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My Odd Job: Working with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight’s special effects was a career highlight


I remember watching The Matrix and being blown away.

It was so new, innovative and was the first thing that made me realise I wanted to work in visual effects (VFX). Little did I know that I would end up working on The Matrix sequels.

Prior to The Matrix typical VFX films were sci-fi with war scenes and many huge explosions, but The Matrix used reality as its source — which I really gravitated towards — and then warped it, making us really think about how to interpret crazy creative ideas.

‘Bullet time’ became a coined term for the slow-mo shooting scene on the roof with Neo. That was revolutionary artistry and showed the potential of VFX.

Scene from film "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003) Neo (Keanu Reeves) stops bullets in mid-air in a scene from "The Matrix Reloaded". The Warner movie is scheduled for release in the UK on May 2 2003 and the US on May 15 2003. Photograph Warner Bros. Supplied by BWP Media. ...Los Angeles...California...USA
(Picture: Warner Bros)

My journey into the industry definitely wasn’t straightforward. Back in the 1990s, there were very few courses to help train you in the skills you needed. It wasn’t until the late 90s that universities had full degrees in VFX.

I knew I had to get my foot in the door, so I took a receptionist job in New York and learnt on the job in my out-of-hours time, staying late every night to learn the technology, teaching myself and working with mentors.

After learning the entry level skills on the job, like rotoscoping (cutting out objects frame by frame) and mastering rig removal techniques, I graduated into working as a junior compositor on Super Bowl commercials, which involved high end VFX.

My breakthrough came when I made it onto the team to work on The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

VFX being designed on a computer
Working on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was a real highlight (Photo: Sofia Bouzidi)

From there I went on to work on a number of amazing films, including Disney’s Enchanted, Where The Wild Things Are, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the Hall of Prophecies sequence for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Working on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was a real career highlightI admire his work, especially in the visual effects field, as his film effects aren’t just about blowing everything up.

Sometimes it’s about being creative to make the effects look invisible, which can give a shot more impact.

Davi Stein photographed at Escape Studios in London
One of the real challenges that comes with the job is making everything look as realistic as possible (Photo: Sofia Bouzidi)

It took me almost six months to finish my work on the Davy Jones character for Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest – I had to make his tentacles look as realistic as possible.

I met Bill Nighy (who played the character in the film) and we ended up chatting about the film and the visual effects process – it was surreal to meet the actor behind the character that I had worked on and had helped bring to life.

The visual effects start at the very beginning of the film-making process, before any footage has been shot.

First a scene will be laid out in a storyboard, then each camera movement plotted, and the computer generated images (CGI) will be modelled in 3D, animated and then textured.

Other artists will work on simulating explosions effects, smoke, cloth – or anything else to make the scene as realistic as possible – and another team will work on the lighting.

Head of 2D Davi Stein stands in front of a screen at Escape Studios
People tend to think it’s untouchable or too technical of a career for them, but it isn’t (Photo: Sofia Bouzidi)

As a compositor, it’s my role to incorporate all of these visual elements, layering them on top of each other to make them look like they are all part of the same scene.

For example, I worked on the Zion fight sequence in The Matrix Revolutions, combining lots of VFX elements. The design department generated the concept art of the entire scene, then the 3D department modelled the CGI robots and Sentinel warm characters.

They then animated their fight sequences and eventually they were given a rustic, worn textured look to show their battle scars and finally rendered it into an image so I could layer them with the CGI smoke, fire and debris.

I incorporated the green-screen footage with the real actor and combined him into the CGI robot harness. I also added ‘muzzle flashes elements’ coming the huge weapons, creating interactive lighting on the CGI characters.

It was a great creative challenge to get it all to look realistic, and the compositing team had a lot of creative ideas to embellish the epic action scenes.

I’ve heard people say this industry is untouchable or too technical of a career for them – but that isn’t always the case.

YouTube can be a great tool for people who are interested in visual effects. They can watch and see what is involved and how things are put together.

With 15 years in the industry behind me, I now teach students the skills to get them into the visual effects industry at Escape Studios in London.

I mentor them to grow as digital artists and to help them understand the industry as a whole as it moves into the future.

The use of artificial intelligence is growing and is a handy tool, because it has the potential to push the boundaries of creativity. I’m truly excited to learn new ways to tell stories on the screen.

Davi Stein is Head of 2D VFX at Escape Studios in London, who teach students in the art of VFX, Game Art, Animation and Motion Graphics. 

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How to apply for the 2020 London Marathon

runners taking part in the london marathon in Greenwich
(Photo by Isabel Infantes/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The London Marathon is underway today with over 40,000 people taking part and raising money for charity.

If you’re watching today’s marathon and hoping to get involved next year, you may be wondering how you can get involved next year.

2020 will see the event celebrate its 40th anniversary and if you’re hoping to take part then you don’t have long to wait to start applying.

It is set to take place on Sunday 26 April 2020 and it is likely to be as popular as this year’s event which saw over 400,000 people apply in the ballot.

Here is everything that you need to know if you’re looking to apply for next year’s run.

Runners at the start of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon
(Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images)

How to apply for the 2020 London Marathon

The ballot for people to apply for the 2020 London Marathon is already open in the UK and internationally.

You will need to apply through the London Marathon website, enter your email address and follow the instructions.

The closing date for applications for next year’s event is 5pm on Friday 3 May 2019.

Applicants will know if they have secured a spot in next year’s London Marathon by the end of October 2019.

Don’t forget that there is also an entrance fee for anybody participating which will be £39 for 2020.

International applicants can also apply to take part through the website’s application page.

There are also details for the various other ways that you can apply, including the Good For Age Entry, British Athletics Club Entry, Wheelchair Entry and the Charity Entry.

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Nordstrom called out after forgetting to delete comments that requested model’s skin be made darker

Nordstrom called out after forgetting to delete comments that requested model's skin be made darker
(Picture/ @samfreedster)

American department store Nordstrom has been slammed online after forgetting to delete comments on a model photo that requested her skin should have a tan.

Twitter user Sam noticed that the fashion retailer left a comment that was meant to be edited out which read ‘give model a darker tan’.

Sam wrote: ‘Nordstrom, you forgot to remove your photoshop notes.’

A customer service account for the brand replied to the photo saying it has now been bought to their attention.

However, users criticised the brand for their blunder which revealed that they change models’ skin tones rather than just hiring dark skin individuals.

One person said to the company: ‘I would also like to bring to your attention the fact that you can just take some darker skin models and you won’t need to give your model a darker tan.’

Twitter users later noted that the comment on the picture had been removed on the site and the the model’s skintone was not edited.

Some said the move was embarrassing and telling of the fashion industry’s reluctance to hire models of colour.

One user, Sara, wrote: ‘They hire people to style the models so I doubt they’d only realise the dress would look better on a darker skin once it gets to the editing process.

‘They plan to make her darker all along instead of just diversifying their models.’

However, someone who previously worked for Nordstrom as a retoucher said it was a necessary step rather than a malicious one.

‘The models are wearing hundreds of looks a day, the photographers and stylists are often so strapped for time to get the images shot, that many things are left to post-productions to correct, this includes when a garment washes out the model.’

We’ve reached out to Nordstrom for a comment and will update this article once they get in touch.

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Getting married? These are the most popular dates to have your wedding day

Bride holding bouquet.
(Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Choosing a date for your wedding isn’t easy – you need to consider the weather, other plans you might have and whether your guests will be free.

Well, it turns out that you’re most likely to choose a date in October, September or June.

A survey by Zola has revealed the most popular dates for 2019 and they are all in those three months.

If you’re planning a last minute big day this year, these dates might be the best to avoid to prevent clashing. Some of your guests are likely to be attending another wedding on these days.

The top 10 most popular dates were:

  1. Saturday 12 October
  2. Saturday 5 October
  3. Saturday 7 September
  4. Saturday 19 October
  5. Saturday 21 September
  6. Saturday 28 September
  7. Saturday 14 September
  8. Saturday 1 June
  9. Saturday 22 June
  10. Saturday 26 October

Surprisingly, it was the autumn months rather than summer that topped the list but we guess no one wants to be too hot and sweaty on their wedding day so the slightly cooler days work well.

