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North Korea Marathon Opens to Foreign Amateurs

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 21:00

Organizers of the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon, recognized as a bronze-label event by the International Association of Athletics Federations and held for the past 27 years, told the Associated Press they opted to allow the new recreational runners in an effort to more boldly celebrate the birthday of their nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15. Officials said the race, which typically has featured elite foreigners, included 225 amateurs and runners from 27 countries. The course, a largely flat path of four loops around the center of the city, had to be completed within four hours so roads could be reopened. A half marathon and a 10-kilometer run were also held as thousands of North Koreans lined the streets to cheer the participants.

Categories: Magazines

Gone Girl Trailer Released

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:55

The first trailer for the awaited film “Gone Girl” based on the Pulitzer-winning thriller by Gillian Flynn has arrived. The haunting clip, which gives the book’s fans a glimpse at Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Nick Dunne, who becomes the main suspect in the disappearance of his wife Amy on their fifth wedding anniversary. “I did not kill my wife,” Affleck says as the trailer closes. “I am not a murderer.”

The trailer features brief appearances by Rosamund Pike, who stars as Amy in the David Fincher directed film. The official release date is Oct. 3. Watch the full trailer on iTunes here.

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Lawmakers to E-Cig Makers: Stop Preying on Minors!

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:07

In a report published Monday, 11 Congress members recommended federal regulations on e-cigarettes that would include banning sales to anyone under 18, halting TV and radio ads, and educating the general public about the risks associated with inhaling nicotine vapors.

The “Gateway to Addiction” report written by true the lawmakers staff after surveying e-cig makers, finds e-cigarette companies are using marketing tactics that appeal to young people, such as handing out samples at events like music festivals, social media promotion, and offering kid-friendly flavors. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1.78 million children and teens tried e-cigarettes in 2012.

“E-cigarette makers are starting to prey on kids, just like big tobacco companies,” said Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). “With over a million youth now using e-cigarettes, FDA needs to act without further delay to stop companies from marketing their addictive products to children.”

Though use is up, the Food and Drug Administration has not fully studied the products, according to their website consumers are not aware of the risks of use, the amount of nicotine or other chemicals being inhaled and whether or not there are benefits to smoking e-cigarettes. A New York Times report from March detailed the potential dangers of the liquid nicotine found in electronic cigarettes, including vomiting, seizures, and death.

According to the report, six of the surveyed e-cigarette companies support some regulation.

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Your Tax Refund Is Safe: Social Security Will Stop Seizing Refunds to Collect Old Debt

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 19:08

The Social Security Administration plans to stop collecting taxpayer debt older than 10 years old, the Washington Post reports. The federal government has been reportedly seizing state and federal tax funds from about 400,000 Americans whose relatives owed money to Social Security.

The collection dates back to 2008 when a farm bill lifted a statute of limitations on government debt older that was more than 10 years old and the Treasury Department allowed the government to intercept tax refunds to settle the debts. Approximately $2 billion worth of intercepted tax refunds have been collected by the Treasury this year, the Post reports, $75 million of which was for 10-year-old, or older, debts.

“I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law,” Social Security’s acting commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, said in a statement.

[Washington Post]

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Obama To Putin: Tell Troops to Back Off

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:10

This post was updated at 10:21 p.m. ET, April 14

In the second phone conversation between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin in recent weeks, the two leaders expressed very different views on the increasingly tense situation in Ukraine, depending on whom you ask.

According to the White House, Obama said that he believed a diplomatic solution could be reached, though not if Russia continues flexing its military might at Ukraine’s border and within that country. He added that the economic “costs” for Russia will increase if these aggressive actions persist. According to Reuters, the European Union has also widened sanctions against Russia.

Obama expressed “grave concern” about Russia’s presence in Ukraine and the country’s support for the actions of pro-Russian protestors in the country, the White House said. “All irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms,” Obama said, urging President Putin to convince pro-Russian groups to depart the buildings they have seized.

