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A new ‘flow battery’ could charge electric cars in seconds

Let be real here for a second, electric cars are great but they are a bitter pain in the hole to charge. Epic motors like the Tesla have meant that the writing is on the wall for petrol and diesel cars for a long time. However the big barrier to electric vehicles really taking off has been around charging and cost. Now thanks to a group of chemists and scientists in the University of Glasgow this could be about to change. 

These brilliant brains have created a flow battery system that will charge the car using a liquid capable of storing huge amounts of electricity and hydrogen. This development has the potential to be a giant leap for electric vehicles as with this system you could be ready to go within seconds. Kinda like a normal petrol car.

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Sciencey Stuff

Before we go on take a deep breath because this is where things get difficult. This ‘flow’ battery is basically a hybrid energy system that will release power to the battery on demand and thus keeping the battery charged as you drive.

According to their study, a concentrated liquid containing nano-molecules can store 10 times more energy than when in a solid state. This presents two clear benefits to a driver. Electric cars would no longer need hours to charge with the material being a pumpable liquid. It means electric car batteries can be charged in the same time it would take to fill up a petrol car.

How it works

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Think of the battery in the car as a reservoir for fuel like the fuel tank in your standard car. When a car needs to be charged the liquid in the battery can be simply pumped out of the vehicle and exchanges for this charged liquid, meaning that it is a very simple process and similar to how we fuel our cars at the petrol station now. Apart from the giving back dead fuel of course.

As electric cars by their very nature have been created to save the environment it wouldn’t be good enough to waste the old battery fluid I hear you ask. Of course, those clever Scots have the solution. The old battery fluid is basically recharged and made ready for another car. Simples.

Professor Leroy Cronin, the University of Glasgow’s Regius Chair of Chemistry lead the team who made the discovery had this to say “Our approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity,”.

While it is becoming quicker and easier to charge an electric car the simple truth is that it can still take several hours to fully recharge a vehicle with a range of only a few hundred miles.

Driving into the future

Over the last year or so there has been a big push to install these ultra fast charging stations around the country but the team behind the flow battery believe that their liquid battery could resolve this problem. Oh, and it will massively drive down the cost of the battery cells meaning cheaper electric cars for everyone.

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But that’s not all! Because this is a hybrid system the liquid can be used for both electric cars and hydrogen cars which turn the substance back into electricity.

“For future renewables to be effective, high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply,” said Professor Cronin.

Just don’t forget to pick up the right pump, we can only imagine sticking battery fluid into a diesel engine would be far worse than the commonly heard “I put unleaded into the tank and now the engine is goosed” excuse.

HTC U12 Plus: Is this the end of the road for HTC?

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A few years ago after the release of the brilliant HTC M8 it looked like the Taiwanese company could ride the crest of a wave and become one of the big hitters in the mobile space. Alas this was not to be the case. Over the last couple of years financial trouble rocked the brand so much so that Google ended up purchasing a metric sh*t tonne of HTC’s assets to pump into the Google Pixel project.  With all that going on you would be forgiven for thinking that the HTC ship had sailed and we would’t see another flagship. You would be wrong as the HTC U12 Plus hit the market to try and revive the company fortunes. I guess you could say it’s plus or bust this time around. So how does the HTC U12 stack up?

HTC U12 Plus pricing

At the moment you can pre order the HTC U12 Plus directly from the HTC Ireland website for an eye watering €800.

When we say eye watering you might think that is around the same pricing as other flagship phones such as the Google Pixel, Samsung S9 and our current favorite the Huawei P20 Pro, however the big difference here is they are all unfortunately superior phones. That’s actually hard for me to say as I’ve been a huge HTC fanboy dating back to the days of the old HTC Wildfire. Anyone else remember that one?

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Style & Design

Gotta hand it to HTC they know how to make a stylish phone and the U12 Plus is no different. Ok, it’s probably not as sexy as some of the other phones on the market but damn look at those colours!

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That translucent blue is just nom and getting to see some of the internals is almost a form of porn to us at Goosed…almost. What is really cool here is despite the fact that the body is made from Gorilla Glass 5 it is coated in such a way to minimize fingerprints. A nice touch for people who will spent about an hour a day wiping their phone of their shirt. Yes I’m looking at you Martin.

