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Updated: 11 min 25 sec ago

JetBlue Pilots Vote to Unionize

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:55

JetBlue Airways pilots overwhelmingly voted in favor of joining the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union announced on Tuesday.

The majority of JetBlue’s roughly 2,600 pilots took part in the vote, and 71% voted in favor of joining the ALPA. The move comes after JetBlue pilots previously voted against unionization in 2009 and 2011, the New York Times reports.

The pilots are the first employees to unionize at JetBlue, which was founded in 1998. The ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union and represents nearly 50,000 pilots in the U.S. and Canada.

“Today, JetBlue pilots have voted for ALPA representation so that we have the ability to improve our professional careers,” captains Rocky Durham and Gustavo Rivera, co-chairs of the JetBlue Organizing Committee, said in a statement. “As committed as we are to our objectives, we also want to work with management to ensure we continue to contribute positively to JetBlue’s success. We believe in JetBlue and look forward to helping make this company one of the best in the industry.”

Categories: Magazines

Drew Barrymore Has a Girl Named Frankie

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:34

Drew Barrymore welcomed her second child with husband Will Kopelman into the world Tuesday. Representatives for the couple confirmed that the baby girl is named Frankie, People reports.

“Today we are the proud parents of our second daughter, Frankie Barrymore Kopelman,” the couple said in a statement. “Olive has a new little sister, and everyone is healthy and happy!”

The 36-year-old actress had been much more forthcoming about her second pregnancy after shrouding her first pregnancy in secrecy.

“Last time I never commented on it and people just stalked me the entire time. So yes, it’s happening, it’s true,” Barrymore said in December when announcing she was pregnant again. Barrymore’s older daughter Olive is now 19-months-old.

Categories: Magazines

Here’s Proof You’re More Addicted to Your Phone (and Tablet) Than Ever

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:30

If you’re constantly checking your phone despite the pleas of your mom, boss or significant other, you might just be a “mobile addict” — and you’re not alone.

The average mobile user only launches an app 10 times per day, but a mobile addict, as defined by analytics firm Flurry, launches them more than 60 times each day. By tabulating how often some 500,000 apps were launched on 1.3 billion mobile devices over the past year, Flurry has deduced that the number of mobile addicts grew from 79 million people to 176 million people between March 2013 and March 2014 — an increase of 123%.

Mobile addicts skew female — there are approximately 15 million more women than men who fit the description — and they’re also young. Teens and college students make up a significant portion of the mobile addicts segment (cue anxieties about selfie-taking millennials).

Flurry’s data also suggested that middle-aged parents were becoming major mobile addicts, but researchers say it’s likely that older consumers are buying devices that are shared among their families. Don’t worry, your dad’s not on Snapchat — at least not yet.

Categories: Magazines

IRS Gave $1 Million in Bonuses to Employees Who Didn’t Pay Taxes

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 19:24

The federal agency in charge of tax collection has been awarding bonuses to employees who have not been paying their taxes on time, according to a new report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.

The report reveals that the Internal Revenue Service gave a total of $1 million in bonuses to 1,150 workers who owed back taxes between October 201o and December 2012. The IRS paid out an additional $1.8 million in bonuses to workers facing other kinds of disciplinary problems over the same period, including improper use of government credit cards, drug use, threats of violence and unemployment-benefits fraud, according to the Associated Press.

George said the bonuses don’t violate federal rules but are inconsistent with the agency’s mission to enforce tax regulations. “These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance,” George said in a press release. “However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.”

Despite the apparent contradiction highlighted by bonus program, the employees of the Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, still have better tax compliance than other federal agencies. Just 1.1% of Treasury workers owed back taxes in 2011, compared with 3.2% of federal workers overall, the AP reports. The tax-delinquency rate for the general public was 8.2% that year.

Categories: Magazines

Gone Girl Author: Reports of Movie Changes Are “Greatly Exaggerated”

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 19:10

Gillian Flynn’s bestselling thriller Gone Girl is about to become a movie starring Ben Affleck, but fans of the marital murder mystery know adapting its alternating narrations and plot twists is no easy task.

In January, an Entertainment Weekly cover story suggested the film’s screenplay, which Flynn wrote, was a drastic departure from the novel and included a whole new ending — news that surprised fans as well as the film’s stars. “Ben was so shocked by it,” Gone Girl director David Fincher told EW. “He would say, ‘This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.’”

