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Updated: 15 min 52 sec ago

Indian Politician Arvind Kejriwal Wins TIME 100 Readers’ Poll

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:20

Indian politician Arvind Kejriwal has won the readers’ poll for the 2014 TIME 100, TIME’s annual list of people who influenced the world this past year for better or worse.

Celebrities like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Rihanna ranked high as reader favorites, but the poll turned into a competition between two men competing in India’s ongoing elections.

Kejriwal, who leads the Aam Aadmi, or common man, party, received a total of 261,114 “yes” votes from readers; Kejriwal, a candidate for a Parliamentary seat, came to prominence as the leader of an anti-corruption movement in India. Narendra Modi, the controversial leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party and frontrunner to become the country’s next Prime Minister, brought in 164,572 approving votes.

Readers could also weigh in on whether figures should not be included in the TIME 100. Modi received 166,260 “no” votes, outnumbering his total “yes” votes. The poll’s winner was decided by raw number of “yes” votes.

More than 3.2 million votes were cast in the poll. There were attempts to inflate the voting numbers, but only legitimate votes were tabulated for the final results. On Thursday, TIME will announce this year’s TIME 100 honorees, who are selected by the editors.

Rounding out the top ten finishers after Kejriwal and Modi were singer Katy Perry, singer Justin Bieber, actor Laverne Cox, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, singer Beyoncé, actor Jared Leto, actor Lupita Nyong’o, singer Lady Gaga and music duo Daft Punk.

Earlier this week, Cox and Bieber were battling for the poll’s top finisher. Cox, who appears in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” took to Twitter to encourage her fans to vote.

See the chart below for the complete results.

Categories: Magazines

Ebola Virus Death Toll Rises to 142 in West Africa

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:12

A total of 142 people have now died from an Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Liberia, the World Health organization said on Wednesday. Doctors Without Borders said that the size of the outbreak is unprecedented.

The World Health Organization debunked rumors that the virus was spreading to other countries, however, in a statement on their website. They said nineteen suspected cases reported in Sierra Leone have tested negative.

Doctors in Guinea and Liberia don’t have any experience with the virus, as this is the first time it has emerged in western Africa. WHO said that Guinea has reported 208 cases, including 136 deaths. Liberia has reported 34 cases, including six deaths.

The Ebola virus kills up to 90 percent of those infected, shutting down the immune system and bringing on fever, headache, muscle pain and bleeding.

Categories: Magazines

We Can Affirm That Race Matters—But Much Less Than It Used To

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:09

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that citizens, as well as judiciaries, have the right to decide against Affirmative Action policies — the import of the decision in favor of Proposition 2 in Michigan — we are hearing the usual cries that benighted people are rolling back good people’s quest to “take race into account.” This time, as usual, it’s Affirmative Action in college admissions that is at stake, and specifically the kind based on race and gender.

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But in the grand scheme of things what we are seeing is a preservation of what Affirmative Action was originally supposed to be about — acknowledging disadvantage. In 1970, it made a certain sense to treat being black as a disadvantage in itself. But today, the proper Affirmative Action should be about socioeconomics.

Most Americans would understand this if the way we discuss Affirmative Action weren’t so coded. A leading misimpression is that college admissions policies are always a mere thumb on the scale — that among candidates with equivalent grades and test scores, race is “taken into account” only to ensure diversity. And that kind of Affirmative Action is great. I, for one, would dread teaching a class where everybody was a privileged white kid from the suburbs. Or, where everybody was anything.

But that’s not the kind of Affirmative Action decisions like Tuesday’s by the Supremes addresses. Too often, colleges have had a two-tier admissions system, in which black and brown students are, as a matter of policy, admitted with lower grades and scores than other students’ in a quest to fill a quota. This has been identified over the years at the University of California, Rutgers, the University of Michigan, and countless others.

That kind of taking race into account made perfect sense when most black people were poor and had no access to decent education. But what about now, when it is not rare to be middle class and black? We must avoid pretending that such people are mere hothouse rarities — i.e. last time I checked, it was racist to declare that being black means being poor.