Other than that the phone is a bit large to hold with one hand, a problem common to the bigger phones on the market like the good ole Samsung Note. It’s worth noting that the U12 is a bit thicker so you might want to abandon wearing skinny jeans if you plan on heading out with this monster. You might think it’s an exaggeration when I say it’s big but with a 6 inch LCD display and a metal rim between the two layers of glass for grip, trust me it’s big.

What is interesting on the U12 Plus is the fact that none of the buttons actually move. Each button is pressure sensitive with a vibration feedback rather than actually moving, this is supposed to help with waterproofing but the reality is it’s just cool.

The Features

Admittedly the design is quite cool but it’s under the hood where the U12 Plus starts to disappoint so let’s get into it.

Battery

On paper this looks good with a 3,500mAh battery with quick charge features again something we now come to expect from these larger phones. Sadly for HTC the battery is rather underpar and we wouldn’t be too confident it would last the day. To put this into context I would take my Samsung out for the day without a charger, do all my normal bits and pieces and I would expect to hit home around 8pm with some juice left in the tank. The U12 Plus you would probably need to have a powerbank just incase.

Cameras

This is good, very good in fact. The camera is probably the biggest redeeming factor for the HTC U12 Plus. With dual cameras on both the front and back of the phone HTC have really doubled down using both a 12 and 16mp camera on the rear. Couple this with an impressive zoom function and boom you are onto a winner. HTC have also been keen to highlight the video capabilities of the U12 Plus with features like zoom tracking that will zoom in or out automatically on a subject, and even hone in on the audio of a selected subject. You can also record in 4K and there is also a slo-mo function with no limitation on the recording time so you can have plenty of fun here.

Screen Quality

The HTC U12 Plus is rocking a rather large 6in Quad HD LCD screen and while it looks impressive with excellent touch response and beautiful colours it suffers the same fate as most LCD displays. It’s next to impossible to see anything in sunlight, so probably not a big deal in Ireland.

It’s a completely flat display unlike the curved surfaces and rounded screen corners we’ve seen on other flagships this year. If you want a standard, rectangular display on a high-end phone, then the U12 Plus is appealing. Oh and it’s got an always on display, but on an LCD screen you might want to avoid using it or watch your battery drain before your eyes.

Edge Sense

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In the U11 we rather liked the Edge Sense and once again it’s probably the most intriguing feature in this years model. Like the U11 before it the U12 Plus has put pressure sensors into the sides of the phone to create Edge Sense 2. You can set up the different gestures to do what you want, so a short squeeze to open the camera or a longer one to bring you to Google or whatever. You can also do things like a double tap to shrink the screen to a one handed size. It’s really interesting and it’s so so close to being perfect but amazingly Edge Sense 2 is less reliable than the previous rendition. It’s only small things but imagine picking up the phone and the edges think you want to open the camera..after a couple frustrating moments you will end up firing the phone across the room or the less nuclear option and simply switch off Edge Sense.

When you begin to squeeze the phone, a blue squeeze and dot graphic starts on the screen. It’s way too sensitive and even simply holding the phone can trigger it, covering your screen in blue when you aren’t about to use Edge Sense. It was enough for us to turn it off.

The best feature here is in fact the least obvious. There’s a smart rotate option that senses you’re holding the phone in a certain way and doesn’t auto rotate the screen. It’s basically for if you are lying in bed with your phone – but it works well because it is a subtle feature that improves the user experience. It’s the only time here that Edge Sense is successful.

So is the HTC worth the €?

Mmmm honestly….probably not unfortunately and this is coming from a self proffesed HTC man. The camera is fine but the competition is better, the design is nice but the competition is better, I could continue but you probably see the trend here.

The Edge Sense from the U11 was the big innovation and credit where it’s due to HTC they have always been willing to try something new but miraculously even the Edge Sense is worse on the U12 Plus. It’s actually disappointing because you know this had some much potential to be a hit and it’s not. To see what the HTC U12 plus should have been we only need to look as far as Google’s new Pixel XL model. Sorry HTC is looks like the jig is up this time.

