How much can someone learn about you by accessing your Facebook data? Not just your friends and interests, but also who stalks you, where you spend your time and even how much money you make.
That’s the set-up for a new website called Digital Shadow promoting the upcoming spy video game Watch Dogs by Ubisoft. Give the site authorization to scrape your Facebook profile for data, and it will list your “pawns” (your closest friends that can be used against you), “obsessions” (the people you Facebook creep on the most), and “scapegoats” (people you don’t interact with and would willingly sacrifice if necessary). The sleek dossier also includes photos of places you hang out, data on when you post most often, and a series of guesses at your password based on the things you write about most often.
Of course, all this “creepy” insight is based on information you willingly gave to Facebook at some time or another. Letting Watch Dogs scour your profile can act as a sobering reminder that the information you put on the Internet can potentially be used against you.
Plenty of people out there will try to give you advice on how to make a great LinkedIn profile, but you should just give up right now because your LinkedIn profile will never be as good as Shaquille O’Neal’s.
For some reason, the folks over at Slate found the NBA legend’s profile and confirmed that it’s really his and not a fake. And it’s just glorious. Where most people write their title and company (for example, “Reporter, TIME”) Shaq simply wrote the following:
Owner, A lot of companies
Can we all take a moment to appreciate how incredible that is? Farther down, in the “Experience” section, Shaq writes:
Alot of different companies. Inc
Below that, he elaborates:
I’m working on a lot of different ventures. My best asset is that I am proven to lead teams to championships. I mean multiple championships
So yeah, nobody else is ever going to top this.
Every year on April 23, Stratford-upon-Avon and the world celebrate the birth of the most famous English playwright in history — and this year’s festivities will be bigger than usual, as 2014 marks what would have been the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare.
Except that we don’t actually know for sure whether April 23 was even his birthday.
Here’s what is certain: the records of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford mark the baptism on April 26, 1564, of “Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakspere” and that baptisms — it’s generally thought — usually took place three days after birth. So “Gulielmus” — William, son of John — was probably born three days before, on April 23.
If that’s true, it’s a neat coincidence, as that would mean he was born on the day dedicated to England’s patron saint, St. George. But not everyone is convinced. Some experts believe the April 23 date is a myth, and that a baptism wouldn’t necessarily have been performed three days after birth. It could have been performed sooner — given that babies often died within the first few days of life — or at any time until the Sunday or Holy Day after the birth (the 26th was a Sunday); the coincidence about St. George might also have pushed hopeful British fans of the bard’s to choose the 23rd to observe the birthday.
Either way, Shakespeare fans definitely have something to celebrate — or, rather, mourn — on April 23. Though his birthday is something of a mystery, the day of his 1616 death is less so: April 23.
The rival Palestinian factions agreed Wednesday on a reconciliation deal that would unite Hamas and Fatah amid sputtering peace talks between Israel and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.
The agreement calls for a unity government within weeks, the BBC reports, seven years after the two factions violently split, with Hamas retaining control of the Gaza Strip and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority ruling in the West Bank.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he would have to choose between peace with Israel or with Hamas, an Islamist militant group that rejects peace with Israel, Reuters reports.
The U.S.-backed peace talks have stalled, with both sides defying terms of the negotiations ahead of the impending April 29 deadline that negotiators are trying to extend.
The agreement reached Wednesday calls for general elections within six months of a vote of confidence by the Palestinian parliament, according to BBC. But past deals have fallen through before being implemented, including an Egyptian-brokered deal that fell apart over power sharing and relations with Israel.
Jezebel highlights via The Plymouth Herald a U.K. artist’s portrait of the English Olympic diver Tom Daley that is made from homophobic tweets directed at him after he revealed that he was in a relationship with a man in a video message uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 2, 2013. Daley retweeted the artist Conor Collins’s tweet of the portrait last week.
The project is reminiscent of the Honey Maid video in which negative comments about its “This Is Wholesome Campaign” — featuring mixed-race parents and same-sex parents — were rolled up and arranged on the floor to spell out the word “Love.”
(WASHINGTON) — Postal workers plan protests in 27 states Thursday against the opening of postal counters in Staples stores that are staffed with Staples employees.
