[TX] Ever wonder about the difference between name brand and off-brand refrigerator water filters? (I cut some open on a bandsaw to see for myself)

I see this question come up a lot on here and other forums I browse, and decided to find out what the real difference was inside. Spending $50 on the branded water filter for the fridge is not something any of us look forward to, especially when there are off-brands for $10-20 that spout all the same certifications. I've always been weary of the cheap ones, and have too much on my plate at the moment to install a real in-line filtration system like a lot of you have. So, I bought a real Samsung OEM water filter (directly from Amazon, not a 3rd party seller) as well as the Waterdrop Advance, which has decent ratings, states it's NSF 42 & 53 certified, and was only $10 after a coupon. I then cut each in half on the bandsaw to compare the insides.


Both filters came in a cardboard box, with the filter capped and shrinkwrapped inside. The Samsung box was physically larger, but the filters themselves were the same size. I removed the shrinkwrapping and caps, then weighed them on a digital scale. The Samsung weighed in at 8.9 oz whereas the Waterdrop tipped the scales at 10.2 oz.


Now the fun part! I ripped each down the middle on a bandsaw, which sliced through them pretty easily. While they both look similar inside at first glance, I found quite a number of differences. First is the color and texture of the filtration material. I’m not sure how well it came out in the pictures, but there was a stark difference in color. The Samsung filter looked light gray and was smoother and cleaner looking, whereas the Waterdrop was a much darker black and seemed slightly coarser. I looked online to see if I could find information about qualities of charcoal to help explain the color and texture difference. The main thing I came across is that activated carbon is much better than regular charcoal. The Samsung page states that it uses “high-quality activated carbon” and the color looks just like the Wikipedia image for activated carbon. Waterdrop on the other hand looks more like images I see for charcoal. The Amazon product page also does not state what the filtration material is, so I have to assume it’s not the higher quality activated carbon that Samsung uses. As far as weight, the carbon in the Samsung weighed 3.8 oz, whereas the charcoal in the Waterdrop weighed 4.1 oz.

Next, both filters have a filtering paper wrapped around the carbon/charcoal. In both models the paper covers about 90% of the charcoal, however the Samsung filter uses about three times as much paper. Also, the Samsung paper was much stronger. You can’t see this in the pictures, but I tore each type several times. The Waterdrop paper tore instantly with the smallest amount of force. The Samsung paper had some kind of reinforcement and would stretch a bit before tearing, which required a decent amount of force considering how thin and light it was. It reminded me a little of a Tyvek envelope, but not nearly as strong as that.

Then, I looked at the casing itself. The Samsung seemed to be better designed, and had nice curved water channels in the bottom to evenly disperse the water around the carbon material. The Waterdrop had some plastic divides at the bottom of the casing, but they were not evenly dispersed or evenly sized. I will say that this is probably pretty minor though. One difference that could be pretty big, is that with the Samsung the water outlet is molded into the carbon filter. This means the only way for water to get out of the filter and into your glass is to pass through the carbon. With the Waterdrop, the outlet was molded to the casing and the charcoal was just pressed up against it. I have no way of checking the fit, but if there was ever a gap there it would be possible for water to bypass the charcoal filtration material on its way out of the filter.

Lastly, the Waterdrop had a double o-ring unlike the Samsung which only had one. I didn’t check the fit so I can’t compare, but I’ve only used the Samsung and it’s always a very tight fit. I’m not sure how a double ring would change that.

In summation, the Samsung does appear to be better in several ways, some more important and some less important. This makes sense because the Samsung is $50 and the Waterdrop is $17, so I expected there to be some differences. I only change the filter once or twice a year, so I’ll keep sticking with the Samsung until I can get an in-line filter installed.

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Read more: reddit.com

How to Take Action: 12 Habits that Turn Dreams into Reality

” Knowing is insufficient; we need to use. Ready is inadequate; we need to do.””. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

““ Don’t wait. The time will never ever be perfect.””.Napoleon Hill


What makes dreams into truth?

I think that maybe the most essential – – and a frequently overlooked – thing is merely acting.

.When I was more youthful, #ppppp> I utilized to be actually bad at it.

Back then I typically got stuck.

I got stuck in my dreams about what I wished to do.

I got stuck in analysis paralysis due to my routine of overthinking things. I got stuck in procrastination and in pessimism.

Things have actually altered a lot given that then. I have actually included lots of brand-new routines that assist me to take a lot more action than I utilized to.

I hope today’s short article will assist you to do the exact same.

1. Get your day of rest to a terrific start by doing the most essential thing.

.When I utilized to offer computer systems, #ppppp> I initially found out about this about 17 years earlier.

The employer informed us that if we looked after the most crucial job of the day –– frequently among the harder ones too –– right now in the early morning the remainder of the day would be a lot much easier and lighter.

He was best about that.

When that very first and essential job is done you put on’’ t need to fret about it. It won ’ t weigh down on your day. You feel great about yourself.


’And you ’ ll have less inner resistance to acting for the remainder of the day.

2. Simply take duty for your actions and the procedure.

I enjoy this quote from the ancient Sanskrit Hindu bible Bhagavad Gita:

““ To action alone hast thou a right and never ever at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy intention; neither let there remain in thee any accessory to inactiveness.””



.Since every time I look at it or advise myself of it I feel a sort of liberty and relief, #ppppp>.

This quote advises me to comprehend that I can not manage the outcomes of my action. I can’’ t control how somebody responds to what I state or what I do.

.If I do something I truly like doing, #ppppp> It advises me that it normally works much better for me to remain inspired to keep doing what I do.

Basically, I do what I believe is ideal which is my obligation. And after that the rest (the possible outcomes), well, that is not up to me to choose about or attempt to manage.

I let it go.

Taking action ends up being a so much lighter activity when you just have to take duty for doing what you believe is.

3. Don’’ t seem like doing it? Start little.


Getting the most crucial thing done very first thing in your day and setting yourself up for an action-packed day sounds fantastic in theory.

But in truth you will have uninspired days.

Days when you feel mentally low or when you are challenged with needing to do something you wear’’ t wish to do.


That ’ s life. No factor to let that sink your day into inactiveness and sensation sorry for yourself.

