Day: February 2, 2017

How motivated skepticism strengthens incorrect beliefs

This is part two in my “The Backfire Effect” series. This one focuses on motivated reasoning, specifically something called motivated skepticism. In addition, it features interviews with the scientists who coined the backfire effect term itself and who have extended their original research outside of politics and into health issues.

By now you’ve likely heard of confirmation bias. As a citizen of the internet the influence of this cognitive tendency is constant, and its allure is pervasive.

In short, when you have a hunch that you might already understand something, but don’t know for sure, you tend to go searching for information that will confirm your suspicions.

When you find that inevitable confirmation, satisfied you were correct all along, you stop searching. In some circles, the mental signal to end exploration once you feel like your position has sufficient external support is referred to as the wonderfully wordy “makes sense stopping rule” which basically states that once you believe you’ve made sense of something, you go about your business satisfied that you need not continue your efforts. In other words, just feeling correct is enough to stop your pursuit of new knowledge. We basically had to invent science to stop ourselves from trying to solve problems by thinking in this way.


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You could, instead, try and disconfirm your assumptions, to start your investigations by attempting to debunk your beliefs, but most of the time you don’t take this approach. That’s not your default method of exploring the natural world or defending your ideological stances.

VaxxFor instance, if you believe that vaccines cause autism, and then you go searching for data that backs up that hypothesis, with the power of search engines you are guaranteed to find it. That’s true for just about everything anyone has ever believed whether it’s the moon landing was a hoax, the Denver airport is a portal to Hell, or that there is a fern that produces small animals that eat grass and deliver their nutrients into the plant via an umbilical vine.

We even reason through a confirmation bias when searching our memories. In one study, subjects read a story about a woman named Jane. In it, she exhibited some behaviors that could be interpreted as introverted, and some that seemed more extroverted. Several days later, psychologists divided those same subjects into two groups. They told one group that Jane was thinking about applying for a job as a real estate agent, and asked if they thought she was suited to the work. Most people said she would be great at it, and when asked why, those subjects recalled all the extroverted behavior from their memories, citing those parts of the narrative as evidence for their belief. The scientists then said that Jane was also considering a job as a librarian. The subjects groused upon hearing this, saying that Jane was too outgoing for that kind of environment. For the other group, the order was flipped. They first asked if Jane should take a job as a librarian. Just like the other group, most of the subjects said “yes!” right away, taking an affirmative position by default. When asked why they felt that way, they too searched their memories for confirmation that their hunches were correct and cited all the times they remembered Jane had acted shy. When scientists asked this second group if Jane should go for a real-estate job instead, they were adamantly opposed to the idea, saying Jane was obviously too reserved for a career like that.

Confirmation bias is an active, goal-oriented, effortful process. When tasked to defend your position, even if you just took it, even if you could have taken another, you tend to search for proof, pushing past a threatening, attitude-inconsistent thicket to cherry-pick the fruit of validation.

There is another process though that is just as pernicious but that runs in the background, passive, waiting to come online when challenging information is unavoidable, when it arrives in your mind uninvited. This psychological backup plan for protecting your beliefs is called motivated skepticism.

Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler saw the power of motivated skepticism when they confronted anti-vaxxers with a variety of facts aimed at debunking myths concerning a connection between the childhood MMR vaccine and autism. In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, they explain how they were successful at softening those subjects’ beliefs in those misconceptions, yet those same people later reported that they were even less likely to vaccinate their children than subjects who received no debunking information at all. The corrections backfired.

As I’ve written before, “when your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.” In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast, the second in a series on the The Backfire Effect, we explore how motivated skepticism fuels this bizarre phenomenon by which correcting misinformation can cause people to become even more certain in their incorrect beliefs. (This is a link to part one in the series).

This episode’s cookie is espresso dark chocolate sent in by Sarah Hendrickson.

Links and Sources

• The Makes-Sense Stopping Rule: Perkins, D. N., Farady, M., & Bushey, B. In Voss, J. F., Perkins, D. N., & Segal, J. W. (1991). Informal reasoning and education. Hillsdale, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates.

• Jane Confirmation Bias Study: Snyder, Mark, and Nancy Cantor. “Testing Hypotheses about Other People: The Use of Historical Knowledge.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 15.4 (1979): 330-42.

