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Updated: 13 min 51 sec ago

7 Artists From Coachella to Check Out (Even If You Didn’t Go to the Festival)

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:54

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival took over Indio, CA this past weekend and will repeat the feat this weekend. Between performances by headliners Arcade Fire, OutKast and Muse, plus sets by Calvin Harris, Beck, Pharrell Williams, Lorde and surprise guest appearances by Jay Z, Beyoncé and Blondie’s Debbie Harry, there was a lot to see at the festival. MoreWatch Oprah Make Pharrell Williams CryDonald Glover Says He Wants to Split With His Record LabelMen 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 PostMan Wearing Superman Hoodie Rescues Baby from Burning Building People

But if you’re hitting the festival circuit later on in the season — or if the heat, crowds and surprise appearances by Justin Bieber aren’t your thing — here are seven bands to check out, either at Coachella’s second weekend or as far as you can possibly get from the maddening crowds: Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

Banks

Jillian Banks, who performs simply as Banks, makes yearning seem like a worthwhile pastime when she sings about it in her seductive voice. The singer marries her R&B inflected tunes and warm vocals with big production and electronic beats to create magnetic pop songs. Her debut album isn’t due out for months, but the singles released so far warrant setting Spotify on repeat.

Listen: “Warm Water”

Future Islands

Baltimore synth-pop punks Future Islands just released a new album this week, and it seems like the fourth time is the charm for the band, as they’re finally earning some well-deserved buzz. The three-piece drags listeners across their musical threshold with songs that range from quietly introspective to industrial new wave, all topped by the unforgettable, raspy-yet-smooth vocals of singer Samuel T. Herring (who is worth the effort to see live).

Listen: “Seasons (Waiting On You)”

MS MR

MS MR make high drama pop music with a gothic edge that is hard not to dance to. The Brooklyn duo of singer Lizzy Plapinger and producer-instrumentalist Max Hershenow craft deftly dark songs that bring to mind alt-’80s bands — if acts like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Sisters of Mercy had iPods filled with Katy Perry songs and developed a knack for making dance party anthems.

Listen: “Hurricane”

The Knife

The Swedish electro-pop collective made their first stateside appearance in eight years at Coachella — and they made it count. Belatedly touring in support of their experimental early 2013 album Shaking the Habitual, the band turns mere concerts into exuberant stage shows that are equal parts Willy Wonka-inspired performance art and ecclesiastical youth group gatherings that make for instant parties and mandatory viewing for music fans.

Listen: “A Tooth For An Eye”

Ratking

Fronted by two 20-year-old rappers, Wiki and Hak, alongside producer Sporting Life, Ratking represents the next generation of New York rappers. The band was raised on a steady diet of Notorious B.I.G. and Black Star, and they put that education to good use on their debut album, So It Goes. They’ve already earned comparisons to fellow Coachella performer OutKast for their fast-paced rhymes and socially-conscious lyrics that cover everything from love and money to gentrification and police brutality.

Listen: “So Sick Stories, feat. King Krule”

Jagwar Ma

The Australian band makes music that sounds like they are the lone holdouts of the early ’90s Madchester scene (think: Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and the Soup Dragons). On their albums, they deliver an updated twist on a throwback sound, crafting psychedelic indie rock with seriously danceable trip-hop beats. Live, their crowd-pleasing tracks make for an irrepressible celebration that feels unstoppable.

Listen: “The Throw”

Courtney Barnett

This 24-year-old Australian singer-songwriter plays rambling folks songs that cover typical topics like relationships and gardening, but with a keen eye for detail and a sharp sense of humor. Her dynamic and sophisticated songs are filled with clever lyrics that, when parsed, read like novellas — but don’t underestimate her ability to write a catchy song out of a fuzzy guitar melody, an undulating piano run and a simmering bass line.

Listen: “Avant Gardener”

MORE: SXSW 2014: 17 Bands To Watch, Even if You Don’t Go to the Music Festival

MORE: Band To Watch: Ages and Ages Premiere New Track “I See More”

Categories: Magazines

Obama Commutes Sentence Of Man Given Three Extra Years In Jail By A Typo

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:52

President Obama commuted the sentence of a man given three extra years in jail because of a typographical error on Tuesday. This latest act of clemency by Obama, who has been called the least merciful president in recent history, aligns with his policy proposals to reduce sentences for petty drug criminals.