During a Reddit ask-me-anything Q&A on Tuesday, however, Flynn told fans not to worry about changes to the story. She wrote:

… those reports have been greatly exaggerated! Of course, the script has to be different from the book in some ways—you have to find a way to externalize all those internal thoughts and you have to do more with less room and you just don’t have room for everything. But the mood, tone and spirit of the book are very much intact. I’ve been very involved in the film and loved it. Working with David Fincher is pretty much the best place to start for a screenwriter. Screenwriting definitely works different parts of your brain than writing a novel. I do love that with novels, you can really sprawl out–it feels quite decadent. With screenwriting, you have to justify every choice. It’s a nice discipline, but definitely not decadent.

Flynn also discussed her writing process (“I treat it like a 9 to 5 job”), her upcoming young-adult novel (“No vampires”) and her career (she wrote her first two books while working full-time). She also revealed Gone Girl’s memorable “Cool Girl” monologue wasn’t originally intended for the book — it was just a writing exercise designed to flesh out the character Amy.

Gone Girl is not the only Flynn novel coming to the big screen: An adaptation of her second novel, Dark Places, opens in September, and Flynn told Reddit she “may have news to report in [the] next few months” about her first novel, Sharp Objects, which has been optioned. Unlike Gone Girl, which is her third book, Flynn says Sharp Objects lends itself very well to film — no Frankensteined screenplays necessary.

Here’s the first full Gone Girl trailer in case you missed it:

Gone Girl opens in theaters on October 3.

Categories: Magazines

Apple Will Let Mac Users Try Out OS X Betas (Finally!)

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 18:38

If you’ve got a Mac and like trying out new software, Apple has a proposition for you. Join its new OS X Beta Seed program, and you’ll be able to download free test versions of future editions of OS X from the Mac App Store, before they’re released to the general public.

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As with all beta programs, what’s in it for the software developer in question is real-world testing. Apple will be able to get feedback from program participants while it’s still possible to fix any glitches which turn up.

With any other product and any other company, this wouldn’t be news: It’s the way things work, generally speaking. For instance, Microsoft released a free consumer preview of Windows 8 in February 2012, months before the final operating system shipped in October.

Apple, however, has usually held its betas close to the vest. It’s distributed them to people who pay $99 a year to register as an OS X or iOS developer, but doing so has required those folks to sign an agreement saying they won’t discuss the pre-release software in public.

Actually, that mandate is still in place: As the Verge’s Chris Welch points out, signing up for the Beta Seed requires you to agree that you won’t blog, tweet, share screen shots or otherwise spill the beans.

The Beta Seed site never says that signing up for the program entitles you to get every new version of OS X early. In fact, the only version of OS X it mentions by name is Mavericks, the current major release. So I don’t think it’s a given that Beta Seed testers will get immediate access to the next version after Mavericks when it comes along, possibly at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. But it would be nice if they did: It will have major new features, and any further Mavericks updates probably will not.

It’s traditional in stories such as this one to include a stern disclaimer that installing beta software can cause major problems and therefore isn’t for the faint of heart. I guess that’s true. Full disclosure, though: For years, I’ve installed most betas the moment I can get my hands on them. So far, I’ve lived to tell the tale. It may be risky, but it can also be a rewarding experience.

How about iOS? Apple isn’t making any mention at all of its mobile operating system, and it would be a much bigger decision for it to let consumers install such betas. Early versions of smartphone operating systems are far more likely to have crippling problems than desktop ones, and it’s tougher to reverse the process if you regret installing them.

I can’t imagine that Apple wants to provide tech support for people who install an iOS beta and then discover that their phone no longer functions as a phone. Maybe the company will cautiously provide seeds of very late, almost-done betas–also known by names such as “release candidates,” and typically just about as polished as final software. Here’s hoping.

Categories: Magazines

KKK Forms Neighborhood Watch in Pennsylvania Town

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 18:28

A local chapter of one of the country’s most infamous white supremacist groups has launched a neighborhood watch in a Pennsylvania town.

Frank Ancona, the “imperial wizard” and president of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, said leaders of the local chapter in Fairview Township, Penn. got approval from the national organization to form the watch, PennLive reports.

Ancona said the watch group was formed in response to a series of break-ins. “It’s just like any neighborhood watch program. It’s not targeting any specific ethnicity. We would report anything we see to law enforcement,” he said. “We don’t hate people. We are an organization that looks out for our race. We believe in racial separation. God created each species after its kind and saw that it was good.”

The group has distributed flyers around the neighborhood that read: “Neighborhood Watch. You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake.”

The controversial move by the organization comes as white supremacist groups face renewed scrutiny. Frazier Glenn Cross, the founder of the Carolina Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, was charged last week for the shooting murders of three people at Jewish community centers near Kansas City. As the Klan’s membership has dwindled from a high of nearly 4 million members nearly a century ago, many splinter chapters such as the Fairview Township group have been working to increase membership, through efforts ranging from a new radio station sponsored by an Arkansas chapter to flyers distributed in several Southern states that read “The KKK Wants You!”

