Frisk #184

Bang a gong, get it on, it’s Frisk #184! In the statistical mechanics branch of theoretical physics, Rule 184 is a cellular automaton capable of recognising majorities and simulating traffic flow, surface deposition, and particle-antiparticle annihilation reactions.
There are only four people in the world who know what that means. I am not one of them.

When I first saw the headline ‘Generation Z are using Pickle to make money’, I thought that had the potential to be genuinely interesting. Casting off the shackles of a culture obsessed with always-on digital media to rekindle a generations-old enthusiasm for preserving foodstuffs in vinegary jars? Great.
Unfortunately, ‘Pickle’ is, in this context, the name of a gig-economy app. Although that’s still relatively interesting: it’s basically a snapshot way for young people to make money – they post a job or skill on the app and say how much they’re happy to either pay or be paid for it. It’s also a way to get people to give you money to do ridiculous dares, which is where the irreverent Gen Z angle really comes into play. “Who’ll give me a fiver to eat this whole jar of Branston Pickle?” and so on.
See, I knew the preserves would come back around.

Love Island
I have to admit, I’ve never watched Love Island. It sounds kinda terrible. But I’m aware that I’m in a tiny minority here as, unlike the turgid embarrassment of Big Brother, still plodding along unwatched for what feels like decades, Love Island’s third season has turned out to be this year’s hot pick.
Traditional TV viewing is declining, especially in real-time, and yet people are tuning into the dating reality show in huge numbers. News of its raunchiness has spread like wildfire – as many as two million people are watching, the #LoveIsland hashtag has notched up 1.8m mentions, the nation’s obsessed. "We are dealing here with an audience with above-average education, which one could describe as 'cultural omnivores',” says German film scholar Keyvan Sarkhosh. “Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture.” Mix this in with the massive social currency of being the first on Twitter with the news, plus a healthy dollop of FOMO, and you can see how the whole thing’s escalated. Will I be able to catch up on the plot if I start tuning in now?

Smashed iPhones
It’s impressive in two separate ways when you see someone on the Tube deftly scrolling through the news on their iPhone with a catastrophically smashed screen. Firstly, because I wouldn’t have the patience to persevere with it, I’d want to get it fixed. And secondly, just that the things still continue to work properly when you’ve smashed them to bits. Rugged, aren’t they?
According to recent research, 47% of iPhone users have broken their handset, which is actually sort of impressive, and have spent around $14bn repairing or replacing them. (Not each, obviously. Although you can throw in your own dad-joke about ‘Ooh, I dunno, with Apple’s prices…’ etc)
Interestingly, however, 43% of users don’t think it’s worth shelling out the cash to fix a broken screen – even if they’ve cut their finger on it – because it’s too expensive. So now there’s a ‘right to repair’ movement, with companies like iFixit offering repair manuals for devices that’d otherwise have you scurrying to a specialist. Or you could just, y’know, be more careful.

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

12th July 2017