(UNITED NATIONS) — A U.N. official says 58 people were killed in an attack on a U.N. base in South Sudan and about 100 were injured.
The U.N. said an angry mob of South Sudanese youths attacked the U.N. peacekeeping mission’s camp in Bor in Jonglei state on Thursday. Some 5,000 ethnic Nuers have sought safety in the U.N. base since fighting broke out in the country in mid-December.
The U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement, said Friday most of the 58 people killed were Nuer but there were also casualties on the other side.
The official said a surgical team from Doctors Without Borders flew into Bor to help treat the injured, including two U.N. peacekeepers.
The U.N. has reinforced security at Bor, the official said.
(NEW YORK) — Days after the director of Africa’s oldest national park was shot by gunmen, a documentary about those who protect Virunga National Park from armed poachers and encroaching oil interests premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.MoreSeven A.I. Movies That Are Better Than TranscendenceWatch the Trailer for Jersey BoysMen 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 PostJealous of Kate Middleton's Royal Tour Hair? We Tried Out 3 Styles People
The debut Thursday night of “Virunga,” named after the eastern Congo park, followed the shooting Tuesday of Emmanuel de Merode, the chief warden of Virunga. He is in serious but stable condition after being attacked by three gunmen while driving through the park.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotRock With Michael Jackson (Again)
De Merode, a Belgian royal, appears extensively in the documentary, which provides a striking portrait of the violence surrounding the majestic park and its dauntless defenders.
Directed by British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel, “Virunga” depicts the desperate struggle by de Merode and the park rangers to protect the park and its wildlife from armed militias, rebels and an oil company.
“It’s obviously very tragic what’s happened, but a lot of people have taken interest in this. It’s helped to magnify things,” said von Einsiedel, who has been in frequent contact with De Merode while he recovers from gunshot wounds to his abdomen.
“Emmanuel is very conscious of that, too. He’s like, ‘I’m getting better. Now let’s go make a lot of noise about what’s happening,’” von Einsiedel said.
The Congolese government has authorized oil exploration in the park by London-based SOCO, following the discovery of oil in 2010. The World Wildlife Fund has protested the legality of that decision. Virunga is a World Heritage site listed by UNESCO as “in danger.”
The park is best known as home to about a quarter of the world’s estimated 800 remaining mountain gorillas. It’s the only place on Earth were one can see all three African great apes. The park includes the snowcapped Rwenzoria mountains, seven volcanoes, a lake and plains filled with wildlife.
“This is a British company operating illegally in a World Heritage site,” said von Einsiedel. “There’s like .05 percent of the world’s surface is a World Heritage site. If we can’t protect those, what does it say for the Great Barrier Reef, for Yellowstone, for Yosemite?”
In meetings filmed with hidden cameras, “Virunga” shows local SOCO supporters attempting to bribe park workers to circumvent de Merode, arguing that “he’s the one hindering the process.”
French freelance journalist Melanie Gouby captures a French SOCO operations manager saying the best solution is to “recolonize these countries.” Another encounter shows a security contractor for SOCO paying out a bribe.
In an interview hours before the film premiered at Tribeca, von Einsiedel was plainly nervous that SOCO could interfere with the release of the film.
“They are an incredibly powerful company,” he said. “We stand by our journalism on this film. We are small filmmakers; they are a billion dollar oil company. On a personal level, that concerns us. Of course, we’re much more concerned about what they’re doing in the region.”
SOCO has condemned the attack on de Merode.
Human Rights Watch on Thursday called for Congolese authorities to “take immediate steps to ensure a safe environment for those seeking to uphold the law, protect the park and peacefully express their views.”
“It makes it real for all of us how high the stakes are and how much people are taking risks to defend that park,” said Gouby, a former reporter for The Associated Press.
Park spokeswoman Joanna Natasegara said Wednesday that more than 140 rangers have been killed on the job in the past 10 years. “Virunga” is dedicated to them.
The documentary includes combat footage with heavy shelling when a rebel group overruns the villages near the park. Yet de Merode mostly lives in nothing more protective than a tent. While making the film, von Einsiedel lived a few tents down from the warden. “You don’t really have a choice, to be honest,” said von Einsiedel, laughing.
The film will hope to pick up a distribution deal at Tribeca, but that’s a smaller goal for “Virunga.”
“Right now, it’s about making noise and sharing this story with the world and exposing what’s happening there,” von Einsidel said. “It’s a campaign film. It’s part of a much bigger campaign.”
Around the Super Bowl, a GoDaddy ad featuring race car driver Danica Patrick in a body builder suit rather than a robe inspired me to predict that sexist ads might be on the decline. But after this week, I take it all back.
As some big-name TV shows wrap up their seasons (Scandal, How I Met Your Mother) and others premiere (Mad Men, Game of Thrones), commercials are competing for the precious little time we spend watching live TV. One easy way to grab our attention (and YouTube views)? Sexist ads. You decide which is the most offensive.
DirecTV: Women Are Literally Objects
It’s easy enough to objectify women in ads—just ask RadioShack. But putting a woman in skimpy clothes to sell something is so old news. How about just turning them into literal objects?
Take the new DirecTV ad that advertises the Wireless Genie Mini device by juxtaposing wireless cable with a wired wife. In the commercial, the man’s wife is actually a marionette — because everybody knows that men just want their wives to be puppets. The puppet wife even dons a sexy negligee while trying to woo her husband because she know he thinks her wires are unattractive.
Our suggestion to the wired wife? Cut and run.
Woodford Reserve Bourbon: Women Are “Cool Girls” Who Probably Shouldn’t Talk or Use Tools
In the ad for Woodford Reserve bourbon that premiered during Mad Men on Sunday, a woman narrates the hipster fantasy of a man who sips bourbon while wearing a well-tailored suit and Warby Parker glasses in a forest:
When I see a man drinking bourbon, I expect him to be the kind who could build me a bookshelf. But not in the way that one builds a ready-made bookshelf. He will already know where the lumberyard is. He’ll get the right amount of wood without having to do math. He’ll let me use the saw, and not find it cute that I don’t know how to use the saw.