Last year, Staples office supply stores began providing postal services under a pilot program that now includes some 80 stores. The American Postal Workers Union objects because the program replaces well-paid union workers with low-wage nonunion workers.
The union says that could lead to layoffs and the closing of post offices. In a statement, the union said postal workers “have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail,” unlike poorly trained retail workers. The union wants the counters staffed by uniformed postal workers.
The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service has been working to form partnerships with private companies as it tries to cut costs and boost revenues.
Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning’s petition to change her name from Bradley will be considered by a Kansas judge Wednesday as the private serves a 35-year sentence for handing classified U.S. government secrets to the website WikiLeaks.
Manning, who now identifies as a woman, is serving her sentence in Fort Leavenworth and is not expected to attend the name-change hearing, the Associated Press reports. At least two Army behavior specialists have diagnosed her with gender identity disorder.
Manning is seeking to change her official military records, but a name change wouldn’t mean the army starts treating her as a woman or be transferred to a women’s prison unit.
She was sentenced in August for Espionage Act after leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
(SAO PAULO) — Brazil’s Congress passed a bill guaranteeing Internet privacy and enshrining access to the Web on the eve of a major conference in Sao Paulo on the future of Internet governance that’s expected to draw representatives from some 80 countries.
The bill, which was championed by President Dilma Rousseff and approved late Tuesday, puts limits on the metadata that can be collected from Internet users in Brazil. It also makes Internet service providers not liable for content published by their users and requires them to comply with court orders to remove offensive material.
Brazil has cast itself as a defender of Internet freedom following revelations last year that Rousseff was the object of surveillance by the United States’ National Security Agency. Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the U.S. last October over the revelations, which came out of leaks by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden and showed Brazil’s state-run Petrobras was also the object of American spying.
Rousseff praised Congress for passing the legislation, which she said “guarantees the neutrality of the Web, which is fundamental to maintaining the Internet’s free and open nature.”
“Our legislation can influence the worldwide debate aimed at finding a way to guarantee real rights in a virtual world,” Rousseff’s official blog quoted her as saying.
The blog also quoted Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo as hailing the legislation as “historic” and a “victory for Brazilian society, for the Brazilian government and for the Brazilian legislature.”
“I believe that neutrality, privacy, freedom and the absence of discrimination that the text guarantees are really going to put Brazil in the vanguard, as a model for various other countries that are going to want to . recreate the same principles, the same condition that are enshrined in our law,” Cardozo was quoted as saying.
Rousseff, who must sign off on the bill for it to become law, was expected to present the legislation at the NETmundial conference in Sao Paulo later Wednesday. Representatives of dozens of countries were to attend the conference, as well as top Internet figures including a Google vice president and the head of the U.S.-based organization that coordinates the Internet naming system.
(NEW YORK) — The politically connected former CEO of a prominent city charity admitted Wednesday he helped steal $5 million in an insurance scheme that authorities linked to campaign contributions.More9 Terrifying Digital Threats Lurking in the ShadowsGeorgia Governor to Sign Sweeping Gun BillMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostBachelorette Contestant Eric Hill in a Coma After Paragliding Accident People
William Rapfogel pleaded guilty to grand larceny, money laundering and other charges in a case that had rattled city and state political circles.
He formerly led the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which has long enjoyed close ties to politicians and has collected more than $26 million in state and city grants in recent years, and his wife was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff.
Rapfogel became the executive director of the Met Council, as it is known, in 1992. He soon joined several conspirators in conniving to inflate the price of the organization’s insurance so they could pocket the overcharge, ultimately splitting more than $5 million over 20 years, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
“I knowingly stole more than $1M from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish policy as part of a scheme in which insurance premiums were inflated,” Rapfogel said in court.
He used $27,000 of that money to pay a contractor working on his home, and he had more than $400,000 in cash hidden in his home when investigators searched it in August 2013, Schneiderman said.
Rapfogel will be sentenced to 3 1/3 years to 10 years in state prison if he pays more than $3 million in restitution. He already has turned over nearly $1.5 million.