I have actually discovered that the very best thing for these circumstances is to begin really little. To simply……

.Compose for 1-2 minutes.Raise weights for simply a couple of repeatings.Invest 1 minute with starting on something that frightens me.

After that I have the option to go do something else.

But I rarely do.

I simply require a simple method to get going and after that, when I remain in movement, I generally continue acting for a while longer.

4. Don’’ t hurt yourself.


This is an effective incentive for me to grow and to end up being a much better individual.


If I wear ’ t do what I deep down believe is the ideal thing to do then I injure myself and my self-confidence . What I do– or do refrain from doing– throughout my day sends out effective signals back to me about what type of – individual I am.


There is no leaving yourself. When you do not do what you believe is the best thing, and there is constantly a cost to pay.


5. A tip for focus.


If you put on ’ t advise yourself frequently about what you’require to concentrate on and why you are doing it then it is simple to let days escape or to invest excessive time on lesser things.


So develop a an easy pointer on a notepad.On it you can for instance make a note of:

. Your leading 3 concerns in life today. Your essential objective or brand-new routine for the next 30 days. A slogan or quote you desireto remain concentrated on and live by at this time in your life.

6. Stay responsible to individuals in your life.

. When the preliminary interest has actually dissipated, #ppppp> A responsibility pal can assist you to remain on track and to keep taking action towards your objective or dream even.


For example, a lot of you as readers assist me to remain responsible to offer valuable material. If I do things in a handy or less useful method, I get feedback all the time about. I get a lots of motivation.


People closer to me in my life assist me to remain liable to for example not consuming excessive unhealthy things, to exercising and to not working excessive.


Find somebody in reality or online who wishes to get in much better shape too. Or begin an organisation online . Inspire each other.


Keep each other responsible so you act and take advances weekly.


7. Cycle completely focused work and totally unwinding rest.

Get your cooking area timer or gain access to the stop-watch function on yourcellular phone.


Set the timer for 45 minutes. Throughout those minutes simply deal with your essential task/small advance. Absolutely nothing else. No diversions.


After those 45 minutes are up, take a relaxing break. If you like, sidetrack yourself on Facebook. Or step far from your work area and take a brief walk, stretch or choose an apple for the next 15 minutes.


By working these totally focused time periods you ’ ll:

.Get more done and do work of greater quality. Have the ability to focus for a longer time in yourday and week and get less exhausted.Train yourself to concentrate on something sometimes, rather of getting stuck in your mind in between work and relaxation and developing friction and tension within. Have the ability to enjoy your pause without a guilty conscience.

45 minutes of work excessive?


Try 25 minutes rather.

Procrastinating half-way into your 25 minute duration?


Set the timer for 10 or 5 minutes and develop the time that you can completely concentrate on the work over the next couple of weeks and months.


8. Focus more on the how to and less on the what-ifs.

If your ideas begins spinning as you are thinking of doing something about it then in your mind shout: STOP!


Don ’ t enable yourself to get stuck in the unfavorable spiral of analysis paralysis.


Sure, it is wise to believe prior to you act in a lot of cases however overthinking things tends to end up being a method to attempt to manage things you can not manage or to merely keep away from action since you are frightened in some method.


After you have stated stop to that train of believed open your mind to what you CAN DO rather of all the important things that might fail in the worst case situation.


Ask yourself concerns like:

. What is one little action I can take today to move on towards my objective or out of this circumstance? What is something I can gain from this scenario?

Write down the responses you create and act on them.


9.Individuals put on ’ t care that much about what you do so wear’ t let that hold you back.


When I was more youthful I nearlyconstantly let what individuals’might have believed or stated if I did something hold me back and I got stuck in inactiveness.

It was more of a self-indulgent than precise belief.


In truth individuals have their own things going on in hectic lives.They consider the task, kids, a partner, the feline, a getaway,what to have for supper and they stress over what you and other individuals might consider them.


You are most likely not the primary character in other individuals ’ s lives. If you are that in your own life, even.

An awareness that can be a bit frustrating however something’that can likewise can set you devoid of self-imposed bonds.


10. Use interest.

. When you dream and when you get begun with something brand-new in life then the interest streams like a water fountain, #ppppp>.

A couple of weeks later on it might have reduced a fair bit. If you believe this is something you desire to continue doing, Don ’ t let that lead you to stopping.


Tap into interest in your environments rather.

. Let the interest of your responsibility pal circulation of over to you and produce a recede to him or her by being passionate about his/her dreams and objectives. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks by motivating individuals. Check out blog sites, sites and enroll that assist you to get a dosage of interest each week.Let the interest from animals, pals or kids circulation over to you. Listen to music and watch films that increase your happiness for life.

Bring the interest of the remainder of the world into your life.


11.Include the enjoyable.


Some jobs just are not much or uninteresting enjoyable at all.


Then attempt this while you are doing them to include a little bit of enjoyable:

. Include some music that offers you energy and influences you. Make it into a video game where you take on buddy about who can complete something initially or do the most amount of something in 10 or 30 minutes.

Change your point of view on whatyou are doing, lighten things up a bit and it tends to end up being a fair bit much easier to take a great deal of action on what you might have hesitated on for a long time.


12. Commemorate what you did today.


Take 2 minutes at the end of your day to think of, commemorate and value what you have actually done something about it on today. No matter how little the action might have been.

It will:

. Encourage you to start tomorrow too. Increase your self-confidence with time. Make you feel excellent about yourself which sensation will infect individuals in your life too.

Read more: positivityblog.com

Skrillex & Utada Hikaru Enter The Billboard Hot 100 with “Face My Fears”

Skrillex completely wowed us with his stunning collaboration “Face My Fears” with Hikaru Utada. Not only is it an amazing song, it doubles as the opening theme for the brand new Kingdom Hearts III video game.

The track has seen wild, viral success online since its release and now it’s being recognized in the mainstream, as well. According to new chart data, Skrillex has broken into the Billboard Hot 100 with “Face My Fears.” The producer makes his mark at No. 98 on the chart — and just like that, he’s back in action!

Billboard Hot 100: #98(new) Face My Fears, Hikaru Utada & @Skrillex.

— chart data (@chartdata) January 29, 2019

“It sounds kind of crazy, but I always said ‘I want to do the theme for Kingdom Hearts one day,’” Skrillex told The Verge. “I told myself that as a kid. I was just such an absolute fan of Utada Hikaru and the games, but that was like a dream of mine.”