However, according to a release put out earlier by the Kremlin, Putin told Obama that reports of Russia interfering in Southern Ukraine were “based on inaccurate information” and maintained that ongoing protests are a result of “the Kiev authorities’ unwillingness to take into account the interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population.”

Earlier on Monday, Kiev leaders called on the United Nations to deploy peacekeepers, as pro-Russia protesters took control of more buildings. Obama has praised the Ukrainian government’s handling of the situation and its upcoming election scheduled for May 25, according to the White House.

Categories: Magazines

Why Hate Crimes Persist More Than Violent Crimes

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:08

Law enforcement officials announced on Monday that they had enough evidence to charge Frazier Glenn Cross for hate a crime in the shooting at a Jewish community center and senior living facility that left three people dead. 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 PostDancing with the Stars: Who Received Season 18's First Perfect Score? PeopleLIVE: Grizzlies try to clinch playoff spot, Suns aim to stay alive Sports Illustrated'Dancing With the Stars': Exiting dancer is... Entertainment Weekly

“We have unquestionably determined through the work of law enforcement that this was a hate crime,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass told the Associated Press. Cross, a former member of the Klu Klux Klan, was reportedly heard shouting “Heil Hitler” from the back of a police car while in custody.

Hate crimes, which are motivated by biases based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, and disability, have dropped in the U.S. in recent years. In 2012, there were 5,796 incidents, compared to 6,222 reports in 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Racially motivated violations still make up nearly half of all hate crimes, followed by 20% that are tied to sexual orientation.

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While violent crime in the U.S. has dropped as well, the decline in hate crimes hasn’t been as rapid and may be harder to combat, says Jack McDevitt, associate dean for research in the college of social science and humanity at Northeastern University. That’s because neighborhoods in the U.S. are only becoming more diverse, which means that locally and even personally perceived biases or injustices may become more glaring to certain individuals. “I fear [such hate crimes] will increase,” McDevitt says. “There are people out there who see increasing diversity as a threat, then they strike out.”

Contrary to what sociologists believed for years – that hate crimes are fueled by economic pressures as new groups received benefits or better jobs – the driving force may be something more basic to human nature: our tendency to feel threatened in the face of change. “One of the major sources of hate crime is what is perceived of as rapid in-migration of other groups into formerly racially, ethnically, or religiously homogenous areas,” says Donald Green, professor of political science at Columbia University, who has studied this connection extensively. “From the standpoint of a hate crime, the tipping point is the very first group that moves in.” As people feel threatened and believe they need to “defend” their neighborhood or way or life, that’s enough to prompt vandalism or violent crime, he says. In contrast, in issues involving housing regulations or schooling, about a quarter or a third of the population needs to change before a threat is perceived and acted upon.

MORE: 3 Dead After Shootings at Kansas Jewish Facilities

Anti-racial crimes committed by far-right extremists are more likely in communities with a denser Jewish population, according to the U. S. Extremist Crime Database study, led by Joshua Freilich of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Roberta Belli of United Nationals Department of Safety and Security, and Steven Chermak of the University of Michigan. For example, hate crimes against Jewish communities are more common in states with higher Jewish populations; in New York, where they make up 9% of the state’s population, there were 248 such incidents in 2012, a nearly 30% increase from 2011. One reason, Freilich hypothesized in an email to TIME, is the possibility that “far-right racist leaders focused their efforts on counties where Jews were visible, and inspired their supporters residing in those counties to lash out and attack the far-right’s ideological enemies.”

Such patterns of scapegoating and blame may make hate crimes frustratingly difficult to curb downward, says McDevitt, and that means that tragedies such as the shootings in Overland Park, Kan., may continue to percolate across the country.

