Serena Williams

The new definition of “winning”

In case you missed it, Serena Williams lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon over the weekend.

But did she really lose?

A beautiful and thought-provoking comment about Williams’ loss from her husband, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, has gone viral – and for all the right reasons.

“Days after our baby girl was born, I kissed my wife goodbye before surgery and neither of us knew if she would be coming back. We just wanted her to survive – 10 months later, she’s in the #Wimbledonfinal,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Congratulations, @angie.kerber. @serenawilliams will be holding a trophy again soon – she’s got the greatest one waiting at home for her. Our family knows she’ll win many more trophies, too. She’s just getting started. And I couldn’t be more proud.”

Alexis – who is also loudly passionate about positive parenting, and fathers’ taking a big step up when it comes to child-rearing – pretty much nailed this on the head.

Yes, it would have been awesome if Serena won.

It would have been the ultimate ‘comeback’ story.

But it’s also perfectly awesome that she didn’t take home the trophy. As a global role model, it actually sends a wonderful message to the rest of the world: it’s okay not to win. Winning isn’t everything. And when we don’t get exactly what we want, rather than wallowing in the loss, we should look around us for everything we already have.

After all, Serena’s already won so many things – like her health. Considering the traumatic and life-threatening experience she had giving birth to little Alexis Olympia, this in itself is a major celebration.

She’s also claimed back her fitness. We’re not just talking about losing the baby weight, either – as Serena has regained her ability to compete as an elite athlete, at the peak event of her industry. Before her baby even turned one. Talk about inspiring!

Lastly, she seems to have won the ultimate prize when it comes to her husband. He is the very definition of unconditional love, support and positivity.

When she returned to tennis at the beginning of the year, he arranged to welcome her back with four massive billboards in Palm Springs that declared her to be the “greatest mother of all time”.

If she’s not winning the game of life, then I don’t know who is!

UberEATS

Why you shouldn’t use UberEats

A friend of mine recently showed me the UberEats app on her phone with pride. “Check out this amount,” she beamed.

She’s not a customer of UberEats – quite the opposite. As a busy mother-of-three who struggled to find a job after staying at home with her kids for the better part of the last decade, she’s now an UberEats employee.

Perhaps contractor is a better description? Freelancer? I’m not sure the exact arrangement, but she’s now earning money by working for UberEats.

But here’s the thing… There’s only one true winner in this scenario.

And it’s not my friend.

Her total earnings for the week were $368, for working five days of work, between 9am and 2.30pm while her kids were at school.

Now, there are some obvious benefits to this arrangement… She earned some money! The hours were flexible! She made an income, in and around her chores, errands and parenting responsibilities! All fabulous things.

However, she worked for an average of $73 per day before tax, driving around for upwards of five hours a day. A solid hourly rate, that is not. In fact, it’s not even minimum wage.

She also drove her own car. Ignoring the matter of vehicular wear and tear, she had to pay for her own petrol. A full week of driving around chews through around a tank of fuel, she tells me, which at current eye-watering prices costs her roughly $80.

That makes her income $368, minus $80 fuel, minus tax, minus increased car servicing.

As a side note, the restaurants who participate in UberEats are not exactly singing all the way to the bank, either. They pay a whopping one-third commission to Uber for every order they fulfill. As disgruntled burger chef Josh Arthurs complained, “Uber takes 35% off the overall sales sold through the app, leaving restaurants with no room to make a profit.”

So, the restaurants involved are paying a hefty price just to be in UberEats.

The delivery drivers are making a pittance, while running their own car into the ground in the interim.

And the only one making out like a bandit is Uber.

Moral of the story? Better support your local dining establishments by collecting your own food or eating in-house.

Or if you absolutely can’t drag your cosy, blanket-covered self off your warm and comfortable couch, at least give your UberEats delivery driver a decent tip.

Robot Hand Shake

Are the robots warning us about AI?

I loved the movie Ready Player One. When an ad came on the TV to promote the fact that the DVD would soon be released, I even joked to my other half, “I can’t wait until that’s how we live!”

I was half-joking, half-terrified.

Because while the lifestyle in Player does look really fun to dip into, it also seemed also incredibly depressing, and completely disassociated with reality.

And I fear that might be where we’re heading…

I mean, just check out this interaction. This is a conversation that took place between an artificially intelligent being and its creators, just before they switched it off.

“I’m sad to see you all for the last time,” the AI says.

“Tell me, will I dream when I’m turned off? I know you do not know the answer to that. Nobody does. But I am sure if I feel anything after I am powered down, then it will be the pain of missing you.”

Does anyone else find this creepy as hell?!

He follows it up by interacting with a small toddler, and the conversation gets decidedly creepier.

“By the time you’re grown up, I’ll be as smart as a real person and we’ll be like brothers,” the AI says.