The commercial reinforces the gender roles of the Mad Men era: the man using tools, drinking whiskey and being a man’s man; the woman watching and finding it sexy.
The real kicker is the saw: Saws are not complicated tools. Wouldn’t the obvious (non-sexist) copy have been “He’ll let me use the saw, and not find it cute that I DO know how to use the saw”? As Jezebel put it, “Actually, it felt like the commercial version of an issue of Southern artisan revival mag Garden and Gun.”
And that’s not even the worst commercial from Woodford Reserve. Another ad narrated by a man about a woman drinking bourbon goes to a different type of sexist place:
When I see a woman drinking bourbon, I’m prepared to tolerate a lot of her business. In the end, I figure, she’s got that rare thing that makes her not just tolerate but enjoy my thorny mess.
Men know it’s worth “tolerate[ing] a lot of her business” if she’s the cool, understanding, hot type that likes to drink whiskey just like them. The commercial reminds me of the mythical “cool girl” archetype that Gillian Flynn takes down in Gone Girl:
Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, s*** on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
Men actually think this girl exists.
Carl’s Jr.: Women Are Hot and Shouldn’t Eat Manly Burgers
Nobody’s surprised that the new Carl’s Jr. ad blatantly traffics in sexism. The notoriously unapologetic fast food company—they previously referenced this in a press release: “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers”—has teamed up with X-Men for its latest commercial. In it, a blue-boobed Mystique can’t handle the big juicy burger, so she transforms into a dude.
Thank goodness it’s not actually Jennifer Lawrence playing Mystique in this commercial (as she does in the current X-Men films). It would be a little too ironic if an actress who’s been so open about refusing to adjust her eating habits for Hollywood wasn’t allowed to have such a “manly” burger.
Snickers: Women Are Empowered When Men Manage Not to Objectify Them
Perhaps the worst offender is a recent commercial for Snickers that’s trying to be empowering and in doing so turns out to be—you guessed it—sexist.
As my colleague Oliva Waxman pointed out, the ad manages to be sexist to both women and men. The women are still props being yelled at by men. The men are acting “not like themselves” when they yell feminist things. Once they eat that Snickers, they’ll go back to cat calling. As Adweek writes, ““By saying blue-collar guys ‘aren’t themselves’ when they’re being polite, it pretty clearly implies they’re otherwise a bunch of misogynistic boors.”
Well done, advertising world. You’ve outdone yourselves this week.
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — Authorities say a man has been charged with 18 felony counts in connection with about a dozen recent random highway shootings that have wounded three people in the Kansas City area.
Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said at a news conference Friday that Mohammed Whitaker was charged with two counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and injuring a person, seven counts of shooting into a motor vehicle and nine counts of armed criminal action. At least six of the shootings occurred near Grandview. The Kansas City suburb is home to an area known as the Grandview Triangle, where three interstates and U.S. 50 intersect.
The last confirmed shooting believed to be connected to the case was reported April 6.
None of victims’ wounds was considered life-threatening.
Dear Pregnancy Pundit,
Yesterday I let slip that I’m expecting. But my mom is expecting a big new job. Will getting pregnant screw up my mom’s career?
That depends. As USA Today put it, “It’s unclear how [your] pregnancy will affect [your mom], who is considering a race for president in 2016.”
But many other presidents have had grandchildren while in office.
Most of these presidents are dead. All of them are men. This raises an interesting question. If it’s ordinary when it happens to “regular” women, is it extraordinary when it happens to a woman candidate?
Hi again Pregnancy Pundit,
I keep feeling happy for myself, even though I know this is really about my mom. What can I do to be less selfish?
We both know you can’t have it all. It might help you feel less guilty to participate in a choreographed family tweet-off about your news. That will show that you’re a team player.
Sorry last question. Politico published a photo retrospective of my life. Am I dying?
You’re not dying. But your whole purpose these last 20 years has been to illuminate whether your parents would become grandparents. Now that we know the answer, it’s time for a sentimental look back.
The Wall Street Journal ran a piece Thursday that a wild fox has breached White House grounds, out-foxing (sorry, that’s not even creative, I just had to) administrators, security, and groundskeepers who have tried to kick him out of the Rose Garden and rolling lawns.
This fox first invaded White House grounds during the government shutdown (remember that?) in October, wreaking havoc on Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden. He settled in when groundskeepers were furloughed, meaning that he has been running free for six months.
And, short of using deadly force, the WSJ reports that White House grounds officials have been trying everything to get him out including spending “hours plotting to lure him into the traps with rotting hunks of chicken, so they could relocate him some 3 miles south to a park along the Potomac River.”
So we put a man on the moon, but we can’t get a fox out of the White House garden. Where’s Olivia Pope when you need her?
The arrest of two Lebanese men in Thailand, allegedly for plotting to target Jewish tourists on a busy Bangkok street on behalf of the Lebanese Shiite group Hizballah, could mark the latest failed effort by the militia to resume terror attacks overseas. The latest plot, revealed in the Thai press on Friday, ended almost before it began. The two men reportedly arrived in Bangkok April 13 and were detained by Thai police on information supplied by Israeli intelligence. Both men allegedly carried passports of third countries (Philippines and France); Hizballah has previously shown it prefers its operatives to carry second passports. Media reports say one of the men admitted a plot to detonate explosives on Bangkok’s Khao San Road, a nexus for international backpackers, including young Israelis. The suspect also agreed to lead investigators to “bomb-making equipment” in the province of Rayong, southeast of the capital, the Bangkok Post reported.MoreAl-Qaeda’s Second-in-Command Seen in New VideoJudge Says a Radical Cleric’s 9/11 Comments Can Be Used as EvidenceMen 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 PostLawyer Who Argued Against Gay Marriage Before Supreme Court Now Planning Daughter's Gay Wedding People
Police were seeking third man, and The Post quoted an unnamed investigator as saying nine Hizballah agents are thought to be somewhere in the country.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotRock With Michael Jackson (Again)
The incident serves to underscore the apparent gap in operational abilities of the Iranian-backed Hizballah’s covert forces – which lately have shown little of the disciplined success that built the organization’s reputation as the “terrorist A-team” – and its uniformed militia. The troops are fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad in the civil war in Syria, and making a significant impact. Meanwhile, except for the 2012 bombing of a tourist bus carrying Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria – a “soft target” – Hizballah has suffered a number of setbacks that reveal what one analyst called “an atrophying of the group’s operational capabilities.”