Google Pixel 3 in Ireland: Rumours, Specs and Possible Release Date

The Google Pixel set of smartphones are some of the most anticipated flagships every year and for good reason. Boasting cutting-edge technology to provide the smoothest Android experience to date, it’s no wonder that enthusiasts and regular consumers alike get excited for what Google has to bring to the table. Thanks to leaks from @OnLeaks, MySmartPrice and XDA-Developers, we’re now getting a complete look at what the new Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL are going to look like when launched this Autumn.

The Google Pixel 3 XL has a display notch

First and foremost, many actually caught this when Google first began beta testing the newly released Android Pie. A mysterious setting was discovered which mentioned a “double display notch” which elongated the status bar. Wait until you see why.

Yeah, it’s not quite the prettiest. That thing is huge. It’s not really unexpected though, given that nearly every Android manufacturer thus far is including a display cutout also. While I don’t personally have anything against the notch when done right, the Google Pixel 3 XL in my eyes is an absolute abomination.

The Google Pixel 3 looks alright though

These renders come courtesy of @OnLeaks and MySmartPrice. The regular Google Pixel 3 looks about what you’d expect from a normal, no notch smartphone released in 2018.

Google Pixel 3

See! Doesn’t that look alright? Lovely dual front speakers, a nice back design and no unsightly display cutout. Pure bliss altogether.

The Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL’s specifications

In terms of specifications, the Google Pixel 3 will likely follow the same philosophy that’s already carried it so far. We expect nothing less than the greatest smartphone camera in the business with this release, along with the best performance from any Android phone to date. Google puts a lot of care into the user experience on these phones, and it certainly shows. You’ll get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and around 4GB of RAM, plenty for all of your daily Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram needs. It’s going to be the fastest Android phone around hands down. The processor and RAM combination is enough to play all of the latest games on your smartphone as well, including Fortnite Mobile and PUBG.

But on that camera note, it’s really unsurprising to see Google sticking with a single camera sensor for this device. The reason is simple, and that’s because Google loves artificial intelligence and data processing algorithms. Rather than making use of dual cameras for depth perception, they’d prefer to do all of that via software. It’s pretty neat and helps keeps costs down, though admittedly these phones were already extremely expensive to begin with. Google had the best smartphone camera last year that remains competitive to this day with only a single camera lens.

For the display sizes, initial reports put the Google Pixel 3 display at 5.4-inches and the Google Pixel 3 XL’s display at 6.2-inches. About average of flagships being released today as well.

The Google Pixel 3’s availability in Ireland

Now, in terms of getting this phone on Irish soil… good luck to you. You’re gonna have a hard time if previous models are an indicator of where this phone will be available. Google used to sell smartphones to Ireland back in the day, but mysteriously stopped some years ago. A friend of mine in the industry spoke to some Google engineers who cited “legal reasons”, but the engineers didn’t really want to budge and give any more information. That’s why you’ll find that Google sells very little on their store in Ireland, though they did bring the Google Home to Ireland only recently. Ireland wasn’t the only country to get it either, so it’s possible that Google may have realised that there are a lot more countries than just the US and the UK.

Speaking of the UK, that’s likely how you’ll have to pick up a Google Pixel 3 if it’s not launched in Ireland. You can set up either an AddressPal box in the UK via AnPost or make use of the more conventional Parcel Motel. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s the only way to do it usually.

Is the Google Pixel 3 your next phone?

Pretty much everything there is to know about the Google Pixel 3 has been leaked, definitely enough for many to make an educated guess about it anyway. Let us know what you think about it in the comments!

The Package: A Terrible Idea That Makes a Semi-Decent Movie

the package netflix review

A Netflix Original movie all about the journey to save a man’s penis after a terrible accident on a hiking trip. That’s the premise of The Package, although to be honest, I’m making it sound quite serious there. A group of teens go hiking and drinking when one of the guys lops his lad off with a knife. Yup, that’s more like it. Everything about the plot of The Package means I should hate it, but I don’t.

What is The Package All About?

Mild spoiler alert – although most of this movie is pretty predictable.