Zola’s Director of Brand Jennifer Spector told INSIDER: ‘It’s no surprise that fall is so popular, because the temperature is mild, the photographs are Pinterest-perfect, and it avoids the summer travel season for guests.’

Not so surprisingly, all the most popular dates were on a Saturday, which usually works because most people don’t need to take time off work and they have the next day to recover.

Jennifer did add that looking into the possibility of a weekday wedding could cut the cost though as many places offer weekday discounts. She advises that they can work if you give your guests plenty of notice to get time off and accept that there might be some people who can’t make it.

Friday night weddings could be a good option as it is a weekday but guests usually have the next day off work.

Although the dates were specifically for this year, the same Saturdays next year are likely to be popular too so if you haven’t booked yet, you might want to keep these dates in mind. If a weekday really isn’t an option, having your big day at a slightly different time of year might help to keep costs down.

As Jennifer adds: ‘There’s really no ‘best’ season to get married. Beautiful weddings happen all year long.’

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Artist who creates incredible looks on herself has to get rid of clothes to make room for all her makeup

Artist who creates incredible looks on herself has to get rid of clothes to make room for all her makeup
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

Tiffany Hunt, a part-time shop worker, would use her mum’s eyeliner and lipstick as a child to turn herself into monsters to scare her friends.

The 23-year-old from Nottingham then developed an interest in using makeup to transform her body into bizarre and scary creations.

Some of the looks she’s made include a rainbow unicorn, a terrifying Halloween corpse, a butterfly, animations, and many more.

Tiffany now has more than 400,000 followers on Instagram and hopes to make her hobby a full-time job.

But to create all those masks, Tiffany needs a lot of different kinds of makeup which require a lot of space.

So she has to sacrifice her clothes and belongings to accommodate all the cosmetics.

Tiffany Hunt an Instagram make-up artist who paints incredible artwork directly onto her own face and body
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

‘I have always been artistic and loved drawing. The makeup started as a by-product of that when I was at secondary school,’ she said.

‘I just used my face as a canvas and started using different products and techniques.

Tiffany Hunt as Cruella De Vil
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

‘I had to sacrifice my clothes and get rid of my wardrobe in my room to make way for all the drawers to store all of my makeup.

‘I just love spending an hour or so doing something and it gives me more confidence – you feel different in a way like a whole new person.’

Tiffany as animated character
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

In 2018, Tiffany reached the top five of the NYX face awards which celebrates makeup artists’ creativity and expression.

Tiffany does makeup for clients when she is not working at John Lewis and they book in to be transformed by her paintbrushes and glitter.

She charges up to £60 an hour depending on body paint and sketches out her designs before creating the finished product.

Tiffany as the Grinch
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

‘I never really started my Instagram with the intention of growing it to the size it is now – it is so crazy and overwhelming,’ added Tiffany.

‘A lot of people are now turning to YouTube to learn because you are learning from different people and it is so expensive to learn makeup at university.

Tiffany painted rainbow on one side and black and white on the other
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

‘I am completely self-taught and encourage people to learn from people online.

‘I would love to work on movies and to travel and do something different every day.’

Tiffany as a unicorn
(Picture: Tiffany Hunt / SWNS)

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Topshop’s Riviera playsuit is a summer must-have and it’s only £35

A model wearing Topshop's Riviera playsuit in ivory
(Pictures: Topshop)

Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to ditch the winter tights and cosy jumpers for something a bit cooler.

This £35 Topshop playsuit it perfect – and we can see why it’s already set to be a must-have this season.

The Riviera playsuit comes in ivory or a pretty mint shade.

It features a v-shaped neckline with floaty frills and a belt to add some detail.

The linen fabric will help to keep you cool and calm as the weather heats up.

The description on the website says: ‘Behold the pretty playsuit… an effortless all-in-one that instantly adds summer style. This seasonal piece is made with a linen rich fabrication, part of our Topshop Loves collection, and is both feminine and flattering. We’re loving the floaty frills, classic v-neckline and belted detailing, making this the ultimate elegant ensemble to wear.’

The brand posted images of the piece on their Instagram and fans loved it.


The post said it’s ‘the perfect piece to eat ice-cream in, cycle through flower fields and have picnics in’.

One person said: ‘Looks so good.’

Another added: ‘I need these both.’

The playsuit comes in sizes 4-18 but it’s already sold out in all sizes except 16 and 18 in the mint colour and is only available in a sizes 6, 12, 14 and 16 in ivory, so you better be quick if your size is still in stock.

If it’s sold out, keep an eye out for a re-stock for your own dreamy summer look.

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Manicurists assemble, people want Avengers-themed nails

People are creating Avengers-themed nails
(Picture: Twitter)

Are you eating, breathing, and living all things Avengers at the moment?

If you’ve watched Endgame – the last of the incredible saga – then you probably want therapy after that rollercoaster. If you loved it then you’ll definitely want to commemorate the film with Avengers-themed nails.

Fans of MCU’s last installment of the franchise have been celebrating the movie with manicures showing off some of the superheroes.

Ironman, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk are some of the characters that people are dedicating their nails to.

It’s not just the heroic stars getting a shoutout either, some of the lovable villains like Loki and Thanos are being shown some love.

And of course, what would a manicure be without a bit of glitter? People are also using the stuff to recreate the Infinity Stones.

All these looks have got us wanting to watch the film another seven times.

If you haven’t watched the film yet, don’t worry, none of the nails have spoilers written in hidden messages.

Those unable to create the intricate designs (same) have opted to create a look that’s in tune with the film posters.

One woman used purple galactic glitters as an ode to the posters for the multi-hero blockbuster.

With so many superheroes to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice, though we’d probably go for the easiest one to do.

Or if you want to encapsulate all of them, opt for the A for Avengers sign.

Now is the perfect time with Avengers fever is at an all-time high.

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Mum fuming after school returned the ‘healthy’ sausage rolls she made for her son

Mum's note from school saying she needs to provide the nutrient value of homemade meals
(Picture: Mums Who Cook & Bake/ Facebook)

If you pack lunches for your children then you probably try to make sure they’re getting a balanced diet.

One mum who made veggie sausage rolls and paired them with fruits, vegetables, cheese and protein balls was shocked to find that her son’s school returned them because they were ‘too high in fat’.

The mother, from Australia, was left fuming when her child was banned from eating the contents of his lunchbox.

The mum then received a note from the school saying it wasn’t a healthy enough choice.

She slammed the school for the ‘condescending note’ which told her to reconsider the nutrient values of the baked goods.

The mum who made the lunch for her preschooler took to the Mums Who Cook & Bake Facebook page to vent her frustrations.

Photo showing a stainless steel oven tray of freshly baked sausage rolls
(Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The note sent to her read: ‘Let’s work together to make it easier for children to make healthy choices! There were lots of great choices in this lunchbox however sausage rolls [are] too high in fat… (Please provide nutrient value if they are homemade).

‘The food did not fit with our service’s nutrition guidelines. For some healthier lunchbox ideas, ask an educator, or go to the Good for Kids website.’

The mum, as well as others on the Facebook page felt that the preschool teachers were not nutritionists and should not condemn parents’ food choices.

‘In my opinion, these sausage rolls are pretty healthy for him I will be sending the information back to the school,’ she wrote, adding that it was frustrating to receive the note.

‘They do not allow the food item to be eaten once they attach the note. I had a feeling this would happen so I packed extra for him.’

Other mums said that if teachers were going to police lunch boxes, they should provide food for their students themselves.

One mum wrote: ‘Preschool teachers are not nutritionists. I’d be furious. How dare they?’

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Mum rents out tableware for kids’ birthday parties so other parents don’t buy disposable plastic

On the left, the eco-party pack and on the right, Jo with her three children
(Picture: Wales News Service)

If your child is having a birthday, you often have to cater for lots more mouths that you are used to and that means lots of tableware.

Many parents opt to pick up disposable plates, cups and bowls, and throw them away when the party is over.

But it’s not exactly environmentally friendly and we know we need to cut down on single use plastics.

So one mum had a great idea – an ‘eco-party pack’.

Jo Harris, 42, picked up 50 cups, 61 plates, 21 small bowls, two serving platters and two jugs and rents them out to parents in return for a small donation to the school PTA at Roath Park Primary in Cardiff.

