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Saturday, April 11, 2015

The secret history of Monopoly: the capitalist board game’s leftwing origins

In 1903, a leftwing feminist called Lizzy Magie patented the board game that we now know as Monopoly – but she never gets the credit. Now a new book aims to put that right


One night in late 1932, a Philadelphia businessman named Charles Todd and his wife, Olive, introduced their friends Charles and Esther Darrow to a real-estate board game they had recently learned. As the two couples sat around the board, enthusiastically rolling the dice, buying up properties and moving their tokens around, the Todds were pleased to note that the Darrows liked the game. In fact, they were so taken with it that Charles Todd made them a set of their own, and began teaching them some of the more advanced rules. The game didn’t have an official name: it wasn’t sold in a box, but passed from friend to friend. But everybody called it ‘the monopoly game’.


Together with other friends, they played many times. One day, despite all of his exposure to the game, Darrow – who was unemployed, and desperate for money to support his family – asked Charles Todd for a written copy of the rules. Todd was slightly perplexed, as he had never written them up. Nor did it appear that written rules existed elsewhere.


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We’ve lived in a refugee camp in Iraq for four years

Avine Hassan, her husband and children fled their Damascus home as the Syrian conflict raged at their front door. She describes life in the vast refugee camp where they are eking out a living


We have been here for nearly four years. I still can’t quite believe it. We used to live in what was once a very nice district of Damascus. I ran a highly respected bridal beauty salon and my husband worked as an accountant for a restaurant. We had four lovely daughters. We had a nice life.


We had to leave when the fighting between rebel forces and Assad’s army broke out outside our home. One daughter, who was five at the time, found a shell from a bullet embedded in our front window frame. We lived in an apartment on the ground floor, so as the fighting got more intense we were caught right in the middle of it.


Related: Syrian refugees set up home in Iraq's Domiz camp – in pictures


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I tried baking my way to romance

Audrey Shulman was good at baking but less confident talking to men. She decided the way to a man’s heart might be cake – and her whole life changed


Audrey Shulman’s epiphany struck as she stood in a Los Angeles bar slicing a cherry cake. She had baked it and brought it along to celebrate her flatmate Chrissy’s birthday – but as she served it to her party of friends, she couldn’t help noticing that every man in the place was eyeing her and eyeing her cake ... and they all looked hungry.


She wasn’t used to this kind of attention. “I was 26 and had never really had a boyfriend,” says Audrey, who is now 28 and has had more luck on the dating scene, pretty much as a result of this night.


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Chiwetel Ejiofor: ‘I was a kid with a funny name. People said acting would be difficult’

What do you do after an Oscar nomination and a raft of Hollywood offers? You go home to star in a 500-year-old play about death, of course. Chiwetel Ejiofor talks fame, race and childhood trauma


Punctual to the minute, Chiwetel Ejiofor walks towards the pub where we’ve arranged to meet, wearing a long, wind-ballooned overcoat, his takeaway coffee thrust out like a compass. The actor ploughs right by – gets a couple of crossings down the road before I can catch him and lead him back. He got confused, Ejiofor explains, because he knew this pub when it had a different name. It’s one of those places that’s always being emptied out and painted differently, given a new identity on a proprietor’s whim, subject to the kind of perpetual reinvention that an actor, more than most, might appreciate. Ejiofor is between characters this week, and a bit stressed about it.


Only days ago he was on a film set in Hollywood, bearded and sharp-suited as an FBI agent in a movie called The Secret in Their Eyes. He kissed Nicole Kidman beside a car that had exploded and then he got on a flight to London, shaved, put on his overcoat, and checked in at the National to begin intensive rehearsal on a production called Everyman. It will open this month, a reimagining of a 500-year-old morality play, directed by Rufus Norris (his inaugural play as the National’s artistic director). “We go up in a few weeks,” says Ejiofor, frowning, “and I want the show to be special, obviously.”


Related: Rufus Norris's National Theatre must celebrate the new and honour the past


Related: 12 Years a Slave – review


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Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands – video

At the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, the US president and his Cuban counterpart are captured in an informal and cordial exchange, including a much-anticipated handshake, during their first encounter since announcing moves to normalise relations. Continue reading...





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Turn posted a job you might be interested in



Turn



Software Architect/Lead Engineer, Distributed Systems

San Francisco Bay Area, US - Computer Software, Internet, Marketing and Advertising

We’re changing the way the world thinks about online advertising and we are looking for talented engineers to join the Platform team and help us take it to the next level. Turn’s Platform team develops all distributed and big data systems and applications to efficiently run Turn’s online advertisement, data management, and analytics platforms.


Are you passionate about designing and building scaled, distributed services with low latency messaging and high availability/fault tolerance? Do you think processing 100 billion requests in under 10ms every day with just 800 servers is an interesting challenge? Are you ready to join a world-class, highly cooperative engineering team? If your answers are yes, then you are the person we’re looking for.


The Architect/Lead Engineer position in Turn’s Distributed Systems team is a combined architectural design, technical leadership, and hands-on development role that contributes to Turn’s success through expertise in large-scale distributed systems and service/messaging architecture. You will leverage matured existing systems to help design and create the next generation service architecture and messaging layer. Qualified individuals will have a solid background in the fundamentals of computer science, software development process and best practices, distributed computing, and high availability.


Because we are a small team, your ability to communicate technical ideas effectively, in oral and written forms, and solve complex problems in a team environment will also be considered.


Responsibilities



  • Help define the vision of our next generation platform architecture.

  • Collaborate in design and build of our next-generation service oriented architecture stack that will power all services in our ecosystem.

  • Lead design and implementation of our next-generation low latency, fault tolerant, high throughput RPC messaging layer processing trillions of calls internally a day.

  • Design and implement features evolving our online advertising and data management product offerings.

  • Scale up and tune our ad serving pipeline. Challenges come in the form of concurrency, data scale, and computational efficiency.

  • Develop instrumentation/profiling tools and systems.






No salary provided



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Maldives court jails ex-defence minister for 10 years in sequel to Nasheed case

Conviction of Tholath Ibrahim on charges of detaining senior judge follows sentencing of ex-president to 13 years in widely criticised prosecution


A court in the Maldives has sentenced a former defence minister to 10 years in prison on charges of detaining a senior judge three years ago.


The sentencing of Tholath Ibrahim by the criminal court on Friday night came nearly a month after the former president Mohamed Nasheed was sent to 13 years in prison for ordering the arrest and detention of Judge Abdulla Mohamed.


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Peter Ustinov

"I'm convinced there's a small room in the attic of the Foreign Office where future diplomats are taught to stammer."



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Robert Bakker

"I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator and name it after the IRS."



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War artist and filmmaker George Gittoes wins Sydney peace prize

Australian activist and artist recognised ‘for his courage to witness and confront violence in the war zones of the world’


Australian activist and war artist George Gittoes has been awarded the 2015 Sydney peace prize.


The jury recognised the Sydney-born 65-year-old “for his courage to witness and confront violence in the war zones of the world”.


Related: George Gittoes's Rampage follows a soldier's return from Iraq


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Offshore oil drilling faces tougher rules from Washington – report

Obama administration said to be preparing announcement about blowout preventers – the type of device that failed in Deepwater Horizon disaster


The US is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing Obama administration officials.


The interior department could make the announcement as early as Monday, the paper said. It is timed to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the BP disaster, which killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the gulf.


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