The Package is s surprisingly fresh take on the teenage coming of age movie. Sean has been living in Germany and comes home for a weekend drinking in the hills with his mates. Of course, they’re joined by some girls to make it the complete teen weekend away. After having too much to drink, going for a pee and playing with a knife, the plot of the movie starts to become fairly apparent.

Sure enough, Jeremy loses his penis. While a medical helicopter takes him to the hospital, wouldn’t you know it, his friends give the medics a cooler with two beers cans and not Jeremy’s penis. And so a movie is born as his friends are in a race against time to get Jeremy’s penis to the hospital in time.

Is The Package a Terrible Film?

The Package is not a terrible film and I really don’t know how to feel about that. Every joke is immature and pretty much predictable. If you’re familiar with Road Trip and American Pie, The Package is Netflix’s attempt to bring all the best bits from these movies onto the screen for the streaming generation.

The Package ran a real danger of being an Adam Sandler style movie but maybe its saving grace is the fact it was produced by Ben Stiller. Ok, so Zoolander 2 was a complete sin to cinema, but a lot of his stuff is funny and it’s all funnier than Adam Sandler’s stuff.

The Package: The Verdict

This is most certainly not a movie you’ll watch with your mother in the same room. However, it’s a movie that if you watch with friends, you’re bound to have a few laugh out loud moments. It’s nothing short of amazing how much mileage this movie gets out of a limited plot too. I think the movie also holds the record for most amount of penis-on-screen in a mainstream movie, an important distinction.

Believe it or not, you’re unlikely to regret watching this.

Insatiable: Is This Netflix’s Most Controversial Show Yet?

insatiable review

The name of the show didn’t give too much away when it popped up in my Netflix suggestions. A quick Google search told me that the show’s creator also worked on one of my all-time favourite TV shows, Dexter. That bought Insatiable by attention and here’s what I’ve thought so far.

Note – I’m still watching and am only about halfway through season one.

What is Insatiable All About?

Here goes. Insatiable is all about Patty, a girl who loses quite a bit of weight after punching a homeless man and in return takes a punch back. She gets her jaw broken and wired, leaving her on a liquid diet and hence, during the summer break of school, she loses the weight which had led to her being bullied.

During the court case of Patty versus the homeless guy, Patty is assigned a lawyer who also happens to be obsessed with coaching girls in beauty pageants. After being falsely accused of sexual harassment with a pageant participant, he stops coaching until he meets Patty, who he sees as his opportunity for redemption. As you can imagine, all of this along with the host of characters in the show are living in a wild circus of plots and there you have it. That’s what Insatiable is all about.

This has very little to do with Dexter beyond the voice-over monologues. Even Dexter, the serial killing blood spatter analyst isn’t as controversial as Insatiable is.

The Insatiable Controversies

Before the show even started, the trailer caused havoc online.

After this trailer was released, over  200k signatures were gathered on Change.org citing fat-shaming and a potential negative impact on the mental health of young girls.

Seems like a fair point and there are some more sensitive topics in the show too. I could rattle them all off, but the big ones are:

  • Bob being accused of molesting a child
  • The statutory rape of a boy by a women
  • ….

…actually, you know what. If you want to read about all the problems that people have found with Insatiable so far, just read this on Vox or this on Buzzfeed. I’ve got a different take on it.

The Furore Around Insatiable is Totally Over the Top

I’m a pretty big guy, hence I’ve tried to lose weight publically through Motivating Marty – I promise, that’s making another comeback soon. Now, I’ll admit I’ve been putting myself out there lately by commenting on the female birth control app Natural Cycles and by not being an American teenager, maybe I’m not in the best position to comment on the ins and outs of this show. But, not once while watching Insatiable did I feel offended.

Look, there’s some pretty rough stuff that comes out in the first half of the series, but it’s all tongue in cheek and taking the piss. Reading articles like the ones from Vox and Buzzfeed, I do get the feeling that these people are taking everything a little too seriously and are a little too willing to be offended.