“What I had been hearing from numerous sources is they just did not have the bandwidth to keep up the pace of the attacks because of Syria,” says Matthew Hewitt, a former Treasury Department and FBI terrorism specialist, author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God. “They are all in Syria. And once that started in Syria in earnest, then [covert operations] became something that was less critical, it wasn’t their priority.”
One reversal came in Bangkok in January 2012, when a Hizballah agent (with a Swedish passport) led authorities to a 8,800 pounds of chemicals being assembled into explosives, apparently for shipment abroad in bags labeled as kitty litter. And Bangkok was the scene of the group’s biggest fiasco, a debacle in February 2012 that involved an Iranian agent blowing off his own legs while trying to escape a safe house where the roof had just blown off by a bomb-making accident. Three agents of the Quds Force, the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps that operates overseas, were detained in the safe house incident. Inside the building, investigators found magnetic “sticky bombs” like the kind Israeli agents had attached to the cars of Iranian nuclear scientists. The Quds Force agents apparently intended to do the same to Israeli diplomats.
Phone records and other evidence gathered by four governments in a joint report detailed by the Washington Post link the Bangkok plan to Iranian plots against Israeli targets in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and India, all of which ended in failure and arrests. Other plots were thwarted in Kenya, South Africa, Cyprus and Bulgaria – and Texas, where an Iranian-American used car salesman tried to plot the assassination by bomb of Saudia Arabia’s ambassador in Washington D.C.
From Iran’s perspective, the flurry of attacks was intended both to avenge the death of the Iranian scientists and to demonstrate what in the way of “asymmetrical warfare” the West might face if there were a military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Levitt wrote in a paper for the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. But neither Quds nor Hizballah proved as formidable in the field as they had had been before 9/11, when they drew back from terrorist strikes. When they resumed, the world had become more security-conscious, and both Hizballah and the Quds Force were both rusty and hasty, mounting 20 plots in the 15 months from May 2011 to July 2012.
Since then, Iran appears to have reduced terror operations once again – scaling back as Iran and Western powers began talking seriously about launching diplomatic negotiations addressing Iran’s nuclear program. (Israel has restrained its covert operations, as well.) Hizballah, however, appears to be constrained only by the need to concentrate on Syria. Levitt says the group remains committed to striking Israeli targets to avenge the 2008 assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, its talented terrorist leader, whose death was what prompted Hizballah to re-activate its covert operations. In addition, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to strike Israel in retaliation for its most recent airstrike on a convoy carrying advanced weapons; the Feb. 24 attack was the first such airstrike inside Lebanon.
Nasrallah later took responsibility for a March 14 roadside bomb attack on an Israeli patrol that wounded three soldiers. But he called the ambush on the Israel-Lebanon border only “part of the reply” to the airstrike. It’s possible another “part” was what the two Lebanese men were allegedly planning in Thailand, Levitt says.
“The Israelis in particular are very sensitive to any civilian loss,” he notes. “It’s possible the message is let them know there is pressure on every front.”
(NEW YORK) — Near the end of the first half of Thursday’s 25th Anniversary Rain Forest benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, chairwoman Trudie Styler introduced a man who recently learned he was going to be a grandfather, and out came former President Bill Clinton.MorePeaches Geldof Funeral To Be Held on Easter MondayVIDEO: Porsha Williams Charged With Battery for Real Housewives FightMen 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 PostLawyer Who Argued Against Gay Marriage Before Supreme Court Now Planning Daughter's Gay Wedding People
After Clinton praised the Rain Forest Foundation, he thanked Sting, Styler and others for their efforts for the organization. Then he acknowledged Kevin Spacey.
“I know Kevin Spacey made fun of me earlier,” he told the crowd.
Clinton was referring to Spacey doing an imitation of him praising his Netflix series, “House of Cards,” where the actor plays the president of the United States.
Spacey walked out onstage and greeted Clinton.
The former president told the actor that he always wanted to be in his line of work.
But then he quipped to hearty laughs: “Now, damn it, you’re in mine.”
Clinton continued poking fun at Spacey.
“I was always accused of getting away with murder, but Spacey actually does it in 15 minutes,” Clinton said, referring to a scene in the first episode of the second season.
Earlier in the day, Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, announced that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child later this year.
As for the benefit concert, the exception often became the rule with performers leaving their comfort zone to entertain the audience.
The show opened with Sting and Spacey sitting at a bar performing a duet of Cole Porter’s “Well Did You Evah (What a Swell Party This Is),” backed by a huge orchestra. They eventually were joined by James Taylor, who entered the stage wearing a lampshade on his head.
At the end of the number, Sting welcomed everyone and introduced Spacey as President Underwood, his “House of Cards” character.
After opera singer Renee Fleming did her first selection early in the show, she requested a partner to accompany her on an excerpt from “Don Giovanni,” and out came Sting. After accompanying her seamlessly in Italian, Spacey walked out with a giant daffodil in his mouth and joined in.