The scheme means that kids can have some bright tableware for their party but parents don’t have to worry about storing lots of it every year and they avoid the waste.

Although it means a little more washing up – it might be worth it to avoid bags full of plastic that has only been used for a few hours.

A primary school is offering an "eco-party pack" for children's birthdays - to cut down on plastic waste. Parents are being urged borrow reusable tableware for children's birthday parties instead of buying disposable plastics. And it is estimated the move has already saved thousands of plastic cups, plates and bowls from landfill at just one school. Pictured here is PTA member Jo Harris and here family. ? WALES NEWS SERVICE
Jo Harris and her family (picture: Wales News Service)

Mum of three Jo said: ‘I started the eco party pack about a year ago when my son had a birthday party, because previously, lots of plastic ended up in the bin and I thought it was a waste.

‘I sent the idea to some parents at the school and they liked the idea.

‘Now it has expanded to the rest of the school.’

A primary school is offering an "eco-party pack" for children's birthdays - to cut down on plastic waste. Parents are being urged borrow reusable tableware for children's birthday parties instead of buying disposable plastics. (PICTURED) And it is estimated the move has already saved thousands of plastic cups, plates and bowls from landfill at just one school. ? WALES NEWS SERVICE
The eco-party pack (Picture: Wales News Service)

Mum Anna Cozens is one parent who has taken advantage of the scheme.

She said: ‘I hired it out because I didn’t want to use a load of paper plates and plastic cups that would go to waste.

‘I noticed a lot less waste because the party I hired it out for had 25 children, so we would have gone through a lot of paper plates and plastic cups.

‘All we had to do was wash it up and return it to be used again – we’ve hired it out to use again in two weeks for my son’s birthday.’

Let’s hope more schools and groups think about similar projects.

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Although no one asked, this nail salon has created a manicure of ears that oozes out pus


Russian salon Nail Sunny seems to be hitting all the body parts when it comes to manicures. They’ve really fascinated and grossed us out in equal measure with the creations.

Their impressive list of body parts covered includes feet nails, hair nails, nail nails, and tooth nails. Now they’ve moved onto ears.

You probably wouldn’t imagine the ear is not a point of interest when it comes to manicures.

But alas, Nail Sunny is bridging that distance. Their latest tutorial comes in the form of mini ears attached to the nails.

And for truly horrific reasons we can’t understand, the ears ooze out an orange liquid that looks a bit like ear wax.

The creation comes with a typical Nail Sunny time-lapse video, which shows how the prosthetic manicure comes to be.

As expected, followers of the two million-strong account are not loving it.

nail salon has created a manicure of ears that ooze out puss
(Picture: Nail Sunny)

Captioning the video with ‘yay or nay’ Nail Sunny received more than 1,000 comments on the video.

And most people voted nay. One person joked, saying: ‘Yay. Always wanted gross-ass ears on my nails. A win from me.’

However, others said it was ‘horrible’ and weren’t impressed at all: ‘I’ve seen it all now’ admitted one Instagrammer.

The making of the manicure
( Picture: Nail Sunny)

Sadly for the salon, they lost a few followers who said they weren’t enjoying the weird concoctions.

‘I honestly used to be a stan but seriously?’ asked one user.

Though the nail technicians may have lost a few followers, they didn’t deter all their followers.

The post still managed to get more than 400,000 likes.

It seems people know to expect such weird and nonsensical designs from Nail Sunny.

Prosthetic ear being prepared to be put into manicure
( Picture: Nail Sunny)

If you are looking to get your nails done, please consider literally anything else. We don’t want to see any pus oozing out of your nails.

There are better manicures to be had. Take a look at the Avengers-themed nails people are sporting.

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Man rubs tiny mark on the wall and turns it into a ‘4ft head of a haunted old man’

The giant smudge on the wall

You know when you see a little mark so you rub it and suddenly it’s worse than when you started?

Well one woman watched her boyfriend as he turned the tiny mark beside their bed into a 4ft smudge that looks a lot like an old man crying, or possibly someone from a boyband.

Laura tweeted the picture with the caption: ‘My boyfriend tried to wipe a small mark off the wall and now we have the 4ft head of a haunted old man crying next to our bed.’

We can see it – the hair at the top, the closed eye, a definite chin.

She later added: ‘As it dries it appears to be developing shading, texture and the haircut of a 90s boy band member.’

Apparently Laura’s boyfriend tried to play down the very large stain on the wall and thought their landlord wouldn’t notice.

He thought that maybe he could hide it with a plant but we think it might need to find something more tree-sized to cover but the face that now watches over him.

After posting it on Twitter, Laura had lots of suggestions about what the face looks like.

Some said it bore a resemblance to politicians like Tony Blair and others thought Boris Johnson.

Others thought it could be a Dr Who villain and there was one suggestion of a ‘one-eyed Keanu Reeves’.

But quite a few people saw the face of a true hero – Colonel Sanders, the man behind KFC.

Although being haunted by Colonel Sanders might not be the worst thing in the world, it’s probably time these guys bought some paint.

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Visual data shows just how rare dark skinned models on Vogue covers are

Visual data shows just how rare dark skinned models on Vogue covers are
(Picture: The Pudding/Getty)

Though it seems the fashion and media industries are making improvements when it comes to representing dark-skinned individuals, they’re still woefully lacking.

One data journalism company has looked at Vogue covers from the last 19 years to show just how often the top fashion magazine features women of different skin tones.

At the end of the darker shade spectrum is Lupita Nyong’o, who has appeared four times in recent years, single-handedly filling in dark skin representation.

On the opposite side, with the lightest skin tone is Anne Hathaway.

The results as published by The Pudding shows how the media perpetuates colourism – the idea that lighter skin is more beautiful (and deserving of success).

The group found that there have been 228 issues of Vogue, with a total of 262 female cover models.

The data did show that the scale expanded over the last two decades, with an increasing number of more diverse models being used.

But the only reason the scale looks wider as it reaches modern day is that Lupita’s appearances for the magazine from 2014-2018 tug it to the left.

Data from Pudding Cool showing colourism in magazines
(Picture: The Pudding)

The Pudding’s data revealed that at the beginning of where the research began, in 2000, the models at the far end (dark shades) used were those with lighter skin such as Halle Berry and Marion Jones.

As time went on and with better technology, the magazine made changes partly due to photography, lighting, and marketing.

Though when they did invest in being more representative, they ended up using the same sources.

Joining Lupita were Michelle Obama and Serena Williams on the darker shade end of the scale.

In contrast, at the lightest end of the spectrum, there were seven different white women on the covers such as Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams, Claire Foy and more.

Interestingly too, (and other publications are also likely to have done the same) of the black models used, some saw their skin being edited to appear lighter (a phenomenon called whitewashing).

The Pudding looked at Rihanna as a repeat model from the years 2012-2018, who seemed to gradually grow from lighter to darker (which may be as a result of changing attitudes and emergence of conversations on colourism).

Data showing a few dots to the left where dark skinned models sit
(Picture: The Pudding)

A lack of black photographers employed by Vogue was also questioned as the magazine has had only one in its history.

Tyler Mitchell famously shot Beyonce last year and was praised for being the black photographer to do so.

If Vogue or any other publications are wondering where to find more black photographers, there is an archive online (among others) available at their disposal.

Now with Edward Eninful, the first black fashion director at its helm, Vogue might want to change it up.

How was the data gathered?

Researchers used an algorithm called K-Means clustering to identify which pixels in the image are showing skin and which are showing anything else.

They then removed any information about the colour’s hue or saturation, leaving them with an idea of how light or dark the colour of the model’s skin is in the particular cover.

Measuring only the lightness of a model’s skin tone in a particular photograph allowed them to compare all of the models based on a single metric.

We’ve contacted Vogue for comment and will update the article if they respond.

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How to cope with muscle soreness after the London Marathon

Young athlete injured her calf on the track
‘Having a massage can improve circulation and help to loosen muscles’ (Picture: Getty)

You have just run 26.2 miles in one go. You are a total superhero.

But now you can’t walk.

Running a marathon is a seriously intense physical challenge and the build up of lactic acid over hours of pounding the pavement will likely lead to some intense soreness over the next few days.

So if you’re walking like John Wayne and struggling to even sit on the loo, we’ve got some top tips to ease the pain and help you get back on your feet.