Categories: Magazines

Veep’s Take on Abortion Reminds Us How Hard It Is to Be a Woman Candidate

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 18:07

Selina Meyer is far from the ideal presidential candidate. As we see every Sunday on Veep, both she and her staff are completely and hilariously incompetent. But this week’s episode reminded us that whatever her flaws, we ought to sympathize with Selina because running for president as a woman really sucks. (Warning: Spoilers for last night’s episode of Veep ahead.) More‘Stay-at-Home Mothers:’ Why We Still Use This Clunky, Outdated TermCue the Sad Violins: Only 50 People Showed Up to This Music FestivalMen 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 PostMajandra Delfino: Pregnancy Comments Aren't Compliments - They're Confusing People

This week, the current president (who has announced that he will not be running for a second term) threw a curveball at the VP’s camp by calling himself pro-choice in a speech. Selina and her staff immediately panic in trying to determine what the vice president should say about her stance on abortion. A poll within the show reveals that the majority of Americans respond with “I don’t know” when asked at what point a woman should no longer be able to terminate a pregnancy. Selina worries that if she picks too many weeks in, she will come off as too liberal and too female. Too few weeks, and she loses the women’s vote.

Her staff repeatedly suggests that Selina play her ovaries card and begin her answer with, “As a woman…” But drawing attention to your lady parts is tricky. The problem is summed up nicely by Selina when she says, “I can’t identify myself as a woman. People can’t know that. Men hate that. And women who hate women hate that — which, I believe, is most women.”

As the only female contender for president (so far) Selina is the only candidate directly affected by this question. She should theoretically sound more genuine and credible in her views because she’s likely devoted more time to thinking about the issue than any man — just by virtue of her gender. And yet while she can’t answer with her honest pro-choice views for fear of losing votes, she also can’t allow voters to think she’s a hypocrite who is politicizing the issue. Selina has to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to not draw attention to her woman-ness because, well, everybody hates that.

Though the writers mine the conundrum for comedy — at one point, Selina points out, “If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an ATM” — the plot points to a deeper problem. Hillary Clinton, for better or worse, refrained from emphasizing her gender during her 2008 run. It was a logical decision: after all, history has proven that female candidates don’t necessarily win other women’s votes. And yet she lost the women’s vote at the Iowa caucuses that year by 5 points and the primary in South Carolina by a 24 point deficit. For that reason, some experts believe gender will become a bigger factor in a potential 2016 run for Clinton. “I think it’s going to be less about making history and more about making progress — the intersection of gender and agenda,” Celinda Lake, a democratic pollster, told the Daily Beast.

Despite her best efforts, Selina ends up answering the abortion question on her Good Morning America interview with, “As a woman…” and then takes no clear stance, repeating the word “freedom” over and over again. This isn’t the first time Selina has struggled with feminist issues: in one episode, Selina’s staff goads her into crying to make her look more sympathetic; in another she decides to do a photo op with a gun to look more tough. And as a Clinton decision on 2016 edges closer, Selina’s careful straddling of the line between feminine and feminist is likely to become all the more relevant.

Categories: Magazines

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

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:34

“There’s no day off for heroes,” sings Alicia Keys in “It’s On Again” her contribution to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. Apparently there are also no days off for Pharrell Williams, either.

Williams produced the track and also makes an appearance in the new video, where he watches over New York City via a wall of security cameras (between sets at Coachella, presumably).

Joining Keys and Williams in the video are rapper Kendrick Lamar, who is featured on the track, as well as Spider-Man score composer Hans Zimmer. The musicians stand-in for the webcrawler and, as all good superheroes, remain ever vigilant and ever true, keeping an eye on the skyline of the Big Apple before Electro (played in the film by Jamie Foxx) can take down Times Square.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will hit theaters on May 2nd, with the soundtrack set for release on April 22nd.

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Whitefish Shortage Causing Passover Meal Problems

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:32

(TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.) — Many fish markets in the Great Lakes region are running short of whitefish, and it’s coming at a bad time: the Passover holiday.

Whitefish is a key ingredient in gefilte (geh-FIL’-tuh) fish, a traditional Jewish dish that originated in eastern Europe. Recipes vary, but it often consists of ground fish, vegetables such as onion and carrots, and bread crumbs formed into loaves or balls.

The shortfall results partly from the bitterly cold winter that caused vast sections of the Great Lakes to freeze over. The ice cover kept some commercial fishing crews stuck in port. A drop in the whitefish population is also to blame.

Kevin Dean of Superior Fish Co. near Detroit said Monday his latest shipment amounted to just 75 pounds, although he requested 500 pounds.

