8-Hour Mad Verse City stream with new homemade prompts!

Hi there! It’s ska234 here. Thanks for supporting me on my Mad Verse City streams. As a follower of mine, I’d like to invite you to my debut of an exclusive new Mad Verse City mod that includes hundreds of my own custom prompts! It’s basically a full expansion! Better yet, I’ll be using a FACE CAM for the entire stream! I’ve spent many, many hours coming up with these prompts to help shake up the game (with a little bit of help from SargentPwnage and Chonky), and I’m sure you’ll love what we’ve done together. To celebrate the release of this new mod, I will be holding an 8-hour-plus stream, with every dollar donated adding an additional minute. Every subscription will add 5 minutes (10 or 25 minutes for $10 and $25 tiers, respectively). Each 100 bits will add a minute, too.

If you’re a fellow streamer (and/or you’re friends with someone who streams), a stream that would lead to a raid during this marathon stream would mean so much to me! I know a lot of streamers are doing it tough, so a raid in lieu of a donation is going to help me so much!

Each winner of a Mad Verse City match will receive 1 point, myself included. It’s winner takes all, too. But here’s the kicker: the loser will get a point deducted from their tally, so don’t slack off if you fall behind! Whoever has the most points at the end will win some great prizes, so read on!

To help grow the channel and increase the amount of time I can dedicate towards this passion project, I’ll be doing a donation/sub drive to raise money for hardware, such as a capture card for my Nintendo Switch, which I plan on using to stream Super Mario Maker 2 (upon its release) as well as other Nintendo Switch games. Financial contributions aren’t necessary, but even a few bucks here and there would DRAMATICALLY affect the sustainability of my stream. If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve done and want to see me keep going, please keep this in mind.

Oh, by the way, for this steam only, all donations will receive TRIPLE the number of ska-bucks they would normally receive from donations of subscriptions. In other words, if you donate $10, you’ll get 3,000 ska-bucks instead of the 1,000 you’d normally receive. Ska-bucks can be used for song requests, rhyme extensions, priority game entry, and MORE! I’ll also triple the number of ska-bucks I normally give away for winners; that is, you’ll get 300 ska-bucks for each win.

If we hit the US$170 target, I’ll be doing a game giveaway to whomever donates the most money/bits/subscriptions by the end of the stream! I’ll also give a bonus 5,000 ska-bucks in addition to the ska-bucks they earn from donations/gifted subs. Subs will only count for $2.50 towards the total due to Twitch’s 50% cut.
There’s also a skill-based element, too. (Remember how I told you to read on?)

No donation or subscription is necessary to win this. Here’s what you get if you accrue the most points (or second-highest total if I have the most points):

+ A permanent spot in my hall of fame. (Bragging rights, essentially);
+ 10,000 ska-bucks, in addition to any you win during games. (That’s right—10,000 ska-bucks!);
+ You’ll get a custom MVC building named after you, ticker gag, and a custom prompt that commemorates your victory in all perpetuity;
+ And you’ll get first access to my source files with all the modified prompts, ticker gags, and buildings! If you don’t own or stream the game, you can nominate a streamer of your choice to receive the files. Any streamer who raids me during this stream will get access to this mod! They just have to ask me for a link!

If this is a success, I may do these drives on a monthly basis; if it’s a failure, please send flowers to my funeral. (Don’t worry—that was a joke. Definitely a joke. Probably.) Even if my goal is not met, all donations are incredibly cherished. This is a small stream, but there are some big hearts. Thank you.

TIME OF EVENT:

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the scheduled start time has been rescheduled as follows:

START: Monday, June 17, 2019, 23:59 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

END: Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 07:59 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (or later depending on donations/subscribers)

It’s basically all Monday evening for you Americans. (All day long on Tuesday for Australians.) A major reason for the change was due to Father’s Day being a problem for many.

RSVP: Please let me know if you can attend via Twitch whisper! I will send out another whisper the day before in order to remind you! Set your alarms, y’all!