So, do we “take into account” the race of the child of a lawyer and a systems analyst by exempting them from the standards we apply to white kids? Many say that the issue is simply whether race “matters” in life. But is that the smackdown point we are often told? In contesting this decision, Justice Sotomayor has it that “Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed ‘No, where are you really from?’, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country.”

Those things are real — but even black people can question whether they make it morally corrupt to expose middle class black kids to serious scholastic competition. Sure, polls often show that people of all races “approve of” Affirmative Action. But the topic is too complex for that question to have any useful meaning. It’s like asking people whether they approve of feeding children warm muffins, without considering how many, how often, and what’s in the muffins in question.

Too seldom do we hear things such as that in a book that got too little attention because it came out in the wake of 9/11, Paul Sniderman and Thomas Piazza polled 715 black people on whether they approved of policies regularly admitting black students with lower scores than other students and found that 90% disapproved. “Taking race into account”? Sure. But in which ways?

Here’s something. Despite my comfortable middle-class upbringing, race most certainly “mattered” in my life, thank you very much. A kid liked calling me “blackey” in camp. I was once denied a summer job because of my race. A couple of times I caught an expression of alarm on a shopkeeper’s face when I walked in. In schoolyard interactions with white boys, there were occasions when it was clear that I was to “know my place” on a certain unstated level. The dating age as a black kid in mostly white schools in the 70s and 80s was no picnic — most of the women around you could only see you as a brother. Your rating was gratifyingly less abysmal in all black settings, but your day-to-day existence was in a world where you were, in a sense, not considered a whole man.

Yes, race mattered. But my mother would have — well, I can’t even imagine — if I had said that those things qualified me for lower standards of evaluation in college admissions than a white kid. Race “mattered” for me to the same extent as any number of things for other kids, regarding health, family issues, appearance, disabilities, and much else.

It’s socioeconomics that create the kind of obstacles to scholastic success that truly justify altered standards. Your school is lousy. Your school doesn’t offer Advanced Placement courses. You had to help raise your siblings. Few people in your family value higher education. You barely knew anybody who went to college.

A society that insisted that people with burdens of that kind come up with grades and scores equal to those of more privileged people would be backwards and unsophisticated. Therefore, we do need Affirmative Action.

However, what needs to be affirmed in today’s America, as opposed to Lyndon Johnson’s, is disadvantage suffered by all people. This is quite different, in 2014, from the more particular fact that race matters.

Decisions like Tuesday’s are, therefore, progress. We should celebrate it.

Categories: Magazines

Twitter’s New Profile Design: 8 Points to Consider

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:08

Twitter’s redesigned profile pages were previously available to select users in a staggered rollout that’s been ongoing for weeks, but as of today, they’re available to anyone so inclined to push a button and pull the trigger. The social microblogging network’s new look does indeed, as you’ve perhaps heard, have something of Facebook’s affectations with its newly dominant top-third banner and left-side headshot overlooking a three-column spread, where the central column comprising your tweets occupies about 50% of your browser’s total, width-wise.

Twitter

Twitter’s covered most of this in a blog post, but let’s step through the new features anyway, and I’ll do my best to annotate.

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Twitter hasn’t changed — not really

It’s still a giant column of pith, stacked in rectangles (mostly), and filled with all your wit and wisdom. It’s still Twitter, that is, with all its eggs in the same minimalist baskets, and none of Facebook’s busy, multilayered distractions.

..but it’s clearly more Facebook-like.

Whoever said “good artists borrow, great ones steal” had it exactly right. I’m not sure I’d call any of Twitter’s tweaks outright stealing, but there’s definitely some borrowing going on. And you could argue, given Twitter’s relative simplicity (contrasted with Facebook’s clutter), that these design choices work better on Twitter: the 1,500 x 500 pixel banner up top lets you add scenery where before your profile picture looked like a postage stamp clapped on top of a smallish picture box. And that banner only nudges the top menu — where it tallies tweets, who you’re following, your followers and more — down roughly an inch.

