Light Festival Hits Preston

The darkened skyline of the Preston City night was recently lit by a festival of light; smoking dragons, flare-flailing blacksmiths and dazzling dancers lined the streets of Preston town centre to show the city how bright it can become.

This event is the peak of the Procession of Lights spectacle, drawing in thousands to witness the unique creations. Saturday 24th September will be a night to remember. 

Below are some of my best photographs taken in that beautiful night:

WANTED: Ahmad Rahami, New York bomb suspect

New York Police Department officials alongside the FBI have released an official Wanted Poster for 28 year old Ahmad Rahami in connection with the New York bombings of 17th September 2016, 8:30pm, that injured 29 civilians.


Full name Ahmad Khan Rahami lives in New Jersey and is 28 years old. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio warns that Rahami could be “armed and dangerous”.

The FBI echoed the warning, sharing that Rahami is of “Afghan decent born on January 23, 1998” and that he is 5’6 tall and weighs about 200 pounds.

He is described as having short brown hair, brown eyes and brown facial hair.

If you see Rahami or can share more details of the bombings, please call the FBI on:

1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or contact your local FBI office.

Technology Driven Teens

This article was originally written by Benjamin for OMNI media, whom he is a freelance content creator for.

As with almost any aspect of modern life on this planet, almost everything revolves around technology. From the cars you drive to work, to the phones buzzing in your pocket, to the laptop I’m typing this on now, almost everything is driven by technology. It’s a beautiful prospect, and also a scary one, but one we simply cannot avoid. It’s impossible, and even attempting it is impossible. From the spears of an untouched tribe to the wheels on a Mormon cart, we’re all affected by it. One generation, arguably, more so than others – the teenager.

I’m in a lucky, weird position in my life. I’m the final bridge between the ‘book in bed’ era to the ‘phone in bed’ epidemic. I’m the final frontier of the mobile phones with antennas and the phones that are often more powerful than computers. I am part of the generation that states they would rather have their phone in their hands than meet new people outside. That concerns me, but also, it humbles me. Social media is creating an unsocial world, but at the same time, technology is pushing more and more young people into its world. From Zuckerberg and his creation of ‘Facebook’ to Lord Alan Sugar and his invention of the household computer, young people are shaping our technological future.

Smartphones are sacred to almost sll young people.


In this article, I’ll explore different aspects of technology and how I as a young person view them – given from a young person’s perspective. Yep – minus the filtering and full of the bitchiness of social media, and yep, a segment dedicated to the momentous rise of the Pokémon Go App.

Education

In line with expectations, education has always been shaped by technological advances. In the 17th century, lessons were solely book and lecture based, heavily influenced by religious readings and beliefs. Come the early 20th century, education was seen as a masculine, upper-class construct. The late 20th century saw gender equality, educatory reforms in way of the lessons taught, and the gradual implementation. In today’s 21st century society, education is almost wholly dominated by technology; computers and internet networking across multiple campuses, integration of mobile phones into lesson subjects seamlessly and even ‘modern’ and ‘future’ technologies such as Virtual Reality headsets in I.T and the use of livestreaming in lectures to connect innovators with students from across the world. It’s a golden age, undeniably, for educational advances; however some critics still argue certain points.

One such point centres around the fact that increased technology detracts from the ‘core’ messages and teachings of education, acting as a distraction and a blanket for learning. Despite this concern, supporters of the technological advancements in education for young people suggest it does the opposite – instead of encapsulating the educatory abilities of a student, they say that technology instead broadens the opportunities available. In my opinion, this is beyond true. I would rather sit in today’s education system of technology and quality teaching, as opposed to the strict formalities of textbook work all day. As a young person, it keeps us engaged, excited and willing to participate in our educational pathways.

Technology also allows for a much wider reach for education – perhaps a professor wants to deliver a lecture to students in Taiwan, or pupils need to conduct independent research on a project through the internet and interactions with others around the world. Without a gradually bettering grasp on technological instruments, none of this would be possible on the scale it is today.

It isn’t even just limited to the basic computer or phone; wind turbines can produce energy for poorer schools, the integreation of technology and architecture can allow more pupils to access certain education and bettered disability innovations would allow anyone to teach and learn, regardless of their physical or mental state. There truly are no limitations, nor should there be, when considering the future minds of this planet.

