I tried Be My Eyes, the popular app that pairs blind people with helpers

The app helps blind or visually impaired people connect with users for everyday tasks and has way more volunteers than its creators expected In the oversaturated app market, one has reached a frequently neglected demographic: blind people. Be My Eyes, created by Hans Jorgen Wiberg in 2015, pairs volunteers with blind or visually impaired people in need of help with small, everyday tasks. These can range from reading an expiration date on a carton of milk to describing the color of a shirt. Wanting to be of help, I volunteered my eyes, ready to answer the call of a person in need of a snack or an opinion on an outfit. There is one flaw with the app, albeit a …

Bloating, pain and the gurgles? Read this if you can’t burp

Theres no medical term for it, but one doctor has pioneered lack of burping as a condition and is working to help no-burpers Can you burp? Not even on command just, for instance, have you burped at all in 2019? While belching is characterized as a day-to-day bodily function, for an unknown number of people, its a relief they never experience. Instead, a big meal or carbonated beverage sets off a chain of gastric unpleasantries: bloating, searing pain in the esophagus, and excessive flatulence. And of course, the gurgling, a sound reminiscent of croaking frogs that seems to come from the throat. Theres no medical term for people who cant burp, and the amount of scientific studies on the missing …

Notes from a Hollywood divorce: ‘We had a primal connection. But we hung by a thread for years’

I wrote a part for my husband in my first movie. By the time filming was over, so was our marriage In every city Ive lived, my sister has been the one to set up the printer, testing it by printing me the lyrics to George Michaels Freedom! 90. I am not the only grown woman entwined with their family, as I am not the only British person entwined with George Michael. When, in 2010, he drove his car through the wall of the Hampstead Snappy Snaps, the resulting hole was quickly daubed with the legend WHAM, by a local who meant it in a loving way. Walking to the underground, I saw it (as well as the aftermath and …

Busy Philipps on abortion: Women have held on to a lot of this shame

The actor and author who recently testified before Congress on why she got an abortion discusses the power in being vocal about uncomfortable experiences Busy Philipps big dreams for the stage never included ending their pregnancies in 1969 to the 343 French influencers led by Simone de Beauvoir who signed a 1971 manifesto wrote in the New York Times. But as women stopped talking about it publicly, the anti-abortion movement gathered steam. Busy Philipps testifies about the threat to abortion rights before a House judiciary subcommittee. Photograph: c-span By 2014, one in four women will have an abortion by the age of 45. And now, thanks to the addition of two ultra-conservative supreme court justices picked by Donald Trump, anti-abortion …

Bariatric divorce: why extreme weight loss leads to break ups

For people struggling with their weight, surgery can be a source of help and hope. But it often has an unexpected effect on romantic relationships Before Steven Jason Williams had his gastric bypass in August 2017, he attended group sessions to prepare himself. It was at one of these classes that Williams, now 44, was first told that many married patients will divorce within years of the surgery. He turned to look at his wife, Desiree, who had trundled him into the meeting using the portable wheelchair they kept in the boot of their car. Williams couldnt walk more than a few feet at his heaviest, he weighed 587lbs (266kg) and he spent nearly all his time at home, being …

Fit in my 40s: I love parkour, but running at walls is even harder than it looks | Zoe Williams

Anything that is too high to vault, you have to approach with a cat leap Andy Pearson, the founder of London Parkour, maintains that anyone can do parkour if they want to enough. I have always seen it somewhat differently, as a kind of street version of Cirque du Soleil, suitable for only the skinniest kid with a death wish. Walking towards a cul-de-sac full of low walls, I am disbelieving. Even someone carrying a lot of extra weight? Yes, as long as you start with what they are able to do safely. Even the strongest man on Earth? Yes, as long as you allow for his muscle ratio. We come to some walls. Pearson wants to start with focus …

