The Saturday miscellany: Orange Is The New Black; how to get paid for tweeting; conkers; avoiding small talk

 

The digested fad: Orange Is The New Black

By Holly Williams

Orange… is a US drama on subscription service Netflix telling the stories of women behind bars, with plenty of humour, heart - and, of course, lesbian sex scenes. It's based on Piper Kerman's book about her real experiences in a women's jail, turned into TV gold by Jenji Kohan – who cultivated drug-dealing hit Weeds. Taylor Shilling leads the orange-clad cast; Kohan has called her "a hot girl that's actually funny, which is a unicorn."

It's the latest in a run of original(ish) hits for Netflix which has utilised its ability to drop entire series in one go for House of Cards, Arrested Development and others recently.

How to: Get paid for tweeting

By Liam O'Brien

It's far too easy to spend hours idly tweeting. But while we're describing our breakfast, others are being paid to do it. Here's how...

1. The conventional route is to enter a large organisation and work your way on to the social media team. Be warned: a good deal of your day will be dealing with angry customers. This year, EDF got a heap of abuse when users confused it with the EDL.

2. Being funny helps. David Levin, 32, was a writer for MTV before he started tweeting about Hackney pub The Dolphin during the 2011 riots. Despite his risqué humour, he was hired to tweet about BBC shows The Voice and The Apprentice, as well as Adidas.

3. If you're famous, congrats! You can promote products to unsuspecting followers and receive cold hard cash in return. Dispatches caught comedian Russell Kane allegedly accepting £1,420 to endorse a watch, while Charlie Sheen once demanded £5,000 per tweet.

Can I eat that? Unorthodox digestion queries, answered. This week: conkers

By Simon Usborne

Of course you can eat conkers. They're the roasted things thick tourists buy on Westminster Bridge, right? Wrong! Those are sweet chestnuts. Conkers are horse chestnuts and if you eat one you'll start frothing at the mouth and die.

OK, you won't die but eat enough and you'll get seriously ill. Eat loads and you'll never play pointless playground games again. That's because conkers contain saponins, poisonous chemical compounds. Helpfully, they also taste really bad.

But! There are ways to make them safe to eat, if you can be bothered. Forager Fergus Drennan makes conker biscuits: "I chop them up and leech them in a river for weeks to remove the saponins. Then I soak them in alcohol for a week before making flour. I've probably eaten about four kilos of chestnut flour."

Can I Eat That? accepts no responsibility for the deaths of readers who attempt Mr Drennan's recipe.

Instant ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Q. My neighbour usually catches the same bus to work as me. How can I avoid small talk?

A. Are your headphones in? Eyes glued to your paperback? If all else fails, catch an earlier bus. It sounds extreme, but it's worth it for a social anxiety-free commute, and you know it.

Major dilemma like this one? Tweet me @MsEllen E Jones

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