Rapfogel also directed a conspirator at an insurance company to use money reaped from the insurance scam to make donations to candidates and political groups on the Met Council’s behalf, the attorney general said.
Candidates for New York City, state and federal offices received campaign contributions of tens of thousands of dollars from the insurance company owners and employees, Schneiderman said. He didn’t identify the recipients.
After the allegations emerged, several New York City Democratic mayoral candidates decided to return contributions related to the insurance company, mostly received years ago. Among them was now-Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose campaign gave back $1,650 given in the 2009 election cycle.
No official made any connection between the donations and Silver’s office. Both Silver and wife have said they knew nothing about Rapfogel’s misdeeds.
Rapfogel was fired in August from his $340,000-a-year job, with the charity citing “financial irregularities” and “apparent misconduct.”
At the time, he said, “I deeply regret the mistakes I have made” but didn’t give specifics.
He was charged the next month, in a case investigated by Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Both are Democrats.
The Met Council’s work includes career counseling, handling donated clothes and installing safety equipment in the homes of the elderly. Its board includes some of New York’s most influential Jewish leaders, and its annual legislative breakfast is one of the major events of the political calendar in the city.
In 2012, Rapfogel supported Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order limiting salaries at nonprofit social service agencies, saying there some “bad players” taking advantage of the system. Rapfogel was also a prominent appointment to Schneiderman’s Leadership Committee for Nonprofit Revitalization in 2011.
(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.More‘Are Your Children Vaccinated?’ Is the New ‘Do You Have a Gun in the House?’Study: Children Given Codeine in ER Despite RisksMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostWatch: Snoopy, Garfield and Other Cartoon Characters Go Bald to Help Kids with Cancer Cope People
Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a “bionic eye,” he’s regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotThe Blindness of Bigotry
“It’s awesome. It’s exciting — seeing something new every day,” Pontz said during a recent appointment at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. The 55-year-old former competitive weightlifter and factory worker is one of four people in the U.S. to receive an artificial retina since the Food and Drug Administration signed off on its use last year.
The facility in Ann Arbor has been the site of all four such surgeries since FDA approval. A fifth is scheduled for next month.
Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease that causes slow but progressive vision loss due to a gradual loss of the light-sensitive retinal cells called rods and cones. Patients experience loss of side vision and night vision, then central vision, which can result in near blindness.
Not all of the 100,000 or so people in the U.S. with retinitis pigmentosa can benefit from the bionic eye. An estimated 10,000 have vision low enough, said Dr. Brian Mech, an executive with Second Sight Medical Products Inc., the Sylmar, Calif.-based company that makes the device. Of those, about 7,500 are eligible for the surgery.
The artificial implant in Pontz’s left eye is part of a system developed by Second Sight that includes a small video camera and transmitter housed in a pair of glasses.
Images from the camera are converted into a series of electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. The pulses stimulate the retina’s remaining healthy cells, causing them to relay the signal to the optic nerve.
The visual information then moves to the brain, where it is translated into patterns of light that can be recognized and interpreted, allowing the patient to regain some visual function.
When wearing the glasses, which Pontz refers to as his “eyes,” he can identify and grab his cat and figure out that a flash of light is his grandson hightailing it to the kitchen.
The visual improvement is sometimes startling for Pontz and his wife, Terri, who is just as amazed at her husband’s progress as he is.
“I said something I never thought I’d say: ‘Stop staring at me while I’m eating,’” Terri Pontz said.
She drives her husband the nearly 200 miles from tiny Reed City, Mich., to Ann Arbor for check-ups and visits with occupational therapist Ashley Howson, who helps Roger Pontz reawaken his visual memory and learn techniques needed to make the most of his new vision.
At the recent visit, Howson handed Pontz white and black plates, instructed him to move them back and forth in front of light and dark backgrounds and asked that he determine their color.
Back home, Terri Pontz helps her husband practice the techniques he learns in Ann Arbor.
For them, the long hours on the road and the homework assignments are a blessing.
“What’s it worth to see again? It’s worth everything,” Terri Pontz said.
The artificial retina procedure has been performed several-dozen times over the past few years in Europe, and the expectation is that it will find similar success in the U.S., where the University of Michigan is one of 12 centers accepting consultations for patients.