Fairview Township police are aware of the Traditionalist American Knights’ actions but can’t prevent them from forming a neighborhood watch. “There’s not a whole lot we can do about it,” Lt. Jason Loper told the York Dispatch. “It’s a freedom of speech issue and, while vast majority of most residents don’t agree with their philosophy, we can’t discriminate against them…or we’ll open ourselves to a lawsuit.”

Categories: Magazines

Surprise! The New Axe Body Spray Ad is Super Romantic

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 18:12

Axe is leaning away from their men-surrounded-by-ladies thing and getting a little sentimental in their new ad. Because sex sells, but love sells more. Even to guys.

Somehow they’ve gone from hundreds of women clawing at a single Axe-spraying bro to a hunky time-traveler chasing his true love through history. It’s sure to catch the attention of that 13-year-old who loves sword fighting and is just about ready to start wearing deodorant. Watch it here:

 

The company definitely recycled the costumes from Game of Thrones for that first part with the cavemen, but it’s still cute. And we’re pretty sure Jack Dawson from Titanic probably would have worn Axe.

Categories: Magazines

Spending Earth Day at Ground Zero for Climate Change In America

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:54

We’ve all seen the iconic Blue Marble photo of the earth from space, the image that launched a thousand nature essays, but Bill Nelson and Piers Sellers are among the few people who have enjoyed that perspective on the planet in the flesh. Nelson is now a U.S. Senator from Florida, Sellers is a top NASA science official, and this morning, at an Earth Day hearing in my Miami Beach neighborhood, I got to hear the two former astronauts reminisce about the view from 10 million feet.

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Senator Nelson recalled the color contrasts in the Amazon that illuminated the growth of deforestation. “The earth looked so beautiful, so alive—and yet so fragile,” he said. “It made me want to be a better steward of what the good Lord gave us—and yet we continue to mess it up.” Dr. Sellers remembered catching a glimpse of the Florida peninsula between his boots during a spacewalk. When you go around the world in ninety minutes, he said, you realize it’s a very small world.

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“My take-home impression was that we inhabit a very beautiful but delicate planet,” said Sellers, a meteorologist who is NASA’s deputy director for science and exploration. “And the dynamic engine of planet Earth is the climate system that allows all life here to prosper and grow, including us humans.”

Now that climate is changing, and as Nelson said at the start of the South Florida hearing: “This is Ground Zero.” Scientists have documented that the seas along the Florida coastline have risen five to eight inches over the last fifty years, and Biscayne Bay now floods the streets of my neighborhood just about every month at high tide. “It’s real. It’s happening here,” Nelson said. “Yet some of my colleagues in the Senate continue to deny it.”

It is real, and it’s already a problem in my low-lying part of the world. Saltwater intrusion is increasing in the freshwater Everglades, which is causing problems for farmers in southern Miami-Dade County, and will make the government’s $15 billion Everglades restoration project even more expensive. The Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that over the next fifty years, Miami-Dade’s beaches will need about 23 million cubic yards of new sand to deal with erosion. Mayor Philip Levine says Miami Beach alone plans to spend $400 million to upgrade drainage infrastructure to prepare for a warmer world. The Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change’s “likely scenario” for 2010 includes seas rising as much as three feet; our county has $38 billion worth of property at three feet elevation or less. And while it’s too early to tie any particular storm to climate change, all the models predict more intense hurricanes coming through the Sunshine State. “The risk posed by coastal flooding is indisputably growing,” testified Megan Linkin, a natural hazards specialist at the reinsurance giant Swiss Re.

That’s incorrect. The risks posed by climate change, while real, are not at all indisputable. Lots of people, including most Republican politicians in Washington, still dispute them. As Senator Nelson said after the hearing, even Republican politicians in coastal areas—he cited Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—rarely acknowledge the danger their constituents face from rising seas. “That would not be a popular topic in a Republican primary,” Nelson said.

But as Dr. Sellers pointed out, the IPCC believes the main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels. And as Senator Nelson pointed out, it will take government action—he mentioned the possibility of a carbon tax—to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. “Otherwise, the planet will continue to heat up,” Nelson said.

Unfortunately, there is no chance of Congress passing a carbon tax anytime in the foreseeable future. President Obama couldn’t even get a cap-and-trade program through Congress when Democrats controlled both houses. Global warming has no juice as a political issue; people don’t think it really affects their lives.

That’s why Nelson held a hearing here at global warming’s Ground Zero, to try to show that global warming is already affecting lives. It was worth a shot, I guess. South Florida isn’t as threatened as those vanishing Pacific islands, but it’s basically America’s canary in the coal mine. Maybe my neighborhood’s outrage over the monthly lake in our Whole Foods parking lot will help spark a broader movement for change.