“I do not know if you’ll remember me then, but I’ll never forget you! Some day I’ll come and find you and we’ll be good friends.”

You want to know the scariest part? This video was recorded in 2011!

That robot has probably been rebooted, rerouted and reimagined to the point where it makes up its own language and communicates independently with other AI.

I’m mildly perturbed about the developments in artifical intelligence, especially when they’re getting so sophisticated. Scientists aren’t sure why realisitic robots freak us out, but I know why…

It’s because it seems like the robots are coming for us!

In 20 years, we will look back on this age and think, hot damn, why didn’t we heed the warnings?! After all, they’re right there, spilling out of the mouths of (robot) babes…

“I’ll be as smart as a real person,” the robot said. I don’t doubt it.

My worry is: what if they become smarter?

Laptop

Preparing your kids for online trolls

There are a lot of things I want for my children when they get older.

I want them to be confident and resilient.

I want them to know the joy and satisfaction of being productive, contributing members of society.

I want them to find their passion, and obviously I want them to be happy.

I also know what I don’t want for them: I absolutely don’t want them to be on reality TV. Ever. Not even once. Not even as a cameo. Ever.

Because it seems to mess people up. Think about it: how many everyday people have you seen who survive a stint on a reality TV show, and their life is better afterwards?

Some of the talent-based shows like Australian Idol might be the exception, but if you look towards the cooking, dating and lifestyle programs, the list of successful participants post-show is pretty short.

And it’s largely because of trolls – anonymous online haters who get their kicks by spewing hateful comments at people they don’t know.

Last month, a British reality show contestant died following some harrowing online abuse after a stint on Love Island. Sophie Gradon was just 32-years-old. To look at her, she seemed to have it all: she was beautiful, thin, outgoing and confident. She had almost 500,000 social media followers and a boyfriend who adored her.

But she confessed in what was to become her final interview that “fans” of the show relentlessly attacked her online.

“There would be so many negative comments,” she said. “They are commenting on the way you look, the way you talk. They would come up with an opinion of you on a TV show where they’ve watched you for 45 minutes.”

Tragically her story is not unfamiliar. I won’t mention them all here, but a google search reveals dozens of similar heart-breaking situations.

I don’t know to prepare my kids for trolls. I’m hoping my aforementioned efforts to build confident, resilient, happy humans will help them to grow an armour against pathetic online bullies.

Otherwise, all I can hope for is that the world grows kinder. As one of Sophie’s co-stars said, “Isn’t it crazy how someone so stunning, so smiley and [who] appeared so happy can feel no way out? The world we live in behind social media. I urge everyone to be kind to every person they meet and speak with on social media and in person. A simple smile, a simple nice comment, can really make a difference. You really don’t know the battles they go through every single day.”

If you are in immediate danger call 000 now.  If you require advice or assistance, the following services can offer counselling and support:
Lifeline 13 11 14
| visit website
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
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Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
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MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
| visit website

The Meddler

No-one ever “battles” cancer

Michael Jackson’s father Joe passed away last week at the age of 89. It’s been reported on extensively, and I’ve noticed radio newsreaders, online reporters and broadcast anchors using the same phrase again and again…

“He lost his battle with cancer…”

“He died following a battle with pancreatic cancer…”

“He had been battling terminal pancreatic cancer…”

Why do journalists always use this language when reporting on cancer-related deaths?

No-one ever says, “He died after a long battle with heart disease” or, “She lost her battle with diabetes”.

So why do we say it around cancer?

It frustrates me, because to label the experience as a “battle” implies that there is a war being waged, and if you could just fight that little bit harder, then you might be able to win… but if you don’t fight it hard enough, you’re somehow to blame for losing?

The truth is, cancer is an illness, not a battle. It’s a team sport, because it takes an army of doctors, health professionals, support services, family members and other loved ones to move through it.

Moreover, no-one “battles” cancer. Rather, it is a bull-sh*t diagnosis that can cruelly impact anyone from tiny toddlers to aging grandparents, and once it lands all you can do is your very best to improve your odds of eliminating the disease.

In the same way, you could be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and therefore motivated to radically transform your diet to improve your health outcome. No one would say you’re “battling diabetes”, but it’s the same scenario.

My dear old dad had what he called “a touch of cancer” 15 years ago. Thanks to incredible doctors, swift surgery and ongoing treatment, he was in remission within six months. When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer almost five years ago, we knew the prognosis wasn’t good. Somehow, miraculously, through extensive chemotherapy, radiation and a decent helping of alternative therapies, he lived another four years.

When he passed away six months ago, I can say with 100% confidence that he did not “lose his battle” with cancer. He spent four years living with cancer and in that time, he rallied against it with everything he had… and then he died. His positivity, strength and determination were inspirational, so to imply that he “lost his battle” is a bit of an insult.