Skrillex has taken a step away from the bass music that brought him notoriety, perfecting a new kind of sound that’s bright, uplifting, and amazing as ever. Fans are still holding out for a forthcoming album in 2019. The longer we go without any details, the more we seem to want it. And, the more we question what his new material is going to sound like.

Enjoy “Face My Fears” again and watch the track climb the charts!

Hikaru Utada & Skrillex – Face My Fears

This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Skrillex & Utada Hikaru Enter The Billboard Hot 100 with “Face My Fears”

Read more: youredm.com

Drake walked into a McDonald’s and gave two female employees $10,000 in cash

Drake walked into a McDonald’s and gave two female employees $10,000 in cash

Drake walked into a McDonald’s and gave two female employees $10,000 in cash

We’re forever here for a feel-good celebrity tipping story. Famous people tend to have money to spare, and when they decide to tip a server or a restaurant employee with a fat bundle of cash, it’s a nice reminder that there’s some good left in the world. Drake just gave $20,000 in cash to two McDonald’s employees, and it’s like IRL “God’s Plan.” On January 26th, 2019, a USC student saw Drake at a Los Angeles-area McDonald’s, so he tweeted about it, as one does. Then, Drake—flanked by two bodyguards—gave the two female employees on duty $10,000 each in cash.

“Just saw Drake in McDonald’s… crazy And he gave two female employees $10,000 each… in cash,” read the original tweets.

Drake later shared an Instagram post from the night, confirming he was indeed at the D’s.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Jan 29, 2019 at 7:35pm PST

And he gave two female employees $10,000 each… in cash.

— AJ 🌹 (@imajnoel) January 26, 2019


— AJ 🌹 (@imajnoel) January 26, 2019

Surprisingly, the tweets have not gone viral, making it hard to track down the two women who received the cash. Back in 2013, TMZ reported how Drake famously dropped $50,000 in a single night at a strip club in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is another amazing gift. Last year for his “God’s Plan” video, Drake walked around Miami and gave out nearly a million dollars (the video’s original budget) in cash to those in need.

Not only is Drake historically generous with his cash, he’s also a big McDonald’s fan. TMZ reported back in October 2018 that Drake showed up to his own after-party in Los Angeles with enough bags of McDonald’s to feed the entire club.

Twitter is now blowing up with requests from Drake fans to come to the McDonald’s they work at. Who knows when charitable Drake will strike next?

The post Drake walked into a McDonald’s and gave two female employees $10,000 in cash appeared first on HelloGiggles.

Read more: hellogiggles.com

BEST WEBSITE DESIGN Works Only Under These Conditions

Best Website Design Suggestions

best website design

With internet business on the rise, retaining traffic in your website is crucial if you are to make any earnings. However, the majority of on-line sites are undesirable aesthetically making customers click off the moment they log on the website. Nonetheless, many of the reasons that make these internet pages unpleasant can easily be taken treatment of. Below are some of the best website design suggestions you can use to maximize the time customers will remain in your website.

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It is important that you strive to upload contents that are high worth in your website. This is part of web advancement it have to come first. Clients are much more interested in the kinds of contents they would locate in your website than the design. Nevertheless, good design is a added advantage to your high quality knowledge.

Restricting the number of promotions is amongst the most effective website design suggestions. If a site has a lot of promotions, they will produce navigation troubles to browsers limiting their time in your website. The components of the web pages are meant to have more information than ads. Guarantee too that the ads present in your site are not harmful.

Another point you ought to be on the appearance for is base components in your websites. Sleazy aspects refer to any type of destruction crammed in the site such that when you visit it will demolish you. Preventing automatic audio loading, scrolling messages as well as computer animated gifs are among the common attributes that must be avoided in your site. These aspects ruin the visual clearness of the visitor. In situation the visitor is operating in weak connection, there is probability that they will move out of the site since it will take too much time to load sounds and other stuff that probably were not important; this will eventually make them sign out without having accomplished the purpose they wanted to.

Another of best website design ideas is avoiding pop up windows. There are some designers who assume that clients will get impressed by these windows. Nonetheless, they are also destructive and hence can make you lose focus on what you were doing. In case there are numerous of them, clients will just navigate away and never come back impacting negatively on your website traffic flow.

Best website design ideas create shortcuts to specific sites. This reduces the clicking involved before clients reach the designated destinations. Making visitors make a lot of click will backfire and that will also impact your traffic negatively. You can have a menu in your website that will help clients maneuver direct to the pages they are looking for without excessive scrolling.

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Let the length of the articles you write have a standard length of about 2 screenfuls. Very long information is tedious to read and hence readers stand little chance of reading fining up to the end. You can break that information in subtopics and place it in different pages to make it easy top read.

Include a menu in all pages so that the navigation process can be simpler. This menu also prevents readers getting lost in the course of scrolling through the pages.

Careful observation of these best website design ideas can help you in retaining regular traffic in your site.

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Tessa Spierings’ tactile sound system explores the acoustic properties of materials

Spierings’ Echo combines bespoke speakers with removable tubes made of different materials that can be used to alter the properties of the music played by the system.

Described as a “soundscape that makes acoustics visible and tactile”, the system features tubes in different lengths made from three different materials – ash wood, fabric-covered foam and brass.

The tubes can be attached to a 3D-printed speaker module. The speakers are connected to a computer running the music program Ableton, via an amplifier and an audio-splitter, which directs them to play audio in response to a tube being placed on top of each one.

Tessa Spierings' Echo tactile sound system explores the acoustic properties of materials

The speakers each have their own sound, which is then altered by the tube placed on top. Activating multiple speakers allows the user to create layers of sound.

Spierings worked with the DJ Nicky Liebregts to create the audio for the prototype of the system.

“Echo invites you to interact with material and melody – the performer is a composer, musician and designer at the same time,” Spierings told Dezeen.

“Every material has its own characteristic (like density), which lets the sound resonate through the tube in a different way,” she explained. “Wood creates a deeper tone, brass makes it purer and foam has a muffling effect. Of course you can use many more materials to play with.”

Tessa Spierings' Echo tactile sound system explores the acoustic properties of materials

Created as her graduation project at Design Academy Eindhoven, Echo is the culmination of the designer’s research into using sound to define space, which initially began by looking at how people pass through airports.