Strength and Conditioning Coach, James Harrison knows all about the agonies of muscle soreness. But he has some fool-proof strategies that will help your body recover in record time.

Drink it in

Hydration is key before, during and after the race.

Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins from your body and prevent dehydration, which can make muscle soreness even worse.

‘After a long and strenuous run, the goal is to replace lost fluids, carbohydrates and proteins in order to speed up recovery time and be ready for the next workout,’ says James.

‘Try to drink around 500ml in the first 30 minutes after your run and keep gulping every five to 10 minutes until you have reached your target.

‘Many people chose sports drinks such as Lucozade Sport or Powerade after a strenuous exercise as it restores electrolytes and glucose.

‘As tempting as it is to meet up with friends and family for a celebratory drink, try to avoid choosing an alcoholic beverage immediately after the race.

‘You need to focus first on replacing the salts you’ve lost through sweating and re-hydrating your body. In reality, water is the best option for this!’

Re-fuel feast

Food is one of the most effective ways to aid muscle recovery.

Just make sure your eating the right things. A nutritious balanced meal is going to be much kinder on your body than a greasy takeaway.

‘After such an intense training period and hitting a massive fitness goal, many people understandably look forward to their post-race feast. My advice to clients is to eat a small snack within the first 30-60 minutes post-race,’ says James.

a sporty young woman holding her neck in pain while exercising outdoors
‘Eat a small snack within the first 30-60 minutes post-race’ (Picture: Getty)

‘Save the big meal for later in the day when your appetite returns, and you can enjoy that celebration.

‘The time immediately after the race is more about getting in about 200 to 300 easily-digestible calories from carbohydrates and protein to maintain blood sugar levels, replenish muscle glycogen, and repair muscle tissue.’

Gentle exercise the day after

The day after the marathon, your body is likely to be in pain. It can be tempting to lie on the sofa all day – or throw yourself back into running in an attempt to shake off the pain.

Ideally, you want to be somewhere in the middle of these two strategies. Movement is good, but it needs to be gentle.

‘One of the most common mistakes made by marathon runners is to get back to strenuous training too soon,’ explains James.

‘The 26.2 miles really takes a toll on your body and you need to allow your muscles time to replenish fluids and energy lost and recover from the demands of the race.

‘I advise clients to do some light walking and stretching the day after the race, and only re-introduce cardio activities such as running or cross-fit in the next few weeks when it feels comfortable.

‘Having said that, everyone’s recovery is different – so just listen to your body and let it be your lead.’

Try hot yoga for muscle recovery

If you’re looking for a gentle, soothing form of exercise to help ease your aching muscle – hot yoga could help.

Stretch and recover
Any sort of exercise puts the body under stress. As such, rest days are crucial to allow your body time and space to adapt.

A yoga practice is an ideal rest day activity.

Muscle recovery
Repetitive motion, such as running, tends to shorten muscles – hot yoga is great to help maintain range of motion, release muscle tension and generally counteract the effects of training.

Hotpod Yoga pods are heated to a comfortable 37 degrees, which is warm enough to help ease you into poses and stretch safely, without being overwhelming.

Running is as much a mental exercise as a physical one.

When practising hot yoga, there are a number or factors at play in order to help build the mental focus and awareness required.

Strong Core
Running is not solely about legs. Rather it is a coordinated whole-body effort which requires a strong core to implement.

Yoga involves awareness and engagement of the core throughout, building a strong core over time.

Improved Flexibility
Yoga develops flexibility which is the foundation for efficient movement of all four limbs and can help with injury prevention.

Nick Higgins, co-founder, Hotpod Yoga

Look after your feet

Don’t be surprised if you peel off your running socks to find that your feet are blistered, battered and bruised.

It’s totally normal. But that doesn’t make it pleasant. James has some ideas of how you can give your toes some TLC:

‘Everyone’s heard the horror stories about the “body bashing” you get during a marathon.

‘So, if you experience bruised toe nails, heel blisters, hard, calloused skin on your feet or skin chaffing – your body will definitely need some post-race love and care.

‘Pounding the pavement can really take it out on your feet, so you could try an at-home treatment such as Footner Exfoliating Socks, which makes use of the skin’s natural process to rid your feet from dead skin build-up and can leave you with baby-soft feet in a quick and easy 60-minute application.’

Runner girl is resting exhausted on the ground
‘Do some light walking and stretching the day after the race’ (Picture: Getty)

Soak in a warm bath

Submerging yourself in warm water will help to increase blood flow, stimulate healing, and relax sore, tight muscles. So get the water running as soon as you get in from the race.

‘A hot bath with Epsom Bath Salts can help to relax muscles and detoxify the body,’ says James.

‘The magnesium in the salts can help reduce inflammation and improve muscle function, whilst the sulphates improve nutrient absorption and can help with flushing out toxins.

‘The recommended use per bath is 300-500g or 1-2 large full mugs. Just soak for 10 minutes while it works its magic.’

Quick recovery tips

  1. Low impact movement – although you may not feel like it, it is suggested that a recovery run is beneficial. However, by doing this, there is still a high amount of ground force and impact. An alternative would be a slow cycle on a stationary bike to encourage blood flow, without impact.
  2. Bathe in Epsom Salt – the magnesium in Epsom Salt will aid recovery and provide soothing and repair of the muscles.
  3. Eat foods that help with inflammation – by adding turmeric as seasoning to foods such as rice and fish (high in Omega 3) will decrease muscle inflammation.
  4. Gentle massage – this could even be performed yourself if needed. A massage will again encourage blood flow and therefore, drain the lactic acid whilst bringing fresh blood to your muscles and tissues.
  5. Hydrate – after doing any exercise your body will have lower amounts of essential salts. Water is the best thing I can suggest as this will improve circulation and digestion. We could all improve our hydration and benefit in many ways as a result.
  6. Sleep – the repairing of muscles and surrounding tissue can be accelerated if you have better rest. Ensure you get a good night sleep regardless.

Marvin Burton, head of fitness at Anytime Fitness UK

Book a massage

After running a marathon you deserve some luxury self-care – and a sports massage could be the perfect way to go.

Many long distance runners swear by regular massages for easing inflammation, improving blood flow and reducing muscle tightness.

‘Having a massage can improve circulation and also help to loosen muscles and reduce pains caused by delayed onset muscle soreness,’ explains James.

‘Occasionally referred to as a “runner’s MOT”, a sports massage will focus more on the areas that athletes suffer from after a workout and can even help to prevent injury to the muscles caused by overuse.’

MORE: London Marathon music – the top Spotify playlists and songs to keep you motivated while running

MORE: Is it OK to drink after a marathon?

MORE: Anxious about running the London Marathon? You could have ‘maranoia’

Mum lost her twin babies and needed an organ transplant because of rare pregnancy condition

Louise in hospital in a coma and Louise, max and Ava after her birth
(Picture: SWNS)

Louise Prashad has two scars across her stomach – a stark reminder of her survival and gift of life but also the devastation that she experienced.

She woke up from a three-week long coma and found that but she had lost her twin babies and she had to have a liver transplant to save her life.

A rare condition called acute fatty liver of pregnancy left her with a scar where the organ was removed and a caesarean scar when her twins Mia and Leo were stillborn at 37 weeks.

Louise, now 25, thought she would never have another child – and only survived thanks to the liver transplant donated by a woman in her 50s.

It was found by medics in eight hours after Louise was escalated to number one on the European organ register.

Louise was wracked with grief following the death of the twins and practically gave up all hope of ever being a mother again.

Her reluctance was down to the one in four chance of the ‘acute fatty liver’ condition reoccurring during another pregnancy.

 Louise and Max Prashad with their daughter Ava
Max, Ava and Louise (Picture: Dan Rowlands/SWNS

But after making the brave decision to try for another baby with her now husband Max, 30,  she fell pregnant with Ava following a year wait.

Louise wasn’t convinced little Ava, who is now one, would be born alive until being welcomed into the world on March 20, 2018.

She said: ‘I never thought I would have another child. When I decided I wanted to try again, I had to wait over a year because the medication I was on was really harmful.

‘We started trying and it took a year and a half. I finally fell pregnant with Ava but it was the most nerve-wracking pregnancy. I really struggled to enjoy it.