• Vaccine Corrections Study: Nyhan, B., J. Reifler, S. Richey, and G. L. Freed. “Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial.” Pediatrics 133.4 (2014).


Previous Episodes

Part One of this Series

Boing Boing Podcasts

Cookie Recipes

The Backfire Effect

Effective Messages in Vaccine Promotion: A Randomized Trial

Study: You Can’t Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind

Vaccine Opponents Can Be Immune to Education

Brendan Nyhan on Twitter

Brendan Nyhan’s Website

Jason Reifler’s Twitter

Jason Reifler’s Website

Music in this episode donated by: Mogwai

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First Impressions: How to Make Sure You Are Remembered for the Right Reasons

We’ve all had that time when we flubbed a first impression. That time when we were set to meet someone for the first time and something went really wrong.

Perhaps it was the poppyseeds in the teeth from the morning bagel? Or a skirt tucked into the pantyhose at the back, revealing more than you ever intended? Or the piece of toilet paper dragging on the bottom of your shoe?

It’s all fodder for a stand up comedy act. But a bad first impression doesn’t have to be the result of something as major as the skirt in the pantyhose. It can stem from something as simple as terrible listening skills or negative body language.

Read on a for a few tips on making a good impression, with some specific suggestions for those times when you are most likely to need them.

Active listening

active listening

Tell me if there is anything worse than someone who isn’t listening when you’re speaking to them? You can tell from the look on their face that they’re working out what to say next and it will probably have no bearing on what you’ve been saying whatsoever. Or they are thinking about what they’re going to have for lunch? Either way, it doesn’t make a solid first impression.

A great way to make a good first impression is to be engaged. Listening to what the person in front of you is saying and responding to it accordingly. Parrot back some of their words, so that they know that you have heard them and ask them relevant questions, which incites them to keep talking. The thing most people want most in the world is to be heard. If they didn’t, Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t have a leg to stand on as social media platforms.  

See Also: How Listening Makes You The Strongest Person In Any Given Room

Body language counts 

In the same vein as active listening is body language. We say a lot without saying a word when we meet someone, particularly someone new. The non-verbal cues that the other person picks up from us are just as important as the verbal ones.

For example, not shaking hands with someone who offers theirs and if they don’t offer, not offering yours, can be taken as a snub. Having your arms folded across your chest while someone is talking might seem comfortable for you, but to others, it has the appearance of negativity, of a closed mind to what they are saying. It can even appear aggressive.  

Facial expressions are part of body language. Some of us have what’s known as a ‘resting bitch face’. This is where our normal face looks sad or mad, even when that’s not what we’re feeling at all. If you’ve been told you have that, be aware of it when you’re meeting new people. Make an effort to avoid it. 

Good eye contact is another great way to make sure that your first impression is a good one. Eye contact is a positive, engaged reaction to someone else. Looking over their shoulder, at the floor or worse, at some part of their body, is not. 

Good conversation starters 

good conversation starters

The old adage says that you should always stay away from religion and politics. In this day and age, that’s probably more true than it’s ever been before. There are certain topics that should be off limits until you know someone fairly well. Pontificating your views on touchy issues can lead quickly to a negative impression. Assuming things about the person you’re meeting is also fraught. Example? you don’t want to talk about the senior’s discount at the shop you’re standing in front of with someone who MIGHT not be a senior!

So what’s safe, besides the weather? It’s always safe to ask the other person about themselves. Most people like to talk about something they know a lot about and what better topic is there than oneself? It will also give you the chance to pick up on something they have said and expand on it, using those active listening skills, all while you are maintaining good eye contact and after a vigorous handshake.

Just don’t ask “what do you do?” or one of the other standard conversation non-starters (see below!) Instead, you can ask things like “So, what should I know about you that I can’t read about on your LinkedIN profile?”

Other options?

  • If someone has introduced you to this new person, ask them how they know that person.
  • If you’re at an event, ask them if they’ve ever attended something similar before.
  • If you’re at a new job, ask about the best part of their week so far.

If they’re not talkative about themselves, avoid asking the same benign questions that people always ask. They don’t lead to great conversations, on the whole: 

  • What do you do?
  • Are you married?
  • Where are you from?
  • How are you?