Using tactile interfaces could help users understand some of the principles of sound manipulation, she said.

“When I started to make tactile tests with sound and material, I came across something far more interesting and I focused on this,” she said. “For me, sound used to be quite a vague subject, but by approaching this topic in a tactile way, I got to understand and enjoy [it].”

Tessa Spierings' Echo tactile sound system explores the acoustic properties of materials

Spierings’ project was shown during Dutch Design Week 2018 as part of the Design Academy Eindhoven exhibition, which also included a 3D printer that uses recycled paper pulp, distorted office furniture and a vegan leather alternative made from lino.

Speaker design has become an increasing focus for designers, as bluetooth and wifi have liberated the position of the devices within the home.

Speaker manufacturer Sonos recently teamed up with design brand Hay to create speakers that “deserve to be treated like furniture”, while Bang & Olufsen has recruited some of the world’s best product designers including Cecilie Manz and Michael Anastassiades to create its recent products.

Last year, furniture behemoth IKEA produced its first speakers and teamed up with tech creatives Teenage Engineering to create a portable audio and lighting system for on-the-spot parties.

The post Tessa Spierings’ tactile sound system explores the acoustic properties of materials appeared first on Dezeen.

Read more: dezeen.com

HOT! Save 10% off your entire shopping trip at Kroger!

Kroger just released a HOT digital coupon to give you 10% off your entire shopping order!!

Go click here and see if this digital coupon is available for you. I hope it is!

I don’t ever recall them offering this, so this is pretty cool!

This coupon can only be used once and is valid through February 24, 2019. I believe it will come off automatically the next time you shop at Kroger and use your shopper’s card.

Read more: moneysavingmom.com

Bradley Cooper joins Lady Gaga to perform ‘Shallow’ in Las Vegas

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Jackson Maine — — er —, uh, Bradley Cooper — signed up with Lady Gaga onstage Saturday night for a surprise efficiency of “Shallow,” the duo’s hit tune from A Star Is Born.

Cooper remained in the audience for Gaga’s Enigma residency in Las Vegas, and the crowd took pleasure in a good surprise when he popped onstage for the duet. (There might be 100 individuals in a space, however just one Bradley Cooper remained in A Star Is Born.)  

SEE ALSO: Lady Gaga’s Golden Globes gown was a gorgeous tribute to the 1954 variation of ‘A Star is Born’

Gaga was noticeably moved by the experience, offering Cooper deep space’s longest hug and kneeling at his feet for the very first verse. Read more …

More about Lady Gaga , Bradley Cooper , A Star Is Born , Entertainment , and Movies Television Shows

Read more: feeds.mashable.com

The facts about Facebook

This is a critical reading of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s article in the WSJ on Thursday, also entitled The Facts About Facebook

Yes Mark, you’re right; Facebook turns 15 next month. What a long time you’ve been in the social media business! We’re curious as to whether you’ve also been keeping count of how many times you’ve been forced to apologize for breaching people’s trust or, well, otherwise royally messing up over the years.

It’s also true you weren’t setting out to build “a global company”. The predecessor to Facebook was a ‘hot or not’ game called ‘FaceMash’ that you hacked together while drinking beer in your Harvard dormroom. Your late night brainwave was to get fellow students to rate each others’ attractiveness — and you weren’t at all put off by not being in possession of the necessary photo data to do this. You just took it; hacking into the college’s online facebooks and grabbing people’s selfies without permission.

Blogging about what you were doing as you did it, you wrote: “I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of some farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.” Just in case there was any doubt as to the ugly nature of your intention. 

The seeds of Facebook’s global business were thus sewn in a crude and consentless game of clickbait whose idea titillated you so much you thought nothing of breaching security, privacy, copyright and decency norms just to grab a few eyeballs.

So while you may not have instantly understood how potent this ‘outrageous and divisive’ eyeball-grabbing content tactic would turn out to be — oh hai future global scale! — the core DNA of Facebook’s business sits in that frat boy discovery where your eureka Internet moment was finding you could win the attention jackpot by pitting people against each other.

Pretty quickly you also realized you could exploit and commercialize human one-upmanship — gotta catch em all friend lists! popularity poke wars! — and stick a badge on the resulting activity, dubbing it ‘social’.

FaceMash was antisocial, though. And the unpleasant flipside that can clearly flow from ‘social’ platforms is something you continue not being nearly honest nor open enough about. Whether it’s political disinformation, hate speech or bullying, the individual and societal impacts of maliciously minded content shared and amplified using massively mainstream tools you control is now impossible to ignore.

Yet you prefer to play down these human impacts; as a “crazy idea”, or by implying that ‘a little’ amplified human nastiness is the necessary cost of being in the big multinational business of connecting everyone and ‘socializing’ everything.

But did you ask the father of 14-year-old Molly Russell, a British schoolgirl who took her own life in 2017, whether he’s okay with your growth vs controls trade-off? “I have no doubt that Instagram helped kill my daughter,” said Russell in an interview with the BBC this week.

After her death, Molly’s parents found she had been following accounts on Instagram that were sharing graphic material related to self-harming and suicide, including some accounts that actively encourage people to cut themselves. “We didn’t know that anything like that could possibly exist on a platform like Instagram,” said Russell.

Without a human editor in the mix, your algorithmic recommendations are blind to risk and suffering. Built for global scale, they get on with the expansionist goal of maximizing clicks and views by serving more of the same sticky stuff. And more extreme versions of things users show an interest in to keep the eyeballs engaged.

So when you write about making services that “billions” of “people around the world love and use” forgive us for thinking that sounds horribly glib. The scales of suffering don’t sum like that. If your entertainment product has whipped up genocide anywhere in the world — as the UN said Facebook did in Myanmar — it’s failing regardless of the proportion of users who are having their time pleasantly wasted on and by Facebook.

And if your algorithms can’t incorporate basic checks and safeguards so they don’t accidentally encourage vulnerable teens to commit suicide you really don’t deserve to be in any consumer-facing business at all.

Yet your article shows no sign you’ve been reflecting on the kinds of human tragedies that don’t just play out on your platform but can be an emergent property of your targeting algorithms.

You focus instead on what you call “clear benefits to this business model”.