‘When you are pregnant, the slightest little thing can set your nerves going but I was on tenterhooks constantly.

‘I didn’t believe she was going to be here alive until I gave birth. I wasn’t allowed a natural birth, I had to have a planned cesarean to make sure she was here safely.

‘The minute I saw her and heard her cry I thought “she is actually here and I can stop doubting myself”.

Louise and Max Prashad with their daughter Ava as a newborn
Louise, Max and Ava when she was born (Picture: SWNS)

‘She is the spitting image of Mia and Leo, the similarities are so strange – the dark hair, same colour eyes, olive skin, cute button nose.’

After the birth of Ava, Louise’s first thoughts were of her son and daughter and of the woman who had donated the organ.

She wrote a letter to the donor’s family to let them know where their mum’s organ had gone and what Louise had achieved thanks to the woman in her 50s.

Louise fell pregnant with twins Mia and Leo in August 2015 aged 21 while taking a degree in law and having only been with her then-boyfriend, Max for six months.

She had a difficult pregnancy and then began to suffer from extreme fatigue, sickness and abdominal pain in the months before her due date.

Louise was rushed to hospital after vomiting two pints of blood before slipping into unconsciousness following complications with her pregnancy.

Louise Prashad, 25 with her daughter Ava
Louise and Ava (Picture: SWNS)

Medics later discovered Louise had been struck down with potentially fatal ‘acute fatty liver of pregnancy’ which affects one woman in 10,000 and meant Mia and Leo were ‘born sleeping’.

Louise underwent a liver transplant while she was unconscious and had a very slim chance of survival

After waking up she could not remember the months leading up to her illness due to delirium.

Whilst recovering in the hospital, Lousie had to be told the devastating news that her twins had passed away.

Louise, who works for City of York Council, said: ‘Mum came in and broke the news that Mia and Leo weren’t here anymore. I screamed the place down.

‘That’s when it all felt real and my brain came round to the idea they weren’t there anymore.

‘It was the most traumatic experience of my life. I somehow found this inner strength that I needed to get better to ensure they had the best send off possible. They deserved so much more than the hand they were dealt.

‘It was all about them and trying to celebrate what little life they had. I was numb.’

Louise and Max Prashad with their daughter Ava
Louise and Max with their daughter Ava (Picture: Dan Rowlands / SWNS)

Louise had to learn to walk and write again, but once she left intensive care, managed to visit the chapel of rest and spend some time with Mia and Leo before the funeral.

Louise and her husband Max, of Holgate, York, have since raised £800 for a remembrance bench in Rowntree Park in honour of Mia and Leo and other families who have experienced child loss.

Friends and family are running York 10K in memory of Mia, Leo and organ donors and all funds raised will be donated to local organ donation charities.

She said: ‘The last few years have been a whirlwind of emotion and grief, that never really stops.

‘I wanted something in our home city we could visit with Ava on special occasions when we need some time out to think about them, or having a hard day.

‘Somewhere we could go that’s a memorial and not a grave.

‘I cannot even begin to explain how perfect my children were, I still think about them everyday. The pain never fades.’

Louise is still undergoing counselling and physiotherapy to improve her mobility but is determined to make her children proud by raise awareness of organ donation and liver conditions in pregnancy.

She said: ‘Awareness of liver conditions in pregnancy is very low key. More needs to be done to educate the general public.

‘Itchy skin, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin, excessive thirst, tiredness, bleeding gums are all symptoms.

‘I think if you are willing to receive an organ, then you should be willing to donate.

‘I was on the organ donor register before but I didn’t give it a moment’s thought, it was just something I ticked on my driving application but it is so much more than that. You are saving someone’s child, someone’s mother, the love of someone’s life.

‘It was through no fault of my own that I found myself in that situation and if there had not have been a donor available I wouldn’t be here and my husband would have lost three people that day.’

MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘People say ME isn’t real but trust me – I deal with it everyday’

MORE: How to cope with muscle soreness after the London Marathon

And relax! 11 of the best beaches in Europe


Love beaches, hate crowds? Two words: shoulder season. It’s when the weather is fine and the shores are at their prime, but the kids are still in school, so hop over now or in autumn for an adults-only escape in the sun

Best for partying

Playa de la Salinas, Ibiza

If it’s a grown-up party crowd you seek, nowhere on Ibiza beats Playa de las Salinas. This pine-backed, one-mile beach is home to a clutch of cool chiringuitos (beach bars/nightclubs), including Malibu, Jockey Club and the achingly hip Sa Trinxa, each spilling out onto the sand.

Fly to Ibiza from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for culture

Patara, Turkey’s Lycian Coast

Birthplace of Apollo, Patara is an 11-mile sweep of bonewhite beach with a 2,000-year old ruin just back from the dunes. Sit atop the ancient amphitheatre at sunset and you’ll swear you’ve seen the Argonaut sail by. More ruins at Letoon, Xanthos and Sidyma are within a 10-minute drive.

Fly to Dalaman from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for stargazing

Pampelonne, French Riviera

No, we don’t mean Orion and the Plough. We’re talking Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio and Naomi Campbell, all papped at this A-lister’s hotspot near St Tropez. Nikki Beach Bar and Club 55 are where they gather, though it pays to have your phone set to camera anywhere along this three-mile stretch of sand.

Fly to Nice from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for surfers

Famara, Canary Islands

Sandy of bottom, steady of swell, with water temperatures in spring averaging 23˚C, four-mile-long Famara beach in northern Lanzarote has the best surfing this side of Maui. Throw in a gently shelving beach and perma-sun, and it’s no wonder this is learn to surf’s Promised Land.

Fly to Lanzarote from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for sporty types

Mar Menor, Spain’s Costa Calida

Fringing the largest saltwater lagoon in Europe, Mar Menor is great for beginner wind- and kite-surfers, but also backs on to Club La Manga, a 1,400-acre sporting Valhalla with three championship golf courses, 28 tennis courts, a riding school and top-notch triathlon training facility.

Fly to Alicante from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for castaways

Cavo Paradiso, Kos

Marooned on the rugged southwest coast of Kos, Cavo Paradiso is reached only by a steep, switchbacking track that keeps out the holiday hoi polloi. A shack sells drinks in summer, but in spring and autumn it’s probably just you an Instagramable idyll of empty cliff-backed beach.

Fly to Kos from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for baring it all

Red Beach, Crete

It’s a 20-minute walk from the nearest car park in Matala, but Greece’s most spectacular nudist beach is a stunning kaleidoscope of colours, dwarfed below towering red sandstone cliffs that give the bay its famously emerald glint. A cocktail bar below the cliffs is just the spot to toast it from.

Fly to Crete from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for foodies

Grande Crohot, French Aquitaine

If the setting is good – the beach sand here stretches the entire length of Cap Ferret – the après ain’t bad either, courtesy of a string of simple, family-run oyster shacks close by. Best of the bunch is Chez Boulan, with tables gazing across Arcachon Bay to 110m-tall Dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Euope.

Fly to Bordeaux from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for campers

Cavallino, Italian Adriatic

A 45-minute ferry hop across the lagoon from Venice, Cavallino is a 10-mile strip of broad, sandy beach with one of the best campsites in Europe. Pitch your own tent just back from the beach in the pine forest, or choose from a range of two- or three-bedroom cute budget lodges.

Fly to Venice from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for a city-bikini-break

Sveti Jakov, Dubrovnik

Even off-season Dubrovnik can teem with tourists, so this tiny white-shingle cove is a godsend. Hidden below Sveti Jakov church one-mile west of town (take the no.5 bus if you don’t want to walk), the sunbleached shingle beach is reached via a 160-step staircase, has a beach bar and cracking views back to Dubrovnik.

Fly to Dubrovnik from London Gatwick with British Airways.

Best for sunsets

Meia Praia, Portuguese Algarve

Stretching nearly three miles from Lagos to the Odiaxere River, Meia Praia is one of the Algarve’s longest beaches, and a cracking spot for a sunset stroll. With tables right on the sand at the eastern end of the beach, Bar Quim is the perfect spot for sundowners and the best spicy prawns on the Algarve.

Fly to the Algarve from London Gatwick with British Airways.


Get there

All the beaches above can be reached from Gatwick Airport with British Airways, which has an extensive network of flights across Europe. Combine your flight with a hotel and car hire from British Airways Holidays to create a great-value getaway.