Categories: Magazines

Minnesota Joins States Raising Minimum Wage

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:30

(ST. PAUL, Minn.) — Tens of thousands of Minnesota workers have big raises coming their way, courtesy of a new minimum wage law that Gov. Mark Dayton signed Monday, which will take the state from one of the nation’s lowest rates to among the highest. MoreInside the Sriracha Factory Causing A Stink In CaliforniaThe Tennessee Senate Has Backed a Bill to Reinstate the Electric ChairMen 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 PostMajandra Delfino: Pregnancy Comments Aren't Compliments - They're Confusing People

At a ceremony in the Capitol’s Rotunda, Dayton hailed the hourly jump of more than $3 spread over the next few years as providing “what’s fair” for hard work put in. He said he has been stunned by GOP resistance — it passed the Legislature with only Democratic votes — to increasing the guaranteed wage from $6.15 per hour now to $9.50 by 2016 and then tie it to inflation.

“We’re not giving people any ticket into the upper-middle class,” Dayton said. “We’re giving them hope.”

Minnesota goes from having one of the nation’s lowest minimums to among the highest. With federal wage legislation stuck in Congress, states are rushing to fill the void. California, Connecticut and Maryland have passed laws pushing their respective wages to $10 or more in coming years, and other states are going well above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Not all Minnesota workers have qualified for the federal minimum, which is required if someone engages in an interstate transaction such as swiping a credit card at the cash register.

For large Minnesota employers, mandatory hourly pay will climb to $8 in August, $9 a year later and $9.50 in 2016. Smaller employers that have gross sales below $500,000 will also have to pay more, though their rate reaches only $7.75 per hour by 2016. There are also carve-outs for teen workers or those getting trained into new jobs.

All told, some 325,000 workers could be in line for a raise at some point during the phase-in period.

Jacquita Berens, a single mother of three from Robbinsdale, said she’s been working three jobs to barely get by. Standing next to Dayton, she said the hike will give her more money for groceries, gas and other essentials and maybe allow her to afford extracurricular activities for the kids.

“I work incredibly hard but constantly fall behind,” Berens said. “Those of us working low-wage jobs are willing to work hard. We want to get ahead so we are not in survival mode.”

Business groups, such as those representing restaurants and retail shops, have warned that Minnesota would be out of step with its neighbors that are all at $7.25 per hour. Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, called the increase “irresponsible” and argued it will drive up unemployment as companies adjust.

The law authorizes automatic raises in the years to come that will compensate for inflation. Unless state officials take steps to suspend the raises, minimum wage pay could rise by up to 2.5 percent annually beginning in 2018. Those increases could be suspended if rough economic conditions sweep in, but catch-up raises can be ordered later.

Categories: Magazines

Total Girls’ Girl Taylor Swift Showed Up to a Fan’s Bridal Shower Bearing Gifts

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:30

Taylor Swift was just full of surprises this weekend. On Saturday night, she made a cameo in Seth Rogen’s monologue on SNL, and on Sunday, she surprised a longtime fan by showing up at her bridal shower.

The singer made her way to Columbus, Ohio, to surprise bride-to-be Gena Gabrielle, who she first met at a meet-and-greet in 2007, E! reports. Gabrielle invited Swift to her wedding and shower, but didn’t expect her to show up, so it was a total surprise.

And if T-Swift just being there wasn’t enough of a gift, she also brought presents, including this mixer:

Gabrielle made sure to share plenty of additional photos of the shower on Instagram:

Her fiancé probably hates Taylor Swift now, though, because he knows his wife-to-be will never be as excited to see him as she was to see T-Swift.

Categories: Magazines

Central Ohio Mumps Outbreak Tops 200 Cases

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:29

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases.

The total as of Monday was 212 cases of the contagious viral illness, with 132 of those linked to Ohio State University. That includes 96 students and 13 staff members.

Local health agencies say those infected range in age from 9 months to 70 years old. The cases span from early January to late last week.

Mumps often starts with fever, fatigue and body aches. Those infected are urged to stay home, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.