CONTRIBUTE YOUR PROMPTS: To contribute our own prompts for the game (and potentially see them used), please send me as many prompts as you’d like in this configuration:
“To get in the mood I rub my nipples with . (jam, whipped cream, butter) noun – a sandwich spread”
The words in parentheses are suggestions.
I don’t expect anyone to stay for the whole stream, but I’ve tried to set the time as it is so that I can reach the most people possible. Thanks so much for your continued support. It means the world to me.

—Ben

Tl;DR:
I’m holding an 8-hour-plus Mad Verse City competition to introduce my new user-made prompts as well as raise funds for a capture card and other streaming expenses. I’d love for this stream to be self-sustaining instead of being run at a loss. Thanks so much. I love each and every one of you!

My beard is patchy… now what?

Note: This article was originally posted on thebeardedstag.com under an alias. It has now been properly formatted and edited here to best reflect the original piece.
________________________________________________

Unless you’re blessed with superior beard-growing genetics, most men will get some form of patchiness while growing a beard. While you can’t control genetics, there are some steps you can take to grow a luscious beard.

One of the first things you need to do is exercise patience. For some men, it can take months before a beard has properly developed in a consistent fashion. You need to recognize that it can take far longer for some men to grow certain areas than it does for others. Another thing to realize is that certain areas—such as between your cheek and jawline—are particularly stubborn when it comes to growing out your beard. If this sounds like you, this is very common and nothing to worry about.

While its growing, it’s usually best to keep your beard trimmed, because beards look best when they are well maintained; this is especially true while you are trying to fill in gaps in your growth. A special set of beard-trimming scissors is all it takes to clip off rogue hairs that are growing out faster than others. Additionally, if you apply beard oil each day after having a shower, you are bound to see a noticeable improvement with your facial hair thickness. The beard oil gives your skin and hair the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and strong. Massaging encourages blood to rush to the area, providing nutrients for the follicles to get longer and thicker.

For best results, gently massage the oil into the beard’s bald spot. If you do this daily, the beard oil will help repair aggravated hair follicles, paving the way for your beard to grow long and healthy. Beard balms are ideal for enhancing and making the beard look fuller while it is growing out, as the beard balm coats the hair and makes it appear thicker.

Most of the time—especially if your place of employment
is strict on beard length—guys who take a while to grow out their patches are probably best served to keep the length of their beard short and consistent. This looks appealing and will keep your beard at a constant length; there is no point having some parts grow haphazardly and look untidy. The most important thing to remember is just to be patient; it may be patchy now, but with a bit of knowledge and time, your beard will be full and glorious before too long.

Is it worthwhile updating to Kodi version 17? (Originally written by Ben Schultz in November 2016)

A brief history lesson on why many people seem to resent updating applications

Back in the days when dial-up internet was king, updating even the most modest of software titles was about as exciting as watching paint dry. Plus, if you were paying by the minute for your connection, a simple update to your media player didn’t just cost you time; it could cost you, or your company, money. And don’t get us started on downloads being interrupted by someone picking up the phone mid-download.

We’ve come a long way since the internet’s humble beginnings, but the inconvenience of software updates still appears to be an enduring legacy after all these years. Fifteen years ago, a typical 56 kbit/s line meant that the 83.2 MB file (of which the file size of the Kodi v17.0 “Krypton” early access download currently is) would take just shy of three hours to download.
Today, however, the average connection speed means that if you had started the download just before reading this article, the download could have already completed. But, of course, today we are faced with new inconveniences to replace the inconvenience of choked bandwidth and long waiting times; namely, we speak of the seemingly constant nagging of updates—and sometimes they’re even mandatory! To prove this point, there is a very high likelihood that at least one of your installed applications has a new update ready to go.

Kodi, though, is different. Kodi v17’s Beta 5 is the slickest and most robust version of the software that has ever existed. What might be a bit surprising about this is the fact that it is a beta. Some people—perhaps rightly—shy away from beta builds, and instead opt for an older, perceivably more stable release. But in this case, such concerns are mostly unfounded. On the contrary, Kodi 17’s fifth beta has patched all of the nagging issues, including issues with the playback of HLS streams, Android crashes*, and problems with skin settings not loading when “reload skin” was triggered. (*Note: the Android build isn’t perfect, but we’ll cover that soon.) It’s not just Android users that are well served to update, either; in fact, Beta 5 has worked with Microsoft to roll out a fix for Kodi’s UWP version, where use of an AMD video card could potentially cause the dreaded blue screen of death.

