Recapturing Moments

So its currently 5:30am, and I’ve been up for about an hour and a half just thinking about a load of different things. I have some music by the fantastic Adrian Von Ziegler playing, and whenever I listen to his music, it reminds me of a few different times in my life. I went into this a little on my own personal account, but I wanted to write a proper post about it, as it is something I think about a lot, and I imagine there are a lot of people who also think about this.

The reason I refer specifically to Adrian’s music is a pretty simple story. When I was about 14, I for some reason was searching for “Gothic music” on YouTube. I was looking for the kinda dark orchestral stuff just because I was kinda getting into it, and it brought up this artist who just called his stuff “Gothic Music”. Since then he’s changed his branding, but the original song I first found remains. Regardless, this song was something that was playing during several “key” moments in my life. The use of the inverted commas is because these moments didn’t really play any real part in my life. I didn’t have a revelation, I didn’t hit a milestone I wanted to achieve, however they are moments that I will always remember.

One moment goes back to a holiday I went on when I was 15. I was in the Dominican Republic, I cannot remember the name of the hotel, but it was all inclusive, and as such it had several bars all around the complex. It was night time, and I decided to go for a stroll through the complex, and I sat at one of the bars, staring out over the sea, and listening to that song. There was nothing momentous about this moment, but I remember it just being so perfect, as nothing else mattered, no stresses of life, no thoughts to worry me, it was just me and the music. This moment is something I don’t believe I could ever feel again even if I was sitting in the same place at the same time with the same song on.

And this is the reason I wanted to write this post. There are a few other moments just like this one in different places, however the general idea of the moment is the same. Recapturing these moments, reliving them again is something I think about, and wish I could do on a regular basis, however I don’t believe it to be something that is possible. Even if I travelled back in time to that exact point, I don’t think it would help.

What I want to get across is that these memories are special, and act as something like a “happy place”, somewhere you can always g back to in your mind to feel content and cheer yourself up. However don’t stress yourself over aiming to recreate the exact scenario in which the memory was formed. Moments like these come from places you least expect, and they are something you can never really prepare for or predict happening. When one comes along, and it will, cherish it, and remember it, however don’t get hung up on the idea of it. So many people often worry about the moments in the past, they can end up missing future moments. I don’t really have a solid way to conclude this, so all I can simply say is try to enjoy life, and when you look back, the good is what you will remember, and that will make it all the sweeter.


Why Do The Big Get Bigger?

So this is something I think about quite a lot, and its something a lot of people have addressed, yet nothing ever seems to change or be done about it. The rich get richer is a concept incredibly prevolent in our world right now, and its the same principles that are crossing over into sites such as YouTube and Twitch, and is an issue for not only the smaller guys, but also the sites themselves.

What do I mean by this idea anyway? If you are reading this you probably already know, and you see it everywhere. The more popular you are, the more shares, RT’s etc. you get, therefore you get more publicity, and it all builds up as you go. Now this seems like a relatively sensible system, of course if a lot of people are watching a particular video, or sharing a particular post, then its going to get a lot of attention, as clearly there’s something significant about it. However, while this works on a case-by-case basis, its not a very good principle to base your entire website model on.

Take for example YouTube. Now its still a relatively young website, and is still growing regularly there’s no real doubt about that. But you notice now that its harder and harder for new names to break into the spotlight. Its possible of course, but its getting harder. Now I’m not saying everyone is entitled to be featured on the front page, or be shown around like they’re some sort of hero, but I do think its important that there is some balance.

And this isn’t all just for the benefit of the smaller YouTubers either. You are already seeing it, people are releasing books, going to radio, TV, voice acting, there are Youtubers not necessarily leaving, but widening their options, finding other avenues to go down. These bigger guys aren’t going to be around forever, and the problem is that there’s not enough support given in order to have new up and coming people to replace them when they do leave.

YouTube isn’t going to suddenly go dry overnight, but you are seeing a change in what people are doing. There are many small creators out there who struggle to get any recognition for some really great content, and it shouldn’t be up to them getting lucky and having their video seen by someone already established to get a boost. The websites involved need to try to do more to bring up new people, because their current system is rather short sighted, and in the long term it just will not last.