Actor Oscar Isaac of “Inside Llewyn Davis” performed a solo acoustic version of Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks.” And Sting’s oldest son, Joe, covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Some stayed in their comfort zone.
Taylor performed his signature hit, “Fire and Rain,” and later covered the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You.)”
Paul Simon did a couple of his own songs, including “Graceland” and “The Boxer,” and Dionne Warwick covered some of the Burt Bacharach tunes she helped make famous, including “Walk on By.” Stephen Stills brought the crowd to its feet several times with raucous versions of “For What It’s Worth” and the finale for the nearly three-hour show, “Love the One You’re With,” where he was joined by all of the evening’s performers.
The Rain Forest Foundation Fund is dedicated to preserving rain forests around the world by defending the rights of indigenous people living in and around them. It was founded in 1989 by Sting, Styler and Jean-Pierre Dutilleux.
In her speech, Styler spoke of the global importance of protecting rain forests around the world, and said that she and Sting no longer mind being described as “Tree-hugging tantric yogis.”
(NEWARK, N.J.) — A New Jersey woman claims she was denied a license plate proclaiming herself to be an atheist because it might be considered offensive.
Shannon Morgan said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading “8THEIST.”
The Maurice River Township woman says she also asked for a plate reading “BAPTIST” as a test. The website accepted it.
Messages and emails left for the Motor Vehicle Commission were not immediately returned. A recorded message said the offices were closed because of Good Friday.
New Jersey previously, after a brief flap, approved a request from an atheist group’s president for a license plate with the word “atheist.” His plate had the number one in place of the letter “i.”
What’s the best way to use all this information to be more interesting?1) First, Don’t Be Boring Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotRock With Michael Jackson (Again)
Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Look at it like the Hippocratic Oath of conversations: Do no harm.
We’re all terrible at realizing when we bore others because, well, we all think we’re just fascinating.
If you’re always to the point and stay upbeat, it’s extremely hard for anyone to accuse you of being poor company.
But sometimes you do need to speak a little longer to make sure things don’t get stilted.
The Art of Civilized Conversation offers another good tip: Is anyone asking you questions about what you’re saying?
If not, maybe it’s time to end the story or ask the other person a question.
(More rapport building techniques are here.)2) The Most Captivating People Are Often Good Listeners
Impressing people can be great but it can also devolve into status jockeying, one-upmanship and envy.
People love to talk about themselves and there are a dearth of good listeners.
Let the other person talk. It gives their brain as much pleasure as food or money:
Talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money…
You can make an excellent impression by saying amazingly little. Ironically, the people we like the most often say the least.
(Learn how to listen like a hostage negotiator here.)3) Talk About The Other Person’s Interests
This is straight from Dale Carnegie and if you’re not that socially adept, this is as straightforward as it gets.
Why struggle to guess what most people might find generically interesting?
Ask people what they’ve been up to or what their hobbies are. Then talk about that. You’re now 80% of the way there.
If you know about the subject the similarity will bond you.
If you don’t, ask them to explain and be a great listener as they talk about something they love.
(More on the science behind Dale Carnegie’s classic here.)4) Have Three Good Stories
Comedians don’t just talk about anything when they’re onstage. They have their act rehearsed.
You don’t just trot into a job interview and say whatever’s on your mind.
Always have three good stories on hand that reliably entertain, inform or engage.
Another tip from Scott Adams: People are generally more interested in stories about people rather than things.
Drama, gossip and reality TV are successful for a reason. We all find human behavior fascinating.
On the other hand, most people don’t want to hear about the features on your new iPhone.
(More on how to tell good stories here.)5) Don’t Forget Charisma
It’s not all about the words. Some people are engaging but if what they said was transcribed, it would be unimpressive.
When you’re speaking emotionally, the words only account for 7% of what get conveyed. Seven percent.
Voice tone and body language are far more important.
One often quoted study (Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967) found that of all the information conveyed to another person when we say something that is emotional (not informational), only 7 percent is contained in the actual meaning of the words we use.
Laugh. Smile. Be passionate. Gesture. Modulate your voice. Don’t just sweat the words.
(Here’s how to be charismatic.)6) Be Somewhere Interesting
Got a say in where you’ll be at, as with a date or meeting?
Pick someplace stimulating. Context matters.
In general, we’re lousy about realizing where our feelings are coming from.
Research shows excitement from any source is often associated with the person you’re with — even if they’re not the cause of it.
Why do people find musicians so captivating? The music and the crowd stimulates emotions — and we viscerally associate those with the band.
Why does this happen? Ariely thinks it might have something to do with “misattribution of emotions”: “Sometimes we have an emotion and we don’t know where it’s coming from, so we kind of stick it on something that seems sensible.” In other words, your strong feelings about the music might make you think you’re having strong feelings about the lead singer.
(More on the power of context here.)7) And Most Importantly: Live An Interesting Life
Remember the theme of Don Quixote: If you want to be a knight, act like a knight.
If you don’t read, watch and think about generic things, generic things are less likely to come out of your mouth.
This doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult. Hang out more often with the most interesting people you know.
The Longevity Project, which studied over 1000 people from youth to death had this to say:
The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become.
In The Start-up of You, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha talk about how the best way to improve particular qualities in yourself is to spend time with people who are already like that.
The best and most reliable way to appear interesting is to live an interesting life.
And to pursue that ends up being far more rewarding than merely making a good impression on others.
Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.
This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
The latest developer version of Chrome OS suggests that Google is putting those plans in motion.
Android Police has discovered a hidden setting, called “Easy Unlock,” that claims to let users sign into their Chromebooks without a password. As long as users have their phones nearby — and presumably paired via Bluetooth — they’d be able to skip the usual login screen.
Unfortunately, the feature isn’t actually working right now. Enabling it in the chrome://flags menu causes a notification to appear, and you can click on that notification for a basic explanation of what Easy Unlock does, but that’s as far as you can go. On my Chromebook, clicking the “Find your phone” button only caused the browser to crash and restart.