Ceasar Huerta Cantu pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges in 2006. Under sentencing guidelines, Cantu was only supposed to serve 138 months behind bars for his “base offense level”—a measure of how serious a crime is—of 34. But administrators put the level in at 36, which caused him to receive a 180-month sentence.

Because Cantu failed to report the mistake in time for a judicial correction, the only way to fix it was through executive clemency. On Tuesday, Obama’s commutation reduced Cantu’s sentence to 138 months in prison, all of which have already been served. Cantu received five years supervised release in 2006.

Tuesday’s commutation is the ninth Obama has granted in the past five months, all of which have reduced the sentences of drug-related offenders. In December, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight crack cocaine offenders serving lengthy sentences, as part of his continuous effort to roll back the disparity between crack cocaine convictions, and those for other drugs. Seven of the eight convicted felons who were granted commutations in December of last year will have been released by Thursday.

Judicial experts predict Obama will continue granting mass commutations for low-level drug offenders, and some are estimating hundreds will be granted before Obama leaves office.

Categories: Magazines

Report: Amazon’s Smartphone Might Include Eye-Tracking 3D

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:39

The Wall Street Journal reignited longstanding rumors about an Amazon smartphone last Friday, when it reported Amazon planned to announce the phone in June, it intended to feature an eyewear-free 3D interface and that we’d be able to lay hands on the device sometime later this year. MoreSheryl Sandberg Leans Out of PoliticsThe iPhone 6 Rumor That Won’t Go Away: 4.7- and 5.5-inch ScreensMen 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 PostDWTS Host Erin Andrews: I Dodge Fewer 'Snot Rockets' in this New Gig People

Now BGR’s splashing kerosene on the Journal‘s fire with what it claims are exclusive pictures of the phone — a prototype wrapped in a protective plastic shell, to be fair — but representative, according to BGR’s sources. If indeed this is the fabled smartphone, and assuming we’re looking at something that resembles the final product (companies can run anywhere with prototypes, and many never see light of day), it looks pretty much like any other smartphone.

Amazon's smartphone is unlike anything the world has ever seen. My exclusive, including the first photos ever: bgr.co/1m5c2Fl
Zach Epstein (@zacharye) April 15, 2014

It sounds like any other smartphone, too, spec-wise: BGR’s sources claim the phone includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of memory, runs a version of Android comparable to Amazon’s tablet lineup, has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 4.7-inch screen that runs at 720p. Where this thing starts to differ from other smartphones, however, is that it reportedly employs 3D algorithms tied into six cameras — two in back, and four infrared in front that’ll track your face and eyes — that enable 3D effects requiring neither eyewear nor the sort of parallax screen barrier Nintendo uses to facilitate eyewear-free 3D in its 3DS.

3D — that is, stereoscopic 3D, an idea as old as View-Masters — is one of those features-looking-for-an-audience that’s never worked for me. I don’t care for it in movie theaters, nor fiddling with handhelds like Nintendo 3DS or HTC’s EVO 3D. You’ll hear a lot of people use it and “gimmicky” in a sentence, partly because it typically involves clumsy equipment and/or restrictive eye-positional trickery, and partly because our brains already interpolate 2D content as three-dimensional, making it superfluous. It’s so rarely used non-superfluously that the exceptions — Hugo and Gravity are the only two that come to mind in film — prove the rule, at least for me.

So part of me hopes these claims turn out to be wrong, while the other part hopes that if they’re not wrong. It’d be nice if Amazon figured out how to do something no one’s thought of with 3D — something that’s more than a whiz-bang gimmick, like iOS 7′s pointless parallax scrolling, or the way most 3DS developers relegate Nintendo’s handheld to glorified shadow box-dom.

Remember the days when “holograms” were cool? When you could tilt a flat piece of material this way or that to make different images appear and we called it “incredible”? I don’t. But then I’m ready for anything. Surprise us, Amazon, if indeed we’re not straw-manning you. Show all us stereoscopic 3D naysayers the error of our ways.

Categories: Magazines

Assad Claims a ‘Turning Point’ in Syria As Military Makes Gains

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:37

Syrian troops reclaimed the ancient Christian town of Maaloula on Monday, the crowning jewel in a series of significant military gains that had the regime of President Bashar al-Assad crowing over its pending triumph even before the smoke cleared. MoreThe World Shrugs at Alleged Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria3 Journalists For Hezbollah TV Killed In SyriaMen 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 PostHop to It! Bake a Chocolate Bunny Cake for Easter People

The army’s swift capture of Maaloula came less than 24 hours after an Assad speech in which he claimed that the war, now in its fourth year, was going in the regime’s favor. “This is a turning point in the crisis,” President Assad told crowds gathered at Damascus University Sunday afternoon, lauding the “army’s achievements in the war against terror.”

