school’s grounds. Pinkson said one of them — St. Dominic, the School’s patron saint – was moved to the center of the school’s campus.

Skewes-Cox said the removal of the statues occurred around the time of the violence in Charlottesville but had no connection to that incident, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/08/25/california-catholic-school-under-fire-for-removing-and-relocating-alienating-religious-statues.html