The 10 jobs that aren’t commonplace yet but will be huge in 2050


We’re about to lose millions of jobs to automation and robotic replacements.

A report, published in September last year, concluded that half of all ‘work tasks’ will be capable of being carried out by machines by 2025.

If the figures are correct, it could lead to the displacement of 75 million jobs.

A disaster? Not necessarily.

The explosion of digital advancement over the last couple of decades has already changed the way we work, forever.

While it has led to the demise of some jobs, it has also led to the inception of entire new industries and the creation of millions of new roles – hello social media managers, UX designers and coders.

The same thing is likely to happen over the next 30 years. As technology continues to advance at a break-neck pace, new industries will be spawned. The most sought-after jobs of 2050 probably don’t even exist yet.

So rather than rising up against the machines, all we need to is keep abreast of the developing careers market and make sure our skills align accordingly.

‘We are currently experiencing an immense shift in the way we work, and this is only going to augment over time, which is why humans need to prepare for the workplace of the future, today,’ says James Wilson, VP at tech company Cornerstone.

‘Digital transformation is impacting all careers both present and future, and in order to stay ahead, we must prepare for jobs that don’t even exist today.

‘To prepare for a dynamic new future, humans must focus on being proactive and developing skills that may not currently seem valuable or relevant.

‘We must learn to understand and navigate the skills economy and develop the capabilities we will need to thrive in the fast-paced and technology-focused workplace of the future.’

The year is 2050. You have just been laid off and replaced by a particularly charismatic bot. It’s time to get back on the job hunt. Here are our predictions for the roles you might be applying for in 30 years.

1. AI Psychologist

Away from the doomsday predictions of artificial intelligence (AI) on the silver screen, the possible applications of AI are much more practical, and thanks to the huge quantities of data that computers can now gather about human behaviour, the momentum behind major AI developments is growing.

As AI machines become more human-like, there may well be the need for human intervention to help maintain the emotional and psychological well-being of the technology. They will need engineers for their ‘minds’.

‘Demand for Machine Learning Engineers has increased 12-fold,’ explains Darain Faraz, head of global consumer communications at LinkedIn.

‘As the world develops more artificial intelligence machines, the AI itself will need to be kept on the straight-and-narrow to overcome technical issues brought about by being able to think for itself.

‘Early AI technologies that have learned from humans have had a number of false starts, so an AI Psychologist will have a twin understanding of psychology and technology to be able to ensure future supercomputers maintain their levels of mental wellness.’

Illo requests: Automation quiz metro illustrations Future of everything ella byworth
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

2. Chief Productivity Officer

With technology progressing quicker than companies have the ability to train their staff, businesses are left with a lagging effect between what’s technologically possible and what staff are capable of achieving.

The most successful businesses will be the ones who can keep up with the latest developments, train and retrain their employees and be open and adaptable to rapid change.

This is where they will need a chief productivity officer.

‘The CPO can effectively boost workplace productivity by overseeing the organisation’s technology services, ensuring that the company reaches its business goals,’ says James from Cornerstone.

‘Due to digital transformation, the CIO and IT department roles have changed and they now only have limited time for technical projects.

‘The CPO can manage the company’s collaborative software and ensure that the most effective processes are in place.’

3. Quantum Data Analyst

Quantum computing uses the theory of quantum mechanics – the concept of nature at its smallest level of atoms and sub-atomic particles – and uses it in computer calculations.

It sounds confusing because it is. We don’t know enough about quantum data yet to understand exactly how it could be used in the world of computing. But scientists are keen to find out.

‘The demand for data analysts is growing, and with the development of quantum computing, businesses of the future will need to prepare for this new technology,’ says James.

‘Quantum data analysts will be able to measure quantum information and help businesses upgrade to quantum level encryption.’

Quantum encryption is important because it could be the key to perfect security. As serious cyber hacks and catastrophic data breaches continue to rise, security will be a major concern for business developers.

4. Personal Medical Counsellor

According to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report, professional medical representatives have grown in demand by 600% since 2014.

‘With rapid advances in genetic medicine, healthcare providers will likely offer even more personalised medicines and treatments to patients,’ says Darain.

‘In years to come, personal edical Counsellors may be able to match solutions to a patient’s DNA, working with them on a truly case-by-case basis.’

Bespoke healthcare is likely to be increasingly prevalent by 2050, as medical advancements change the ways in which we tackle illness and disease.

Diseases which were once a death sentence can now be lived with for decades with the correct care and management and we are likely to see this happen for other illnesses that we currently think of as deadly.

As a result, more people living with chronic, long-term illness will need support to manage medication and optimise their quality of life.

‘Health care is another area which we believe will see a big change over the next few decades,’ adds Polina Montano, co-founder of Job Today.

‘The UK has an ageing population which means health workers, including doctors, nurses and physios, will be required to make sure the elderly get the care they need.’

5. Drone Manager

Drones dominated the news after wreaking havoc at a number of the UK’s major airports.

But, when used correctly, drones have the potential to be incredibly useful. And by 2050 we might be seeing their widespread use for global deliveries.

Using drones rather than trucks to deliver packages could drastically reduce carbon emissions and take more vehicles off the roads. But for that to happen, we need people to operate them and to develop the skills to manage fleets of drones on a large scale.

‘Drones are likely to be used in everything from delivery logistics to passenger transport and will need highly skilled individuals to work alongside computers to ensure the skies are a safe travel space,’ says Darain.

‘Drone Managers will be responsible for tasks such as overseeing vehicle-to-vehicle communication, collision avoidance and assisting with safe landing coordination.’

6. Elderly Yoga Instructor

The number of people aged over 60 in the world is projected to be 1.4 billion in 2030 and 2.1 billion in 2050.

Alongside the growth of the older population is the growth in popularity of wellness and holistic health. More and more people are looking for natural ways to look after their bodies, reduce aches and pains and improve their quality of life.

As a result, it may be that by 2050, our ageing population will have embraced they yoga market as a gentle option for keeping fit and healthy. Cornering the elderly wellness market could be a savvy option for entrepreneurs.

‘It is possible that increased automation and robotics will leave people with more free time and that we will see a growth in social and community orientated enterprises,’ explains Peter Lawrence, a HR expert from Human Capital.

If, by some miracle, traditional working structures have collapsed by 2050, becoming an elderly yoga specialist might be a productive way to fill all that free time.

7. Care-giving Specialist

Sticking with the theme of our rapidly ageing population, there will likely be an increase in the demand for caregivers and specialists within the care sector.

The care sector includes nursing, psychiatric home aides, care of the elderly and childcare. It’s overwhelmingly female and, not so coincidentally, incredibly low paid.

As our demand for care increases, we will need to reassess how we approach this sector and how the job roles are perceived. For an ageing population to flourish, measures will have to be taken to make caring professions more attractive.

Back in 2013, campaigners warned that the number of older people across the world who require care could nearly treble by 2050.

Around 101 million people currently require care, but this figure will rise to 277 million, with India and China expected to be hard hit.

The report recommends that paid and unpaid carers need further rewards to incentivise their work, and reiterates the need to build and reinforce robust structures in this industry.

8. Sustainable Building Regulator

Current estimates say we will run out of oil in just 53 years.

Scientists are shifting the emphasis to sustainable power and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are becoming cheaper and more accessible.

There are still considerable roadblocks preventing us from completely adopting these cleaner sources of energy – we still don’t really know how to store solar power effectively, for example – but by 2050, the hope is that these kinks will all be ironed out.

‘Solar Power Consultants are already four times more in demand than they were five years ago,’ Derain tells us.

‘With the growing interest in a sustainable energy future, we could see the need for Sustainable Building Regulators, charged with ensuring buildings are 100% environmentally sustainable and free from fossil fuels.’

9. Soft Skill Consultant

Despite the ferocious speed of technological advancement, the future of jobs isn’t going to be entirely centred around the digital.

Experts think that human skills will still play an integral part in how we work.

And it is our ‘soft skills’ – like oral communication, leadership and time management – that will give us the edge over the machines.

If you’re an expert in these skills and can teach other people how to be better at them, then this could be the perfect future job for you.