Officials have urged residents of the region to make sure they’ve been inoculated with two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Categories: Magazines

Your Brain Has No Idea Where It’s Going

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:25

Want proof that your brain isn’t as smart as it assumes it is? Take this pop quiz: Say you’re standing at 42nd St. in Manhattan waiting for an uptown bus and plan to get off at 52nd St. Say a person on the opposite side of the avenue is waiting for a downtown bus and plans to get off at 32nd St. Whose trip will cover a greater distance? MoreHow to Flirt — Backed by Scientific ResearchHow Smart Is That Doggy in the Window?Men 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 PostMajandra Delfino Blogs: Your Pregnancy Comment Isn't a Compliment - It's Just Confusing People

Neither, obviously, since they’re both 10 blocks. Now try telling your lyin’ brain that. The fact is, your trip will somehow feel like it should be shorter and the person across the street will feel the same way about the trip going in the other direction. When it comes to distance, it turns out, your brain always thinks the route you’re traveling at the moment is the shortest. An upcoming paper in Psychological Science explores that oddly geocentric—and egocentric—phenomenon and explains how it may have implications not just for our sense of place, but for human relations as well. Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

The study, conducted by a team of investigators from the University of Toronto and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, took place first in the Toronto subway system. Investigators on both the eastbound and westbound platforms of the Bay St. stop asked riders if they believed the St. George station (one stop to the west) or the Bloor-Yonge station (one stop to the east) was closer. They repeated the question for a pair of named stations two stops to the east and west. By a significant margin, the westbound passengers believed the westerly stations were closer and the eastbound passengers said the same for the easterly ones.

Next, the investigators moved up to street level, standing on a corner that was equidistant between two drug stores. They stopped pedestrians walking in both directions and asked them how long they believed it had been since someone in one of the two stores had found an item on sale. On average, the subjects who were asked about the store they were approaching said that a bargain had been snagged 7.65 minutes ago. Those asked about the store in the opposite direction said it had been almost twice as long, 14.83 minutes. The bias went the other way when people were asked about a negative event—specifically, how recently a customer at one of two equidistant Starbucks had gotten the wrong order. In general, the pedestrians believed the baristas were better at the Starbucks they were approaching and worse at the one they were leaving behind.

This me-centered, place-centered thinking may also help explain why the first hour of a two-hour journey often seems to take longer than the second hour, the investigators suggested. The same perceptual distortion that seems to bring good things closer also somehow collapses time, as if the desired destination is moving toward you while you are moving toward it, hastening your arrival.

None of this says anything terribly bad or terribly good about the quirky nature of human perception. But a final part of the study got at something a little more troubling. Subjects at a Toronto shopping mall were asked to imagine a traveler at Los Angeles airport who was either leaving for a trip to Chicago or returning from a trip there. They were then asked how similar they felt to that imaginary person on a scale of 1 (not at all similar) to 7 (very similar). On average, the subjects professed to feel closer when the person was moving toward Chicago (an average of 2.41 on the 1 to 7 scale) than away from it (just 1.61). Chicago, of course, is much closer to Toronto than it is to L.A.. The mere direction of travel, approaching the subjects rather than moving away, appeared to make them feel a greater kinship to the traveler.

In a primally—sometimes dangerously—tribal species like ours, that’s revealing. We’ve long been accustomed to assigning all manner of pernicious meanings to such arbitrary differences as skin color or language or religion, and the worst among us have always tried to make those ideas stick: some races are inferior to others; some religions are barbaric or wicked. But if we’re all working with a brain so nonsensical that it makes human value judgments based on whether a stranger boarded a crosstown or an uptown bus, the whole premise of tribes starts to fall apart. It’s only in real estate that location, location, location is important. In human relations, it’s just a trick of the mind.