– Adam Gaffney

YouTube Red and its Misconceptions

BIG EDIT: This soundcloud goes more in-depth and has some extra info from YouTube, but basically confirms the general ideas presented here, feel free to check it out also.

So YouTube Red was just announced and there’s a lot of things being thrown around in regards to its implementation and the conditions. Obviously I am not an official source, but after reading through several of the interviews and articles, I feel I have gotten a good enough idea about it to answer some of the issues raised.

1) YouTube Creators will need to pay the $10/month subscription fee or have their videos removed.

This is the biggest one I’ve seen kicking around is that YouTube Creators would have to pay for the subscription service. Now from what I can tell, this is arising from some bad wording in some of the articles posted, for example this image here. 

Now, I can see how this can be taken the wrong way, this was a case of bad wording on the articles part. However what it is actually trying to say is that creators need to sign up to ALLOW the service. YouTube is doing this to prevent people from feeling like they are losing value for their money, as there would still be ads on those opting out of the scheme. However, YouTube creators do not need to pay for the service if they do not wish to, this just means that Red users will not see ads on their videos.

2) But if ads aren’t shown, then why not just use Adblock?

There is a fundamental difference between a service like Adblock and the subscription service being proposed here. First I need to explain a little about how Content Creators make their living on YouTube. Excluding networks and taking it down to the basics, YouTubers are paid via ad revenue from their videos. The way this works is on a CPM system, or a Cost Per Mille, which means that the YouTubers get paid that CPM per 1,000 ad views. That’s important, it isn’t video views, but AD views.

Now, exact numbers from content creators cannot be released due to their contracts generally, but CPM’s can vary wildly based on your audience size, potential reach etc, however for this example, lets say that a creator is earning $3 CPM. 45% of this is taken by YouTube straight away, which brings us down to $1.65 CPM. Now, most YouTubers are with a network which would make the CPM’s lower as they take a cut, but lets assume the Creators get the full 55%. We can estimate the value of 1 ad view to be around 0.17c, which as you can imagine is not a lot, however if your videos get large amounts of views it does add up.

Now if 1 person signs up for Red, you lose that 0.17c from the video. But say they watched 50 hours of YouTube that month, and only 5 minutes of that was your content. That Red user would be earning you, after YouTubes 45%, 0.92c. So even with such a miniscule amount, you would earn more from that user than you would them watching an ad.

Of course, this is all speculation, and there are a lot of assumptions, but generally you would be earning much more from Red viewers than ad viewers. HOWEVER, if you use adblock, then that creator is getting paid nothing for your view, and in many cases, ~60% of viewers do adblock content, so you can see how that could become an issue. Some of these people might however, subscribe to Red, and not need to use adblock, and that way you are now earning income from someone you previously earned nothing from.

3) Youtube is supposed to be free, if people start paying then won’t they get a better experience?

In terms of ads, yes, that’s what they are paying for. However, the division of content will be under the creators control, and as such most creators will still offer their regular content, whilst making extra content they wouldn’t have made without Red for behind the paywall. I can understand why people would feel they were “losing out”, but in actuality, that content would never have been created anyway, and as long as the creators do their regular stuff for free still, you won’t notice a difference. If creators start locking their main content behind the paywall, then that’s the creator screwing you over, not YouTube Red.

There’s no denying that YouTube Red has its flaws, its a very similar system to Twitch Turbo, although I think that Red at the moment looks like it’ll reward creators a bit better than Turbo does for streamers. Again this is all based on assumption and speculation, however generally, there is no reason right now to get up in arms about Red. Hopefully more information about cuts and such will be released, and much more clarity and transparency is needed, however the way it is right now, Red lives only to benefit those who wish to buy into it and the creators, and those who don’t subscribe will most likely still get the same old YouTube they are used to.

EDIT: I will keep a look out for more information and update this as necessary, but based on my assumptions and current information we have access to my calculations are correct, feel free to contact me on twitter if you think there are any errors!

If you are unsure, feel free to ask me, and also give these articles a read over, as these are my general sources.