In short, Twitter’s profile pages now use browser-space more efficiently, fitting more in without cramping your view.

Isn’t the new font for tweets kinda gargantuan?

I don’t think so. Facebook lets you post over 60,000 characters a shot, where Twitter still limits you to 140 characters per tweet. In the new design, tweets that do more business than others (Twitter refers to this as “engagement”) use a font that’s roughly twice as big as before. That’s contrasted against the left- and right-hand columns, which still use a smaller font.

Twitter wants that central column to pop, not be equal to or subsumed by its surroundings. It’s the company broadening its social networking grammar, cribbing a feature from tag clusters of old, as well as telegraphing what it still views as its most important asset — your tweets — in the mix.

You’ll want a 400 x 400 profile photo.

Under the new design, Twitter’s basically taking the upsized version of your profile picture when clicked and making it the default size against its new topside banner background.

I wasn’t sure what size my existing picture was, so I checked: 256 x 256 pixels. You don’t have to upgrade — your old pic will upscale in the new design — but if you want to look smart (as in sharp, focus-wise), take the time to re-crop and upload that old profile shot at 400 x 400 pixels, or just use the design switch as an opportunity to create a new one.

You’ll want a 1,500 x 500 background header, too.

They’re laid out in a way that’s not distracting — that, and if you don’t upload one, you’re stuck with a bland color and message declaiming “Make this space yours. Add a photo!”

If you don’t have one handy, Twitter’s offering an attractive collection of Flickr images to get you started here.

The menu has more data angles, and they’re important ones.

Ever since Twitter added the option to include inline photos and videos, we’ve been accruing repositories of visual content. Under the old design, these were jammed into a lefthand box that, when clicked, swapped your tweet column for a stacked picture/video column. In the new design, picture/video is just another menu option next to tweets and followers. When clicked, it smartly hijacks both the center and righthand side of your view, giving you two full columns to peruse more content at once — another nod to Facebook’s News Feed aesthetic.

There’s some duplication of effort here: Twitter’s left that standalone photos/videos box over in the lefthand column, but it feels like a reasonable compromise between making the box the only way to access your media and yanking it entirely and preventing visitors from peeping your most recent shots.

You can fine-tune your Twitter-stream.

The old design included both tweets and replies in one unbroken stream under “tweets.” The new design defaults to just your tweets (without replies) and lets you opt to view “tweets and replies,” as well as favorites and followers (who now appear, like photos/videos, in a smart, semi-tiled view that hijacks the middle and righthand columns). That added layer of control granularity lets both you or your visitors scroll through your dispatches much more quickly, if desired.

You can pin your best stuff to promote conversations.

As with all of the prior points, this matters only for people visiting your Twitter page on the web — if they use a client app, it’s irrelevant, and it’s not clear when/if we’ll see versions that avail themselves of these tweaks — but you can now pin your “best” tweets to the top of your feed, like threads on a message board, allowing you to flag your favorite thoughts or conversations for passersby.

It’s probably a bigger deal if you’re using Twitter as a business and want to highlight a press release or promotion (or a news site looking to highlight a story), but regardless, it’s nice to see Twitter adding features that add more options to the conversation without bogging down feeds or noticeably interrupting their flow.

Categories: Magazines

Lead Didn’t Bring Down Ancient Rome—But It’s Still a Modern Menace

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:02
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You could fill a book with theories on why the ancient Roman Empire declined and fell—which, in fact, is what the 18th British historian Edward Gibbon did in his magisterial Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. But if you don’t have time to read the 3,000 or so pages in Gibbon’s full work, here’s one very simple theory: it was lead. Canadian scientist Jerome Nriagu published an influential 1983 paper arguing that high levels of the neurotoxin lead—which contaminated water and other beverages through lead aqueducts and lead cups—caused mental disabilities and erratic behavior among members of Roman high society. Nriagu even reviewed the personalities and habits of Roman emperors between 30 B.C. and 22o A.D.—a list that includes notorious nutjobs like Nero and Caligula—and concluded that two-thirds of them suffered from symptoms of chronic lead poisoning. It’s hard to keep an empire going when your living god of an emperor has been brain-poisoned.