‘Despite technical roles consistently growing in demand, soft skills still make up nearly half of the skills with the largest skills gaps according to LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report,’ explains Darain.

‘Workers with these attributes will likely continue to have a leg up as automation continues.

‘Soft Skill Consultants may come into favour as people look for expert help to make them stand out in the market as attractive job candidates.’

10. Waste Engineer

The world generates at least 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste a day, which is 10 times the amount that was produced a century ago.

And, despite innovative moves to try to limit the production and use of plastic and non-recyclable materials, the problem of what to do with all of our rubbish continues to loom over us and threaten our very existence.

A Waste Engineer could be tasked with solving this problem – one crisp packet at a time. Maybe they will develop a method of converting litter into clean energy or using it to create sustainable bricks for building houses.

You will need engineering and STEM expertise in order to do this job effectively, as well as a strong stomach for smells.

The Future Of Everything

Future Of Everything

This piece is part of Metro.co.uk's series The Future Of Everything.

Over eight weeks, we're taking one of the big issues - work, government, health, the web, sex, evolution, travel and people - on each week and breaking them down twice a day (published early each weekday morning).

From OBEs to CEOs, professors to futurologists, economists to social theorists, politicians to multi-award winning academics, we think we've got the future covered, away from the doom mongering or easy Minority Report references.

Talk to us using the hashtag #futureofeverything  If you think you can predict the future better than we can or you think there's something we should cover we might have missed, get in touch: hey@metro.co.uk or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk

Read every Future Of Everything story so far

Computer says no: What happens when we disagree with the robots we’re working under?


It’s the 22nd century. Thanks to some beef over who should lead the Klingon High Council, the crew of the Starship Enterprise are pulled into a civil war. All senior officers are given a ship to command – except Data, the second officer, the only android in the fleet.

Despite possessing mental and physical capabilities far beyond any organic being, and 26 years of service, he is left behind. Humanity is so technologically advanced that they can traverse galaxies – but they’ve not found the nerve to let a robot command a vessel.

Data eventually gets his ship but is met with hostility echoing today’s racial prejudices. His first officer makes his disdain plain and requests an immediate transfer. Captain Data listens.

‘I understand your concerns.’ He nods, thoughtfully. ‘Request denied’.

Though we’re a long way from androids commanding starships, the question raised is not so distant: is Data a member of the crew like everyone else? Or is he just another useful tool – albeit one with a personality?

Fictional futures aside, versions of this scenario are not lightyears away. What happens if we’re working under robots and they say ‘no’?

First, we need to figure out if AIs can have rights, and what that means for the rest of us who work alongside them. Unlike the Star Trek example above, humanity does not have to grapple with the rights of a single machine. In the real world, technological advancement has led to a profusion of AIs throughout our workforce in a short amount of time. It’s conceivable and even probable that unlike Data, human workers will be vastly outnumbered by our synthetic colleagues.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, AIs are expected to perform half of all productive functions in the workplace by 2025.

Despite AIs doing an increasing number of jobs as well as – or even better – than their human colleagues, legal standards have not changed to account for the coming changes.

Very soon humans will not be the keystone of the workforce, so we can’t afford to ignore the conversation about who gets what rights for another century.

This means some think it’s time to revisit the ethical rights of machines.

chart showing the rate of automation from 2018 to 2025
(Picture: Metro.co.uk. Source: World Economc Forum)

‘As robotic and automated “workers” begin to populate our workplaces and as their emotions evolve closer to humans, we will need to figure out on a global basis what fundamental rights and protections will they have,’ Professor Andrew J. Sherman. a partner at law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, tells Metro.co.uk.

Prof Sherman says it’s time to think about how the usual workplace issues of pay, progression, vacation and even discrimination will look once we add AI into the mix.

As advances lead us ever-closer to superintelligence, humanity must grapple with the broadening of the definition of personhood and all its attendant dilemmas.

Automated workers will eventually outperform their human colleagues – what could this mean for monitoring performance, worker motivation and human-machine co-working?

As AIs become more human, Sherman argues they will need to be subject to disciplinary procedures in the same way that people are. It’s time for humans to game out what happens if our creations cause us harm.

‘Workers rights need to be developed to empower managers but also to protect the rights of these automated co-workers,’ he says.

Humans have always feared the ‘other’. Naturally, not everyone will welcome the coming robo-revolution. For some, their displacement in the current order is frightening, meaning an uncertain future.

Fear, resentment and the anxiety of being made irrelevant plagues workers, Sherman explains. Steps must be taken now to prepare our workforce – re-training and retooling them in anticipation of what’s to come – or we will face hostility between man and machine.

Add to this the workplace wisdom of ‘percussive maintenance’ – how often we give our tech a thump when it doesn’t work – and we have a new problem to contend with. What happens when the machine can thump you right back?

‘It will only be a matter of time before the automated creatures will “feel” this hostility and/or feel the need to retaliate,’ says Andrew.

This is precisely why we need to understand what the rights and responsibilities of AIs will look like in future, Sherman says. We need to know what robots ‘are’ so that we understand who is accountable if things go wrong.

‘Will they be charged with assault and battery and legally responsible for the harm they may cause under criminal or civil law? Or should a robot’s programmer be held jointly responsible?’

Prof Sherman is not the only one who feels that tension between human and non-human workers is something worth paying attention to.

And it could be because the first innovators in AI never considered that the fruits of their labour would be potentially so risky.

‘[AI pioneers] gave no lip service – let alone serious thought – to any safety concern or ethical qualm related to the creation of artificial minds and potential computer overlords,’ Prof Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, wrote in Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.

Bostrom argues that one day we could conceivably find ourselves confronted by AIs capable of rapid self-improvement, with the means of concealing their development from humans to circumvent our interference.

Some experts are concerned we may be designing intelligences so powerful they could one day take over. If ever there was an argument to take AI rights and the implications for humanity seriously, surely this is it.

If technology continues speeding forward without serious thought being given to robot rights and our place alongside them, distrust and discomfort will breed, especially when it comes to disagreeing with machines.

It’s crucial that we establish a working structure and hierarchy that includes the work done by AI. We have to establish whether AI can be in charge and asked to make decisions, or if humans will always be in top positions.

It could the case that our legacy mirrors that of the technology we create for mass consumption and maximum profit – we may be engineering our own obsoletion.

If we don’t find a viable way for workers and machines to work together across their differences, then we may see ourselves taken out of the equation entirely.

The Future Of Everything

Future Of Everything

This piece is part of Metro.co.uk's series The Future Of Everything.

Over eight weeks, we're taking one of the big issues - work, government, health, the web, sex, evolution, travel and people - on each week and breaking them down twice a day (published early each weekday morning).

From OBEs to CEOs, professors to futurologists, economists to social theorists, politicians to multi-award winning academics, we think we've got the future covered, away from the doom mongering or easy Minority Report references.

Talk to us using the hashtag #futureofeverything  If you think you can predict the future better than we can or you think there's something we should cover we might have missed, get in touch: hey@metro.co.uk or Alex.Hudson@metro.co.uk

Read every Future Of Everything story so far

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Woman has fat from her thighs injected into her mouth because her body is hardening from the inside out

Ashton in hospital and Ashton on a better day
(Picture: PA Real Life)

Ashton Rains is taking a drastic step just to be able to move her mouth – injecting it with fat from her thighs and stomach.

The 28-year-old, Lowestoft, Suffolk, has a rare, chronic disease of the immune system, blood vessels and connective tissue called scleroderma, which causes painful ulcers, hardening of her skin and scarring of her lungs.

In a bid to be able to move the skin around her mouth, she will have the procedure, known as autologous lipotransfer, on May 1 at London’s Royal Free Hospital.

It uses similar techniques to a Brazilian bum lift – a cosmetic procedure popular with reality TV stars.

Fat will be taken from her stomach or thighs before being enriched with her own stem cells and reinjected into her mouth and lips, in a bid to reconstruct her facial tissue and reverse the effects of internal scarring.

Ashton, whose boyfriend Ross Hepburn, 32, owns his own sports coaching company, said: ‘Because the skin around my mouth has tightened so much, it’s hard to open.

‘It looks wrinkled, as if I’m puckering my lips. I almost have a smoker’s mouth, despite never smoking.

‘I’ve had the treatment once before in January 2018 and the visual effects were great, but more than that, I could finally move my mouth again.’