See Also: How To Keep A Conversation Going With 8 Different Topics

#1 tip for first impressions at a social gathering

Compliments are your new best friend. If someone has a handbag you admire, walk up to them and say so. The person you are speaking with will be happy to receive a compliment, albeit indirect, and it’s a good way to begin a conversation. But be genuine: if you are faking it, it will show. 

#1 tip for first impressions on a date

Be positive. Even if things go wildly wrong: the waiter drops soup on your date; a passing cab splashes both of you as you stand waiting to cross the street; whatever happens, take it in stride and remain positive. Nothing says ‘loser’ like a 34 year old having a tantrum in the middle of the street. 

#1 tip for first impressions on the playground 

Making new friends as an adult is HARD, particularly breaking into the ‘mommy cliques’ at the playground of your children’s school. Avoid talking about anything related to the school and instead approach a group and ask their opinion on the best place in the neighborhood to get a haircut for Little Timmy. They’ll be more than happy to share their wisdom and you’ve got an in by being open and curious.

#1 tip for first impressions online

These days, you are just as likely to ‘meet’ someone for the first time in the digital arena as in the real world, so it’s vital that your online image is clean. I’m not referring to your picture or avatar, though these should be suited to the platform (LinkedIN: professional; Facebook: fun but not awkward; Twitter: something more than the egg).

Search for yourself regularly on search engines and social media to see what people will find when they look you up, because they will look you up and you don’t want to find embarrassing shots of you knocking back shooters in your underwear as the first link they find.

#1 tip for first impressions in any situation: men vs. women

The thing that men are most impressed by? Eye contact and a good handshake – nothing limp or ‘wet fish’ like. For women? Eye contact as well, plus a genuine smile. So men and women might not be as different as originally thought!

At the end of the day, you have three to five seconds to make a first impression. Make it a good one.

The post First Impressions: How to Make Sure You Are Remembered for the Right Reasons appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Tips On Staying Healthy On Your Next Vacation

Vacations should never be your excuse for having bulges and getting unhealthy. There are a lot of ways you can do to stay fit and healthy while on your most awaited vacation.

Below are a handful of things you can consider to make your next vacation all worth while.

Go With Fitness Buddies

fitness buddy

Definitely! A good way to stay healthy on your vacation is to go with people who have the same goals as yours. Avoiding unhealthy foods and still working on your regular exercise every day are a few of the things that your fitness buddies would encourage you to do even during vacation.

Fitness buddy will definitely encourage and push you to stay healthy during holidays.

Keep Moving And Use Your Body

Yes, you are on a vacation, thus sitting, lying down, sleeping and eating all day is not the reason why you are out of town or country. Keep moving and use your body.

If the tourist destination or location where you plan to visit is just near, you might as well walk. Use stairs instead of elevators.  Enjoy the tourist spots, walk around, and enjoy the ambiance.

If you are on a vacation, never stay just in your rooms. If that is your plan, just better stay at home and watch television. You did not travel far, spend money and make reservations just so you can sleep and lie down all day in bed.

Eat Healthily – Don’t Forget To Maintain Your Weight

eat healthy

Most places we visit have local specialties and cuisines. Sure, you can try them all but make sure it is in moderation. Maintaining your weight is definitely a priority but that does not mean you will deprive yourself of eating dishes that you may never try somewhere else.

Go ahead and have a taste of what they can offer but make sure that your guards are up and still in control. Eating healthy should happen every day, wherever you are, wherever you go.

You would not want the sacrifices you did for months or even years to go to waste just for few days you are on a vacation.

See Also: 10 Essential Vitamins for Frequent Travelers 

Opt For Fitness-Based Vacations

Instead of the usual vacations you do, try something different. Try something that can encourage and hype your interest in getting and staying fit and healthy. Go hiking, mountain-climbing and the like. You can also opt to visit spa resorts that have an emphasis on wellness.

If the place you will visit cannot offer too many activities, at least choose accommodations that have an indoor gym.

Come Back Rejuvenated

Make sure that after your vacation, you feel completely energized and rejuvenated. The real deal for having a vacation is to get you out for a moment from your real world and relax. This is a good way to recuperate. Vacations should make you feel like you are starting fresh and anew.

Needless to say, vacations are something that everyone look forward to, but still, never let them be your reason or excuse to be unhealthy. Make your vacation and fitness work hand and hand to ensure that when you get back from your vacation, you are still as fit and healthy or better.