Insatiable: The Verdict

Is the show fantastic? Not really, but it’s grand. Remember, I’m the guy that thoroughly enjoyed Kimmy Schmidt. I’m halfway through the first season and I’m feeling less compelled to view the rest of it. It’s a really interesting show because of how I felt watching Afflicted. That’s a show about real people and real problems, but very few people were triggered over that.

Insatiable is easy watching and personally, I think people are too fast to say this show is offensive before saying it’s just meh. There are reasons not to watch it, but fat shaming and the likes isn’t a reason for me. If you want some easy viewing that doesn’t take too much thinking to follow, this very well might be up your street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afflicted: New Netflix Docu-series You’ll Struggle to Relate To

new on netflix afflicted

Afflicted is one of the latest Netflix Original releases. The docu-series looks into the lives of people who seem to be suffering from allergies to human progress. What the hell does that mean? Let’s take a look at some of the people behind the show.

The People of Afflicted

Bekah, a self-described witch and psychic, suffers from mould allergies and had to move to the desert with her partner.

Carmen suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, meaning she’s overcome with aches and pains when in close proximity to WiFi, powerlines or fluorescent lights.

Jamison is dealing with Chronic Fatigue or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, leaving him bed-ridden for two years.

Jake is a composer who scored the animated hit, Final Space, also available on Netflix. He suffers from chronic Lyme disease and as a result was unable to interact with people, suffered from personality loss along with light and sound sensitivity.

Pilar, another woman from Afflicted, was subjected to a natural gas leak for over three years. As a result, she was left with a host chemical sensitivities.

The series’ director doesn’t just tell the stories of the afflicted, but also the turmoil caused with their network of friends and family and this is where my personal inner conflict kicked off.

The Difficulty With Afflicted

It’s hard to relate to some of the people in the show because their cases either seem unlikely or incredibly unfortunate and certainly fall into the category of ‘lesser known afflictions’. Carmen, who is a generally energetic and likeable person, leaves her husband behind after years of his support to seek out a better place to live, free from electromagnetic interference. Jake is an extremely likeable person but the director doesn’t shy away from showing how difficult his father finds the situation.

The real difficulty with Afflicted comes with Pilar. While her case seems genuine, the director doesn’t hold back in showing us a dark side to her personality. She openly admits she is no longer in love with her husband but is happy to let him help her if it means he feels like they still have a relationship. A quick look on Reddit shows what people think of her.

There’s also one more glaring issue…

Are the People of Afflicted Sick?

Afflicted looks at the stories of very real people who believe they are sick but their afflictions constantly come under scrutiny. When describing one person’s affliction, the on-screen caption states “she believes she suffers from”, which immediately forces the viewer to question the afflicted’s story. The people in the show also do make some questionable decisions themselves, like Bekah who turns down a free $25k treatment plan which promises to cure her.

This left many wondering if these people are suffering from mental health issues more than physical medical issues. If true, this opens up a world of problems for Netflix who are now exploiting the stories of these very real people. One thing is for certain, the people from the show have no doubts about their illnesses:

Afflicted: The Verdict

I binge-watched this docu-series in one sitting. It’s compelling viewing, but I’m not proud of that. It’s a human safari and whether or not they are physically ill or mentally ill, I’m not so sure the series was created with the best interest of the people in mind.

Is it right to have people with either physical medical conditions or mental health issues being exposed to people ripping them apart on Reddit?

Shows like this need to arrive at a conclusion for the people involved. There needs to be a resolution or else it’s just entertainment at someone else’s expense. Afflicted left me questioning a few things but not the people from the show.

Update:

Since publishing, the brother of Bekah, Nick who also features in the series, has been in touch with me to clarify some of the misinformation around Bekah’s case. He clarified that Bekah turned down the free treatment plan upon the guidance of another doctor, Dr. Neil Nathan. Dr. Nathan had run several tests to confirm Bekah’s condition and also advised “there’s very little evidence to support stems cells as an effective treatment for severe mold sensitivity” and “had Bekah “simply” had Chronic Lyme Disease, she would have taken the treatment without a second thought”.

Nick also highlighted that the Netflix crew had filmed statements explaining all of this but they omitted them from the final cut.