I doubt it, though. I get the political instinct to boil issues down to How It Can Affect You, but climate change is so urgent and invisible that if Congress has to wait for it to affect most Americans in tangible ways before taking action, Congress will be too late. Burning rivers and disappearing eagles helped build support for laws like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act; rising temperatures—all of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998—and extreme events like Superstorm Sandy don’t seem to be having much of a political impact. President Obama has helped launch a clean energy revolution, and he will soon propose new regulations on carbon emissions, but the public has shown little interest in the issue.

Ultimately, the local argument against climate change—it might flood your neighborhood—seems a lot less compelling than the global argument, the Blue Marble argument. This is a nice earth. It’s our home. It’s the only planet with ice cream and the Everglades and the NBA playoffs. We should try not to mess it up.

“Spaceflight allows one to stand back, or float, and literally take in the big picture,” Dr. Sellers said in his testimony. It’s a perspective we sometimes overlook back here on Earth. Otherwise, we might decide to stop broiling it.

 

Categories: Magazines

Ed Norton’s Charity Company Doesn’t Sound So Charitable

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:51

What’s one of the rare blessings of living in an era characterized by tremendous asset inequality and a chastened, hamstrung welfare state? Charitable giving has by some accounts reached an all-time high, both among the general public and among the American wealthy. What a time to be alive.

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As has been the case with many a popular activity in our time, techies have now come along to philanthropy to offer the piggy-back ride they like to call disruption, claiming to fix something that may not have needed fixing while skimming a fee for doing business. The crowded crowdfunding field offers any number of sites that handle charitable donations, from Indiegogo to GoFundMe to Causes to JustGiving. All tend to follow the same basic formula, allowing users to register their own charitable causes and to donate to established ones. It’s hard for any one site to make a name for itself.

But on Monday one of the pack stepped forward from the others with big news: CrowdRise, a charity-specific crowdfunding venture, had landed $23 million in venture capital funding from a group including Twitter/Tumblr investors Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures, and Jeff Bezos’s personal investment fund, Bezos Expeditions. (This funding round followed an earlier seed round that included investment from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.)

Those big names join the biggest one that had previously been attached to the site: Edward Norton, the actor and director. Norton and a band of cofounders launched the site in November 2009 after they raised a surprising $1.2 million for a wildlife preservation concern in eastern Africa. They figured, If we can raise good money like this, why shouldn’t we let everyone else do the same? That was a giving notion, and it’s of a piece with CrowdRise’s passionate and playful message. The site’s motto says its users will “have the most fun in the world” while fundraising, and little jokes pepper its official literature. To wit: “CrowdRise is way more fun than anything else aside from being all nervous about trying to kiss a girl for the first time and her not saying something like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’” Fun!

But what does altruistic fun have to do with a $23 million round of funding? That cash would do some good in the pockets of the charities CrowdRise users support. The site’s literature explains its business plan this way: “When a donation is made through Crowdrise, we deduct a transaction fee so we don’t go out of business (GOB).” No, ExxonMobil’s corporate communications team would never write such a plain thing. But perhaps what they would write would not fudge things, either. Those transaction fees not only kept CrowdRise from going under but made the business promising enough to land all that venture money. As TechCrunch put it: “[CrowdRise is] profitable and … viewed the Kickstarter goal of $1 billion raised on CrowdRise as very doable.” (CrowdRise had not responded to questions from TIME as of late Tuesday afternoon.)

Capitalist techniques have gained an increasingly stable foothold in the world of nonprofits. Universities, hospitals and big foundations are lousy with MBAs and executives who command (citing market logic) salaries close to what their for-profit counterparts make. CrowdRise’s big-bucks waltz into this moral vacuum might be a little brazen—but at least it’s clever. The opposite of clever is the spirit that accompanies any event like this. A perusal of the comments on TechCrunch’s post, and the Twitter response to the same, indicates an unflinchingly positive reaction to the news. “Great to see.” “Psyched.” “Congratulations.” That’s a whole lot of accolades for a common middleman who just got a whole lot richer.

Categories: Magazines

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Lost Money in 2012 and 2011

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:42

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company Goop, famous for its weekly newsletter, was in debt and losing money through the end of 2012, the company’s corporate records reveal.

Unaudited financial statements for the privately-held company that were filed with the UK’s Companies House state that Goop reported a 2012 loss of around $39,000 (£22,954), Radar Online reports. That was a big improvement from 2011, however, when the company reported nearly $260,200 (£155,834) in losses.

The company had real revenue — the records show significant product sales and income from Groupon — but expenses exceeded gross profits. Compensation for Paltrow and recently departed Goop CEO Sebastian Bishop was one of the more notable administrative expenses. The two took in close to $589,000 (£350,000) together in 2012, nearly a third of the company’s gross profits that year and a significant increase from the almost $173,000 (£102,788) they received the previous year.