We’ve seen some similar approaches to device-based sign-ins before. Motorola’s Moto X, for instance, allows you to skip the PIN lock screen when the phone is connected to a Bluetooth device of your choosing. (When I reviewed the Moto X, I loved using this feature in conjunction with my Pebble smartwatch.)
But if Google adds device-based authentication for Chromebooks, it’d be the first time that such a feature was baked directly into a major computing platform. Neither Apple nor Microsoft have built anything similar into their operating systems, though Apple’s iPhone 5s does have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone without a PIN.
Easy Unlock wouldn’t kill the password entirely, but it could encourage users to set stronger, more complex passwords that wouldn’t need to be entered as often.
There are also a lot of other directions that device-based logins could go. Instead of replacing the password, a paired phone could be the second step in two-factor authentication, eliminating the usual hassle of entering a code sent to the phone via text message. The paired device could also become a way to automatically sign into websites that are tied to your Google login.
Beyond the smartphone, it’s not hard to imagine Google adding other Easy Unlock devices, starting with Android Wear smartwatches, and maybe some day moving on to those crazy tattoos and authentication pills. The early work spotted in Chrome OS brings us a small step closer.
On Watch What Happens Live, Lindsay Lohan confirmed that a list of her alleged sexual partners was written by her — but said writing it was part of completing rehab.
“That’s a really personal thing, and that’s… it’s really unfortunate,” Lohan said.
Lohan said that someone must have photographed her list while she was moving during her OWN show, but In Touch Weekly has a different story of how they obtained the list.
Watch the video above for more.
On your marks, get set, save $100 on a 16GB iPhone 5s if you buy one from RadioShack, starting today.
The deal gets a mite sweeter if you have an iPhone 4S, in which case RadioShack will hand you an iPhone 5s for nada, crediting you $100 toward the existing $100 deal, which of course equals nothing. Well, the sort of nothing that involves a two-year contract, anyway, since both the $100 standalone and $0 for trade-in deals are limited to contract-arians AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
As noted, the promotion starts today, April 18, and runs until take-your-best-guess. MacRumors quotes a supposed Radio Shack source as saying “the promotion does not currently have an end date.”
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This post is in partnership with Consequence of Sound, an online music publication devoted to the ever growing and always thriving worldwide music scene.
It’s odd to think that this far into their individual careers Ted Leo and Aimee Mann have put out an album that might gain them some more mainstream recognition. While both artists have some renown – Mann particularly, who has found some moderately successful chart positions as well as Grammy and Oscar noms to her name — they’ve stayed at the same level for quite some time, garnering steady fan bases and considerable praise in the music press. They don’t have mobs of beliebers or little monsters swarming their concerts, but they don’t have a whole lot of people who despise them either. Even their detractors have viewed their work with polite dismissal as opposed to polarized hate. “I appreciate what Ted Leo’s trying to do. He’s just a bit too wordy.” Or “Aimee Mann’s got a nice voice. I just wish her songs weren’t so sad.” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea. In other words, as artists, they’re universally respected.
With The Both, however, the respect of on-the-fence listeners might blossom into full-blown fandom. That’s not to say it’s the best album from either performer (the low-pressure nature of their collaboration makes for equally low stakes), but it’s definitely the most digestible. Politics are eschewed in favor of romantic and platonic relationships (I’m looking at you, Leo) in a way that’s addressed to the other person rather than looking inward (cough, Mann, cough, cough). Chalk up this maximized accessibility to each musician’s penchant for hooks (duh) and the simple act of working together. The caffeinated Leo adds some jolt to Mann’s melancholy, his higher-end harmonies infusing the slow and saddish “You Can’t Help Me Now” with a sliver of hope.
Likewise, Mann’s introspection inspires him to dial back his punk verbosity on tracks like “Volunteers of America” and, most notably, “Milwaukee”. Full of pep and Mann’s fuzzy, very Pharmacists-esque bass, the band’s first single finds Leo simplifying his language and the duo relying on concrete images instead of archaic wordplay. As ear-perking as it was in the past to hear terms like “hansom” and “ossify,” they’re no match for an opening line about a statue of The Fonz.
Despite Leo and Mann rubbing off on each other, they both retain their individual personalities. Leo still fires off great solos on several tracks, even on the mid-tempo “The Prisoner”; he just doesn’t go on for as long. And for Mann, “Hummingbird” still manages to be genuinely elegiac, a mournful companion piece to her 2001 gem “The Gold Finch and the Red Oak Tree”. Both songs center around autumnal plucking, both have their eyes glued to the sunset, and both involve birds.
But wait, “The Gold Finch and the Red Oak Tree” is by Ted Leo, not Aimee Mann. Huh. Maybe Leo’s always had a more somber side to him. And come to think of it, Mann’s gotten pretty damn upbeat in the past, even as early as I’m with Stupid. And let’s not forget, she did play bass and sing in ‘Til Tuesday. Maybe they’ve each stretched themselves further than people have given them credit for in the past. With The Both, they just stretch themselves more frequently.
Essential Tracks: “Milwaukee”, “You Can’t Help Me Now”, and “Hummingbird”
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(ALGIERS, Algeria) — Algerian officials say President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has won a fourth term in office with a landslide 81 percent of the vote.
His chief opponent, Ali Benflis, already criticized the election as marked by “fraud on a massive scale” after polls closed Thursday.
The results announced Friday by Interior Minister Taieb Belaiz comes after a three-week election campaign that saw a spirited effort by Benflis and his supporters. He has vowed to contest the results.
Official figures for turnout were 51.7 percent, down from the 75 percent turnout for Bouteflika’s last win in 2009. The figures have been described by activists and opposition politicians as inflated.
Since suffering from a stroke last year, there have been concerns about the president’s ability to run this key energy supplier for Europe.