The benefits to Facebook’s business are certainly clear. You have the billions in quarterly revenue to stand that up. But what about the costs to the rest of us? Human costs are harder to quantify but you don’t even sound like you’re trying.

You do write that you’ve heard “many questions” about Facebook’s business model. Which is most certainly true but once again you’re playing down the level of political and societal concern about how your platform operates (and how you operate your platform) — deflecting and reframing what Facebook is to cast your ad business a form of quasi philanthropy; a comfortable discussion topic and self-serving idea you’d much prefer we were all sold on.

It’s also hard to shake the feeling that your phrasing at this point is intended as a bit of an in-joke for Facebook staffers — to smirk at the ‘dumb politicians’ who don’t even know how Facebook makes money.

Y’know, like you smirked…

Then you write that you want to explain how Facebook operates. But, thing is, you don’t explain — you distract, deflect, equivocate and mislead, which has been your business’ strategy through many months of scandal (that and worst tactics — such as paying a PR firm that used oppo research tactics to discredit Facebook critics with smears).

Dodging is another special power; such as how you dodged repeat requests from international parliamentarians to be held accountable for major data misuse and security breaches.

The Zuckerberg ‘open letter’ mansplain, which typically runs to thousands of blame-shifting words, is another standard issue production from the Facebook reputation crisis management toolbox.

And here you are again, ironically enough, mansplaining in a newspaper; an industry that your platform has worked keenly to gut and usurp, hungry to supplant editorially guided journalism with the moral vacuum of algorithmically geared space-filler which, left unchecked, has been shown, time and again, lifting divisive and damaging content into public view.

The latest Zuckerberg screed has nothing new to say. It’s pure spin. We’ve read scores of self-serving Facebook apologias over the years and can confirm Facebook’s founder has made a very tedious art of selling abject failure as some kind of heroic lack of perfection.

But the spin has been going on for far, far too long. Fifteen years, as you remind us. Yet given that hefty record it’s little wonder you’re moved to pen again — imagining that another word blast is all it’ll take for the silly politicians to fall in line.

Thing is, no one is asking Facebook for perfection, Mark. We’re looking for signs that you and your company have a moral compass. Because the opposite appears to be true. (Or as one UK parliamentarian put it to your CTO last year: “I remain to be convinced that your company has integrity”.)

Facebook has scaled to such an unprecedented, global size exactly because it has no editorial values. And you say again now you want to be all things to all men. Put another way that means there’s a moral vacuum sucking away at your platform’s core; a supermassive ethical blackhole that scales ad dollars by the billions because you won’t tie the kind of process knots necessary to treat humans like people, not pairs of eyeballs.

You don’t design against negative consequences or to pro-actively avoid terrible impacts — you let stuff happen and then send in the ‘trust & safety’ team once the damage has been done.

You might call designing against negative consequences a ‘growth bottleneck’; others would say it’s having a conscience.

Everything standing in the way of scaling Facebook’s usage is, under the Zuckerberg regime, collateral damage — hence the old mantra of ‘move fast and break things’ — whether it’s social cohesion, civic values or vulnerable individuals.

This is why it takes a celebrity defamation lawsuit to force your company to dribble a little more resource into doing something about scores of professional scammers paying you to pop their fraudulent schemes in a Facebook “ads” wrapper. (Albeit, you’re only taking some action in the UK in this particular case.)

Funnily enough — though it’s not at all funny and it doesn’t surprise us — Facebook is far slower and patchier when it comes to fixing things it broke.

Of course there will always be people who thrive with a digital megaphone like Facebook thrust in their hand. Scammers being a pertinent example. But the measure of a civilized society is how it protects those who can’t defend themselves from targeted attacks or scams because they lack the protective wrap of privilege. Which means people who aren’t famous. Not public figures like Martin Lewis, the consumer champion who has his own platform and enough financial resources to file a lawsuit to try to make Facebook do something about how its platform supercharges scammers.

Zuckerberg’s slippery call to ‘fight bad content with more content’ — or to fight Facebook-fuelled societal division by shifting even more of the apparatus of civic society onto Facebook — fails entirely to recognize this asymmetry.

And even in the Lewis case, Facebook remains a winner; Lewis dropped his suit and Facebook got to make a big show of signing over £500k worth of ad credit coupons to a consumer charity that will end up giving them right back to Facebook.

The company’s response to problems its platform creates is to look the other way until a trigger point of enough bad publicity gets reached. At which critical point it flips the usual crisis PR switch and sends in a few token clean up teams — who scrub a tiny proportion of terrible content; or take down a tiny number of fake accounts; or indeed make a few token and heavily publicized gestures — before leaning heavily on civil society (and on users) to take the real strain.

You might think Facebook reaching out to respected external institutions is a positive step. A sign of a maturing mindset and a shift towards taking greater responsibility for platform impacts. (And in the case of scam ads in the UK it’s donating £3M in cash and ad credits to a bona fide consumer advice charity.)

But this is still Facebook dumping problems of its making on an already under-resourced and over-worked civic sector at the same time as its platform supersizes their workload.

In recent years the company has also made a big show of getting involved with third party fact checking organizations across various markets — using these independents to stencil in a PR strategy for ‘fighting fake news’ that also entails Facebook offloading the lion’s share of the work. (It’s not paying fact checkers anything, given the clear conflict that would represent it obviously can’t).

So again external organizations are being looped into Facebook’s mess — in this case to try to drain the swamp of fakes being fenced and amplified on its platform — even as the scale of the task remains hopeless, and all sorts of junk continues to flood into and pollute the public sphere.

What’s clear is that none of these organizations has the scale or the resources to fix problems Facebook’s platform creates. Yet it serves Facebook’s purposes to be able to point to them trying.

And all the while Zuckerberg is hard at work fighting to fend off regulation that could force his company to take far more care and spend far more of its own resources (and profits) monitoring the content it monetizes by putting it in front of eyeballs.

The Facebook founder is fighting because he knows his platform is a targeted attack; On individual attention, via privacy-hostile behaviorally targeted ads (his euphemism for this is “relevant ads”); on social cohesion, via divisive algorithms that drive outrage in order to maximize platform engagement; and on democratic institutions and norms, by systematically eroding consensus and the potential for compromise between the different groups that every society is comprised of.