Candidates for the retinal prosthesis must be 25 or older with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa that has progressed to the point of having “bare light” or no light perception in both eyes.
Dr. Thiran Jayasundera, one of two physicians who performed the 4.5-hour surgery on Roger Pontz, is scheduled to discuss his experiences with the retinal prosthesis process during a meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery on Friday in Boston. He calls it a “game-changer.”
Pontz agrees: “I can walk through the house with ease. If that’s all I get out of this, it’d be great.”
(MEXICO CITY) — Hundreds of students and activists marched in Mexico’s capital Tuesday to protest a telecommunications law being debated by the Senate that they say will allow the government to arbitrarily censor Internet content.
Protesters carrying signs that read “No to Censorship” and “Freedom of Expression” walked along Mexico City’s main Reforma Avenue on their way to the Senate building after organizing the demonstration on social networks.
The government says the proposal seeks tools to combat illegal activities on the Internet, including child pornography.
One of the most controversial articles in the law allows the government to request that internet providers “block access to certain content, applications or services,” including cutting off cellphone service or Internet access if it considers there is a risk to public safety.
“If they can block Internet and cellphone signals whenever the government wants that will leave us very vulnerable and go against our own security,” said Carla Sandoval, a 30-year-old who joined the march along with a friend.
In recent years, social networks have served as the main sources of information in many parts of Mexico affected by drug violence because mainstream media has stopped sending reporters there because of security fears.
Carlos Brito, a graduate student and member of the Network in Defense of Digital Rights, said the law could lead telecommunication companies to impose limits on Internet access to avoid being accused of promoting illegal acts.
“What we are saying is that maintaining neutrality on what goes on the Internet has allowed it to become what it is today,” said Brito, a graduate student.
Deputy Communications Secretary Jose Ignacio Peralta posted on Twitter that the law aims to punish those who use it for illegal purposes.
“It doesn’t oppose a free Internet,” Peralta wrote on Twitter.
There are a lot of interesting things about the OnePlus One smartphone, from its sleek design to its use of high-end tech specs at mid-range prices.
But no detail stands out quite like this one, from Engadget:
What’s more, OnePlus took one step further and applied corresponding textures onto the back of the “silk white” and “sandstone black” versions. The white one is our favorite, as its special coating — apparently made out of powdered cashew nuts — gives a “baby skin” feel, which is most noticeable when you gently stroke it with your cheek.
I don’t know what’s weirder: that you can emulate the feel of baby skin with powered cashews, or that there’s now a smartphone you can snuggle up to in lieu of human contact. (I’d probably just swap in one of the optional wooden covers instead.)
Underneath the skin-like coating, the OnePlus One packs a 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 3,100 mAh battery, a 13-megapixel rear camera (with f/2.0 aperture) and a 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera. The 1080p display measures 5.5 inches, and Android 4.4 is on board with CyanogenMod, which maintains the stock Android feel but adds some more customization options.
OnePlus says it’ll sell a 16 GB version for $300 and a 64 GB version for $349 starting next quarter–those are off-contract, subsidy-free prices, mind you–but the exact launch details are a bit shaky. The phone will first be available to 100 people through an invite program, and those users can in turn invite other people. There’s no word on when the baby skin smartphone experience will open up to everyone.
MoreChromebooks Could Let You Skip the Login Screen When Your Phone’s NearbyMichaels Says Malware Compromised Up to 2.6 Million Payment CardsMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostWatch: Snoopy, Garfield and Other Cartoon Characters Go Bald to Help Kids with Cancer Cope People
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.
It’s that time of year again: Spring is in the air, Monarch butterflies are traveling north, and Verizon’s data breach report is making the rounds, freaking out already freaked-out chief information security officers around the globe.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotThe Blindness of Bigotry
The annual report compiles and analyzes more than 63,000 security incidents (as well as 1,300 confirmed data breaches) from about 50 companies worldwide. This year’s 60-page document identified nine main patterns of attack, including point-of-sale intrusions, denial-of-service attacks and acts of cyberespionage. According to Verizon, 94% of all security incidents in 2013 can be traced to these nine basic categories.