Not long after the conclusion of his speech, Syrian government troops, accompanied by fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hizballah, moved into the few remaining towns along the Lebanese border still in rebel hands. The towns fell like dominoes, depriving opposition fighters of vital supply lines and cutting off access to the rebel-dominated suburbs around the capital, Damascus. The rebel defeat was undeniable.

Still, state TV overstepped in its enthusiasm, claiming military victory over neighboring towns like Jibbeh and Jbaadin that had never been in rebel hands in the first place, according to volunteer observers for the UK-based, anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. It appears that regime forces may have taken them pre-emptively, concerned that they might provide refuge for rebels fleeing other areas.

The town of Maaloula, which has changed hands three times since the start of the war, is an important symbol for a regime that has attempted to gain legitimacy by claiming to protect the country’s Christian minority from the threat of radical jihadists. Residents still speak Aramaic, a language dating back to the time of Jesus Christ, and the town was known for its stunning church and monastery carved out of cracks in the surrounding cliff face.

In December, rebel groups affiliated with the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front kidnapped 12 nuns from the monastery. In March, the nuns were released unharmed in exchange for scores of government detainees. As they left the nuns praised their former captors, and blessed them in their endeavors in TV appearances — an indication, perhaps, that the rebels were not quite the devils that the regime made them out to be.

Maaloula may have fallen, but all-out victory for the regime is still not guaranteed. Government forces have all but secured a vital corridor linking Damascus to Latakia province on the coast, a stronghold of the Alawite minority to which Assad belongs, but rebel brigades have made inroads in the province’s north, threatening a refuge once thought impregnable. Last month rebels captured the sole remaining government-controlled border post with Turkey, cementing their control of Syria’s entire northern border.

But Assad remains defiant. His comments at Damascus University on Sunday, combined with the regime’s assertions that presidential elections will be announced shortly, make it clear that he will not budge, despite repeated international calls to stand down and reconcile with his opposition. Even if the regime does manage to reclaim significant parts of the country, victory will be hollow. According to a UN report, the Syrian economy is likely to take 30 years to recover to pre-war levels, and that is only if the war ends now. The country’s health system has collapsed, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union’s commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, and a looming drought threatens to deprive a further 2 million Syrians of food this year, according to the World Food Program.

With more than 150,000 dead, thousands missing, nine million displaced and al Qaeda digging deep roots in the country’s northeast, staying in power may take a worse toll on Assad’s government than letting go.

Categories: Magazines

This Interactive Map Shows The Most Popular Music in America

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:36

The latest data visualization of Americans’ music preferences is a heat map that plays different types of music as it shows which parts of the country like particular genres the most.

The rock and oldies, blues, folk, rock, punk, metal and rap & hip-hop genres seem to have the most universal appeal, according to “The All-American Music Map”, which is based on data from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis through the Martin Prosperity Institute, and state level music preferences from Wikipedia. There’s a full breakdown of city preferences on the website for Movoto, a national online real estate brokerage firm in the Bay Area.

Categories: Magazines

Democratic Senator Attacks Obama Administration In New Ad

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:30
MoreSpecial Interests Say Special Interests Are Buying the 2014 ElectionDemocrats Push Equal Pay in Midterm Elections FightObama Eyes Equal Pay For Women Amid Election-Year Push

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu knows how to win tough reelections. As a Democrat in a Red State, she is one of the most targeted and endangered senators every time she’s up for reelection. In 2002, she won with just 51.7% of the vote and in 2008 she got 52.1%. So, it’s not that surprising that she’s out today with an ad that strikes at President Obama, her party’s leader who also happens to be incredibly unpopular in Louisiana. MoreTea Party Divided In Nebraska Republican Senate RaceSpecial Interests Say Special Interests Are Buying the 2014 ElectionMen 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 PostHop to It! Bake a Chocolate Bunny Cake for Easter People

The high-production quality spot shows Landrieu in a series of television appearances running on TV sets in homes and bars in local Louisiana locales. In the appearances, she’s slamming Obama for his oil and gas policies. Landrieu has long pushed Obama to expand offshore oil and gas drilling—a plan he supported before the BP oil spill but has since been slow to implement. “The administration’s policies are simply wrong when it comes to oil and gas politics in this nation,” Landrieu says in the ad.