Sexuality

Prior to the technology boom of the 21st century, the discussion of teens and sexuality was taboo – incredibly taboo. So much so that, before smartphones and PornHub existed, sexual education in school was “boys and girls make babies, use protection”, and the mortified and confused children were thrown into the devils den. That’s it (even as a late 90s child, I was taught that), and that’s a destructive message to give.

Since the innovation of smartphones, pornography and message boards, social media and YouTube vlogs, sexuality has been a flourishing and popular theme for young people. Social media websites such as Tumblr allow young people to express themselves, but to also connect with others similar to them. Whether you identify as straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, non-binary and/or anything in between, someone else identifies as the same. Of course, this has it’s rainclouds – it has opened up ‘gendered’ bullying or misinformation to spread, and targeting of certain social groups, such as the attack on the Brony Convention in 2014 that hospitalised 19. However, despite the negatives this can bring, too many golden points have arisen to ignore; Gay Pride, internet recognition from some of the highest places (Facebook, Twitter, The Obama Administration and Netflix to name a few), as well as unifying those who otherwise felt isolated.

Away from social media, the prominence of pornography amongst young people has only risen. Now that porn sites are often only 3 clicks away at any one point, more teens than ever are watching – both intentionally and unintentionally. Is this a bad thing? Well, that’s a matter of perspective. On one hand, sexologists suggest that in moderation porn can be a useful, enjoyable and beneficial experience within a sexual relationship, or even to maintain a heightened level of personal health – masturbation does in fact reduce the chances of prostate cancer within men. Despite this, critics argue that it only acts as a ‘slippery slope’, and that the “impressionable minds” of young people can easily allow for addiction to occur – and pornography addiction is a real thing with real negative impacts, including low libido, reduced sexual function and damaged sexual organs (yes, you can masturbate too much!). However, this is fairly rare amongst young people, and with the right amount of self-moderation and willpower, the consumption of porn can potentially lead to a healthy sexual life. Without the advances of technology, notably the smartphone that can fit in one hand, this free-access information would be considerably harder to obtain.

Gaming

I really couldn’t write an article based on teenagers and technology without throwing the gigantic factor of gaming in there. Once an underground ‘nerdy’ activity, gaming has now taken over the world. From the multi-million dollar championships of gaming Gods such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, to the revolutionary Pokémon Go – gaming has taken over young lives and older ones alike. Why? The list is endless, but I like to acknowledge the unity it brings as a starting point. Take the newest, and biggest ever smartphone game release, Pokémon Go; it is now encouraging people of all ages to exercise, to engage with strangers with a common interest, and to explore the more beautiful, unknown areas of your community. That’s a revolution, that’s a technological break-through.


Is it constructive? Well, like the porn factor, in moderation it absolutely is. Games can solidify cognitive functions better than other methods – fast-paced shooters boost reaction times, strategic games like FIFA build decision-making, and games such as Pokémon Go and the albeit shite-but-fun Kinect gave a fun platform for exercise to be conducted. As technology advances, so too do games. We’ve gone from the 64-bit Donkey Kong jolting across a chunky screen to virtual reality creatures hovering in our cereal bowls. The future is exciting, not only for entertainment, but for personal advances.

As a young person in today’s society, I truly appreciate technology. Not in a cliché “I couldn’t live without my phone” way, but in the way that I admire the changes it has made to society. From seeing communities bond over a revolutionary phone App, to being able to connect with friends across the planet – technology, and its ever-expanding advancements, continues to inspire and enthral me. We are the generation most branded “lazy” and “uninspired”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth – we are the ones that will push the current technology to its furthest limits. We are the ones that are enjoying life, and also bettering it. As a young person in today’s society, I’m humbled to living in such an advanced culture of innovation, excitement and change. And so should you.

-Benjamin John Wareing

This article was originally written by Benjamin for OMNI media, whom he is a freelance content creator for.

Conservatives at Manchester Gay Pride

The annual gay pride celebrations have been and gone for the vibrant city of Manchester, this year attracting larger crowds than ever before. Saturday 27th August saw tens of thousands flood the streets of Manchester to witness the yearly spectacle.

Floats included national businesses like the National Health Service (NHS), Asda, Sainsbury’s and even Coronation Street –  but one attracted more widespread attention than most.