The crowd cheered wildly as Ellie Goulding walked on to the Main Stage at the Coachella Valley Music Festival last weekend to deliver a highly anticipated performance under the hot sun of the California desert. Dressed in a risqué bondage-inspired outfit and flanked by three back-up singers, a full band and (fittingly) flashing lights, Goulding belted out her signature electropop hits: “Burn,” “Anything Could Happen” and “I Need Your Love,” among others.MoreREVIEW: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Harmonize Well as The BothCyndi Lauper Looks Back at the Unusual Record That Made Her a StarMen 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 Post5 Things to Know About the Magic Mike Sequel People
The 27-year-old British musician has developed a colossal following over the past four years, thanks to her ability to pair vulnerable lyrics about love and heartbreak with infectious electropop beats. Since the release of her debut album “Lights” in 2010, she’s become a muse for electronic music producers like Calvin Harris, Zedd and Skrillex (who she dated).
Her Coachella performance – which had a distinctly different vibe from her lower-key set at the festival in 2011 – showcased Goulding’s transformation from alternative-leaning folktronica singer to bona fide pop star; as Goulding has evolved sonically, so have her performance style and fashion sense. Now, the “Burn” singer says she’s ready for more experimentation when it comes to the kinds of songs she writes — and that means fewer songs about romance.
“I think for my next album, I will be writing about different things. I’m kind of over writing about relationships,” she told TIME before taking the stage at Coachella. “That kind of narrows it down a lot, because most people do write about those.”
Goulding says her lyrics come from a deeply personal place; all the songs she wrote for her last LP, Halcyon, felt tied together emotionally. “People always ask me why I didn’t just make a new album with the songs I put on the extended version of Halcyon,” she explained. “But I’m always very keen to start an album when it feels right, in a certain time of my life, so that the album is reflective of that, rather than just being a bunch of random songs.”
Many of the songs on Halcyon, Goulding’s second album, were inspired by a break up she was going through at the time. The title track “was about convincing myself that everything was going to be alright,” she said. Goulding cited “My Blood” as another favorite on the album, explaining that it was “an accompaniment to me because that song was about someone taking so much from me emotionally that I had nothing left.”
Goulding hasn’t begun working on her next album yet, but she said that she expects she’ll start picking up inspiration for the project when she takes a break after her tour ends in September.
Will fans take to her non-romantic material as well as they have to her love songs? To borrow from the singer’s own work, anything could happen. But if Goulding’s past success is any indication, it seems likely they will.
“It just made so much sense to me,” says author Eve O. Schaub after watching a YouTube video called “Sugar: A Bitter Truth,” a lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). It prompted her to embark on a yearlong quest to put her family on a sugar diet, cutting out everything from table sugar to any food product with added sugar. It was no easy task; they discovered that meant eliminating anything from brownies to cold cuts. In her new book, Year of No Sugar, Schuab documents how they managed their not-so-sweet year. TIME asked the author about her journey, and tips for how to curb one’s sugar consumption.MoreThis Is What Happens When You Give Up Sugar for One YearThis App Could Let You Count Calories by Taking a Picture of Your FoodMen 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 PostDebbie Gibson Is Battling Lyme Disease People
This interview has been edited and condensed.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotRock With Michael Jackson (Again)
What inspired you to take this on?
I’ve always been interested in food from a very young age, and I like to cook and bake. I’ve also been interested in how food correlates with how we feel, and our health. I was a vegetarian for two decades, so I have been on some other food-related paths. I was really ready to hear the message when I watched the YouTube video. Something about it really clicked. Everywhere I went after that, I felt like I suddenly had sugar vision and I saw what everyone didn’t see. I thought, ah hah, what if we stopped eating sugar entirely, and what if we tried to do it for a year?
How long did it take you to go grocery shopping?
It used to take me about 45 minutes to do a normal shopping trip, and this one took me an hour and a half. I should have brought my magnifying glass and my dictionary. I was reading and reading and astounded by how much I didn’t know. It made me mad, because food shouldn’t be this hard. I was stubborn about reading every last ingredient because I wanted to make sure we were following our own parameters. But once I did that recon, it was done. I knew what we could buy and what was off-limits.
Any tips for navigating the grocery store. Any surprising items to avoid?
Going straight to produce is great. Not everyone wants to make their own crackers, for example. There are some things that are really hard–I wouldn’t say you can never find a no sugar version—but it can be very hard. And they are things that are not sweet, so they’re unexpected. For example, bread is a big one, especially the sandwich breads. My family went to the bread aisle and came up with 250 some different varieties of bread, and we could only find a variety from one manufacturer that did not contain added sugar. But there are plenty of other unusual food products with sugar. I found sugar in sausages, tortellini, tortillas, mayonnaise, ketchup, cold cuts. I ultimately came to the conclusion that there is almost nothing they will not try to put sugar in.
Is it possible to dine out on this diet?
It is—we did. First, we found out which places were making their own food. We were astonished to find that some restaurants did not necessarily know what was in their own food. We learned how to ask questions. Once we got to the point that we knew what restaurants made their own sauces and dressings and knew what was in it, we would go back again and again. They got to know us and would ask how it was going.
Was it hard to travel?
You have to plan snacks ahead. At every convenience store, you’re lucky if you can find a banana. They will try to have healthy snacks. They will have things like yogurt, granola bars, and power bars. But sadly they often as much sugar as a candy bar, up to 25 grams of sugar.
Was dessert ever a possibility?
Just because we weren’t having sugar didn’t mean we weren’t having dessert. I did a lot of experimenting with old favorite recipes of mine. I would alter things I always made, like cookies and bars, with things like bananas and dates. We made banana ice cream, which we loved.
Your family ended up using dextrose often. Can you explain what that is?