Categories: Magazines

Overland Park Shooting: A Church Responds to Hate

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:20

St Thomas the Apostle lies within a mile of the sites where a shooter targeted Jewish communities yesterday, killing a man, a woman, and a teenaged boy from our neighborhood of Overland Park. Our members attend activities at the Jewish Community Center, and we have had members in residence at Village Shalom. Many of us know people who are affected, and some of us knew the victims and their families. For all its size and population, Overland Park is a small town; we know each other, and we care for one another. MoreLouisiana Bill Would Make The Bible Official State BookFor Passover, iPads Are on the TableMen 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 PostModern Family's Sarah Hyland Goes Blond for Coachella People

As we heard the first terrible reports, we determined to hold a vigil – to offer a place to come together immediately as a community. Rabbi Jacques Cukiekorn of Temple Israel helped us plan, with hymns and prayers from Judaism and Christianity. We announced by local news that we would open our doors, and hundreds came: families and neighbors, and dozens of youth who had put on school shirts and theatre shirts in support of the young man who had been killed.

We offered prayers – not only for those who had been killed but that such broken places might be healed, and that we might have the courage to respond not by learning to hate, but by choosing to love more fiercely. We prayed that we might act to build a more just world.

But surely the most powerful moment came when a woman named Mindy Corporon explained who she was: the daughter of one man who’d been killed, and the mother of another – a teenage boy.

Mindy spoke to our assembled neighborhood, thanking everyone for coming. She explained the random events that caused her father to be the one taking her son to this audition, as the rest of the family juggled sports and other activities, finally summarizing it with profound words: “We were in life; we were having life. And I want you all to know that we’re going to have more life, and I want you all to have more life.” These were the words of a woman who had lost both father and son only hours before.

Our Christian community had entered Holy Week that morning, with a service of palms remembering that Jesus entered into Jerusalem. Later this week, we will hold services on Good Friday – a day that has been used in history for evil by other Christians, who encouraged it to be an occasion for violence against Jews. It is a sober reality that Christian churches have their place among those who have helped create the terrible lies that teach hate and violence.

Our parish and Temple Israel have worked against this idea of division, and worked to build on what unites us. When Temple Israel began, we offered them space at St Thomas for their Sabbath worship until they could build their own synagogue. Rabbi Jacques has taught classes about Judaism for our members, and co-led a trip to Israel with members of both communities. Two years ago, Temple Israel returned to hold their Passover Seder meal in our church as we held our Good Friday services – two traditions in friendship on a day that had formerly taught hate, celebrating our faiths in two rooms under a common roof. As our service ended, they welcomed a number of us to join them in their celebration. This is the strength that we leaned on together yesterday, as violence targeting Jewish centers killed Christians. And we will continue to build up that strength.

The Jewish Passover begins this week, and we will again open our space to our neighbors. The Christian Holy Week continues as well, and Good Friday will be a moment when we repent of our role in the sins of the world, and face the stark truth that when God offered a message of love, humanity offered violence for it.

But we will also remember in our celebration of Easter that when we offered violent death, God responded instead with love: raising Jesus from that death and showing that the message of God’s love was not destroyed by our violence, and neither was the commandment to love one another. We held vigil together, because love has not ended, even in the face of grief.

“We are still in life. We will have life, and we are going to have more life, and we want you all to have more life as well.”

The Reverend Gar Demo and the Reverend Benedict Varnum are Episcopal priests serving at St Thomas the Apostle in the Diocese of Kansas, and worked to organize a vigil service in response to the shootings in Overland Park on Sunday.

Categories: Magazines

This 1981 Computer Magazine Cover Explains Why We’re So Bad at Tech Predictions

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 17:10

If you were passionate about personal computers between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the odds were high that you were a reader of Byte magazine. And if you read Byte, you were surely a fan of Robert Tinney, the artist whose cover paintings were one of the magazine’s signature features for years.

Tinney’s work was imaginative, technically superb (he is a master of the airbrush) and, sometimes, very funny. Byte lost a little bit of its soul when the publication started phasing out his work in favor of standard-issue photos of standard-issue computers.

While rummaging around the web last week looking for something else, I came across his cover for Byte‘s April 1981 issue at the Internet Archive. I immediately shared it on Twitter, where it got about as enthusiastic a response as anything I’ve ever tweeted. There it is at the top of this post, with the artist’s permission.