The Verge

Life Is What You Make It

Here’s something I just found randomly lying around on my PC that I wrote 4 years ago, yet I cannot remember why. I hope you enjoy.

It should be a difficult time; it should be an emotional time. Should is the key word. It is a very complex word, as it is a contradicting word, saying you should do something, is like getting a command that isn’t necessarily required. I should have been upset, when my Mum and Dad announced their divorce, but for some reason, I wasn’t. I don’t know why, I should have been upset. Yet something was preventing me from feeling that way, and it continues to, so I suppose that’s what I’m aiming to find out.

I’m not sure where to begin if I am honest. I suppose a good starting place would be to explain my situation, but you already know most of it from the introduction itself. To make a long story short, roughly 4 years ago, my parents announced they were getting divorced, for reasons undisclosed. However, as I found out about a year later, my Dad actually was with another woman, and there’s another story behind that, which needs to be explained. My Dad always worked away, he is an Electrical Engineer, contracted, so he has been to a variety of places in the world, but the most prominent was Kazakhstan, which is where he currently resides. I know, life like everyone else’s, eh? While there, he met a Russian woman named Natalya, but we know her as Natasha. He was with her for a year before my parents got divorced, and my Dad and Natasha are now married. He still comes home and visits as he has a rota of 6 weeks working, 2 weeks holiday, but he visits usually every 3 months or so, for about a week. And that brings us to this situation I am in currently, so now that you know my recent history, I can get to the real point of this essay.

My life is pretty good. I am doing five Highers, and heading for A’s at that, I have almost everything I could ask for, I have great friends, and really nothing is wrong. Maybe that’s the problem, I have only experienced two deaths, one being a dog when I was 8, and that is the last time I remember crying, I am now 16. 8 years without shedding a single tear. But I have had nothing to cry about. So I think these factors have made me seem almost immune to the disease that is sadness, and I am unable to be infected. It’s a valid point, but at the same time it is a ridiculous idea. How can someone become immune to an emotion, surely they are built in to your brain. Although, its not like I feel no emotion, I do still feel sadness, and happiness, so maybe its a choice as to what emotions I can feel. Can you choose to feel certain emotions?

Or maybe because I am a naturally positive person. I have always been one of those people to look at the glass half full, so to speak. I don’t see why you should look at the negative side of life, you only have one, make the most of it. Also, I don’t believe that there are stereotypes, rather that everyone is an individual, and that looks can be deceiving, or as it is more commonly known, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” If I had been like this, and just ignored someone based on how they looked, dressed etc, I would have nowhere near as many friends as I do. I have met a variety of people in my time, and some aren’t always like the people they are friends with. I think this concept keeps me open, positive, unafraid of meeting new people or trying new things. My life is by no means easy, I’m not saying it is easy, but what I am saying is I try to enjoy it, and not let my worries get the best of me. A life coach once came to our Boys’ Brigade, and there’s one thing that he said that stuck with me, “life is only what you make it to be, and you only get one, so make it the best you possibly can.” Sometimes this can seem wrong, due to exams, domestic situations, and other things that make you feel like they are just thrown at you, and you have no control, but there is always a way around any problems, and this is why I am always so positive.

I have several friends who have parents that have been divorced, and I know that they did not handle it as well as me for a fact, actually, none of them did, so why is it me? My friends aren’t exactly much worse off than me, so there must be another reason surely? Maybe it will always remain a mystery, I suppose I did say earlier that I believe everyone is unique, I just assumed that there would be some constants, but then, not everyone is born with 2 eyes, or 4 limbs, so maybe there really is no limit to the idea of being unique. The Flight of the Bumblebees, probably one of the most famous, and difficult pieces of piano music ever written, can be performed perfectly by a blind man, there are people with disabilities that have done great things, so maybe I shouldn’t think of my inability to cry as a curse, or something that separates me from the crowd. No, I should think of it as just another characteristic that makes me the person that I am. After all, as that wise man said, “life is only what you make it to be, and you only get one, so make it the best you possibly can.”