 

Points of concern

Although our testing of Beta 5 so far on a Core i7 has shown nothing but promising results, Kodi doesn’t pretend that the release is flawless. Beta 5 certainly behaves with the silky smoothness of Stevie Wonder singing in a vat of chocolate fondue, but some of the known problems—especially for Windows users—might leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
The problem, unfortunately, isn’t just a device-specific one; rather, it’s the customizability of the Windows build that has been compromised. For the vanilla user who hasn’t customized a media player since the early days of Winamp, this may not be a problem; however, for those of you who love to put your own personal touch on Kodi’s graphical user interface, be warned!

Put simply, you are currently unable to update the skin you are currently using on Windows; attempting to do so with Beta 5 will simply result in failure. It’s not the only problem, either, as attempting to upgrade any of your existing add-ons on Beta 5 of the Windows build will also not work.

If you’re a mobile-only user reading this and scoffing at the pitfalls of being a slave to Microsoft, don’t get too carried away yet. This build has also had video freezes on Android and Raspberry Pi, although the extent of this issue has not been expounded upon by Kodi’s development team.

Naturally, the Kodi team insists that they are trying to squash these bugs; however, it’s hard to say what other bugs might be lying in wait, ready to terminate someone’s Schwarzenegger movie marathon at the most inopportune time. At the time of writing, the fifth beta of version 17 has only been out for a week, so all we can really do is speculate and deal with what has already been made public.

 

Conclusion

Kodi has done a great job at addressing previous issues, and it seems that—for most people, at least—this version will be a worthy upgrade. If the idea of compromising on customization doesn’t sit well with you, even if it’s just a temporary sacrifice, then perhaps sticking with a tried-and-true version might be in your best interest.

Furthermore, if you use Kodi in a business capacity—such as for demonstrating audiovisual content on televisions in a retail store, or for business presentations for the latest quarterly report—sticking with a more stable version might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you just want a new version that has fixed way more bugs than it has created, trying out Beta 5 could be a pleasant experience. Plus, if you do actually encounter any bugs that aren’t mentioned here, you can use your discoveries to help improve Kodi for yourself and millions of other users.

Best brokers for trading United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG)

The United States Natural Gas Fund (“UNG”) is a dynamic method for shrewd investors and hedgers to properly manage their energy portfolio. As an exchange-traded security, The United States Natural Gas Fund is designed to monitor, in percentage terms, natural gas prices. The goal of UNG, insofar as investment is concerned, is to track the overall percentage change to the price of natural gas delivered to Henry Hub, Louisiana. It is measured by the price fluctuations of the natural gas futures contract as traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

There are many brokerage companies that handle the UNG fund, but here are some strong candidates for managing your UNG fund.

ETX Capital is one of the original CFD brokers in the United Kingdom. Founded more than 50 years ago in 1965, they offer considerably tight spreads, which measure in as low as 0.7 on EuroDollar and 0.9 on other FX pairs. ETX has also accrued several distinguished awards, including an Investment Trends Award 2013 and a UK Forex Award 2013 for Best Forex Trading Tool & Software. Perhaps best of all, they offer a no-deposit offer of £20 to test their MT4, Pro and Binary options trading platforms. Depositing clients can also redeem a welcome bonus of up to £3,750.

Another UK broker for UNG investors is IG Spread Betting. Founded back in 1974, IG has an established reputation as the largest CFD broker—not just in the UK but the world, too. This is measured in both market capitalisation (boasting a market cap of more than £2.5 billion) and active user base. Because of this, IG naturally has a range of markets that ranks among the biggest brokerage firms in the world. You can also test their trading platform by opening a free demo account.

Lastly, InterTrader uses the well-known LCG trading platform to execute trades. Established in 2009, InterTrader has forged its way into the market by being innovative and fresh, which has given it a leg-up over its competitors in certain areas. One such area is its starting capital, which is up to £10,000 for new traders.