Nick’s not alone in criticising the Netflix crew for how the show’s final edit portrays the afflicted:

Natural Cycles: Would You Trust a Birth Control App?

natural cycles birth control app

I’d like to think over the past few years, I’ve proven myself to be quite the tech advocate. From apps that force you to scan the barcode on your toothpaste to snooze an alarm to the latest smartphones. I’ve tested them all and I’m usually pretty positive, but only where positivity is due. Which leaves me in a pickle when it comes to Natural Cycles. It ticks all the Goosed.ie boxes:

  1. It’s a new and clever way of doing something
  2. There’s an app
  3. There’s a gadget
  4. People seem to like it

But even with all those boxes ticked, I can’t say I’m comfortable with the idea of Natural Cycles. Here’s my admittedly male review of a female birth control app.

What is Natural Cycles?

Natural Cycles is an app designed to help women track their menstrual cycles and, more importantly, their fertility. The app is a premium service costing €64.99 per year which includes a free thermometer which can measure accurately to two decimal places. The onus is on women to take their temperature every morning, immediately after waking up. The app then works its magic, taking all the available data and running it through an algorithm; this is why it takes the app at least three cycles to start working.

Once the app understands your cycles, it will start to label your days as either:

  • Red Days
  • Green Days

Having sex without the use of a condom or other contraceptive method on a Red Day means you’re en-route to baby town. Green Days, according to the manufacturer, means you’re in the clear to have sex without another means of protection.

Is Natural Cycles Safe?

Natural Cycles isn’t the safest method of contraception. If you’re looking for the safest form of contraception, female implants top the list with a 99% effectiveness rating. Here’s how the whole field compares taking some of the more aggressive figures across the board, according to British NHS statistics:

Now, I do have a problem with the number beside Natural Cycles. The research was carried out by the app’s founders, two former CERN physicists. While they claim their work to be accurate, that’s a fairly sizeable conflict of interest. Also, the sample size of test participants is questionable, given it involved a very limited age group of people.

This isn’t just me getting my tinfoil hat out either, the app is currently under serious scrutiny.

How Effective is the Natural Cycles App?

While research indicates an effectiveness of 93%, Natural Cycles has come under major scrutiny in Sweden.

A major Stockholm hospital reported the app to the Medical Products Agency after 37 unwanted pregnancies were aborted from a total of 668 unwanted pregnancies.

You might be able to take the Natural Cycles reliability as gospel, but there are a lot of maybes, ifs and buts which open up users to risk of unwanted pregnancy. One reason I personally don’t like the idea of Natural Cycles is buried deep in the FAQs.

Can You Use Natural Cycles With Irregular Cycles?

If you have irregular cycles, you absolutely should not depend on Natural Cycles as a form of birth control. To be fair, the Natural Cycles website does call this out in their frequently asked questions, but it does make me feel like it’s a little buried. Here’s what they have to say:

What About Irregular Cycles?

It’s quite common to have irregularities, especially if you have recently stopped using hormonal contraception. The Natural Cycles algorithm takes factors such as cycle regularity and temperature fluctuations into account when analysing your unique cycle and calculating predictions. It will still be effective, but you might experience more red days. That’s why it may not be suited as a contraceptive for women with very irregular cycles. However, by tracking your cycle you will have a complete overview of how your unique cycle works and may even find out what is causing these irregularities by taking note of symptoms or discussing it with your doctor.

Just look at how long it took for the Natural Cycles team to state it might not be suitable for women with irregular cycles! Now, the onus is on women and their partners to research a contraceptive method that meets their needs. It’s up to them to ensure they know the facts, but I personally believe Natural Cycles are not presenting all the facts with complete clarity.

Elsewhere in their FAQs, Natural Cycles outlines where they deliver their thermometers too. If you can’t get one, they casually drop in that you can pick up any two decimal certified thermometer to use with their service. For something as important as contraception, that just seems a little casual for my liking.

A quick stop over to Boards.ie show many users echo my concerns!

Should You Try Natural Cycles?