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An empire brought down by one of its signature innovations, the aqueduct — it’s a theory that has stuck with the public, although experts have long been skeptical of its merits. It turns out that the theory was half-right: In a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a group of French and British researchers report that the tap water in ancient Rome was indeed contaminated with lead, with levels up to 100 times higher than those found in local spring water at the time. But while Roman tap water might not have passed modern-day standards, it’s almost certain that the contamination wasn’t extensive enough to be responsible for the collapse of Roman civilization.

As lead author Francis Albarede of Claude Bernard University in Lyon told the Guardian:

Can you really poison an entire civilization with lead? I think it would take more than lead piping in Rome to do that.

Still, any amount of lead can pose a danger to the human brain, especially those of young children, so Rome’s contaminated water couldn’t have helped. In fact, the more researchers learn about lead, the more dangerous it seems—and the more important it becomes to get lead out of the environment. There’s a fascinating body of research, summed up in this excellent piece by Mother Jones‘s Kevin Drumm, that links the drastic drop in violent crime in the U.S. over the past two decades to the phasing out of leaded gasoline in the early 1970s, which greatly reduced lead levels in the environment.

The theory is that children in the 1940s, 50s and 60s were exposed to high levels of lead in leaded gasoline and lead paint. High blood lead levels are directly correlated with a loss of IQ points. But more than that, lead seems to particularly damage the parts of the brain linked to aggression control and executive function. Lead seems to affect boys more—and men, of course, make up the vast majority of violent criminals. When those lead-exposed boys became young adults in the 1970s and 80s, it wasn’t surprising that so many of them fell into violent crime. But once they aged out by the 1990s, that cohort was replaced by a generation of children who largely hadn’t been exposed to high levels of lead, and violent crime dropped.

But while most—though not all—American children are no longer exposed to high levels of lead, it’s still a major problem in poorer countries around the world. NGOs like the Blacksmith Institute are working to clean up lead contamination, though far more needs to be done. Lead may not have brought down the Roman Empire—you’ll need to go back to Gibbon for that—but two thousand years later, it’s still a public health menace.

Categories: Magazines

Watch BASE Jumpers Set a New World Record by Diving Off The Tallest Building on Earth

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:55

Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet set a BASE-jumping world record after hopping from the tip of the Burj Khalifa—all 2,717 feet of it—in a stunt sponsored by the skydiving resort Skydive Dubai. Along with a peculiarly uncredited cameraman, the bros share a bro-ment as they soar around the building like unusually large gliders, trailed by twin plumes of dramatic red smoke.

“People think that you BASE jump because you’re crazy, you like to get scared,” either Fred or Vince said. (From the video, it’s not clear whom.) “But, I mean, we like to fly.”

Categories: Magazines

Police: Woman Sold Heroin From Hospital Bed

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:54

A Pennsylvania woman has been charged on drug possession counts for allegedly selling heroin from her bed in the intensive care unit of a local hospital, police said.

Lori Sullenberger, 38, of Youngwood, Pa. began receiving an “exorbitant amount of foot traffic” in her room at the Excela Westmoreland Hospital, a hospital spokesman said, when security began an investigation, Pittsburgh Action News 4 reports. A confidential informant purchased 30 bags of heroin from her, police said, and a total of $3,800 worth of heroin and $1,420 in cash was allegedly seized from her room. Sullenberger was being treated for an “unrelated medical issue,” according to police.

Police said that Sullenberger had multiple cellphones in her room that would ring at all hours, and visitors to her room also didn’t know her last name.

“Definitely is one of the more unique cases, to be selling narcotics out of an intensive care unit where obviously people are trying to get help,” local police captain Chad Zucco said.