See Also:  Steps To Reinvent Your Life By Traveling 


The post 5 Tips On Staying Healthy On Your Next Vacation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping

When you’ve had a long and tiring workout, you just want to go home and sleep. You feel satisfied knowing that when you wake up, you’re ready to take on another day at the gym for successful growth.

How do we fall asleep?

In a simple manner, your internal body clock recognizes your environment. When it is bright, your brain signals to your body that it is daytime. When it is dark or night time, your body automatically releases a chemical called melatonin. You will start to feel drowsy as your melatonin level increases.

If you’re a bodybuilder and you’re aiming for a more muscular size, don’t disregard the importance of sleeping. There are certain hormones released for muscle reconstruction during sleep. You will recharge your mind and mentally recuperate to prepare for your next day’s workout during your sleep.

Benefits and the importance of sleeping

sleeping pattern

How many hours?

How long do we have to sleep? If we lack sleep, we feel weak and don’t want to get up from bed. If you give in and oversleep though, all you get is feeling even sleepier and a throbbing headache.

According to National Sleep Foundation, there is a specific number of hours we should be sleeping depending on which age group we belong to.

0-3 Months —> 12-18
4-11 Months —> 14-15
1-2 Years —> 12-14
3-5 Years —> 11-13
6-13 Years —> 10-11
14-17 Years —> 8.5-9.5
18-25 Years —> 7-9
26-64 Years —> 7-9
65+ —> 7-8

What are the benefits to my body?

It’s a win-win situation when you get enough sleep every day. Here is what happens when you don’t lack sleep:

• Your body regulates insulin to control your blood sugar thus lowering your risk for diabetes.
• During sleep, your body recovers. It repairs damaged cells. Your muscles grow and heal themselves during your sleep.
• Natural growth hormones are released. It is important for children, teens, and adults.
• Your immune system strengthens during your sleep. It helps you fend off common sicknesses that you may otherwise catch from the people around you and your environment.

Enhanced Performance and Senses

alert in school

When you’ve only had a few hours of sleep, the tendency is that you feel uncomfortable throughout your day. You will only disappoint yourself by not performing well in your activities. Sufficient sleep improves your performance in a significant way.

• You’ll have a lower chance of getting into car accidents because you will be aware of the hazards around you. If you drive and you still feel a little bit sleepy, your life is already at risk.
• You won’t feel lazy in your line of work because you are well rested. You wouldn’t want to get fired just because you are caught sleeping on the job, do you?
• As a student, listening to lectures won’t be hard because you can focus more on lessons.

See Also: Personality & Sleep: How To Be More Productive At Work

Importance of Sleeping for My Muscles

I have been lifting for around six years now and I have experienced the importance of discipline in my workouts, maintaining a proper diet, and getting all the sleep I can get. I have been working hard for it because I wanted to improve my body and see what I can do with it.

I started lifting when I was in 3rd-year high school because it was a fad amongst my friends. I would always stay up late because of my school works and my social life. I never saw the importance of sleeping to grow muscle. One day, I realized that I wasn’t getting any bigger, and I always looked tired. My performance in lifting was getting poorer and poorer every single day. I didn’t think it was my diet though because I was eating clean.

It wasn’t until the summer break when I was finally getting enough rest and sleep that I noticed an improvement in my lifting performance. My lifts increased. I was burning excess fat and gaining leaner muscle.

That’s when I realized that I should never take the amount of time to rest for granted. Lifting weights is just a part of the process, and the diet is just another. Rest and sleep is just as essential for muscle growth.

Sleeping Advice for Muscle Growth

No more lifting near bedtime

• Even after your workout, your adrenaline is still pumping. You’ll likely toss and turn if you lift too near before your sleeping time.

Turn off your electronic devices

• Your senses reactivate themselves under the influence of light. Make sure to turn off your gadgets. Using your mobile phone or tablet disrupts the production of melatonin thus making you wide awake.

Keep to your sleeping schedule

• Keep track of your sleeping schedule. If your sleeping schedule gets disrupted, you will have difficulties sleeping and waking up on time.

Control your caffeine intake

• For the coffee lovers out there, coffee makes you more hyperactive and will keep you from falling asleep easily. I suggest that you only take caffeine in the morning, and the latest would be in the afternoon.