Then, at the end of the spot, Landrieu pivots to promote her own power in Washington. “Now as the new chairman of the Energy Committee,” the narrator says, “she holds the most powerful position in the Senate for Louisiana.” In other words: Washington is dysfunctional, but Landrieu is the one sane—and powerful—person in it and she’s fighting for you guys. “It’s a really nice ad that plays to Landrieu’s greatest strength right now: her chairmanship and her advocacy of the state’s oil and gas Industry,” says Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races at the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Conservatives are slamming the spot as fake. According to the Weekly Standard, Landrieu reenacted a scene from an Energy Committee hearing where she is seen saying: “They have to sit here and listen to the federal government say, ‘We can’t share a penny with you’? I will not rest until this injustice is fixed,” Landrieu says. “Do you think there are a bunch of fairy godmothers out there who just wave a magic wand?”

She did actually say essentially the same thing—in a much more rambling way without “fairy godmothers”— in a real hearing, so it’s not as dishonest as some other ads running the Landrieu race. Start watching here at about 2 hours and 27 minutes to see the differences.

In the first quarter of 2014, Landrieu outraised her top GOP opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, $1.8 million to $1.2 million, and had about $2.5 million more in the bank at the end of March. But she trails Cassidy in polls by 2.4%, according to an average of Louisiana polls by Real Clear Politics.

And at any rate, football and hunting may end up being Landrieu’s saving graces. If no candidate garners 50% in the Bayou State’s voting system, the top two vote earners will advance to a Dec. 6 run off, which is likely. Dec. 6 happens to be the last day of buck hunting in Louisiana. And Dec. 6 is the date of the SECs championship football game, so if Louisiana State University if having a good season, that could effect turn out. And lower turnout always favors the incumbent.

Categories: Magazines

Police Respond to Emergency Call from ‘Heavy Breather’ Who Ends Up Being a Dog

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:17

When authorities in Buckinghamshire, England, received a mysterious 999 call from a heavy breather, they arrived at the scene expecting an emergency, since that’s usually how things work.

But there was no emergency, and the heavy-breathing caller turned out to be a dog who’d stolen his owner’s phone, the BBC reports.

“Thames Valley Police arrived and said they’d heard heavy breathing and didn’t know what our emergency was,” said the pooch’s owner, Mary Amos-Cole.

Apparently, police already knew the dog — a two-year-old Belgian Malinois named Leighton — because he has set off Amos-Cole’s burglar alarm several times by tearing around the house. So clearly he has a crush on one (or several) of the police officers and keeps doing things to try and get them to come around more often.

Categories: Magazines

Guinea Says Ebola Outbreak Almost Under Control

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:13

Guinea’s health ministry says deaths from its recent Ebola outbreak have slowed, and the latest flare-up of the virus is close to being under control.

The disease has already killed 106 in Guinea and spread to neighboring countries in Western Africa, but Rafi Diallo, a spokesman for Guinea’s health ministry, told Reuters that the number of new cases have fallen dramatically. Once there are no more new cases, the outbreak can be considered under control. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it could take two to four months for the outbreak to be entirely contained, Reuters reports.

There is no known cure or vaccine for Ebola, which is known to kill up to 90 percent of the people who contract it. The virus spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, including blood, feces or sweat. The disease can spread via sexual contact or unprotected interaction with contaminated corpses.

Although the virus remains a significant concern, the WHO is confident it will be contained. Since the majority of people who get the disease will die from it, there’s not too much time for it to spread, as long as health workers can quickly identify who has come in contact with a sick person. WHO’s media spokesperson in Guinea, Tarik Jasarevic, told TIME last month: “We know this disease. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it so we know the measures we can take. It’s not a new disease.”

[Reuters]

Categories: Magazines

Our Brains Begin to Slow Down at Age 24

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:08

Is 24 the new 50? If you’re going by when our intellectual skills start to decline and dull due to the passage of time, then it might be.

According to researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, things start going south at age 24. They came to that conclusion after studying 3,305 volunteers aged 16 years to 44 years. The participants played a real-time game that approximated everyday real-world situations that test our cognitive abilities, from concentration to juggling multiple tasks to shifting our focus from immediate to long-term issues. The game recorded the players’ moves, and researchers analyzed hours of data from it. As expected, the speed with which the volunteers made decisions, and shifted between tasks, declined with age.