IQ Option: the site that everyone seems to be talking about

If you’ve ever wondered about trading binary options, there’s a good chance that you might have heard of IQ Option. Based in the UK, IQ Option broker has garnered a large following over the last five years. Best of all, unlike some binary trading platforms that demand a large initial stake, IQ Option only requires a minimum of $10 to get started. This highly accessible platform means that even the most cautious of investors can dip their feet into the water.

IQ Option can even set you up with a free demo account that has $1,000 of virtual currency, allowing new investors to try out the platform risk-free and with no deposit. This is done because IQ Option UK wants you to succeed from the start, and the best way to do this is to give you risk-free confidence before ever investing a single penny.

Featuring a state-of-the-art mobile trading platform, IQ Option binary options transactions start with as little as $1, which is a simple way for beginners with low deposits to realise the potential of binary options trading. For those of you who are wondering about banking compatibility, you’ll be pleased to know that IQ Option accepts an array of financial payment systems, including bank cards, PayPal, Skrill, Qiwi, Webmoney, Liqpay, YandexMoney, and Moneta.

Additionally, IQ Option UK strives to be a competitor on a global level, which is why the platform is currently available in 14 languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, French, Indonesian, Turkish, Arabic, and Korean. Furthermore, IQ Option is available on iOS and Android, for the ultimate mobile trading experience. Plus, to ensure a truly globalised experience, IQ Option UK is compatible with numerous currencies, including Pounds, Dollars, Euros, and Rubles (plus a plethora of local currencies for Indonesia, Turkey, South America, and the Middle East.)

IQ Option binary options also understands that large investors should be especially looked after, which is why a VIP account is available for investors who deposit US$3,000 or more. Aside from the prestige of being a VIP on the platform, VIP status gives you one-day withdrawals (compared to three-day withdrawals for standard clients).

Furthermore, the amount of assets that can be traded on the platform is both numerous and diverse, with 120 assets that include stocks, indices, commodities, Forex, and Bitcoin. Plus, there are other ways to earn money using the platform, too. These include an affiliate program that gives you a 50% revenue share of each new user you bring to the platform. IQ Option broker has revolutionised the binary options market, and this great revenue-sharing incentive is an unbeatable deal.

Another thing to consider is the use of artificial intelligence. We give you free demo access to the web’s best 100% automatic trading bots. Did you know that approximately half of all worldwide investment trading is done using algorithmic trading? Algorithmic trading allows you to execute a large order (too big to complete in one go) using fully automatic pre-programmed trading directions, which account for variables such as price, time, and volume to send tiny pieces of an order (called child orders) into the market. Algorithmic trading (sometimes known as “algos”) was developed so that individual traders or investment firms did not need to constantly keep an eye on a particular set of stocks and repeatedly send out manual slice orders.

Perhaps most importantly, algorithmic trading bots can be set up to mitigate risk and fees, ensuring that you always get the best deal when investing. Once you learn to master stock trajectories and the trading platform itself, you can make your money work harder for you than it ever has before with IQ Option UK.

Using mesh fencing to raise your chickens or ducks

Raising chickens or ducks can be a really rewarding experience. Unfortunately, though, chickens and ducks — especially when they are chicks and ducks, respectively — are extremely vulnerable to vicious predators such as wild cats and foxes. As such, it is imperative that you construct an enclosure to prevent them being exposed to the outside world. Mesh fencing or other forms of wire fencing are ideal, as they prevent animals like ducks and chickens from escaping, while, at the same time, preventing their larger predators from breaching the perimeter.

Wire fencing should be sturdy and run at least 20 to 30 cm underground; this makes it much harder for predators to dig a tunnel underneath. If you want to be extra secure, experts recommend burying the wire at least 30 to 45 cm under the Earth’s surface, if not more. Additionally, laying some kind of tile barrier instead will prevent foxes (or dogs) from attempting to dig at all. In a domestic setting, it is possible to go years without an attack, which is why some people in these kinds of environments are more willing to give them free reign of a fenced backyard.