For a start, don’t take my word for it – I’m a guy without expert knowledge of female contraception and secondly, I’m not a medical professional either. That’s who should be advising you. Over in the US, the FDA has just approved Natural Cycles to commence marketing their product in the States. However, if you’ve seen Netflix’s Bleeding Edge, you may question just how much that actually means. Ironically, Bayer is not painted in a very good light throughout that documentary but they did speak some sense when I reached out to them for comment on this new contraceptive method:

There is a wealth of contraception options currently available. When an individual is making a decision about which contraception option will best suit their current needs it is important to consult a healthcare professional. Healthcare professionals are the most reliable source of information, as they are actively involved in contraceptive counselling and can provide tailored support.

FIFA 19: New Features and Irish Release Date

fifa 2019 release date ireland

As a sports-loving gamer, there are a few big dates on my calendar every year. Football Manager, Formula 1 and FIFA are games which get annual updates which naturally means they also take large lumps of my life every year too. Fresh off the back of the World Cup and with the Premier League season right around the corner, we don’t have long to wait for the latest instalment of the FIFA franchise. Here’s what to expect from FIFA 19.

FIFA 19 Will Feature the UEFA Champions League

Would you believe, back when I was in college, our gaff was a Pro Evolution Soccer house. The game boasted superior controls and gameplay to FIFA at the time although you had to live with made up team names and lots of lookalike logos. This was down to licensing but still, PES has been the reason the FIFA franchise was unable to integrate the UEFA Champions League into what is now clearly, the most popular footy game on the market.

PES has wained in recent years and I haven’t heard of anyone playing it in a long time. Coinciding with this is FIFA finally bringing the UEFA Champions League to their 2019 game. Yup, FIFA 19 will have the Champions League. This is awesome news as you’ll now be able to lead your favourite clubs to Champions League. FIFA 2019 will also feature the Europa League and the Super Cup along with a new commentary team specifically for these European games.

Alex Hunter Returns

We first met Alex Hunter in FIFA 17. Hunter is a young, up and coming footballer whose career you take control of. You train him, build up his skills and make decisions in his life to decide how it all pans out. It’s a surprisingly addictive area of the game with fairly compelling storylines too. I say surprisingly because once you get hooked with online gameplay, it’s tough to go back to playing the computer. For some reason, playing Hunter’s career has always been fun for me.

In FIFA 19, Hunter is off to Real Madrid to chase down a Champions League dream. EA Sports flexed their muscles a bit and showed off their influence in the football world by hijacking Real Madrid’s third-kit launch, a kit which is fantastically made out of plastic recovered from the ocean. Official Real Madrid social media accounts and Read Madrid players helped make this look like an incredibly authentic transfer.

I can only assume at least on Real Madrid fan has been left wondering who the hell Alex Hunter is.

Timed Finishing

Tweaking the shooting system is always a brave move from EA Sports. When the shooting system changes, so too do the elite players of the game. Everything that you were familiar with goes away and you need to relearn FIFA’s sweet spots. FIFA 19 will introduce the idea of timed finishing. Like all games so far, you tap shoot when you see your goal scoring opportunity. Then you tap again to try and find a sweet spot for your shot.

Naturally, it’s risk and reward, so get this wrong and you’ll barrel your shot up into row Z.

While I’ve yet to play FIFA 19, I know how this kind of system feels. If you’ve ever played Gears of War, I imagine this time finishing system will be very similar to the Gear of War reloading system where you tap to reload and then tap again during the sweet spot to load even faster.

Dynamic Tactics

Ah the days of four-four-two. They are so far behind us. Football has an impossible number of tactic configurations, yes over the past few years when playing online you’d have to be able to react quick to setbacks, often within a thirty second window. FIFA 19 introduces Dynamic Tactics which means you can prepare a few ideas before you start your game and then quick-select this during the game. Reacting like a real gaffer is key to success in FIFA 19; just look at how many gaffers they got involved in their promo:

FIFA 19 Demo Release Date in Ireland

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to see a confirmed demo date for FIFA 19. However, it usually launches two weeks ahead of the full game.

FIFA 19: Irish Release Date

FIFA 19 will be available to buy in Ireland on 28 September.

Dark Tourist: New on Netflix – Review

dark tourist

We all know Netflix is more than capable of churning out a wide range of high-quality fiction, but their foray into factual and factual-ish programmes are also incredibly impressive. One of their latest efforts is called Dark Tourist. Here’s what I’ve thought about it so far.