Many studies have documented the gradual deterioration of cognitive skills over time. But in this study, published in the journal PLOS One, the drop, albeit small, was detected first among 24 year olds. In fact, for every 15 years after age 24, cognitive speed dropped by about 15%. And the results could not be explained by the fact that the players were getting better at navigating the game over time; the age-related decline remained, even among those with more skill playing the game.

This doesn’t mean it’s all downhill after your mid 20s. As cognitive speed slows, the brain makes up for some of the deficit in a variety of ways: by relying on experience to anticipate and more accurately predict upcoming tasks, as well as by employing mental shortcuts such as eliminating extraneous information and paring down incoming information to just core nuggets of relevant material. So while we may get slower, we might also be getting smarter. Feel better now?

Categories: Magazines

It’s a Moon! Saturn Expecting a Baby

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 12:00

It’s not as if Saturn needed any more kids. The ringed planet already has 53 known moons and 9 more candidate ones—putting it just two shy of 64, which would make it kind of an octo-octo-mom. That’s an awfully big shopping bill when it’s back to school time.

But Saturn apparently can’t help itself, and according to new findings by NASA’s Cassini-Huygens space probe just published in the journal Icarus, baby number 63 may be being born.

The new arrival has not been spotted directly yet. What Cassini, which has been orbiting through the Saturnian system since 2004, has seen instead is a sort of bulge in Saturn’s A Ring—the outermost of its larger, brighter bands—that measures 750 mi. (1,200 km) long and 6 mi. (10 km) wide. The rings — made of ice, rock and dust — are believed to be the nurseries in which all of the moons were born, with material coalescing and clumping, adding more mass and thus more gravity, and growing bigger still. The new moon—if it exists—is a pipsqueak, perhaps only 0.5 mi. (0.8 km) in diameter, somewhere within the 750-mi. clump, though there’s no telling exactly how large it will get.

As befits something so little and—if you’re an astronomer—irresistibly cute, the moon has been given a nickname: Peggy. It will eventually be given a formal name, but that will only be after it has, effectively, grown up and left home.

“We have not seen anything like this before,” said astronomer Carl Murray, the lead author of the Icarus study, in a statement. “We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right.”

If so, Peggy could represent the end of the line. Since the largest of Saturn’s icy moons are located furthest from the planet, the belief is that they are also the oldest, growing bigger and bigger and moving outward as they did. The formation of those big siblings as well as all of the smaller ones is believed to have depleted the rings of much of their moon-forming raw material. What’s left is enough to keep the overall ring system alive, but not enough to allow the emergence of any more moons. At 4.5 billion years old, Saturn may at last be ending its child-bearing years.

Categories: Magazines

Twitter Has a Massive Plan to Conquer Your Data

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:58

Twitter is purchasing its long-time data partner Gnip in order to sell more sophisticated products built from the Twitter dataset. The social network has historically sold access to its so-called firehose—the never-ending stream of all public tweets—to a few select companies, who then license that data to businesses and academics.

By purchasing Gnip, Twitter will be able to directly cut deals with the companies that want to use its data. “We want to make our data even more accessible, and the best way to do that is to work directly with our customers to get a better understanding of their needs,” Twitter wrote in a blog post. “Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter.”

Gnip currently provides its customers with access to data from a variety of online platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare. It’s not clear whether Twitter will renew contracts to access these companies’ datasets, or whether these companies will allow it. Gnip’s current customers, such as the Library of Congress, will continue have access to Twitter data, the company said in the announcement of the deal. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment; no deal price was disclosed.

Twitter made $70 million in 2013 selling access to tweets to Gnip and other data resellers, up from $47 million in 2012. Corporations like IBM and Oracle pay tens of thousands of dollars per month for access to the Twitter firehose, Gnip CEO Chris Moody told TIME last fall. LinkedIn, which directly offers businesses access to all of its users’ resumes through its Recruiter tool, has proven that licensing social data can be extremely lucrative. By bringing data sales in-house, Twitter may be hoping to imitate that success.

The company, which posted a small profit for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2013, has faced a slumping stock price in the last two months due to investor worries about slowing user growth and an overall decline in the tech sector.