In his WSJ post Zuckerberg can only claim Facebook doesn’t “leave harmful or divisive content up”. He has no defence against Facebook having put it up and enabled it to spread in the first place.

Sociopaths relish having a soapbox so unsurprisingly these people find a wonderful home on Facebook. But where does empathy fit into the antisocial media equation?

As for Facebook being a ‘free’ service — a point Zuckerberg is most keen to impress in his WSJ post — it’s of course a cliché to point out that ‘if it’s free you’re the product’. (Or as the even older saying goes: ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’).

But for the avoidance of doubt, “free” access does not mean cost-free access. And in Facebook’s case the cost is both individual (to your attention and your privacy); and collective (to the public’s attention and to social cohesion).

The much bigger question is who actually benefits if “everyone” is on Facebook, as Zuckerberg would prefer. Facebook isn’t the Internet. Facebook doesn’t offer the sole means of communication, digital or otherwise. People can, and do, ‘connect’ (if you want to use such a transactional word for human relations) just fine without Facebook.

So beware the hard and self-serving sell in which Facebook’s 15-year founder seeks yet again to recast privacy as an unaffordable luxury.

Actually, Mark, it’s a fundamental human right.

The best argument Zuckerberg can muster for his goal of universal Facebook usage being good for anything other than his own business’ bottom line is to suggest small businesses could use that kind of absolute reach to drive extra growth of their own.

Though he only provides a few general data-points to support the claim; saying there are “more than 90M small businesses on Facebook” which “make up a large part of our business” (how large?) — and claiming “most” (51%?) couldn’t afford TV ads or billboards (might they be able to afford other online or newspaper ads though?); he also cites a “global survey” (how many businesses surveyed?), presumably run by Facebook itself, which he says found “half the businesses on Facebook say they’ve hired more people since they joined” (but how did you ask the question, Mark?; we’re concerned it might have been rather leading), and from there he leaps to the implied conclusion that “millions” of jobs have essentially been created by Facebook.

But did you control for common causes Mark? Or are you just trying to take credit for others’ hard work because, well, it’s politically advantageous for you to do so?

Whether Facebook’s claims about being great for small business stand up to scrutiny or not, if people’s fundamental rights are being wholesale flipped for SMEs to make a few extra bucks that’s an unacceptable trade off.

“Millions” of jobs suggestively linked to Facebook sure sounds great — but you can’t and shouldn’t overlook disproportionate individual and societal costs, as Zuckerberg is urging policymakers to here.

Let’s also not forget that some of the small business ‘jobs’ that Facebook’s platform can take definitive and major credit for creating include the Macedonia teens who became hyper-adept at seeding Facebook with fake U.S. political news, around the 2016 presidential election. But presumably those aren’t the kind of jobs Zuckerberg is advocating for.

He also repeats the spurious claim that Facebook gives users “complete control” over what it does with personal information collected for advertising.

We’ve heard this time and time again from Zuckerberg and yet it remains pure BS.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg concludes his testimony before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Yo Mark! First up we’re still waiting for your much trumpeted ‘Clear History’ tool. You know, the one you claimed you thought of under questioning in Congress last year (and later used to fend off follow up questions in the European Parliament).

Reportedly the tool is due this Spring. But even when it does finally drop it represents another classic piece of gaslighting by Facebook, given how it seeks to normalize (and so enable) the platform’s pervasive abuse of its users’ data.

Truth is, there is no master ‘off’ switch for Facebook’s ongoing surveillance. Such a switch — were it to exist — would represent a genuine control for users. But Zuckerberg isn’t offering it.

Instead his company continues to groom users into accepting being creeped on by offering pantomime settings that boil down to little more than privacy theatre — if they even realize they’re there.

‘Hit the button! Reset cookies! Delete browsing history! Keep playing Facebook!’

An interstitial reset is clearly also a dilute decoy. It’s not the same as being able to erase all extracted insights Facebook’s infrastructure continuously mines from users, using these derivatives to target people with behavioral ads; tracking and profiling on an ongoing basis by creeping on browsing activity (on and off Facebook), and also by buying third party data on its users from brokers.

Multiple signals and inferences are used to flesh out individual ad profiles on an ongoing basis, meaning the files are never static. And there’s simply no way to tell Facebook to burn your digital ad mannequin. Not even if you delete your Facebook account.

Nor, indeed, is there a way to get a complete read out from Facebook on all the data it’s attached to your identity. Even in Europe, where companies are subject to strict privacy laws that place a legal requirement on data controllers to disclose all personal data they hold on a person on request, as well as who they’re sharing it with, for what purposes, under what legal grounds.

Last year Paul-Olivier Dehaye, the founder of PersonalData.IO, a startup that aims to help people control how their personal data is accessed by companies, recounted in the UK parliament how he’d spent years trying to obtain all his personal information from Facebook — with the company resorting to legal arguments to block his subject access request.

Dehaye said he had succeeded in extracting a bit more of his data from Facebook than it initially handed over. But it was still just a “snapshot”, not an exhaustive list, of all the advertisers who Facebook had shared his data with. This glimpsed tip implies a staggeringly massive personal data iceberg lurking beneath the surface of each and every one of the 2.2BN+ Facebook users. (Though the figure is likely even more massive because it tracks non-users too.)

Zuckerberg’s “complete control” wording is therefore at best self-serving and at worst an outright lie. Facebook’s business has complete control of users by offering only a superficial layer of confusing and fiddly, ever-shifting controls that demand continued presence on the platform to use them, and ongoing effort to keep on top of settings changes (which are always, to a fault, privacy hostile), making managing your personal data a life-long chore.

Facebook’s power dynamic puts the onus squarely on the user to keep finding and hitting reset button.

But this too is a distraction. Resetting anything on its platform is largely futile, given Facebook retains whatever behavioral insights it already stripped off of your data (and fed to its profiling machinery). And its omnipresent background snooping carries on unchecked, amassing fresh insights you also can’t clear.

Nor does Clear History offer any control for the non-users Facebook tracks via the pixels and social plug-ins it’s larded around the mainstream web. Zuckerberg was asked about so-called shadow profiles in Congress last year — which led to this awkward exchange where he claimed not to know what the phrase refers to.

EU MEPs also seized on the issue, pushing him to respond. He did so by attempting to conflate surveillance and security — by claiming it’s necessary for Facebook to hold this data to keep “bad content out”. Which seems a bit of an ill-advised argument to make given how badly that mission is generally going for Facebook.