‘I wanted to explore my own pleasure’ how I rebooted my sex life

At 35, I realised I had no idea what I really wanted in bed or how to ask for it. So I went on a sex odyssey, one orgasm at a time My story, like all the greats, starts with a disappointing wank. I was on one of the big free porn sites and I saw something that disturbed me. Now, I was used to porn; I had been using/watching/waiting for it to buffer for years. It was just what you did, if you were feeling aroused and alone, wasnt it? But on this night, I found myself thinking about a young woman in a thumbnail picture, hoping she was all right. I turned my computer off and thought about …

Baby with spina bifida receives pioneering keyhole surgery

Jaxson Sharp has spine repaired while in the womb, in first for UK surgeons For the first time in the UK, doctors have performed pioneering keyhole surgery to repair the spine of a baby with spina bifida while still in the womb. Surgeons from Kings College hospital in London used the cutting-edge technique to successfully close a hole in the spine of Jaxson Sharp 27 weeks into the pregnancy. His mother, Sherrie, from Horsham, West Sussex, had the operation after a routine 20-week scan revealed that his spine and spinal cord had not developed normally. The condition can lead to substantial physical and cognitive developmental problems, including paralysis. In the three-hour procedure, surgeons inserted a thin camera and small surgical …

One step ahead: how walking opens new horizons

Whether its to the North Pole or across LA, walking is the fastest way to make more time for life As a child growing up in 1970s Norway, with parents who didnt own a car and loved to hike, Erling Kagge believes one of his first full sentences was: How much further is it? By his late teens, though, hed begun to embrace his parents ethos. By then, for me, walking wasnt just getting from A to B, he says. It had a value in itself. So much so that at 27, he walked to the North Pole and, less than three years later, became the first person to walk to the South Pole alone a 50-day trek with no …

Britney Spears and a civilised response to her mental health | Rebecca Nicholson

The support of fans and the restraint of paparazzi show how attitudes to celebrity distress have changed When Britneys New Look, offered a surprisingly furious satirical riposte: famous young women become sacrifices for a baying crowd, who nitpick at every flaw, literally hounding their target to death. What a difference a decade can make. Last week, Spears posted a quote ondocumentary about Amy Winehouse, one of the moments that remained with me was how much the singers struggles had become a punchline, an excuse for a gag, even a fancy dress costume. To watch people wisecracking about her troubles, through the awful lens of hindsight, is terrible and tragic. Perhaps its too generous, but I find it hard to imagine …

The best form of self-help is a healthy dose of unhappiness | Tim Lott

Were more likely to find solace by accepting reality rather than in positive thinking, says author Tim Lott Booksellers have announced that sales of self-help books are at Blink, or The Power of Now, or A Course in Miracles)? Or a combination of both (The Road Less Travelled)? Is it about success (The Seven Secrets of Successful People) or accumulating money (Mindful Money, or Think and Grow Rich)? Is Caitlin Morans The Secret, You Can Heal Your Life and Robin Skynner in the 1980s, and Depression: The Way out of Your Prison by How to Win Friends and Influence People through to The Power of Positive Thinking and Who Moved My Cheese?, positive thinking seems to be the unifying principle …

Feminism with no human warmth leaves me cold | Zoe Williams

Im a fan of the acclaimed young writer known as the Slumflower. But her sexual creed of exploitation appals me, says Guardian columnist Zoe Williams A couple of years ago, the feminist society of Deptford Green secondary school convened a conference. It was there that I met Chidera Eggerue: aka the Slumflower, author of #saggyboobsmatter movement. She was a remarkable woman. I dont want to call her a remarkable young woman, even though she was 23 at the time: young is such a modifier and she would have been remarkable at any age. Her broad message was one of body positivity: if you love yourself and your shape, nobody can shame you. She built what I thought was a brisk, …

Our goal is to halve the male suicide rate: why no-frills therapy works for men

Every week, around the country, groups of men meet for some straight-talking therapy. Could this be the answer to the male mental health crisis? A stranger has just thrown a ball at me and asked me how my week has been. Its Monday night, and Im sitting in a circle of a dozen men in a chilly community centre. This ball obliges me to tell the gang about my current emotional state. I have spent my entire adult life carefully avoiding situations like this. I came to Andys Man Club with my eyes open, thinking I was ready to share. But thats because I expected a different sort of group therapy session; a place where normal blokes could open up …