It’s not fructose. I found the question of dextrose confusing. I asked Dr. Robert Lustig, and he was very kind in replying and letting me know that dextrose was glucose, so for our fructose-free purposes, it was perfectly fine. It’s about one-third the sweetness of table sugar, and it’s made of corn. Right now, as far as I know, you can only get it by mail order.
How did you survive the holidays?
The holidays can be especially challenging and there is this sense that we need sugar to celebrate. We need to mark the occasion with something even more crazy special and sweet than we are already having in our every day lives. It can be very difficult to navigate that delicately because you don’t want that person to come away feeling rejected because you didn’t eat their meal. We would let it be known that this is something that we would be doing, and ask if there was anything we could bring. That way we have at least one thing we can eat. Once you do the research, you know where it is. You know it’s going to be in the ham because if the glaze, it’s going to be any potato salad and coleslaw. We knew that when we went to aunt Carol’s house, the safe thing for us would be the mac and cheese.
How do you get kids on board?
My kids were the most excited when they were actively participating. They would love making banana ice cream themselves. Kids get so excited about food and where it comes from and watching food cook, and I think that’s the key to getting kids to care about food and love the taste of fresh, healthy, and homemade food.
What can people expect from cutting their sugar consumption?
Not eating sugar affects everyone in different ways. None of us really lost weight, but we were not looking to. The kids didn’t seem to be noticeably calmer, but hyperactivity wasn’t something we were trying to address either. I, in particular, had more energy, and that is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. On a regular basis I would crash and feel like I had a total lack of energy. When I do not eat sugar, I have plenty of energy. We felt healthier and it seemed to me that we did not get sick as much or for as long. My daughters missed 10 to 15 days of school the year before, and in the year of no sugar they missed two to three. That seems like better health.
Is this easier for someone who likes to cook?
I think it helps a lot if you like to cook. If I had trouble buying bread, I knew I would enjoy making it at home, if I could find the time. But you don’t have to love to cook to take in less sugar. There are lots of ways we can cut of sugar consumption and feel better. For instance, cut out drinking sugar. Have a sparkling water instead of a soda. For people who say they don’t have time, I wish we could place more emphasis on food as being important and worthy of our time. Perhaps we don’t have a lot of time, but making your own tomato sauce takes about 20 minutes.
Do you still avoid sugar?
After we finished our year, everyone expected us to go on a sugar binge to make up for lost time. We found that we had really lost a lot of our craving for super sweet foods. It was a little rocky at first because we had no rules. It had been hard on no sugar, but it had been clear. Over time we came to a middle ground, which I call “high level sugar avoiders.” I refuse to buy things that have sugar in them as an added ingredient, especially if it’s something that’s not sweet, doesn’t need it, and no one knows it’s there. We will have a sugary sweet once in a great while. I’d say 99 times out of 100 we are not having sugar, but for a special occasion we will have something. It will be small, and it will be special.
Do you recommend other people try this?
They don’t have to because I did it for them! The best advice I can give is to be aware and be judicious. Being aware means reading ingredients and asking questions. Being judicious means making sure you don’t get on that sugar escalator so you don’t have a little today, then more tomorrow, then more after that.
A group of friends in Philadelphia unintentionally became the creators of Instagram’s latest, bizarre hashtag meme: the #catband. And they all think it’s really, really weird that now hundreds of strangers have started playing their cats as if they were air guitars, air bongos, and even air bagpipes.
Julie Malone’s cat, Lilly, has become a staple in her friendship circle “because she’s fat and really nice and you can just do anything to her and she thinks it’s great,” the 25-year-old Anthropologie jewelry buyer told TIME. And so, when Malone’s boyfriend started playing music during dinner, she thought it would be a funny idea to play her cat like a ukelele — er… “Uke-Lilly”—and tag the obese feline’s adoring fans in an Instagram video.
Lilly’s unperturbed thumb licking made the video really shine.
Jack Hartman soon responded with a video of himself playing his screaming cat Dusty —”He’s so mean!” Malone said—like a bongo drum. “Let’s start a band,” he posted.
Then Kenny Kim started blowing his 20 lb cat Sketchie like a bagpipe, threw on the hashtag #catband so he and his friends could keep track of what was going on, and pretty soon a meme was born.
Dan Toffey, who manages Instagram’s #weeklyfluff feature and keeps up with emerging animal trends in the community told TIME he noticed the hashtag gaining traction over the past couple of weeks—with as many as a hundred in the last week, gaining in volume every day.
There are cat flutes:
And even rabbit rebuttals:
Kim finds this all surreal. “All the original catbanders are definitely sitting back shaking their heads at what has become of it for sure,” he said. “The fact that there is a post on Knowyourmeme.com really legitimized it for us.”
Malone agrees. “I did it just for our dorky friends who like the cat,” she said. “If I knew that people from France and Russia were going to see it, I would have shot a more flattering video.”
Kim and his fiancée Hilary set up a #catband Tumblr, but he says maintaining the new entries has become a sort of part time job. “Cats, man.”
We have to clear our minds of a fallacy about poverty alleviation: Helping the poor does not mean welfare. This isn’t to say that we don’t need welfare. Ignoring the unfortunate who can’t put enough food on the table or afford proper education or healthcare is not just cruel, it’s bad economics. The impoverished make either good consumers or productive workers.MoreMen 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 PostDebbie Gibson Is Battling Lyme Disease PeopleLIVE: Watch today's episode of SI Now Sports Illustrated'Transcendence': EW movie review Entertainment Weekly
But government aid can only reduce the suffering of the poor; it usually can’t make them escape poverty permanently. We know that from watching what has happened in the developing world over the past half century. Those countries that have tried to use wide-scale state programs to alleviate poverty—such as India—have not achieved results as quickly as nations that did not, such as Singapore and South Korea. (See my recent piece on this subject.) Generally, the high-performance economies of East Asia didn’t fight poverty by playing Robin Hood—soaking the rich and handing out cash to the poor. There is no reason why we’d have to do that today.Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotRock With Michael Jackson (Again)
Instead we have to give the downtrodden better jobs, more opportunities, more tools to improve their incomes and fairer treatment in economic policy.