Categories: Magazines

How the Heck Do You Make Powdered Alcohol?

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:34

The Internet was in a tizzy yesterday over what appeared to be the approval of powdered alcohol, which had the potential to be added to water or food, or snorted.

But if it sounds too ridiculous to be true, it probably is—for now. The labels for the powdered alcohol, branded “Palcohol,” were approved in error, and the product’s label approval was rescinded yesterday by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The company that makes Palcohol, Lipsmark, had this to say on its site: “We have been in touch with the TTB and there seemed to be a discrepancy on…how much powder is in the bag. There was a mutual agreement for us to surrender the labels. This doesn’t mean that Palcohol isn’t approved. It just means that these labels aren’t approved. We will re-submit.”

So while it appears powdered alcohol’s move to market has been stalled, we’re still scratching our heads: Considering how quickly liquid alcohol evaporates, do you make it powdered?

Palcohol, it turns out, is not the first attempt at a powdered alcohol. According to patent data, General Foods Corporation (now a subsidiary of Kraft) patented a couple of ways to make “alcohol-containing powder” in the early 1970s. In their process, they took a carbohydrate and broke it down through a process called hydrolysis, rendering it into a white powder. According to John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State University and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists, they then combined that powder with pure liquid alcohol, which stuck to the powder, essentially capturing the alcohol in white dust. “It would feel dry to your hands,” Coupland says.

The Palcohol makers are not revealing how they make their product, which comes in cosmopolitan, mojito, margarita, and lemon drop flavors. “They say that they are trying to patent it at the moment, which suggests they have something novel, but I have no clue what that could be,” says Coupland.

So it looks like powdered alcohol is indeed possible, but won’t be for sale anytime soon. For now, you’re still going to have to consume your alcohol with dinner—instead of sprinkled on top of it.

 

Categories: Magazines

TIME 100 Alumni Who Continue to Inspire Change

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:07

Over the past 10 years, TIME has chosen some of the world’s biggest movers and shakers for its annual list of the most influential people in the world. Many of them have continued to transform themselves and the lives of others long after their inclusion.

Take Hillary Clinton, for example. The one-time First Lady has appeared on the list seven times (including one time with husband Bill) as she evolved from senator to presidential candidate to Secretary of State to (unofficial) presidential candidate again. We’ve selected 10 other honorees that we think fit the bill.

Categories: Magazines

Hear Courtney Love Howl on “You Know My Name”: Listen

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 17:03

Hole’s grunge classic Live Through This turned 20 years old last week, which prompted an outpouring of nostalgia for Courtney Love’s glory days — as well as a lot of bummed-out head-shaking at her spottier output in recent years: Hole’s poorly reviewed Nobody’s Daughter, Love’s poor-selling 2004 solo album, America’s Sweetheart.

But in advance of an upcoming tour, Love is releasing an double A-side on May 4, and the first song from it should serve as proof that Love’s still got it. “You Know My Name” is a thrilling punk workout that has Love screaming and spewing venom like the alt-rock banshee she once was. Just when the track seems to reach its peak, it ignites with a forceful hook: “All this world is burning up / It’s time that you retire.” Good thing she hasn’t.

Categories: Magazines

Apple’s Patent to Auto-Disable Texting While Driving Is Old News

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:59

The idea that a master control device placed in your car or truck or rental vehicle might automatically deactivate your smartphone’s ability to text has been around for awhile: There’s an app that’ll disable phone texting if it detects motion above 10 m.p.h., for instance, or another from AT&T that’ll do so the same once you reach 25 m.p.h. We’ve written about a few ourselves in recent years, like Scosche CellControl, or TextBuster. They’re not really news.

Bear that in mind as you’re reading reports that Apple might (gasp!) have lockout designs on your handheld computing device while operating a motor vehicle. First, the news stems from a patent, and patents slot somewhere between hypotheticals and parking spaces. And second, Apple filed this particular patent back in 2008 — this is just the patent coming to light.

Here’s the gist, scraped from U.S. patent 8,706,143, published today for what Apple describes as a “Driver handheld computing device lock-out.”

…The lock-out mechanisms disable the ability of a handheld computing device to perform certain functions, such as texting, while one is driving. In one embodiment, a handheld computing device can provide a lock-out mechanism without requiring any modifications or additions to a vehicle by using a motion analyzer, a scenery analyzer and a lock-out mechanism. In other embodiments, the handheld computing device can provide a lock-out mechanism with modifications or additions to the vehicle, including the use of signals transmitted by the vehicle or by the vehicle key when engaged with the vehicle.