(As for the other 6% of threats facing corporate America, well, ignorance is bliss, right?)
Here, our summary of the most pressing security threats for major companies:1. Web app attacks
Hands down, this is the most common type of data breach. According to Verizon’s report, web applications remain the “proverbial punching bag of the Internet.” How do the bad guys do it? Phishing techniques, installing malware, and, yes, correctly guessing the name of your first stuffed animal, your oldest cousin’s eye color and your nickname in sixth grade. There are ways to better protect Internet-facing applications, Verizon insists, and it starts with two-factor authentication.2. Cyberespionage
Incidents of unauthorized network or system access linked to state-affiliated actors have tripled — that’s right, tripled — over the last year. Espionage exhibits a wider variety of “threat actions” than any other attack pattern, Verizon says, which means that once intruders gain access, they’re making themselves comfortable and partaking in all sorts of activities, from scanning networks to exporting data. Verizon warns that we can’t keep blaming China, though — at least not just China. About 21% of reported incidents are now being instigated from Eastern Europe.3. Point-of-sale intrusions
Given the recent high-profile Target breach, in which hackers gained access to the credit card numbers of some 40 million customers, this may seem like the attack pattern du jour. But Verizon claims point-of-sale intrusions have actually been trending down over the last several years. “Recent highly publicized breaches of several large retailers have brought POS compromises to the forefront,” the report’s authors write. “But at the risk of getting all security-hipster on you — we’ve been talking about this for years.” Still, retailers and hotel companies in particular need to be concerned about this kind of attack. It only takes one massive point-of-sale intrusion to scare away customers and investors — just ask Target.4. Payment card skimmers
Skimming mainly affects ATMs and gas pumps, and is a relatively crude form of attack that requires a skimming device to be physically added to a machine. It’s hardly a new tactic, but what’s different today is the way that the data from “skimmed” payment cards is collected. Before, a criminal had to retrieve the skimming device; now, a thief can remotely collect the data using Bluetooth or other wireless technologies. More modern ATMs are designed to be relatively tamper-free, but this is still a big problem in some parts of the world, such as Bulgaria and Armenia.5. Insider misuse
Not sure what falls under this category? Imagine someone akin to the rebel NSA defense contractor Edward Snowden, or pretty much any unapproved or malicious use of organizational resources. The most common examples of this are employees using forbidden devices (e.g. USB drives) or services to send intellectual property to their personal accounts — or, more deliberately, posing as another user and sending messages aimed at getting a colleague fired. According to Verizon, many of the people committing these crimes are payment chain personnel and end users, but C-suite managers were more to blame in prior years. Bottom line: Trust no one.6. Crimeware
This category includes any malware incident that doesn’t fit into the espionage or point-of-sale buckets. The goal is always some kind of illicit activity, such as stealing users’ online banking credentials. Most forms of crimeware start with web activity such as downloads or so-called drive-by infections, where a virus can be downloaded when a user unknowingly clicks on a deceptive pop-up window. What can corporations do to combat these types of attacks? Keep software such as browsers up to date.7. Miscellaneous errors
Oops, I did it again — as in, I sent an email containing sensitive information to the wrong recipient. That’s the most common example of this kind of unintentional data disclosure. Others include accidentally posting non-public information to a company’s web server or even snail-mailing documents to the wrong physical address. There’s no cure for human error (other than replacing them with computers, of course), but Verizon says corporations can implement data loss prevention software to reduce instances of sensitive files sent by email and tighten processes around posting documents to internal and external websites.8. Physical theft/loss
Here’s a fun fact: It turns out that corporate assets like phones and laptops are stolen from corporate offices more often than from homes or vehicles. The primary cause of this type of incident? Carelessness. According to the Verizon report: “Accidents happen. People lose stuff. People steal stuff. And that’s never going to change.” The only thing you can change, advises the company, is to encrypt devices, back up data, and encourage employees to keep their gadgets close.9. Distributed denial-of-service attacks
Last but not least, so-called DDoS threats include any attack aimed at compromising the availability of networks and systems. These are primarily directed at the financial, retail and public sectors. And while the motives behind shutting down corporate, consumer-facing websites remains the same — extortion, protest, or perverse fun — the tools at attackers’ disposal have become more sophisticated and more thoughtfully named, such as “Brobot” and “itsoknoproblembro.”
