My mother the troll, and the sad ending to her life

My mother the troll, and the sad ending to her life

Brenda Leyland was a stylish, well-spoken and rather private woman who lived in a picturesque village in Leicestershire. Her son Ben knew she told stories, and that some of them may have been on the tall side. He also knew that she spent a lot of time on her laptop and was increasingly living online. What he didn’t know was that his mother had become a Twitter troll who spent the final years of her life relentlessly attacking the parents of Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in Portugal in 2007. In 2014, Brenda was approached by a journalist who told her she had been reported to Scotland Yard and her tweets were being investigated as part of a larger campaign of abuse against the McCanns.. “Well, that’s fair enough,” she said calmly. But Brenda’s face gave her away. Her eyes blinked and her cheek twitched anxiously.Four days later, on 4 October 2014, Brenda killed herself.

Former Meta staffer says she was paid $190,000 a year to do nothing

This week, Meta made headlines again after announcing it would be laying off 10,000 workers. These layoffs are in addition to the 11,000 employees it fired in November of last year—meaning that in four months, Meta has let go of over 20,000 workers. In a video with over 122,000 views, TikTok user Maddie (@maddie_macho) writes that she got “paid $190k to do nothing at Meta.” How did this happen? According to Maddie, she was hired to be a recruiter, but was also told that she should not hire anyone for 6 months to a year. Instead of hiring, Maddie said she spent her days going through the company’s onboarding process and attending team meetings—something that confused her. “Why are we meeting? We’re not hiring nobody!” she says in the video.

The rooftop homes of Cairo's racing pigeons

Gaze across the Cairo skyline and your eyes might hit stilted, rickety structures precariously perched on rooftops. Looking like horrible POW cages, these are in fact nest boxes for pigeons that've been trained to fly around the city in large, sky-darkening squadrons. This feathery facet of Egyptian culture served as the inspiration for a great new photography series by Manuel Alvarez Diestro, the same guy who soulfully documented Hong Kong's super-dense cemeteries. The 42-year-old photographer traveled from his London home to Cairo during and after the 2011 revolution to work in some of the city's poorer neighborhoods. His focus was the zabbaleen, a disadvantaged community of garbage people (literal translation) whose duty it is to collect and sort through rubbish, much like Brazil's trash mountain-climbing catadores.

Will the Ozempic era change how we think about being fat?

The ideal female body of the past decade, born through the godless alliance of Instagram and the Kardashian family, was as juicy and uncanny as a silicone-injected peach. Young women all over the Internet copied the shape—a sculpted waist, an enormous ass, hips that spread generously underneath a high-cut bikini. But the Kardashians seem to be shrinking. Kim dropped twenty-one pounds before the Met Gala, where she wore a dress made famous by Marilyn Monroe; Khloé posted fortieth-birthday photos in which she looked as slim and blond as a Barbie. All over Instagram, the wealthy and the professionally attractive were showing newly prominent clavicles and rib cages. The open secret behind such striking thinness: the Kardashians and others are likely taking semaglutide, the active ingredient in the medication Ozempic.

Sad words in headlines get more clicks

A new study says negativity drives online news consumption: "Online media is important for society in informing and shaping opinions, hence raising the question of what drives online news consumption. Here we analyse the causal effect of negative and emotional words on news consumption using a large online dataset of viral news stories. Although positive words were slightly more prevalent than negative words, we found that negative words in news headlines increased consumption rates (and positive words decreased consumption rates). For a headline of average length, each additional negative word increased the click-through rate by 2.3%. Our results contribute to a better understanding of why users engage with online media."

Did author Louisa May Alcott identify as a man?

Alcott’s semiautobiographical “Little Women,” which follows a family of four girls through the Civil War, made her a fortune upon publication in 1868. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy have become immortal. They’ve captivated readers around the world in 50 translations and numerous adaptations. Louisa May Alcott may never have liked girls or known many, but her name is now synonymous with girlhood. It’s a name that she didn’t use all that often in her personal life. To family and friends, she was Lou, Lu or Louy. She wrote of herself as the “papa” or “father” of her young nephews. Her father, Bronson, once called Alcott his “only son.” In letters to her close friend Alfie Whitman, Alcott called herself “a gentleman at large.” It's clear she thought of herself as more of a man than a woman — someone, as she wrote, “with a boy’s spirit” under her “bib & tucker.”

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