The Influence of Legalized Sports Betting on the US Economy

Luckily for the United States, laws can be overturned when there is the will to do so. The influence of one such law called PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) is measured in billions of dollars lost from the U.S. budget.

PASPA was enacted in 1992 and for nearly 26 years prohibited the legalization of sports betting in all but four American states. However, to the delight of bettors, businesses, and the US tax collectors, the law was overturned in May 2018, which had enormous implications for the US economy.

Let’s crunch the numbers and see just how big of an impact the disappearance of this law has in the present and will have in the future. —

Billions of Dollars Flushed Down the Drain

Read more The Influence of Legalized Sports Betting on the US Economy


Brexit Britain is Easy Fodder for Satirists: but They Should Learn from 18th-Century Masters How to do it Properly

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Artwork courtesy of Richard LIttler (

Adam J Smith, York St John University

If you thought satire was dead in the age of Brexit and Trump, then a quick look at social media should pretty quickly disabuse you of that illusion. Search “Festival of Brexit Britain” if you want a picture of satire’s bright future. Theresa May’s recent announcement that she wants the UK to hold a national festival in 2022 to celebrate leaving the EU prompted an avalanche of humorous memes – including the illustration by the artist Richard Littler at the top of this article.

The question is, though: are we witnessing a revival of satire as a far more prolific and potent form than ever before – or, because of the sheer numbers of people using social media to try to make humorous points, are we seeing its dilution to the point of redundancy? Read more


Broadcasting Rules are Killing Political Satire – Thank Heavens for the Internet

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Jonathan Pie/YouTube

Allaina Kilby, University of Nottingham

Political journalists, especially during elections, should provide balanced news coverage of parties and scrutinise each parties’ political agendas to help properly inform the public. Sadly this is an ideal that is all-too-rarely realised. The 2015 election was reported as a horse race, the EU referendum starved voters of the facts about Brexit and coverage of this year’s election campaign has been more about demonising Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn than in taking a close look at the rival parties’ policy platforms.

And, as ever, major parties are making it as hard as possible for the public to make an informed choice by adopting tightly controlled campaign strategies where they refrain from answering direct questions from journalists and engaging with voters.

These trends are problematic, because they can unfairly influence our understanding of political parties and their policies. Nevertheless, they are key ingredients for an atmosphere that is ripe for political satire. Satire, after all, attempts to focus on the unanswered questions and clarify the underlying morality of the political landscape. It’s a practice that American TV satire has capitalised on over the past 17 years thanks to the rise of professionalised politics and a highly partisan media. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, for example, left a legacy of engaging political critique now adopted by shows such as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Sam Bee’s Full Frontal. Read more


Three Things We Can all Learn From People Who Don’t Use Smartphones or Social Media

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‘Someone likes me.’

Rowland Atkinson, University of Sheffield and Mariann Hardey, Durham University

Many of us spend hours every day tethered to our devices, pawing at the screen to see if it will deliver a few more likes or emails, monitoring the world and honing our online presence. Social networking platforms such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are supposed to make us feel more connected. Yet our reliance on technology to “see” the social world around us can be a heavy burden.

The Pew Research Centre recently reported that about a quarter of US adults say they are “almost constantly” online. Stress, addiction, depression and anxiety seem unsurprising consequences of using social platforms often specifically designed to keep us repeating the same actions over and over again.

Even so, many would find the prospect of living offline worrisome, or simply impossible. That’s why we undertook a small study with 50 people who may seem nothing less than social outcasts in today’s screen saturated environment. None of our participants used social media or had a mobile phone, and most even refused to email.

We wanted to understand why these people had decided to switch off, and how they managed it. But rather than seeking quick fixes for overuse, we explored the principles and values that drove our participants to live the way they do. Much has already been written about how we can switch off – but that won’t achieve much, unless we really feel the benefits.

Here’s what our respondents said they’d learned, from living their social lives offline. Read more


#Revolution: How the Humble Hashtag Changed World Politics

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Changing the times.

Joanna Rozpedowski, Durham University

From fashion trends to global events, the hashtag (#) has become the conspicuous symbol of the Twittersphere. What only a decade ago denoted a numerical symbol of no special significance or attribution is now a call to arms for causes that are many and varied.

The “#” is a social organiser, which emerged spontaneously and dynamically from the content generated and updated by social media users. The initial intent behind the “#”, when Twitter launched in 2006, lay in its simple use as a means of organising data and information. An indexing tool for grouping anything from the politically relevant to the culturally hip, the “#” soon found itself aligned with some of the most significant events in history. Read more


History of Halloween

Halloween is celebrated on October 31st every year in several countries where people wear strange outfits to drive away ghosts.