More on cybersecurity from Fortune:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed President Barack Obama to Tokyo Wednesday by taking him to the greatest sushi restaurant in the world, the three Michelin star Sukiyabashi Jiro.MoreObama Thinks He Can Rate Colleges. Can You Do Better? (Interactive)White House “No Comment” on Bieber Deportation PetitionMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostWatch: Snoopy, Garfield and Other Cartoon Characters Go Bald to Help Kids with Cancer Cope People
The unassuming restaurant is located in the basement of an office building off a subway station and seats just 10 people at a time at a long bar. It is owned and operated by Jiro Ono, who turns 90 next year, who has been learning and perfecting the art of sushi since the age of nine, with Jiro’s eldest son, Yoshikazu Ono, pitching in. Their restaurant was popularized by Anthony Bourdain’s television show No Reservations, and gained mythical status after the 2011 release David Gelb’s documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
What makes this sushi so good? First off, the ingredients. Each morning Yoshikazu bikes to the Tsukiji fish market to select fish and seafood to his and his father’s exacting standards. In the film, the restaurant’s tuna dealer (they have a prefered vendor for each seafood variety) scoffs at an array of beautiful tuna, “People say there is good quality here today—there is nothing good here today.” Jiro has his own special rice vinegar for the sushi rice. “It has good body and is both mild and sharp,” the restaurant website explains. “Although its degree of vinegar is high, it does not have that pungent smell of vinegar. This is the perfect rice vinegar for sushi.”
Next, there’s the technique. Jiro’s apprentices train for at least ten years, and don’t slice anything until they first learn how to hold the fish. In the film, Jiro explains how he came to prepare the perfect octopus, saying his apprentices used to massage it for 30 minutes before cooking it. Now, it’s massaged for 45 minutes. The seaweed is hand-toasted over charcoals. Jiro or Yoshikazu hand-form each individual dish, applying just the right amount of soy sauce or salt to bring the seafood closer to perfection.
Jiro has spent decades mastering the proper temperature to serve sushi. The rice is maintained at body temperature, while the toppings are kept different ideal temperatures for the specific preparation. The seafood itself could be marinated or aged for days depending on the specific fish to meet Jiro’s standards.
Finally, the experience. While Obama and Abe were in the restaurant for 90 minutes, the average Jiro meal last little more than 20 minutes. Immediately after each bite-sized dish is consumed, the next is placed on the wiped-down plate. The sushi is eaten with your hands, and there’s no additional soy sauce or wasabi to apply. It’s perfection, as determined by Jiro.
There is only one menu at Jiro’s restaurant, his. The 30,000-yen Chef’s Recommended Special Course. And the drink list is spare: beer, or Japanese sake (though tea is also served.) Moreover, getting a seat at the restaurant is notoriously difficult. Reservations are taken one month in advance beginning at the first of the previous month and are usually gone in a matter of hours. At current exchange rates, the quick meal puts a large dent in the wallet, costing nearly $300, though this is down from more than $400 when the dollar was weaker against the Yen.
Joining Obama and Abe were US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and national security adviser Susan Rice. On his way out, Obama told reporters, “That’s some good sushi right there.”
A few months ago, we reported that a video game that would let you pretend to be a cat is in the works. In that game, the player’s only objective is to knock things over. That’s it. You win by pretending to be a cat and then knocking a whole bunch of things over.
Now, don’t get me wrong, that game — which you can play in your browser — is a rollicking good time. It’s truly a delight. But now there’s a new game in the works that offers a much more comprehensive feline simulation experience. Because let’s face it: being a cat is about so much more than just knocking your humans’ stuff to the floor.
Simply titled Cat Simulator, this third-person game will allow the player to chase rats and mice, climb trees, eat, sleep, poop, and do all the other important things that cats do each and every day. It’s still in its early stages of development, and its creators have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise additional funds. They hope to create more realistic graphics and more cat customization options, along with other animal friends so the cats don’t get lonely.
Here’s a sneak peek. Right now it’s looking pretty low-budge, so here’s hoping that they raise more money.