What is Dark Tourism?

Some of us like to chill on a sunny beach while others might be more into foodie tours or seeing the landmarks of the world. Taking a break away from the daily grind is good for the soul. Dark Tourism, on the other hand, might not be so good for your mind. Instead of travelling for a clean wholesome holiday to recharge, Dark Tourists seek out locations of great tragedies or scenes of massive bloodshed. Like it or not, most of us do have a morbid curiosity lingering inside of us but we generally just don’t act on it.

David Farrier decided to act on his sense of morbid curiosity.

The Dark Tourist – David Farrier

New Zealander, David Farrier, takes on the role of the Dark Tourist for Netflix’s new docu-series. Farrier is kind of like a cooler Louis Theroux and I imagine many people are already confusing these two as they are quite similar. To be honest, it’s quite likely that the Netflix meeting to commission this show involved a research binge of Theroux’s work to date!

Regardless, Farrier is incredibly likeable which I feel is extremely important when you’re watching a one-man show like this. So now that you’re sold on him, here’s what the show is all about.

The Dark Tourist Documentary

If you’ve read this far you can probably put the pieces together. Farrier travels the world looking for locations with some dark histories.

Fukushima and the Nuclear Fallout

Locations such as Fukushima, now riddled with radioactivity after a 2011 tsunami led to a nuclear power plant explosion. Farrier and a bus full of fellow dark tourists drive through the nuclear fallout with Geiger counters beeping away, aggressively warning every one of the high radiation levels.

Cocaine and Murderers

Another trip sees Farrier visit Medellin in Colombia, the hometown of the infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar. The access Farrier gets is incredible, meeting with Escobar’s former personal assassin who recounts tales of how Escobar insist the assassin kill his own girlfriend for betraying the druglord. The meeting is honest, dramatic and maybe even harrowing. Personally, it kind of sums up the series nicely for me.

Cows, Rocket Launchers and Cambodia

There are countless stories you hear and always wonder if they’re fact or fiction. One story I’ve heard is that you can pay to shoot a cow in Cambodia with a rocket launcher. Honestly, I heard this in the primary school playground and as I advanced in my years, I began to assume it was just a made up urban legend. Turns out, it’s very possible to do this.

This is just one example of the madness that Farrier unlocks throughout the series

The Dark Tourist – Now Streaming on Netflix – The Verdict

This is a great show. Farrier might seem a bit mad as he wanders around highly radioactive streets, eats atomic fish and swims in a creator formed from nuclear explosions – by the way, they were two different episodes. Dark Tourist is a great travel documentary for those of you who are sick and tired of people visiting the same old same old. Farrier is a bit of craic and seems to be more than happy to put his body on the line so you don’t have to. Good on ya mate.

Dark Tourist Trailer

 

Shazam: DC Universe’s Answer to Deadpool?

shazam dc movie

The Marvel versus DC battle that’s been raging over the course of the past few years has been fairly one-sided, in favour of Marvel. Their universe just seems to be a bit more craic compared to the grittier DC universe which has also suffered a few dud movies like Batman versus Superman. But at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, DC might just have unleashed their secret weapon

Meet Shazam

Marvel’s popularity soared when Deadpool entered the fray. The anti-hero was born as audiences showed when it came to superheroes they also wanted personalities they could enjoy. Deadpool delivered that in bucketloads. The DC universe kept things pretty straight-laced or at least they have until now.

DC has just announced Shazam will make the leap from comic bookshelves to the big screen. We’ve only seen an early trailer, but the movie will be based on foster kid Billy Batson who is granted superpowers by a wizard. Billy just utters the word ‘Shazam’ and his smartphone will find any song being played nearby.

Ok, clearly that’s a poor joke.

When he says ‘Shazam’ he becomes a superhero that doesn’t know his own superpowers. It looks like some of the laughs from the movie will be Shazam learning his powers:

shazam flight test gif

Shazam Movie Release Date

With no exact date available yet, you can expect Shazam to be in cinemas during Spring 2019.

Shazam Trailer