In other words, pretty much like the apps mentioned above. Apple’s imprimatur could carry significantly more water, of course, if it’s working with automotive manufacturers to make the technology work automatically (or optionally) with its iOS device lineup. And while anti-texting app-makers like Cinqpoint have talked about offering iOS versions down the line, your alternatives in iOS at this point are limited to workarounds that don’t actually disable texting, because Apple doesn’t allow it. Whether that’s because Apple’s been waiting to roll out its own solution, or for security reasons, say to prevent rogue apps hijacking your phone’s messaging capabilities, is anyone’s guess.

In the meantime, the real debate governing hard and fast anti-texting solutions is over here; that’s where the conversation has to start, anyway.

Categories: Magazines

U.S. Plans Military Exercises Near Russia

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:54
MoreUkraine Leader Orders Forces To Resume Operations in Restive East

The United States will send hundreds of troops to eastern Europe for training exercises, the Pentagon said Tuesday, as the Americans look to reassure nervous allies that border Russia.

The U.S. will deploy roughly 600 troops already stationed in Europe to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Tuesday. The troops will be replaced with new units within about a month, and the U.S. expects to maintain a presence for at least the remainder of the year, he said.

“The message is to the people of Poland and Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia that the United States takes seriously our obligations,” Kirby said.

The U.S. is aiming to reassure allies in the region amid tensions on Ukraine’s eastern border, where Russia has amassed thousands of troops since it annexed the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Vice President Joe Biden met with the Ukrainian leadership in Kiev on Tuesday, where he threatened new sanctions against Russia if it does not pull back its troops. He also said Russia should “stop talking and start acting,” days after international parties agreed on a joint roadmap to diffuse the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have occupied towns and cities. The separatists have so far defied the agreement’s stipulation that they disarm, and on Tuesday acting Ukrainian president Oleksander Turchinov called for police to resume “counterterrorism” operations in the region after the body of a recently abducted local politician with suspected torture marks was found.

Categories: Magazines

Fan TV Highlights Everything Wrong with Cable Right Now

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:36

Fan TV has a simple proposition for Time Warner Cable customers: For $99, it will make your cable TV-watching experience better.

You buy the box and stick it in your living room, in place of a regular cable box. Instead of the the regular guide–cluttered with row upon row of channels you never watch–you get personalized recommendations, not just for stuff that’s on cable, but for shows and movies from other streaming video sources like Crackle and Redbox Instant. And instead of a huge, clunky remote, you use a touchscreen pad that responds to swipes and taps.

But as CNet points out, Fan TV also makes the experience worse in a few significant ways: You can only watch what’s available through Time Warner Cable’s mobile app, which means some channels may not be available. You also can’t record live shows for later viewing or watch recordings from another DVR. A full cable box stand-in this is not.

No disrespect to Fan TV, which has created what appears to be a pleasant interface and concept. But the whole setup is preposterous.

Here we have a cable company that is unwilling to reinvent its stodgy old system for watching television, but continues to increase prices year after year. To justify these higher prices, Time Warner Cable and other providers point out how they’re offering more channels than ever, regardless of whether subscribers asked for these channels. Meanwhile, the licensing costs to carry all these channels keep going up, and all subscribers get is more clutter in an increasingly mind-numbing TV guide interface.

So now, instead of addressing those problems, Time Warner Cable turns to another company that promises to fix the clutter–not for the same exorbitant prices you’ve been paying, mind you, but for an extra $99. Oh, but no DVR allowed. Sorry.

No wonder more people are ditching or skipping cable in favor of cheaper, smarter, more convenient online video services. And no wonder companies like Google and Apple have delayed or given up on plans to make cable TV better. It’s a lost cause.

On a section of Fan TV’s website, the company wonders aloud whether it’s crazy to compete with the tech giants and instead cozy up to pay TV providers like Time Warner Cable. At last, we know the answer.

Categories: Magazines

Why The U.S. Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest and Other Fascinating News on the Web

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:29

1. Stuck in the Middle MoreThe Americans Who Question The Big Bang Theory and Other Fascinating News on the WebFrench IT Employees Win Right to Unplug after Work and Other Fascinating News on the WebMen 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 PostAll the Delicious Details from Beyoncé and Jay Z's Easter Brunch People

America is still the world’s richest large country. But that’s only when you average out the earnings across all income levels. For the first time in decades, the American middle class is no longer the world’s richest (blame Canada). Here’s Harvards’s Lawrence Katz: “In 1960, we were massively richer than anyone else. In 1980, we were richer. In the 1990s, we were still richer. That is no longer the case.”

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+ Your money or your life? It turns out the two are deeply connected. The richer you are, the older you’ll get.

+ MoJo: 10 poverty myths, busted.