Nuclear and You

Nuclear is a weird thing. And the science behind it is not the weird part, that’s a very simple concept really, fission splits the nucleus and fusion, well, fuses them. No, the most complex part of nuclear anything is actually the social and moral uses of it. Now, disregarding moral for this part, and looking at the purely logical standpoint of it. Now I’m not a nuclear engineer (yet), so I’m not a complete expert, but I know more than the average person about the issue, and that’s one of the main problems, people are uneducated.

Now, I’m not saying they need to know the intricate ins and outs of the scientific explanation behind nuclear power/weaponry, but people need to understand the massive difference between the two, and use a collection of both historical events and actual experts scientific knowledge to understand the severity of each respectively.

We’ll start with nuclear weaponry. Out of about 200+ countries on the planet, there are a total of 8 whole countries that for sure have nuclear weaponry, the biggest of which by a mile are the US and Russia, previously the Soviet Union. The US however, are bigger than Russia by sheer number of weapons, and they spend most of their time talking about how dangerous is it for other countries to have them. The bombs dropped in Japan, Little Boy and Fat Man, are estimated at around 18-22 kilotons of TNT. These wiped out whole cities. The largest bomb tested by the US was Castle Bravo, tested in 1954, so 61 years ago, and was 15 Megatons on TNT. If that was 61 years ago, think of the destructive power these bombs have now,

Yet people still defend the use, and one of the most common arguments is that it is to prevent other countries from using nuclear weaponry. Out of the 5 main countries with a nuclear weapons program, the top 4 are all members of the G8, a gathering of the worlds most powerful and wealthy countries. Now, North Korea are always listed as a credible threat, yet the strongest weapon they have tested to date has actually been about as strong as the Little Boy at around 20 kilotons, dropped in 2013. Now the fact that the current most powerful countries on the nuclear weapons front actually had this power 70 years ago goes to show how little of a threat they really are in that way.

However, lets say North Korea had the firing power the US had. If North Korea decided they wanted to fire their nuclear weaponry upon the US, the fact that the US has nuclear weaponry would not prevent this. The power currently available is enough to wipe entire countries and even greater regions out with just 1 bomb. If someone wished to use this power, the idea of retaliation would not deter them, as this is massive destructive force. Both the physical and the political implications of doing so would be huge, and as such if they decided to do this, they would not stop because our countries have bombs too. And if we did retaliate, then it would surely be the end of the world, as the destructive power would wipe out most of the life on the surface of Earth. This shows why we need to lead by disarming the nuclear weaponry, and encourage others to as well, as all they are doing is sucking up money, that could be much better spent elsewhere.

However, to counteract this, nuclear power is very often opposed heavily by people, many of whom also support the keeping of nuclear weaponry. One thing people always talk about is Chernobyl, the reactor explosion at Chernobyl being the only major accident in a nuclear power plant ever in the history of nuclear power. There have been many accidents, however almost all have resulted from things that could easily occur in any other plant, such as equipment ruptures, safety failures etc. Not only that, but essentially what happened in Chernobyl was that the safety systems were switched off in order to achieve a larger energy yield, and this was accomplished, the issue of course arising that the larger energy yield was dangerous. However, nuclear power plants are most likely the safest power plants on the planet. I am studying to be a chemical engineer, and I wish to become a nuclear engineer when I graduate, and we’ve learned about the rigorous safety meetings that go on for nuclear power plants. Because the result COULD be devastating, there are many safety systems put in place to make an issue essentially impossible without some sort of human error due to lack of training.

Overall, I feel that people really need to be educated in the facts of nuclear power and nuclear weaponry, and shown that they are not synonymous with each other, and that actually, you are more likely to die because of an oil factory explosion than you are a nuclear power plant meltdown, yet you don’t see people protesting oil, especially considering the energy yield from 1 nuclear plant could probably equal around 10 oil plants. I feel if people were more educated on the topic, there would be less hostility in the wrong areas, and funding would actually go towards bettering things like nuclear fusion, a nuclear process which when fully developed, could in fact provide more energy than the current fission reactors, with no toxic waste. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me, and I will answer to the best of my knowledge.