Categories: Magazines

Watch Oprah Make Pharrell Williams Cry

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:57

While Pharrell Williams may be known for being happy, Oprah Winfrey made him cry.

The frequently-hatted singer stopped by Oprah Prime for a heart-to-heart chat with the talk show host. The wide-ranging conversation between the two celebrities covered everything from Williams’s humble beginnings to his career trajectory that kept him behind-the-scenes for so long to marriage and fatherhood, including why he named his son Rocket.

But the waterworks didn’t start until Oprah questioned Williams about his big year in music: 2013, a.k.a. the Year of Pharrell when “Lucky” (his collaboration with Daft Punk), “Blurred Lines” (his song with Robyn Thicke), and his own debut solo album, Girls, all topped the charts and made Williams a superstar.

When Oprah showed a clip of people around the world, from Iceland to Malawi, dancing to his hit song “Happy”, Williams burst into tears. They may be tears of joy, but still: Oprah definitely made Pharrell Williams cry.

MORE: Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams Star In Video For “It’s On Again”

MORE: Watch an Adorable Children’s Choir Perform Pharrell’s ‘Happy’

Categories: Magazines

Suspect In Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:43

(OVERLAND PARK, Kan.) — Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges Tuesday against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.

Frazier Glenn Cross has been charged with one count of capital murder for the deaths of 14-year-old boy and his grandfather outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said at a news conference. Cross also faces one count of first-degree, premeditated murder for the death of a woman who was gunned down while visiting her mother at a nearby retirement complex.

The capital murder charge carries the death penalty as possible punishment, Howe said. Cross is being held on $10 million bond, and is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Johnson County District Court.

Cross, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran from southwest Missouri, founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. His activities have long drawn the attention of hate-group monitors, and federal prosecutors say there’s enough evidence to warrant putting the case before a grand jury as a hate crime. Moving the case from state to federal prosecutors would likely mean tougher punishments if Cross is convicted.

He’s suspected of killing 69-year-old physician William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the community center of Greater Kansas City. Both were Methodist.

Moments later, Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic occupational therapist and mother of two, was gunned down outside a Jewish retirement complex where she was visiting her mother.

Cross shouted “Heil Hitler” at television cameras as he was arrested. Sunday’s killings shocked the city on the eve of Passover and refocused attention on the nation’s problem with race-related violence.

Categories: Magazines

Casino Pays Out In Poker Tourney With Fake Chips

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:07

(ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.) — A New Jersey casino is reimbursing players in a poker tournament that was suspended after counterfeit chips were discovered.

More than 2,100 entrants who finished outside the top 450 and played in the same room as the North Carolina man who is accused of introducing the fake chips will get $560, including a refund of their $60 entry fees from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

The final 27 players are to share the remaining prize money, which comes to $19,323 each.

The 423 gamblers who fell outside the top 27 but in the money are not to get further payments. But those who have not been paid will be.

All entrants will get back their $60 fee under the deal, which was ordered by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Between fees refunds and prizes, the casino is to pay out $1.7 million.

The Borgata enhanced security and introduced more intricate chips for its poker tournament last week.

Christan Lusardi of Fayetteville, N.C., was charged with theft and rigging a public contest after the January tournament was suspended over the fake chips.

Authorities said Lusardi, suspecting his fake chips had been noticed, flushed them down the toilet in his hotel room at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, where he had been staying. But the chips clogged the pipes, and guests on the floor below complained that water was dripping into their rooms.

Maintenance was called, and they found the chips, with a tournament value of 2.7 million, although they had no actual cash value.

Lusardi is in custody awaiting trial, and it’s unclear whether he has hired an attorney.

Categories: Magazines

Amazon Says It Won’t Accept Bitcoin

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:05

America’s largest online retailer has no plans to hop on the Bitcoin bandwagon. Amazon’s head of payments told Re/Code that the company has no current plans to accept the digital currency. “Obviously it gets a lot of press and we have considered it,” he said, “but we’re not hearing from customers that it’s right for them.”

Despite widespread media coverage, Bitcoin is not currently accepted by many traditional retailers. Overstock.com is one of the largest online stores to accept the currency. Several vendors of digital cift cards, such as Gyft and eGifter, do accept Bitcoin, so people can buy cards through those channels and then spend them at Wal-Mart, Target and other big stores.

The value of Bitcoins has fluctuated wildly in the last week on conflicting reports that Chinese government is planning to ban the country’s banks from working with Bitcoin-related businesses. The currency was valued at $495 early Tuesday.