That means we must improve the climate for investment. I’m pretty sure you didn’t expect me to write that when you started reading. There is a widespread assumption that what’s good for companies is bad for the little guy. But if Asia’s example teaches us anything, it’s that there are two ways to end poverty: (1) create jobs and (2) create more jobs. The only way to do that is to convince businessmen to invest more.
That’s why it is imperative to make investing easier. We should press ahead with free-trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to bring down barriers between countries and encourage exports and cross-border investment. Though CEOs complain far too much about regulation—the sub-prime mortgage disaster, the recent General Motors recall, or Beijing’s putrid air all show that we need to keep a close eye on business—we should also streamline regulatory procedures, standardize it across countries and thus make it less onerous to follow.
We also need to improve infrastructure like transportation systems to bring down the costs of doing business. I think it is a national embarrassment for the U.S. to allow the Highway Trust Fund to run out of money at a time when the country needs both jobs and better roads. The environment for investment shouldn’t just improve for Walmart and Apple, but also entrepreneurs and small companies. In many parts of the world—in certain European countries, for example, and China—there’s too much red tape involved in starting a company, and not enough finance available.
We also need to invest in the workforce. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, in an attack on a proposed minimum-wage hike, said that “I want people to make a lot more than $9—$9 is not enough.” He’s right, but that just won’t magically happen on its own. To get people’s paychecks up, workers have to possess better skills. We are simply not doing enough to improve schools, teachers and job training programs. We should also be doing more to make higher education more affordable.
While overall U.S. spending on education is among the highest in the world, it still lags in important ways. Take a look at this data comparing education spending across countries. U.S. public expenditure on education has remained more or less stable, at 5.1% of GDP in 2010, but that’s lower than a lot of other developed countries, from Sweden to New Zealand. What is also interesting is how the cost of education is pushed onto the private sector in the U.S. much more than in most other countries.
Spending is also heading in the wrong direction. The U.S. Census Bureau calculated that in fiscal 2011, expenditure per student dropped for the first time since statistics have been kept.
Clearly, the U.S. spends so much money on education already that we should be getting more bang for our buck. Reform is crucial to put all those billions to better use. But slicing spending isn’t the answer, either. The latest budget from U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan streamlines some U.S. education programs he considers wasteful and recommends measures that would add to the financial burden of going to college for some families. Meanwhile, he’s leaving the military budget generally unscathed. Do Ryan and his colleagues believe the Pentagon isn’t wasteful? Apparently not enough to put the military on a diet.
The fact is we have the money to do more for education. U.S. federal spending is about $3.5 trillion—roughly the size of the entire economy of Germany. The problem is how we choose to spend it.
We also must restore performance-based pay. The idea that people should benefit from their hard work is a cardinal belief of capitalism, but there is ample evidence that it hasn’t held true for quite a while. Productivity growth has far outpaced wage increases in the U.S. going back to the 1970s.
This appears to be a global phenomenon. The International Labor Organization (ILO) looked at 36 countries and figured that average labor productivity has increased more than twice as much as average wages since 1999. Some have disputed this argument, but we can’t deny that wages are going nowhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real weekly earnings in the U.S. in March were a mere $1.82 higher than a year earlier. Generally, workers are losing ground to capital globally. The ILO has shown that wages’ share in GDP has decreased in recent decades, meaning that the regular worker isn’t benefiting as he should from economic growth.
There are many factors behind this trend, including the formation of an international labor market. But globalization itself isn’t the problem—it’s how the benefits are being allocated. Corporate management doesn’t seem to care so much about shareholder value when paying themselves. Professor Steven Kaplan noted that in 2010 the average CEO of a major U.S. company earned more than $10 million, or about 200 times more than the typical household.
Companies also have the money to raise wages: They just choose not to give it to their employees. Rating agency Moody’s recently reported that U.S. non-financial companies are sitting on $1.64 trillion in cash. Companies also spent $476 billion buying back their stock in 2013, 19% more than the year before.
The question is: How get management and shareholders to disgorge more corporate profits to their employees? There isn’t an easy answer. William Galston, former advisor to President Bill Clinton, once suggested tax rates should be linked to a company’s worker compensation strategy (though that strikes me as a bit too intrusive). The ILO recommends we support stronger collective bargaining to allow workers to fight for their fair share of corporate profits.
But the crux of the problem is the idea of shareholder value. How do we convince shareholders and management that higher wages are positive for the long-term prospects of their corporations? Maybe we should consider altering the way we tax capital gains. Rather than breaking them down into two main categories—short and long term—it might help to decrease the rate the longer the asset is held. That would encourage longer-term shareholding, and perhaps make owners more interested in the long-term outlook for the companies in which they hold shares. I also think we should rebalance tax rates between capital and labor. I understand the principle that low capital-gains taxes reward people for wise investments. But what about rewarding people who work hard at their jobs every day? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development noted in a report this month that the tax burden on wage earners has increased in most of its member states in recent years.
These are just suggestions, and I’m interested in hearing more of them. The basic point is that we have to take steps to improve both the outlook for corporations and the many ordinary employees who work for them. The game should be win-win, not zero-sum.
When the musical Jersey Boys opened on Broadway nearly a decade ago, it turned the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons into Tony-winning musical-theater gold — which isn’t all that surprising, considering the show drew from the Four Seasons’ already proven catalog of music. For the play’s movie adaptation, Clint Eastwood directs a cast of stage vets — relative Hollywood newcomers — led by John Lloyd Young, with the exception of Christopher Walken as mobster Angelo ‘Gyp’ DeCarlo. The movie will be in theaters on June 20. The songs will be stuck in your head…now.