It was in the eighteenth century that Pope Gregory III proposed 1st of November to honour all saints. The evening before the All Saints Day was then considered as the All Hallows Eve and later called Halloween. After a period of time, Halloween evolved as an activity which included trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, and eating sweet treats. Read more History of Halloween


Power and the Abuse of Language: A Rant by Rashad the Cackler

[The homeless old man, Rashad the Cackler is back with another rant. Enjoy as he spills his guts to passersby on a big city street corner.]

We’ve got these democratic, capitalistic societies we’re so proud of. That’s how we “progress,” right? By voting and making money and buying stuff we don’t need.

I’ve been trying to figure out, though, why politicians and pundits make a fetish out of the word “appropriate.” I saw it once on CNN: it was a typical American political negotiation. President Trump had dragged a Democratic senator’s wife into the Oval Office and ordered his henchmen to gang rape her right in front of the senator and his children. They went to town on her, because it was televised so they had to make it a spectacle. I saw a Taser and a cat o’ nine tails and a flaming trident. A donkey got in on the action, and in the end they cut her up into ribbons and vacuumed her remains off the carpet.
Read more Power and the Abuse of Language: A Rant by Rashad the Cackler


From Fake News to Fake Profiles: Beware Feeble Imitations! (4-Chan & Reddit Fake Accounts of Wallace Runnymede)

I have just found out that I have been paid the ‘compliment’ of being impersonated online on 4-chan and Reddit. I am contacting the moderators of Reddit, to try and get the fake account closed down.
Fortunately, there are some obvious red flags. For example, one post says: Read more From Fake News to Fake Profiles: Beware Feeble Imitations! (4-Chan & Reddit Fake Accounts of Wallace Runnymede)


To ‘Kowtow’ – An Unfortunate New Habit Imported From China

Act in an excessively subservient manner.
“She didn’t have to kowtow to a boss.”
Grovel to, be obsequious to, be servile to, be sycophantic to, fawn over/on, cringe to, bow and scrape to, toady to, truckle to, abase oneself before, humble oneself to.
Kneel and touch the ground with the forehead in worship or submission as part of Chinese custom.
Prostrate oneself before, bow (down) to/ before, genuflect to/before, do/make obeisance to/before, fall on one’s knees before, kneel before
“They kowtowed to the Emperor.”

(Definition courtesy of Wikipedia)

Kowtow is a Chinese word that we Westerners and, yes, we Americans are starting to learn the true meaning of. It means to bow down before someone, to grovel, to be subservient. Unfortunately, we are doing it increasingly towards the inventors of the word. Read more To ‘Kowtow’ – An Unfortunate New Habit Imported From China


The End of Euthanasia? New Public Intelligence Register Tracks Death Threats & Potentially Defamatory Abuse

The militant autism lobby are notorious for sending death threats and potentially defamatory abuse to autistic people, as well as autism parents.
So, the Autistics Against Hate project, previously limited to just a Twitter account alone, is now providing a detailed public intelligence register of threats and potential defamation from the neurodiversity lobby; which latter is mainly, but not exclusively, made up of the self-styled ‘autistic community.’ (The latter, like all so-called communities without exception, represent only themselves; rather than all autistic people). Read more The End of Euthanasia? New Public Intelligence Register Tracks Death Threats & Potentially Defamatory Abuse


New Medium Journal: Tyler’s Army!

I’m back on Medium! I’m running two journals currently… Enjoy! Give ’em a follow, and please do share anything that catches your eye!

Libertarian Third Camp: Preliminary Notes

By analogy with the Socialist Third Camp, the Libertarian Third Camp will avoid ‘pragmatic’ compromises with neoconservatives, homeless humanitarians and bourgeois cosmopolitans (First Campers). The pragmatist temptation is always there for libertarians, and it must be staunchly resisted. Read more New Medium Journal: Tyler’s Army!


What Kind of Immigration System Will We Have Post-Brexit? Ask Newsthump!

A funny story from the satire outlet Newsthump humorously portrays Jeremy Corbyn in terms of a common British trope: the ‘angry old man’ who doesn’t like ‘foreigners,’ is overly critical of immigration, and is very defensive about the economic interests of British workers. The humor is effective because as a hard-left socialist figure, Corbyn is supposed to be the opposite of a Daily Mail reading working class Tory ‘class traitor.’
Of course, all this will probably sound fairly ridiculous to the notoriously dogmatic and highly strung Corbies, who will undoubtedly have been triggered by some of the funny stories on Glossy News. Read more What Kind of Immigration System Will We Have Post-Brexit? Ask Newsthump!

Random Thoughts (XIV): Fundies, Agitators & Toxic Males!

Not All Faiths are Equal

Yes, you judged rightly: I am indeed a man of peace. And I can see much good in many faiths.
And it’s precisely from this spirit, that I simply cannot accept moral equivalence between all faiths. Read more Random Thoughts (XIV): Fundies, Agitators & Toxic Males!