Every minute, 2.4 billion people on the internet churn out a lot of data. While data generation might not seem like the most interesting of topics, business intelligence company Domo translated them into digestible tidbits of information.
For example: Instagram users post 216,000 new photos every minute, which dwarfs Pinterest users’ 3,472 pins a minute. Meanwhile, Whatsapp users share 347,222 pictures a minute.Domo
Feeling overwhelmed? Are you constantly running from thing to thing but never getting it all done?MoreThis Is the No. 1 Thing That Holds Most People Back From SuccessHow To Ace a Job Interview: 7 Research-Backed TipsMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostJon Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-Income Housing in Philly People
When researchers survey people, they say they’re too busy — about everything.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotThe Blindness of Bigotry
Too busy to make friends, date, sleep, have sex, to go on vacation… or to even have lunch.
In surveys, people say they’re too busy to make friends outside the office, too busy to date, too busy to sleep, and too busy to have sex. Eight in ten Britons report being too busy to eat dessert, even though four in ten say dessert is better than sex. We’re in such a rush that the typical sound bite for a presidential candidate has been compressed from forty seconds in 1968 to 7.3 seconds in 2000. Remember those unused vacation days? People say they’re too busy to take a vacation and too busy for a lunch break.
“The average high school kid today experiences the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient of the 1950s.”
And being this busy isn’t healthy — in fact, neuroscientists have found it shrinks your brain.
…the prefrontal cortex. It is the key to human intelligence. In its size and complexity, it is, in short, what distinguishes humans from animals and makes us who we are. And, Ansell says, what she and other neuroscientists are finding is that when a human feels pressed for time, rushed and caught up in the overwhelm, that yellow blob does something alarming: It shrinks.
How did we get here? How did this happen?
I have an answer but it’s going to surprise you and might even make you angry…
It’s all an illusion. You have more free time than you ever did.
Do I sound insane? Keep reading.You’re Not Busy. You Just Feel Busy.
John Robinson is the leading sociologist who studies time use. His colleagues call him “Father Time.”
Looking at time diary studies he shows that globally we all have more leisure time than ever.
He insists that although most Americans feel they’re working harder than ever, they aren’t. The time diaries he studies show that average hours on the job, not only in the United States but also around the globe, have actually been holding steady or going down in the last forty years. Everybody, he says, has more time for leisure.
So why do we feel like we’re overwhelmed even though we’re not? Partly, it’s because our time is so fragmented.
Switching between checking email, making dinner, watching TV and finishing that report is more mentally draining than doing one at a time.
“It’s role overload,” she explains. “It’s the constant switching from one role to the next that creates that feeling of time pressure.” When all you’re expected to do is work all day, you work all day in one long stretch, she says. But the days of the mothers she studied were full of starts and stops, which makes time feel more collapsed.
Multitasking is killing us. And the best part?
Multitasking doesn’t even work. It makes us less efficient even though we feel we’re getting more done.
In fact, it makes you dumber — effectively stupider than being drunk or stoned.
No two tasks done simultaneously, studies have shown, can be done with 100 percent of one’s ability. Driving while talking on the cell phone slows reaction times and awareness to the same degree that driving over the legal alcohol limit does. And the distractions from too many things going on at once hamper the brain’s “spam filter” and the ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. Or, as one British study found, multitasking makes you stupid— dumber than getting stoned.
Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and bestselling author of Driven to Distraction, says we have “culturally generated ADD.”
Having treated ADD since 1981, I began to see an upsurge in the mid-1990s in the number of people who complained of being chronically inattentive, disorganized, and overbooked. Many came to me wondering if they had ADD. While some did, most did not. Instead, they had what I called a severe case of modern life.
Why do we do this to ourselves? In recent years being busy has become a status symbol.
When you ask anyone what they’ve been up to, what’s always the first word? Busy.
Psychologists write of treating burned-out clients who can’t shake the notion that the busier you are, the more you are thought of as competent, smart, successful, admired, and even envied.
So what can we do about it? Here are seven things experts recommend:1) Write It All Down
What’s the first step toward killing that overwhelmed feeling?