As a side note, ducks and chickens are known to sometimes drown some of their young. While this is probably just an evolutionary trait to only keep the strongest of the young and preserve food, this can obviously be traumatic, especially if children witness such an occurrence. Unless you rig up some kind of automated water system that negates the risk of drowning, there really isn’t much that can be done about such an act. Foxes are mostly nocturnal, although they are known (especially in suburban areas) to hunt for food during the day; therefore, even mature ducks should ideally be penned at night when they are sleeping and most vulnerable.

In any case, no matter what animals you wish to contain, mesh fencing is a great way to protect — not imprison — your pets. Raising animals without protection leaves them exposed and vulnerable; and, especially for young animals, a lack of cover or fencing is practically a death sentence. Using wire fencing gives your pets the security they need to live long and fulfilling lives. Ideally, let your chickens and ducks roam your backyard with a watchful eye. Ducks are especially great for hunting snails and insects, which can help to cut down on an overabundance of annoying insects in a sustainable and natural way.

Acupuncture: Does it really help you, or is it a placebo?

The fact is that a lot of so-called alternative medicines are typically nothing more than snake oil peddled by miscreant charlatans. However, objectively speaking, acupuncture seems to occupy a mysterious grey area, and its effectiveness has polarised patients and experts alike, for many decades.

According to Scientific American, millions of Americans receive acupuncture treatment to treat chronic pain, with some even using it to alleviate depression. Harriet Hall, a retired physician and Air Force flight surgeon, believes the published evidence for acupuncture may indicate it is effective in treating pain and nausea, but does little else—if anything—for any other symptoms. Hall maintains that the evidence is compatible with acupuncture being a placebo.

Pharmacologist David Colquhoun (from University College London) is much blunter. Colquhoun says of acupuncture: “Acupuncture does not work, which means all discussions of how it does work are irrelevant. I’m not aware of any evidence that acupuncture works for depression.”

Indeed, if 3,000 trials, decades of research, and millions of dollars can’t determine any concrete effects from acupuncture, one may wonder if it really has any benefits at all. Of course, to those who swear by it, its placebo effect can work just as well as western medicine, especially for cases like depression, where a person’s psychological state has everything to do with whether they are depressed or not.

To be clear, clinical research can never truly prove that any treatment has exactly 0% effect, in the same way that any particular deity can be proven to have exactly 0% chance of existing. Therefore, the burden of proof is on acupuncture; if the research cannot adequately reject the null hypothesis, then the evidence does not confirm acupuncture as being a truly viable medical treatment.

The question must be asked, then: how has acupuncture subsisted since its origins more than 2,000 years ago? To answer this question, one must first look at acupuncture in the context of traditional Chinese medicine. ‘Qi’ (pronounced “chee” in British English) was believed to be a life force energy that would flow the body’s main organs. Although this belief has no scientific basis, its concepts have persisted for thousands of years.

But if it was just a mystical medicine with no basis in science, why do people still line up to get it?

People will still pay for things with no scientific basis, which is why we still have religion, astrology, and mediums who make very good livings from exploiting people’s willingness to believe in the unbelievable. Some people can regularly (and genuinely) feel better from the placebo effect of acupuncture, just like people may feel good after reading a good astrology forecast in the newspaper, getting a pleasant prediction from a psychic, or enjoying praising a god or saviour through gospels and hymns. That is not to say that these things are certainly false, since, like previously mentioned, these things are, in fact, unfalsifiable.

In conclusion, if you genuinely feel that acupuncture makes you feel happier and healthier, that’s your prerogative. Moreover, there are no adverse effects to acupuncture, so long as the acupuncturist is properly trained, of course. A lot of people, knowing this, might decide to instead invest their time and money into scientifically proven medicines; however, some people’s habits will never change. If anything, alternative medicines, in general, have soared from $20 billion in 1990 to over $34 billion in 2009. Although, if one factors in inflation, this increase is only a negligible one. The reality is that only time will tell whether or not acupuncture—and the alternative medicine industry at large—will decline over the coming years.