Sullenberger remained in the hospital Tuesday as police worked on arrest warrants for her, her boyfriend and a third man, who allegedly bought or possessed drugs from her.

[WTAE]

Categories: Magazines

Sinkhole in Florida Seems To Be Opening Again

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:51

(THE VILLAGES, Fla.) — A sinkhole between two houses in a sprawling Florida retirement community that was plugged over the weekend appears to be opening again.

A witness said Wednesday that the sinkhole in The Villages expanded overnight by another 5 to 8 feet. Safety crews are on scene.

Rich Corr lives next door to the house which had been at the center of the sinkhole drama. He told The Villages Daily Sun (http://tinyurl.com/lvv7eqx) that he and his wife are packing their bags.

Over the weekend, repair crews filled the sinkhole after neighbors noticed it was growing and alerted authorities. At that time, a Tampa firm had been working on the sinkhole for about three weeks.

District Public Safety Battalion Chief Pete Carpenter said Saturday the sinkhole expanded under the foundations of both houses.

Categories: Magazines

Connecticut Man Charged in Yale Hoax Threat

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:49

(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — Police say they have charged a Connecticut man with making a call in November in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on his way to shoot up Yale University.

New Haven police said Wednesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace.

A message left with a public defender wasn’t immediately returned. A home phone listing for Jones could not be found.

A 911 call was received Nov. 25 from a man at a pay phone about a mile from campus who said his roommate was on the way to the university to shoot people.

The call prompted a six-hour campus lockdown and search. No one was injured.

Categories: Magazines

Here Are the Top 10 Highest-Paid Executives Under 40

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:38

If you’re the cheerful, satisfied sort—happy with your job, duties, and compensation—you may want to shuffle along to the next article. Keep the peace of mind you have. Cherish it. And whatever you do, forget that the following ten young executives pocketed over $5 million in 2013 alone.

Figures are from public SEC filings.

Note #1: total compensation includes stock awards and other bonuses: annual salary is typically just a small fraction.

Note #2: a few companies—like Yahoo—have yet to file their proxies, leaving one or two likely candidates (hey there, Marissa Mayer!) off this list.

Note #3: Where’s Mark Zuckerberg? Many famous young entrepreneurs do not make this list for two reasons. First, some well-known founders—like Zuck—take a very small salary, often $1 per year. Companies like Facebook save the big checks for all-star second-in-commands, where they need to lure top people away from other firms. Second, this is a list of 2013 compensation, so individuals who made a big splash—or got a large stock award—last year are more likely to win a place on the list.

 

10. Patrick Söderlund – Electronic Arts – $5.19 million

The video game industry has stumbled along lately, between Nintendo sales woes and garbage freemium games littered throughout mobile app stores. Nevertheless, Electronic Arts (EA) has remained consistent, churning out reliable blockbusters and even some decent mobile games.

EA owes part of its ongoing success to Patrick Söderlund, 39, racecar fanatic and international games guru. Currently an executive vice president at EA, he leads development on big game series like Battlefield and Need for Speed.

9. Andrew Wilson – Electronic Arts – $5.63 million

Obsessed with sports—including both virtual games and real-world leagues—Andrew Wilson rose through EA’s ranks largely through directing the company’s wildly popular FIFA franchise. He was appointed CEO in 2013, at the age of 39.

8. Ryan McInerney – Visa – $7.39 million

Ryan McInerney is only 38, but his resumè reads like a six-decade-long career. First, he worked as a principal consultant at McKinsey & Company. Next, he joined JP Morgan Chase, where he helped create and launch the company’s first mobile banking product. At 34, he was picked to lead the company’s entire consumer banking division, which put McInerney in charge of over 75,000 employees. Visa then lured him away in 2013, where he now serves as the credit company’s president.