Ashton’s health issues began aged 15 when, struck down with a cold, she left school early one day and went home to nap – waking to find her hands had turned deep purple.

Worried, she told her parents, who took her straight to see a doctor but, by the time she got there, her hands had returned to their normal colour.

Still, she had a blood sample taken and a test was performed, whereby Ashton had to place her hands in cold water to have her response monitored.

Ashton and Ross (PA Real Life/Collect)
Ashton and boyfriend Ross Hepburn (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

This revealed she had Raynaud’s, a condition causing the blood vessels in the hands and feet to become incredibly sensitive to cold.

‘I had no idea what it meant and had never heard of it before,’ she said. ‘I figured it was just something I would grow out of in time, like poor circulation.’

But, two years later, when she was 17, Ashton began to develop painful ulcers on her fingers, as well as back and chest pain.

Referred to a rheumatologist at James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk – a doctor who deals with disorders of the musculoskeletal system – by complete chance, he knew a lot about scleroderma, and recognised the symptoms immediately.

Sent to the more specialist Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north west London, a chest X-Ray revealed scarring on Ashton’s lungs, leading to an official diagnosis of systemic scleroderma – a form of the condition affecting internal organs, including the heart, kidneys and lungs, as well as the skin.

Ashton, who was then 18, recalled: ‘Coming from a tiny town, having to go to London and meet with all these professors seemed really big.

‘When they told me my diagnosis, I couldn’t even pronounce scleroderma. All I knew was that sclero meant hard, and derma meant skin.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE Ashton after an op to get more blood flow into her ulcerated hand (PA Real Life/Collect)
Ashton after an operation to get more blood flow into her ulcerated hand (Picture: PA Real Life/Collect)

‘My family and I were told not to Google it, but there was so little other information out there back then that we had no choice.

‘Things are much better now, but then there were no factual, patient-friendly sites – just Wikipedia. When we opened the page, my eyes jumped straight to a line about 10-year survival rates.

‘At the time, I felt relatively well, so it was hard to reconcile that could be me.’

Since her diagnosis, Ashton has remained under the care of both the Royal Free and west London’s Royal Brompton Hospital.

She added: ‘I have always felt in very good hands with the doctors, and the specialised care has come on so much.

‘But in those early days, I’d see patients on the ward looking just like the pictures I’d seen online, on oxygen and in wheelchairs.

‘It was daunting to think I could end up like that, too.’

The condition is now well known and Ashton explains it by telling people her immune system is overactive and attacking the healthy tissue in her body.

She continued: ‘It feels like my body is slowly hardening. The lining of my lungs has thickened and scarred, meaning my lung function is only around 30 per cent.

‘I also have patches of tightened skin that look almost like vitiligo, which causes white patches on the skin.

‘One of the hardest parts of the condition to deal with on a day to day basis, is the ulcers. At the moment, I have 10 on my fingers and three on the bottom of my feet, but they spring up on my knees, elbows and under my nails, too.

‘You can’t get the ulcers wet so when I have them on my feet I have to use special cushioned dressings and a waterproof sock that covers my leg in the shower.

‘I try to be independent, but they have made doing some things hard. For example, I struggle getting in and out of the bath, as I can’t grip much anymore.

‘My partner Ross, who I met through work in 2007, is amazing though, and always there to help me on my bad days.’

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE Ashton's ulcerated hands (PA Real Life/Collect)
Ashton’s ulcerated hands (PA Real Life/Collect)

While Ashton has tried to live as normal a life as possible since her diagnosis, but it has become gradually more difficult.

Sadly she had to give up her work as a key stage one teacher in November 2017, when she simply became too ill.

She said: ‘That was heartbreaking. I had worked as a teaching assistant and had an amazing opportunity to train as a teacher at that same school.

‘Mentally, work was brilliant for me. It was so full on that I didn’t think about my condition. All I could focus on was doing the best for my class.

‘But I soon noticed that whenever I had any down time, like half term, to sit back and take a deep breath, I’d get very mentally and physically ill.

‘I pulled back on my hours, but continued to struggle until eventually taking ridiculously early retirement in November 2017.

‘Initially, I had lots to occupy my time, but after a couple of months, the ‘now what?’ hit me hard.’

No longer working, she has now vowed to dedicate her time to raising awareness of scleroderma, after receiving tremendous and ongoing support from the charity Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK (SRUK).

By speaking out, Ashton hopes to educate the general public and encourage people to be more mindful of the fact that not all disabilities are visible.

‘One of the biggest problems I face is with using my blue disabled parking badge,’ she said.

‘They don’t hand them out for no reason and I had to do a really rather gruelling assessment to get one, but I still get people gawping and staring at me when I climb out of my car after pulling up in a disabled bay.

‘To them, my condition may not be immediately obvious. I wish I could say, “I have scleroderma” and that they’d know right away what it means, but there’s simply not enough information out there at the moment about it.

‘Charities like SRUK are invaluable to people like me. I’ve used their website and helpline countless times.

‘Scleroderma is an absolute monster – there is no doubt about it. I believe that if more people knew about the disease and the impact that it has on each and every person diagnosed, it would take away the guilt that we as patients feel every day.’

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Scientists say sugar isn’t needed for a good cup of tea

A spoonful of sugar over a cup of tea
(Picture: Getty)

How do you take your tea? With milk? Sugar?

Well scientists say that sugar won’t actually make it more enjoyable.

In a study, they found that those who cut it out in one drastic step or gradually reduced it over time still enjoyed their daily cuppa just as much.

The team, from University College London and the University of Leeds, said that it suggests a long-term change in behaviour was possible.

In their study, they wrote: ‘Excess sugar intake is a public health problem and sugar in beverages contributes substantially to total intake.

‘Reducing sugar intake from beverages may therefore help to reduce overall consumption.’

They analysed data for 64 men who habitually drank tea sweetened with sugar, who followed a new protocol for one month.

Tea time with tea bag, spoon and sugar cubes
(Picture: Getty)

The group was split equally into men who gradually reduced the sugar in their tea over the four weeks, those who quit sugar in tea in one step, and a control group who continued drinking sweet tea.

The results showed that the sugar reduction groups were able to get rid of sugar without it affecting how much they liked their tea.

Some 42% of those in the gradual reduction group quit sugar in tea, as did 36% of those who eliminated sugar in one step, and 6% of those in the control group.

The researchers concluded: ‘Individuals can successfully reduce the amount of sugar consumed in tea using two different behavioural strategies.

‘Reducing sugar in tea doesn’t affect liking, suggesting long-term behaviour change is possible.

‘Similar interventions could be used to reduce intake of sugar in other beverages such as dilutable fruit juices (eg squash), as well.’

The authors added that a bigger trial was needed to confirm the findings.

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Young people prefer sight seeing to sex on holiday

The sex resort diaries
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Last year saw the end of the 18-30 holiday.

Previously a classic way to go on holiday and come back with a sunburn, some notches on your bedpost and something which required a dose of antibiotics, the club 18-30 holiday had to be ended due to lack of interest because, well, people aged 18-30 weren’t interested.

Some blamed the rise of the airbnb and cheap package flights, which made it easier to plan a non package holiday. Others suggested that young people are just too square to enjoy an 18-30 trip.

A year on Thomas Cook, who were one of the main providers of the 18-30 trip, did a survey to find out what kind of holidays young people (millennials and gen z) enjoy, now that body shots and foam parties aren’t in vogue.

The poll by the holiday giant found just 10 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds (only half of who are millennials) now rate partying as a priority.

42% of the young people asked  said the local culture at destinations was most important to them, such as museums, galleries and ancient churches and temples.

Local culture instead of Irish bars and sex in the sand. What losers.

Helping to prove the theory that young people are more health conscious than ever before, just one in ten said that getting a tan was important.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook commented on the findings, saying: ‘Millennials* want to look after their bodies, shy away from one-night stands and hangover fry-ups, and favour wheatgrass smoothies – which make for better Instagram fodder.’

We’re not sure how a desire to see museums and religious temples equates to ‘wanting better Instagram fodder’, but with that kind of understanding of younger clients, perhaps it’s not surprising that package holidays are on the skids.

*Again, only some of the people aged 18-25 asked were millennials, who are currently aged 23-38. 

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