+ If you want a good, longterm investment, then why are you buying a house? (Because it’s almost impossible to host a brunch in a mutual fund?)

2. Affirmative Abstraction

The Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on the use of race-conscious admissions at public universities. Writing for the 6-2 majority, Justice Kennedy wrote: “This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.” Justice Sotomayor read her dissent from the bench: “For members of historically marginalized groups, which rely on the federal courts to protect their constitutional rights, the decision can hardly bolster hope for a vision of democracy that preserves for all the right to participate meaningfully and equally in self-government.”

+ Today, the Supreme Court will hear the case against Aereo, one that could change the way we watch TV.

+ Should a product called Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of Five Juices contain more than a couple drops of blueberry and pomegranate juice? The court seems to think so.

3. Space Case

It turns out that Earth Day could focus our attention too narrowly. We are also littering in space. From FP: 135 million pieces of junk are orbiting Earth at 18,000 mph. “At that speed, even a half-inch piece of debris would have the kinetic force of a bowling ball thrown 300 miles per hour.”

4. Playing Through It

“It was strange because it was so routine. We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash — like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn’t lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive.” That’s NFL linebacker Russell Allen. Was it a concussion? Nope. Russell Allen played through a stroke.

+ Salon: The brain injury that made me a math genius.

5. Breaking Worse

In a plot line that might sound somewhat familiar, Dicky Joe Jackson needed money to pay for his son’s life-saving surgery. So he sold meth. That was in 1996. Jackson got busted. And sentenced to life without parole.

6. The Guile High Club

“Authorities said the temperature in the wheel well at the jet’s cruising altitude of 38,000 feet could have dropped to 50 degrees below zero or lower. Oxygen also would have been in painfully short supply at that altitude, about 9,000 feet higher than the summit of Mt. Everest.” So how did a teen stowaway survive in a jetliner wheel well for five and a half hours and appear almost completely unscathed? (I can barely survive economy plus.)

+ And the other key question: With all the airport security we have these days, how did the kid get to the plane in the first place?

7. Peak Mountain

“There is no denying that climbing Everest is a preposterously dangerous undertaking for the members who provide the Sherpas’ income. But running counter to the disturbing trend among Sherpas, climbing Everest has actually grown significantly safer for Western guides and members in recent years.” Jon Krakauer on Death and Anger on Everest.

8. People Change

People don’t change. That’s what they told us. But according to a few studies, people actually can and do change as they get older. “From the ages of 20 to 65, people report increases in positive traits, such as conscientiousness, and decreases in negative traits, such as neuroticism.” (My wife submitted this link.)

+ Does the moon influence human behavior?

+ Is it time for us to take astrology seriously? (That really depends on your sign…)

9. On a Fling and a Prayer

If you are looking for a love that will last, I’d suggest hooking up with an albatross. If you’re into something a little more casual, there’s a 99% chance that Flamingos will just not be that into you. From NPR: Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds.

10. The Bottom of the News

These days it seems like every investor is sharing tips and branding themselves as experts. So after more than a decade of investing in, and working with, startups, I’ve decided to finally share My Secret Investment Strategy.

+ Naugahyde the Salami: The conviction has been upheld in the case of the guy who committed a sex act on a BART seat. (It would have been completely legal had he been taking a selfie.)

+ Does anyone know more about Katy Perry than Katy Perry? Yup.

+ Game of Thrones: An Honest (and incredible) trailer.

+ Want to sleep in? Here’s where you should live.

Categories: Magazines

It’s Not You, It’s Science: How Perfectionism Holds Women Back

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:16

There are certain things one might assume you’re supposed to have mastered as a columnist. One is how to start a column. But if you’re me, you can spend hours writing and rewriting and deleting and restructuring a piece before coming to the conclusion that you have no business having a column at all. Crumpled over your sad desk in your living room, in your freelance uniform (pajamas), you are pretty sure your new writing contract will be revoked by the end of the week.

MoreHere’s Meryl Streep’s Spot-On Advice About Being a WomanBeing Creative Outside of Work Makes You Better at Your JobMen 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 PostAll the Delicious Details from Beyoncé and Jay Z's Easter Brunch People

Then you realize: you’re doing precisely what it is you’re supposed to be writing about — doubting yourself, over and over again, to the point of crippling paralysis. The perils of feminine self-doubt — and how they impact women’s professional aspirations — are the subject of a new book, The Confidence Code, by journalists (and recovering self-doubters) Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

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Through dozens of interviews, scientific research and even experiments in genetic testing, The Confidence Code takes on the science and art of self-assurance, as well as the fact that women (like me) tend to struggle with it disproportionately. Why it matters? Well, by now most of us have heard the stories about how women are climbing the corporate ranks, dominating the workforce and graduating in higher numbers than men. “Lean In” has become part of the pop lexicon. But what does any of that matter if women can’t have the confidence to own their accomplishments and strive for their goals? How can women equal the ranks of the professional world, the authors ask, if we don’t even believe we’re supposed to be there?