7. Mark Tarchetti – Newell Rubbermaid – $7.87 million

It turns out you don’t always need to work in finance or tech to make a multimillion-dollar fortune. Mark Tarchetti, 38, is the executive vice president at Newell Rubbermaid, the company best known for its popular line of tupperware products. Of course, selling plastic, airtight kitchenware isn’t going to make you rich on its own—the company also owns a variety of writing brands, like Sharpie, Paper Mate, Expo and Uni-Ball. Today, Tarchetti leads much of the company’s research and development initiatives.

6. Hari Ravichandran – Endurance International Group – $9.6 million

Hari Ravichandran, 37, is the founder and CEO of Endurance International Group, a company that owns a variety of Internet brands (such as HostGator, Homestead, and Bluehost) and can be best described with a flurry of trendy tech phrases like “cloud-based” and “big data.”

5. Ryan Blair – Blyth – $9.61 million

CEO of ViSalus Science (a subsidiary of Blyth, Inc.), Ryan Blair, 36, focuses on weight management, dietary supplements, and energy drinks. He’s perhaps better known, however, as the gang-member-to-CEO who wrote about his experiences in the appropriately-titled, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain.

4. Sardar Biglari – Biglari Holdings – $10.9 million

Sardar Biglari, 36, began building Biglari Holdings at 18, a company that today employs over 22,000 people and contains six different subsidiary companies, including Steak ‘n Shake and Western Sizzlin. Several publications have compared the company to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, the Fortune 500 business that grew through Buffett’s smart acquisitions and investments.

3. Stephen Gillett – Symantec – $11.5 million

Stephen Gillett (36) first gained national attention after becoming the chief information officer at Starbucks in 2008, though his résumé includes such prominent companies as Yahoo, CNET Networks and Sun Microsystems. More recently, he became Best Buy’s executive vice president, but he moved on to Symantec after only nine months. It seems even Gillett couldn’t slow the downward slide of big box electronics stores.

2. Michael Schroepfer – Facebook – $12.6 million

Michael Schroepfer (39) has been a rising technical star at Facebook for years, moving from director to vice president to chief technical officer, a post he reached in 2013. Before Facebook, he had led development on Mozilla’s once-popular Firefox browser.

1. James S. Levin – Och-Ziff Capital Management – $119 million

The 31-year-old hedge fund trader is also an extreme outlier. Forget under 40-year-olds: he made more in 2013 than anyone, even Oracle’s Lawrence J. Ellison ($81.8 million), due to some very generous stock awards. James S. Levin first made national news in 2012 when he bet $7 billion (a third of Och-Ziff’s total assets) and made the company nearly $2 billion in one trade, accounting for over half of Och-Ziff’s annual profit. Last year, he received $119 million in stock, earning him more than the nine other men on this list combined.

Categories: Magazines

Kate and William Learn How to DJ in Australia

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:32

Just call her DJ Duchess. Kate Middleton and Prince William hit the decks during a visit to Northern Sound System near Adelaide during their tour of Australia. They also took in a BMX and skateboarding demonstration, but after walking around the community center and chatting with spectators, the royal duo took turns scratching with DJ Shane Peterer.

The Daily Mail reports that Prince William initially demurred when asked to spin, which means Kate went first — let’s take a minute and just imagine a version of “Who’s on First?” with British accents — and apparently she killed it. “She was fantastic but he can fly a helicopter. So horses for courses,” said Peterer.

William also gave the world a rare glimpse of personality — beyond the fact that he has one — when he shared his taste in music: “I like house music, I still like a bit of rock and roll and the classics and a bit of R and B.” He also got weirdly wistful: ‘I’m not a big heavy metal fan. I’d like to be but I’m not.”

So there we have it, folks: the future King of England likes house music, but not heavy metal. Although he kind of wishes he does. Weird.

Categories: Magazines

Watch: Startup Bets on Millenials and House Parties to Save Classical Music

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:16

If you walk into a chamber concert organized by Groupmuse, you soon realize this is not your traditional classical performance. There’s clapping in-between movements of Mozart’s duo in G major, as well as whistling, drinking and sitting on the floor so close to the musicians that one risks getting jabbed with every note. But most importantly, there is a rare breed in the audience: engaged, iPhone-less millennials.