This is, obviously, an amusing image. The notion that a wrist computer might have a floppy-disk drive, a QWERTY keyboard and a tiny text-based interface was a good joke in 1981, and an even better one when seen through the lens of nostalgia. (If you’re tempted to assume that the image was actually a serious depiction of what a future wrist computer might look like–well, no. Inside the magazine, which only had a brief editiorial about future computers, the editors pointed out that it wasn’t a coincidence that it happened to be the April issue of Byte.)

But I also find this art–which Tinney still offers as a limited-edition print–to be quite profound, on multiple levels. Here’s why.

First, it reminds us that the smartwatch is not a new idea. Even in 1981, tech companies had been trying to build them for awhile: Tinney’s creation is a pseudo-logical extension of ideas expressed in real devices such as HP’s HP-01, a “personal information assistant” introduced in 1977. (Of course, people have been obssessed with the notion of strapping advanced communications gadgetry to their wrists since at least 1946, when Dick Tracy got his wrist radio.)

Here we are in the 21st century. The tech industry has lately made progress on this smartwatch idea, but it’s still not a problem that anyone’s completely solved, which is why it still isn’t part of everyday life. You could do a “Future Computers” cover today and put a concept smartwatch on it, just as Byte did in 1981.

The Pebble Steel smartwatch Pebble

Second, for all the ways technology has radically improved in the past 33 years, the current crop of smartwatches actually have a lot in common with Tinney’s concept. The industry is still struggling with questions of display technology, input and storage, and one of the best efforts so far, the Pebble Steel, even looks eerily like the Tinney watch, sans QWERTY.

But most of all, the Tinney watch is a wonderful visual explanation of why human beings–most of us, anyhow–aren’t very good at predicting the future of technology. We tend to think that new products will be a lot like the ones we know. We shoehorn existing concepts where they don’t belong. Oftentimes, we don’t dream big enough.

(One classic example: When it became clear that Apple was working on an “iPhone,” almost all the speculation involved something that was either a lot like an iPod, or a lot like other phones of the time. As far as I know, nobody expected anything remotely like the epoch-shifting device Apple released.)

Tinney’s painting is a gag, but it’s not that far removed from what a serious futurist might have predicted in 1981. It’s a PC of the era, downsized to fit the wrist.

Back then, a pundit who started talking about gigabytes of storage or high-resolution color screens or instant access to computers around the world or built-in cameras and music players would have been accused of indulging in science fiction. Even though some of the earliest ancestors of modern interfaces existed in laboratories in places such as Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, I don’t know if it would have even occurred to anyone to envision them being built into a watch.

And today? Much of the thinking about smartwatches involves devices that look suspiciously like shrunken smartphones. That’s what we know. But I won’t be the least bit surprised if the first transcendently important wearable device of our era–the iPhone of its category–turns out to have only slightly more in common with a 2014 smartphone than it does with a 1981 computer.

Bonus material: Here’s a 1986 Robert Tinney interview by my friend Benj Edwards, illustrated with additional fabulous Byte covers.

Categories: Magazines

4th Person Charged in Australian Man’s Death

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 16:53

(DUNCAN, Okla.) — A fourth person is charged in the death of an Australian baseball player in southern Oklahoma.

The Stephens County District Attorney’s Office tells The Associated Press that 22-year-old Oddesse Barnes, of Duncan, is charged with accessory after murder in the death of 22-year-old Christopher Lane, of Melbourne.

Lane was jogging in Duncan last August when he was shot and killed.

Two teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder.

Barnes was arraigned Monday and entered a not guilty plea.

Online court records weren’t available, and the court clerk’s office said it could not provide the charging documents. But TV station KWTV reports court papers say that Barnes aided Luna and Jones by hiding the weapon they allegedly used in the shooting.

Another teenager has been charged with accessory after the fact.