Still, Zuckerberg repeats the claim in the WSJ post, saying information collected for ads is “generally important for security and operating our services” — using this to address what he couches as “the important question of whether the advertising model encourages companies like ours to use and store more information than we otherwise would”.

So, essentially, Facebook’s founder is saying that the price for Facebook’s existence is pervasive surveillance of everyone, everywhere, with or without your permission.

Though he doesn’t express that ‘fact’ as a cost of his “free” platform. RIP privacy indeed.

Another pertinent example of Zuckerberg simply not telling the truth when he wrongly claims Facebook users can control their information vis-a-vis his ad business — an example which also happens to underline how pernicious his attempts to use “security” to justify eroding privacy really are — bubbled into view last fall, when Facebook finally confessed that mobile phone numbers users had provided for the specific purpose of enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) to increase the security of their accounts were also used by Facebook for ad targeting.

A company spokesperson told us that if a user wanted to opt out of the ad-based repurposing of their mobile phone data they could use non-phone number based 2FA — though Facebook only added the ability to use an app for 2FA in May last year.

What Facebook is doing on the security front is especially disingenuous BS in that it risks undermining security practice by bundling a respected tool (2FA) with ads that creep on people.

And there’s plenty more of this kind of disingenuous nonsense in Zuckerberg’s WSJ post — where he repeats a claim we first heard him utter last May, at a conference in Paris, when he suggested that following changes made to Facebook’s consent flow, ahead of updated privacy rules coming into force in Europe, the fact European users had (mostly) swallowed the new terms, rather than deleting their accounts en masse, was a sign people were majority approving of “more relevant” (i.e more creepy) Facebook ads.

Au contraire, it shows nothing of the sort. It simply underlines the fact Facebook still does not offer users a free and fair choice when it comes to consenting to their personal data being processed for behaviorally targeted ads — despite free choice being a requirement under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

If Facebook users are forced to ‘choose’ between being creeped on or deleting their account on the dominant social service where all their friends are it’s hardly a free choice. (And GDPR complaints have been filed over this exact issue of ‘forced consent‘.)

Add to that, as we said at the time, Facebook’s GDPR tweaks were lousy with manipulative, dark pattern design. So again the company is leaning on users to get the outcomes it wants.

It’s not a fair fight, any which way you look at it. But here we have Zuckerberg, the BS salesman, trying to claim his platform’s ongoing manipulation of people already enmeshed in the network is evidence for people wanting creepy ads.

darkened facebook logo

The truth is that most Facebook users remain unaware of how extensively the company creeps on them (per this recent Pew research). And fiddly controls are of course even harder to get a handle on if you’re sitting in the dark.

Zuckerberg appears to concede a little ground on the transparency and control point when he writes that: “Ultimately, I believe the most important principles around data are transparency, choice and control.” But all the privacy-hostile choices he’s made; and the faux controls he’s offered; and the data mountain he simply won’t ‘fess up to sitting on shows, beyond reasonable doubt, the company cannot and will not self-regulate.

If Facebook is allowed to continue setting its own parameters and choosing its own definitions (for “transparency, choice and control”) users won’t have even one of the three principles, let alone the full house, as well they should. Facebook will just keep moving the goalposts and marking its own homework.

You can see this in the way Zuckerberg fuzzes and elides what his company really does with people’s data; and how he muddies and muddles uses for the data — such as by saying he doesn’t know what shadow profiles are; or claiming users can download ‘all their data’; or that ad profiles are somehow essential for security; or by repurposing 2FA digits to personalize ads too.

How do you try to prevent the purpose limitation principle being applied to regulate your surveillance-reliant big data ad business? Why by mixing the data streams of course! And then trying to sew confusion among regulators and policymakers by forcing them to unpick your mess.

Much like Facebook is forcing civic society to clean up its messy antisocial impacts.

Europe’s GDPR is focusing the conversation, though, and targeted complaints filed under the bloc’s new privacy regime have shown they can have teeth and so bite back against rights incursions.

But before we put another self-serving Zuckerberg screed to rest, let’s take a final look at his description of how Facebook’s ad business works. Because this is also seriously misleading. And cuts to the very heart of the “transparency, choice and control” issue he’s quite right is central to the personal data debate. (He just wants to get to define what each of those words means.)

In the article, Zuckerberg claims “people consistently tell us that if they’re going to see ads, they want them to be relevant”. But who are these “people” of which he speaks? If he’s referring to the aforementioned European Facebook users, who accepted updated terms with the same horribly creepy ads because he didn’t offer them any alternative, we would suggest that’s not a very affirmative signal.

Now if it were true that a generic group of ‘Internet people’ were consistently saying anything about online ads the loudest message would most likely be that they don’t like them. Click through rates are fantastically small. And hence also lots of people using ad blocking tools. (Growth in usage of ad blockers has also occurred in parallel with the increasing incursions of the adtech industrial surveillance complex.)

So Zuckerberg’s logical leap to claim users of free services want to be shown only the most creepy ads is really a very odd one.

Let’s now turn to Zuckerberg’s use of the word “relevant”. As we noted above, this is a euphemism. It conflates many concepts but principally it’s used by Facebook as a cloak to shield and obscure the reality of what it’s actually doing (i.e. privacy-hostile people profiling to power intrusive, behaviourally microtargeted ads) in order to avoid scrutiny of exactly those creepy and intrusive Facebook practices.

Yet the real sleight of hand is how Zuckerberg glosses over the fact that ads can be relevant without being creepy. Because ads can be contextual. They don’t have to be behaviorally targeted.

Ads can be based on — for example — a real-time search/action plus a user’s general location. Without needing to operate a vast, all-pervasive privacy-busting tracking infrastructure to feed open-ended surveillance dossiers on what everyone does online, as Facebook chooses to.

And here Zuckerberg gets really disingenuous because he uses a benign-sounding example of a contextual ad (the example he chooses contains an interest and a general location) to gloss over a detail-light explanation of how Facebook’s people tracking and profiling apparatus works.

“Based on what pages people like, what they click on, and other signals, we create categories — for example, people who like pages about gardening and live in Spain — and then charge advertisers to show ads to that category,” he writes, with that slipped in reference to “other signals” doing some careful shielding work there.