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Groupmuse is a Boston-based startup that strives to attract new audiences for live classical music by re-imagining the traditional concert experience. Sam Bodkin, 24, started the venture in January of last year. Bodkin blames the stifling, severe traditional orchestral experience for turning millennials away from classical music concerts. He plans to make his business profitable by pairing musicians and hosts to create what he calls “chamber music house parties.”

“In what other form of music is the sincere instinct to express enthusiasm ever to be subdued?” Bodkin asked. “At Groupmuse we clap anytime we want to clap, even if it means in the middle of a movement.”

Groupmuse hopes to bridge the gap between audiences that are willing to pay for intimate, high-quality concerts with talented musicians who are looking for alternative performance opportunities at a time when orchestras face troubling demographic trends and graver financial worries. Donations are collected at each event and go directly to the musicians, who earn $150 to $500 on an average night. Groupmuse itself made about $25,000 over the course of the past year, Bodkin said, though it’s not currently making a profit.

Groupmuse fits within a long-standing tradition of entrepreneurial ventures hoping to find new formats to make classical music profitable, said Angela Myles Beeching, Director
 of the Center for Music Entrepreneurship at the Manhattan School of Music.

“Everyone is talking about how to make this traditional art form more relevant and ways to change traditional concert settings,” Beeching said. “The really smart thing about house concerts is that it takes away the business of renting venues and the middle management that comes with presenting any type of traditional concert. As a business model, it has a low overhead.”

Groupmuse represents an unprecedented opportunity to engage with a wider audience, said Julia Glenn, a 25-year-old doctoral student at the world-renowned Juilliard School and a regular performer at Groupmuse concerts.

“If something about the culture of classical music isn’t changed, the audience is at risk of drying out.” Glenn said. “The hope of Groupmuse and ventures like that is to give people the chance to get excited about the music, and give the music a chance of having a future.”

First-time Groupmuse attendee Garrett Kotecki said the event was described to him as “classical music for people who don’t want to wear a suit and tie.”

“I didn’t think it was boring at all, because they were right here in the room. It wasn’t a huge orchestra, far removed onstage,” Kotecki said. “I had never been this close to a viola and violin player. You can hear their fingers move, you can hear them breathe inhale and exhale in tempo with the music.”

Bodkin doesn’t want Groupmuse to replace conventional concert experiences at established symphony orchestras. Instead, he sees it as an entry point into the more traditional concert experience for a generation that he believes to be increasingly alienated from the genre.

“People should just go and get into the music and experience it on their own terms,” Bodkin said. “Then hopefully a lot of them will get really turned on by Beethoven, because, ‘Wow, this guy I heard about so much is actually pretty rocking,’ and then they go see the big show at Carnegie Hall.”

Categories: Magazines

Creepy New Website Shows Just How Much Facebook Knows About You

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:14

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.

Categories: Magazines

Behold: The Best LinkedIn Profile Of All Time

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:13

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:

CEO, PRESIDENT

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.

Categories: Magazines

Is Today Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday? Maybe

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:12
MoreMan Reportedly Gets Revenge on Scammer by Texting Him Shakespeare’s Entire WorksLondon’s Globe Theatre Is Bringing Shakespeare To North Korea

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.

 

Categories: Magazines

Hamas and Fatah Sign Palestinian Unity Deal

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:07

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.

[BBC]

Categories: Magazines

Artist Turns Homophobic Tweets About Tom Daley Into a Portrait of the Olympic Diver

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:00

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.”

Categories: Magazines

Union Protests Postal Counters in Staples Stores

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 10:54

(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.

Categories: Magazines

Judge to Consider Chelsea Manning Name Change

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 10:53

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.

[AP]

Categories: Magazines

Brazil Passes Bill on Internet Privacy

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 10:51

(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.

Categories: Magazines