The LGBT section of the Conservative Party stood strong in force to represent their political party and those within it, despite many waves of booing and heckling from the crowds of Manchester. Former MP and reality star Edwina Currie made a full appearance with the ‘LGBTory’ group, waving, hugging, kissing and even taking drinks from bystanders.

Below is a collection of the best photographs Benjamin took at the event. All images can be licensed by visiting the ‘Contact’ page and emailing Benjamin:

Edwina Currie blows a kiss to the camera.

A happy male on a modified mobility scooter.

Popular alternative store ‘Afflecks’ welcomed waves of LGBT supporters.

Male dressed up striking a powerful pose.

Members of the LGBTory group held hands in fromt of crowds of onlookers.

The police displayed a phblic show of support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Edwina Currie spotted drinking some onlooker’s alchohol.

Pro-EU stickers were placed around Manchester.

Edwina Currie photographed dancing at the Pride event.

Edwina Currie photographed enjoying the Pride event.

Edwina Currie speaks to a young boy.

Edwina Currie hugs a fan in the crowd.

Roof Collapse at EDM Star ‘Steve Aoki’ Show Injures 15

Steve Aoki was performinglive at ‘Sentrum Scene’ during the time of the venues ceiling collapsing.

A Twitter user posted this image from the scene.


Fifteen people had been injured in the ceiling collapse at the concert venue in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. They are currently receiving medical attention and none are believed to be seriously injured or dead, as per Oslo police reports.

According to one ground report, about 1800 students and young people were attending the show by American house ‘EDM’ star Steve Aoki at Sentrum Scene at the time of the collapse. The venue was quickly evacuated and sectioned off from the public as groups of firemen secured the site.

A student who was at the venue told Norway’s NTB news agency that the atmosphere was “total chaos”.

Steve Aoki has yet to issue a comment on this developing issue.

You Me At Six New Album Could be Called NIGHTPEOPLE 

Popular rock band ‘You Me At Six’ (YMAS) could have announced their newest album is to be called “Night People” following a lengthy livestreamed release hosted on Periscope on Twitter.

The ‘neon-like’ sign teased live on stream.


The rock band, originally from Surrey, England, formed in 2004 and released their last album “Cavalier Youth” in 2014. Their newest supposed teased album has ignited social media frenzy, with the hashtag #NIGHTPEOPLE trending globally during the livestream and frantic discussion during it about what the message could mean.

One by one, letters revealed themselves, almost ‘neon’ in fashion, to reveal the hashtag. As they slowly shone together, fans started the ‘#NIGHTPEOPLE’ trend going, which was quickly heard worldwide.

The members of YMAS changed their Twitter headers to this image.


During the stream, a logo overlaid the screen occasionally, supposedly of the albums new cover. In the background, audio could be heard with rustles of feet and popping noises, as though someone was sat behind the camera. It has since emerged that, during the livestream, the image and lettering were projected onto a brick wall. The true logo does not have the ‘brick’ style background seen below.

The logo, likely projected onto a brick wall.


At it’s peak, the livestream saw over 25,000 Twitter users watching, anticipating the band’s next moves.

Do you think this is the bands next album? Is this just a song name? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

-Benjamin John Wareing

Apple to Swap Emoji Pistol With WATERGUN

Apple is set to update their world-recognised Emoji list to replace the ‘🔫’ revolver gun emoji with a green plastic water pistol. 

The newest move, set to be released on the official public launch of IOS10, is as a result of growing concerns over firearm violence in America and worldwide. This announcement comes following the shooting of 49 LGBTQ+ members in an Orlando gay club, the massacre of police officers in Baton Rouge, and many more global events.

Apple is set to remove the silver and black revolver emoji.


Amongst the changes, a rainbow flag is to be released in support of the LGBTQ+ community, along side more ‘gender career’ options, such as women emojis in ‘stereotypical’ masculine roles like police and other workers.

Women are now more heavily depicted in the emoji update.


Altogether, Apple is set to make 100+ changes and implementations to the popular emoji list in a push for equality and inclusion, whilst also removing issues relating to key world issues such as gun crime.

All the emojis have been updated to appear higher definition.


In a statement, Apple said “This exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options.”

Apple also said it had worked tightly with the ‘Unicode Consortium’ that handles the emoji standard, to “ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere”.
What do you think of the new emoji changes? Are you looking forward to them? Let us know in the comments below. 

-Benjamin John Wareing