“I think there’s a mainstream recognition now that organizations are better off with a diverse group of women at the top​ — and a focus on how to get more women in the pipeline and in power,” says Shipman. “But there’s also something inside of us that’s holding us back.”

Longtime friends Kay and Shipman realized over dinner one night that each struggled with the same problem of self-doubt. Kay, a news anchor for the BBC, has covered three presidential elections, the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, and speaks several languages. And yet she spent her career convinced she wasn’t smart enough to compete for the top jobs. Shipman, a contributor to ABC and Good Morning America, had a habit of telling people she’d gotten “lucky” when she asked how she got into journalism. She began her career as a foreign correspondent at CNN, reporting from Moscow.

But the confidence problem wasn’t just limited to them. In two decades covering American politics, the two journalists had interviewed some of the most powerful women in the nation — lawmakers and CEOs, professional athletes, leaders of social movements. Time and again, they saw the same self-doubt: bright women with ideas afraid to raise their hands, speak up, ask for a raise or a promotion; that inexplicable feeling that they don’t own the right to rule at the top.

“If they are feeling all that,” the authors write, “imagine what it is like for the rest of us.”

What it’s like looks something like this.

When a professional endeavor goes wrong, women are more likely to blame themselves. Yet when something goes right, they credit circumstance – or other people – for their success. (Men do the opposite.)

Women are more likely than men to be perfectionists, holding themselves back from answering a question, applying for a new job, asking for a raise, until they’re absolutely 100 percent sure we can predict the outcome. (Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent.)

Women are a quarter as likely as men to negotiate a raise. We doubt our opinions and begin our sentences with “I don’t know if this is right, but—.” We are more prone to “rumination” than men – which causes us to overthink and overanalyze. (Sound familiar?)

I was watching Hillary Clinton up on stage recently, at a conference for women. She was asked to give the younger generation career advice. “At this point in my career, I’ve employed so many young people,” Hillary began. “One of the differences is that when I say to a young woman, ‘I want you to take on this extra responsibility,” almost invariably she says, ‘Do you think I’m ready?’ But when I ask a man, he goes, ‘How high, how fast, when do I start?!’”

“Too many young women,” Clinton continued, “are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant. They are too often selling themselves short.”

In other words, they lack confidence. And confidence, as the authors make clear, is as important to professional success as competence.

Now naturally, there are plenty of ways that women can gain confidence. And in fact, it’s not quite so simple as learning those skills. (In many cases, it’s the same qualities that make women good for business — they are more collaborative, for example — that holds them back from touting their accomplishments or taking credit.) We also need to address structural changes that hold women back — as, naturally, there’s only so much leaning in a person can do.

But perhaps the most useful aspect of all of this talk about confidence is recognizing that it’s a problem at all. Knowing that it’s there, that it’s backed by science, that it’s not just you – and then trying to correct for it.

“I think it’s important for women to recognize that it’s totally normal for us to feel nervous, particularly in situations in which we’re so often the only woman in the room,” says Kay. “That realization — for me, anyway — has helped me work to overcome it.”

 

Jessica Bennett is contributing columnist at Time.com covering the intersection of women, business and pop culture. A former Newsweek senior writer, she is also a contributing editor for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s foundation, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett

Categories: Magazines

The Words Most Likely to Find You Online Dating Success

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 16:06

Is your online dating profile failing to attract “the one?” It may be because of the words you’re using, a new analysis from dating site PlentyOfFish reveals.

In the study, a team of PhD scientists analyzed the words used by the 1.2 million profiles on PlentyOfFish. According to the company, very clear trends arose amongst those who were successful in finding love and those who were still looking.

Those who have found love, unsurprisingly, use the word “love” the most in their profiles. Successful daters of both sexes frequently used the words “time,” “life,” “friend” and “music,” as well.

Men are more likely to find love using words in their online dating profile that suggest an interest in a long-term relationship. The words “heart,” “children,” “romantic” and “relationship” are all markers of a man most likely to see success in love. The advice holds true for women, as well: Women who found relationships used the word “relationship” 16% more often than those who are still single.

Those still looking for love tend to use words that describe shorter term activities, like “travel,” “dinner” and “shop” for women and “hang” and “humor” for men.

Want to learn more about saucing up your online dating profile? Check out this more detailed word analysis of successful OKCupid and Match.com profiles. Then be sure to read up on these online dating red flags so you know what – and who – to avoid online.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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Categories: Magazines