Do a brain dump and write everything down that’s on your mind. Writing reduces worry and organizes your thoughts.
“Right now, you need to free up all this energy that’s being consumed by worry.” She told me to take out a piece of paper, set a timer for five minutes, and write furiously about absolutely everything that was bugging me… “If your to-do list lives on paper, your brain doesn’t have to expend energy to keep remembering it,” Monaghan said.
More on the power of a notebook here.2) Prioritize or Die
Repeat after me: you cannot get it all done. And some things are more important than others.
So you need to prioritize or you will have a clean garage but get fired from your job.
Decide what is important and do that first. Otherwise you may never get to what really matters.
At the heart of making the most of life today is the ability to treasure and protect your connections to what you care most about: people, places, activities, pets, a spiritual connection, a piece of music, even objects that are dear to you. But you must not have too many connections or none will flourish. Pick the ones that matter most to you and nourish them religiously; make that your top priority in life, and you can’t go wrong.
More on the power of work/life balance here.3) Make Things Automatic
Build routines and habits so that you’re not deciding, you’re just doing.
The secret to getting more done is to make things automatic. Decisons exhaust you:
The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy.
More on how to build great habits here.4) Work Like an Athlete
We were not designed to go 24/7. We were designed to sprint, rest, sprint — just like an athlete.
You sleep in cycles and your mind naturally works in cycles. Alternate hard work with breaks to be at your best.
We ignore the signs of fatigue, boredom, and distraction and just power through. But we’re hardly doing our best work. “We’ve lost touch with the value of rest, renewal, recovery, quiet time, and downtime,” Schwartz told me. It’s hardly a wonder, then, with the pressure of long hours, putting in face time, and the constant interruptions of the modern workplace, less than 10 percent of workers say they do their best thinking at work.
More on working like an athlete here.5) Switch To Singletasking
Forget multitasking. That’s what causes the feelings of burnout and it’s not effective.
Focus on the most important thing of the day. No interruptions, email or calls.
Terry Monaghan sought to train me to work in pulses. The idea was to chunk my time to minimize the constant multitasking, “role switching,” and toggling back and forth between work and home stuff like a brainless flea on a hot stove. The goal was to create periods of uninterrupted time to concentrate on work— the kind of time I usually found in the middle of the night— during the day.
More on how to use your best hours here.6) Live in OHIO
Not the state. It’s an acronym: Only Handle It Once.
That email you’ve opened sixty times today, unsure of what to do with it? Stop it.
Make a decision. Reply, trash it or set a time to properly deal with it.
Revisiting unimportant things over and over is a huge time and energy thief.
OHIO: only handle it once. When it comes to a document or journal or any concrete item, try your best to 1) respond to it right away, 2) put it in a labeled file, not a pile, or 3) throw it away. In the majority of instances, choice “3” is the best.
More on how to be efficient with the onslaught of email here.7) Have Leisure Goals
Ironic, right? Most of us think about “leisure” as doing nothing. But that’s a dangerous way to view it.
Research shows we’re happier when we accomplish things (playing tennis with a friend vs. flipping TV channels.)
And given our habits, we’re prone to start checking email and firing up the usual 17 things we multitask on.
So set a goal for leisure. When you have a fun thing to accomplish, you can singletask on relaxing.
Roger Mannell, a psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, has directed perhaps the only lab studies of leisure time. His research has found that when people have a sense of choice and control over what they do with their free time, they are more likely to get into flow, that engrossing and timeless state that some call peak human experience. “Part of the problem with leisure is that people aren’t quite sure what they really want. They don’t know what leisure time is for them,” Mannell said. “And they never slow down long enough to figure it out.”
More on how to make your free time more awesome here.Sum Up
Just because the other people at the office are overscheduled and the other parents are doing 1000 things doesn’t mean you need to.
We all only have 1440 minutes a day. Accept you can’t do it all, focus on what’s important and do that well.
We’re all jealous of the people who are calm and cool under pressure. Be that person.
Next time someone asks how you’re doing, don’t talk about how busy you are. Don’t get sucked into thinking busy means important.
Busy doesn’t make you important. Doing the important things you need to do makes you important.
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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.