My (Summarized) Story To Where I Am Now

Very often I think of how I got to where I am today. I’m not anywhere particularly special, but I just mean the choices that I made to do what I do now, to be in this position. Its funny to think back, and realise how insignificant some of the choices seemed that actually changed my life, and sent me in a totally different direction.

For example, lets go back 8 years. I was 11, just started secondary school, and I only had a couple of friends. I decided to go round to my friend Adam’s (yes, I know) house after school, and he showed me Mindless Self Indulgence and Slipknot that day. This might seem like nothing, and at the time I didn’t think much of it either, but I’m sitting here, a massive metal fan now, and all because I found out about it all back then.

However, this isn’t where that ends. Liking that kind of music meant that I made more friends with other people that liked the same stuff, which meant that more people in my school knew who I was. After a while I was talking to people I never thought I’d have spoken too, simply because I listened to this music, so people got to know me, and as such a lot of people regarded me as pretty nice, and good to talk to. This still applies, a lot of people think this, and I feel like I’m still the same person I was then, its just now I have a lot more confidence to talk to people, and as such I can show them it now, rather than people finding out through others.

Another major turning point in my life was in 4th year, when I had to do a 1 week work placement for school, because why not apparently. Anyway, I had no idea what I wanted to do for it, so my dad got me into one of his old Engineering Firms for the week. It was there that I realised I wanted to become a Chemical Engineer, which resulted in me, well, doing Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University. If not I could’ve been in Glasgow Uni right now doing a Law degree, scary.

Oh, something I can’t forget to add is that a good while back, 9 years ago I think now, I almost didn’t join the company section of the BB. I was going to leave, and decided to just stay on to give it a shot last minute, and its pretty much the reason I have about 30 Table Tennis medals and trophies, why I’m friends with the people I am, and that even influenced going to Adam’s that day with the music.

I just think its incredible to look back on this short segment of your life so far, and realise how a number of different things could have dramatically altered your life. There are many, many more I can think of honestly, but the three examples above are the biggest by far, and I just think it is incredible when I realise that, while I might not speak to Adam anymore, or go to BB, I know that my life is the way it is because of these different things. They shaped me into the person I am today, they made me want to play games, to listen to metal, which got me into YouTube, got me into PC gaming, in turn Twitch streaming. There’s just so much in my life that could change if one thing was done differently, and that scares me. But it also makes me wonder; what would my life be like had these things not happened? Its interesting to think isn’t it?

You Are Not Alone (Please Read)

I’m not here to lecture anyone. I’m not here to pretend I have any fucking idea what its like to have mental issues, to have a disability, and I’m not going to pretend that I can fix it. I’ve been incredibly lucky, I’m reasonably smart, I tend to get on well with people, I have a stable home relationship.

However, there are so many people who can’t say this, people with battles going on everyday with peers, with family, or even with themselves. But because its on the inside, people don’t acknowledge it. If you’re depressed, people will tell you to cheer up, if you suffer from anxiety, people will tell you to just go out and make friends. They don’t understand what its like to have your own being fight you everyday, telling you you aren’t good enough, telling you nobody likes you, true or not. They don’t know what its like to just wake up and want to go back to sleep forever, for no other reason than your own mind telling you you’re worthless. They don’t know what its like to not be able to think how everyone else thinks. They don’t know what its like to feel like you are at war every day just to keep yourself going.

And I don’t know either.

I have no fucking clue what that’s like, and frankly it scares me, that people can have no control over these things sometimes, that they can feel worthless no matter how much you tell them they aren’t. That they feel alone even when you’re all there.

But you aren’t alone. At least, you don’t need to be. As I said, I’m not here to tell you how you feel, I’m not going to promise I can fix you, I can’t even promise I’ll be able to understand what it could be like. But what I can do is be there for you. I can be there to listen if you need it. I can’t heal you, but I can show you that you don’t need to face it alone. No matter what time it is, what the problem is, contact me. Whether you tweet me, e-mail me, anything, you contact me, and you spill your heart out.

I stand by, I can’t promise you I’ll understand what its like for you. But I will no judge, I will not mock, and most of all, I will listen to you. And sometimes that’s all it takes.