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Helium Leak Delays SpaceX Rocket Launch

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 16:49

.@SpaceX launch scrubbed today due to #Falcon 9 first stage helium leak. Next opportunity is Friday at 3:25pm ET.
  (@NASA) April 14, 2014

SpaceX cargo mission was forced to delay its launch scheduled for 1:58 p.m. Pacific time Monday due to a helium leak. NASA announced over Twitter that because of a helium leak, the launch won’t happen until Friday afternoon. NASA is trying to launch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft carrying 5000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

The planned launch by the privately-owned Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — which is headed up by Tesla’s Elon Musk — was already off to a rocky start, when NASA announced over the weekend that there was a failure in one of the space station’s backup computers that helps land the cargo ship. The mission managers said on Sunday that they would proceed with the take-off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Monday. They said the primary system was running well, and the glitch would not harm the mission.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dragon’s capsule contains “food, science experiments, and even a set of legs for Robonaut 2, NASA’s humanoid robot aboard the space station, designed to help astronauts with tasks in space.” The supplies will be used by the six astronauts aboard the ISS, including three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese.

The next available launch time is Friday at 3:25 p.m. EST, but that date could be scrapped as well if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Once completed, the mission will be the third of SpaceX’s 12 planned launches for NASA as part of the company’s $1.6 billion contract with the space agency.

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Why Do Blood Moons Occur?

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 16:25

Billions of people will witness this year’s first ‘”Blood Moon,” aka “total lunar eclipse.”

Our ancestors had many prophecies surrounding such events. The Mayans, for instance, believed that the blood moon was caused by a cosmic jaguar swallowing the Moon. Others have seen it as a sign the “End Times” are near.

Thankfully, science offers its own explanation for the celestial phenomenon. The excitement this year is that the four consecutive and complete lunar eclipses — or the tetrad — occur at approximately six-month intervals and will all be visible over the United States this year. TIME’s science editor Jeffrey Kluger explains.

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The Black Keys Go Slick Psychedelic on “Turn Blue”: Listen

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 16:22

Blues-rockers the Black Keys, thanks to their big-stage breakthroughs Brothers and El Camino, occupy an enviable niche: one of the ever-dwindling number of unquestionably rock acts who’ve got an audience and scope larger than the back of a radio-rock playlist or an early-afternoon festival slot. Their longtime producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton is in a pretty good spot, too, working this year with on albums as entrenched as U2’s and as anticipated as Frank Ocean’s.

Burton has hinted at more of a psychedelic, loose direction for the band’s upcoming Turn Blue (the album art perhaps does more than hint), but its title track, released today, is as slick as anything off El Camino, string stabs and rattlesnake hisses and a snarl of a bass synth beneath the Keys’ hazed-over vocals all done with perfectionist precision.

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Marijuana Vending Machine Unveiled in Colorado

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 16:20

A marijuana vending machine debuted in Colorado over the weekend, The Denver Post‘s marijuana news blog The Cannabist reports.

Called “ZaZZZ,” it is made by a company called American Green and will be installed in a medical marijuana dispensary called Herbal Elements of Eagle Veil. Below are images from its debut at a Montana Smokehouse event in Avon:


Herbal Elements (@HerbalColorado) April 12, 2014

Company unveils first age-verifying, pot vending machine #9newsmornings

9NEWS Denver (@9NEWS) April 13, 2014

“We’re looking forward to using the ZAZZ machine to easily track all this inventory,” Herbal Elements Greg Honan told KDVR. “There’s no room for theft by patients, employees … there’s no way to lose track of the inventory.”

While Medbox marijuana dispensing machines in California are behind sales counters, customers can directly access ZaZZZ without waiting in lines. Stephen Shearin, COO of American Green’s parent company Tranzbyte told The Cannabist that the machine “uses the same technology that checks age/ID fraud under the Control Meth Act. Your identity is confirmed against active biometrics.” Users with a medical marijuana card will swipe their driver’s licenses to identify themselves, KUSA-TV in Denver reports.

Shearin also told The Cannabist that he does not think the concept will not become mainstream for recreational use now or ever. It is simply meant to “enhance legal sales facilities in ensuring that controlled substances (so far as we can control at the time of sale) are dispensed solely into the hands of those who qualify legally.”

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