Other categories that Facebook’s algorithms have been found ready and willing to accept payment to run ads against in recent years include “jew-hater”, “How to burn Jews” and “Hitler did nothing wrong”.

Funnily enough Zuckerberg doesn’t mention those actual Facebook microtargeting categories in his glossy explainer of how its “relevant” ads business works. But they offer a far truer glimpse of the kinds of labels Facebook’s business sticks on people.

As we wrote last week, the case against behavioral ads is stacking up. Zuckerberg’s attempt to spin the same self-serving lines should really fool no one at this point.

Nor should regulators be derailed by the lie that Facebook’s creepy business model is the only version of adtech possible. It’s not even the only version of profitable adtech currently available. (Contextual ads have made Google alternative search engine DuckDuckGo profitable since 2014, for example.)

Simply put, adtech doesn’t have to be creepy to work. And ads that don’t creep on people would give publishers greater ammunition to sell ad block using readers on whitelisting their websites. A new generation of people-sensitive startups are also busy working on new forms of ad targeting that bake in privacy by design.

And with legal and regulatory risk rising, intrusive and creepy adtech that demands the equivalent of ongoing strip searches of every Internet user on the planet really look to be on borrowed time.

Facebook’s problem is it scrambled for big data and, finding it easy to suck up tonnes of the personal stuff on the unregulated Internet, built an antisocial surveillance business that needs to capture both sides of its market — eyeballs and advertisers — and keep them buying to an exploitative and even abusive relationship for its business to keep minting money.

Pivoting that tanker would certainly be tough, and in any case who’d trust a Zuckerberg who suddenly proclaimed himself the privacy messiah?

But it sure is a long way from ‘move fast and break things’ to trying to claim there’s only one business model to rule them all.

Read more: feedproxy.google.com

Maybe we all just settle down about Australia’s next generation of tennis players?

How good is Ash Barty?! Meh.

The 22-year-old tried her guts out and made it further in her home grand slam than any Aussie woman in almost ten years.

But that still meant getting knocked out in the quarter-finals.​

And yes, yes, she beat Maria Sharapova along the way, but the Russian has come back from her drug ban a shadow of her former self. That’s not to say beating the ex-world number one is to be dismissed out of hand, but Barty has a higher ranking than Sharapova – she was supposed to win that match.

The reality check came in the form of a straight-sets smackdown courtesy of Petra Kvitová.

Alright, but what about Alex De Minaur!?​

Well, um, yeah, what about him?

One of Fox Sports News’ anchors asked their reporter on the ground at Melbourne Park: “Geez, wouldn’t it have been a boilover if he’d beaten Rafa Nadal?”​

Yeah, it sure would have. Except De Minaur didn’t so much as bother Nadal, the Spaniard dispatching our local hope in straight sets.​

A boilover was never even remotely on the cards – it was about as worthwhile as asking, “Geez, wouldn’t the world be a different place if the planet was actually flat?”​

So the Demon was sent packing in the third round.

That was also the case with De Minaur’s fellow teenage-hopeful Alexei Popyrin, and our other wildcard entry, Alex Bolt.

Popyrin and Bolt received a bit of hype on the back of their wildcard status – and, to be fair, the third round is a respectable showing – but the excitement was fuelled more by the fact that they played after De Minaur had already been knocked out, and thus were our last hopes in the men’s draw.

So while we cheered throughout the first week of the Australian Open, we were left without a local hope pretty early on in the second.

Now, I don’t want to be the tennis Grinch here, and I understand that when the global game’s attention is directed towards our shores, it’s important we put our players in the spotlight.

But I wonder how excited we’d be about any of these players – mostly youngsters who have potential, but are a long way from turning it into grand slam trophies – were it not for the calibre of personality we’ve had served up in recent years.

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Maybe we all just settle down about Australia’s next generation of tennis players?

Australian Open mixed doubles final live scores, blog: John-Patrick Smith and Astra Sharma vs Rajeev Ram and Barbora Krejcikova

Naomi Osaka vs Petra Kvitova: Australian Open women’s singles final live scores, blog

Do we need doubles in tennis?


Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios were our great hopes for big things, but it’s become abundantly clear that neither of them will live up to their potential.

While both are still relatively young, the attitude they’ve shown over the years ensures they’ll never fulfil their immense promise.


As for the Aussie women, when it comes to the trophies that matter, Sam Stosur’s 2011 US Open victory is actually the country’s most recent grand slam title.

The last one an Aussie claimed before that was Lleyton Hewitt’s 2002 win at Wimbledon, which was preceded less than 12 months earlier with his victory at the US Open.

And that’s been it for the 21st Century – three titles of a possible 77 (and that’s including the year 2000, which will be controversial among calendar experts).

So it’s probably not unfair that for so long, Stosur and Lleyton – especially Lleyton – were held up as our best chance of turning that into four titles.

But as retirement and the sheer weight of disappointing performances made it clear neither were going to win another one of tennis’ four major tournaments, we shifted expectations to the next generation – mainly Tomic and Kyrgios.

And how did that pan out? Yeah, so well that at the age of 26 and 23 respectively, we’re already looking at the next next generation.

So when teenagers De Minaur and Popyrin, as well as the 22-year-old Barty showed a bit of fight, got some decent results, and didn’t act like complete tools, we went a little bit nuts.

(AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

And with time on their side, as well as what seems to be the ethic and attitude required to make the most of their obvious talent, one of these players could very well claim Australia’s fourth grand slam title since the year 2000 (1998 really, since that was Pat Rafter’s last win at Flushing Meadows).

But not get too far ahead of ourselves in the meantime. Because y’know which other men made the third round of the Aussie Open? Scott Draper, Wayne Arthurs and Sam Groth.

And which women made the quarters? Alicia Molik and Jelena Dokic.

All of them were solid professionals who made a decent career on the court, but they’re blasts from the past rather than legends of Aussie tennis.

And at this stage, that’s all our next wave of talent have managed.

So while we’re right to get behind them, let’s also keep a lid on things until they show us whether they’re champions like Stosur and Hewitt, or decent triers like Groth and Molik.

Or – heaven forbid, but there’s still time – wankers like Tomic and Kyrgios.

Sports opinion delivered daily 


Read more: theroar.com.au