Categories: Magazines

Game of Thrones Breaks Piracy Record

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:00

The Game of Thrones season premiere saw problems for people trying to watch via HBO Go and a record number of viewers for the network — but less scrupulous fans of the show are turning to other ways to watch.

According to filesharing news site TorrentFreak, the April 13 episode of Thrones — the season’s second — set a new record for filesharing “swarming” via the client BitTorrent, which means that loads of users were congregating around a single file at the same time. The stand-out pirated copy of the episode in question was shared by 193,418 people at one time. The site estimates that the episode was downloaded 1.5 million times over the course of its first day; Australia was the country responsible for the most sharing.

As TorrentFreak notes, the new record for simultaneous sharing doesn’t indicate overall viewership. Though the peak sharing moment for the first episode of the season involved only 140,000 people sharing the file in question, that doesn’t mean more people weren’t accessing it during a wider time span.

And for the fans who have yet to see the episode, they better get a move on (preferably legally) before it’s too late — spoilers like these aren’t likely to stay secret for long.

Categories: Magazines

Here’s How You Can Hide Those Annoying TV Spoilers on Social Media

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:59

You know that panicky feeling you get when you log onto Twitter or Facebook when you’re an episode behind on one of your favorite TV shows? When you just know somebody is going to be a life ruiner by revealing a major Game of Thrones or Scandal plot point?

Well, thanks to this handy Google Chrome extension called Silencer, you can banish those spoilers from your Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s simple: once you install it, you type in any keywords that you don’t want to see mentioned. So it’s great if you want to avoid any TV-related status updates, but really, it can be used for anything. Let’s say you don’t want to read any updates about your Facebook friends’ engagements. You can type in things like “engagement” and “He put a ring on it!” and “She said yes!” and “I get to marry my best friend!” so any status updates containing any of these phrases will vanish.

Silencer also offers “Mute Packs” for popular shows like True Blood and Orange Is the New Black so you can automatically filter out any terms related to those programs.

The extension only works for Twitter and Facebook, so you still have to watch out for spoilers on Instagram or Tumblr or, you know, real-life conversations. Luckily, though, you can always avoid those real-life spoilers by simply never talking to anyone, ever.

(h/t Wired)

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VIDEO: Mindy Kaling Rants About Birthdays on Conan

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:48

Mindy Kaling stopped by Conan Monday night to express the deep displeasure she has when coworkers celebrate birthdays at work.

The Mindy Project star discussed everything from the tempo at which her coworkers sing “Happy Birthday” to why she doesn’t give her writers birthday presents.

“Everyone was like, ‘You’re a dictator! Go back to North Korea! We wanna have mirth at our workplace!’” Kaling said.

The only question is: what happens when it’s her birthday?

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Report: 200 Schoolgirls Abducted In Nigeria

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:36

Terrorists reportedly attacked a school in Chibok, Nigeria, and abducted hundreds of schoolgirls on Monday night.

Parents of the students told a BBC affiliate that at least 200 girls had been taken from the school in Borno state to the east of the country, and that the attackers were thought to be from the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.

The girls were reportedly ordered into lorries and driven away. Local media is reporting that two members of the school’s security were killed and there were many other properties that were burned down during the attack, the BBC reports. It’s at least the second major attack on a school this year.

On Monday, bombings in Abuja, Nigeria that killed 70 people were also blamed on Boko Haram. The extremist group is opposed to Western education, and wants to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state. Over 1,500 deaths this year are blamed on the group.

[BBC]

Categories: Magazines

Holder Seeks $15 Million to Train Cops for Mass Shootings

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 10:26

Attorney General Eric Holder called on Congress Tuesday to approve $15 million of special funds to help train law enforcement for mass shooting situations.

Holder’s request comes in the wake of recent shootings at Fort Hood in Texas and a Jewish Community Center in Kansas amid a growing sense that mass shootings are on the rise in the United States. Three people were killed in each shooting. Holder said active shooter incidents have tripled in frequency since 2009.

“Today, I am urging Congress to approve President Obama’s request for $15 million for active shooter training and other officer safety initiatives, “ Holder said in a recorded statement. “This critical funding would help the Justice Department ensure that America’s police officers have the tools and guidance they need to effectively respond to active shooter incidents whenever and wherever they arise.”

Categories: Magazines