See Also: Are You Sleep Deprived? 8 Health Risks Of Poor Sleep 


Sleep deficiency, in general, is harmful to us. It can do a lot of damage and in an instant, it can take away one’s life. The importance of sleeping is bliss. With our fast-paced culture today, we need to find time to get enough sleep as much as we can.


The post Get Strong, Sleep, Repeat: The Importance Of Sleeping appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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You Can Burn Your Calories Just By Sitting

Sitting alone for a few hours is very detrimental to health. The less you move and the less activity you do, the less fuel you burn in your body which means you burn fewer calories that lead to obesity and other weight-related risks.

Fortunately, it is a good thing to know now that even in sitting alone, you can burn calories! You may actually lose weight and achieve your body goals even if your priorities require you to sit for a very a long time.

Hese are some ways you could burn those calories while sitting down:

Laugh A Lot

laugh a lot

Laughter is the best medicine. It is very true in this case because laughing makes you sweat no matter what you do or in what position you are. Laughing a lot throughout your day will make you lose significant amounts of calories. In addition, it creates a very positive mood for yourself and everybody around you.

Replace Your Chair

If you intend to lose some of those fats and calories, you may want to change and replace your current chair. Invest in an adequate chair that can help you shed those extra pounds.

You may actually check a new stability ball and use it as a chair. In fact, these exercise balls can help you lose an extra 100 calories an hour depending on your activity and how much you weigh. Moreover, an exercise ball will help you to strengthen your core, legs, and back for a more toned-looking appearance.

Keep Cool

Turn down the heat and keep it cool. Cold temperature can help you lose weight effectively. Your body naturally adjusts itself to maintain a balanced temperature. The cooler your environment, the harder your body works to keep you warm.

Dance In Your Seat

It is not prohibited for you exert those extra moves. You may want to turn up the volume and dance to the beat. You’ll be stretching your body and burning calories at the same time!

Snack Often

People who are in fitness and weight-loss programs know this rule very well. To keep you from eating way heavier meals, try to eat small and healthy snacks every now and then. It will make you feel full and hinders you from eating unhealthy and inappropriate meals like fast food fixes or sugary snacks.

See Also: How to Lose Weight… By Snacking

Stay Hydrated


It is always important to keep a bottle of water beside you especially when you are trying to lose some weight. In actuality, drinking water is a very effective technique when you are on a diet and weight loss program. Water is essential to a lot of metabolic processes in your body causing you to burn more calories.

Squeeze In Tiny Tone-Ups

Sitting doesn’t require you to only be in a dormant state. Do some stretches every now and then to keep your blood in proper circulation. These few stretching activities throughout the day can relax your muscles and burn a few calories.

Breathe Deeply

Breathing deeply has many health benefits. It helps you to relax and reduce stress. Stress hormones are responsible for your sweet and unhealthy cravings. By reducing stress and bringing yourself to a calmer state, it is easier for you to avoid bingeing and fixating on sweets.

In addition, breathing deeply improves circulation which again aids in metabolism and helps burn calories faster.

Sneak In A Nap

Naps are as important as your 8-hour sleep. These are actually barriers from your hunger-regulating hormones. The more naps you take every now and then, the more your hormones get satisfied. As a matter of fact, researches today show that people could decrease 55% of their extra calories just by taking naps.

See Also: 7 Easy Tips on How to Get the Perfect Nap 

Just by applying these little tips and tricks to your daily routine can have a big impact to your overall health and help you burn those extra calories. Good luck!


The post You Can Burn Your Calories Just By Sitting appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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This MP made a 'Trainspotting'-inspired anti-Brexit speech and it was epic


A Scottish MP has delivered a soul-stirring, anti-Brexit speech in Parliament, inspired by the famous “choose life” monologue from Trainspotting

While MPs debated and voted on triggering Article 50 — which will start the process to get Britain out of the European Union — Hannah Bardell said she saw Trainspotting 2 recently and it inspired her. 

Inspired by #Trainspotting2 – I wanted to highlight that Scotland did not choose #Brexit, it chose life, in the EU

— Hannah Bardell MP (@HannahB4LiviMP) February 1, 2017 Read more…

More about Monologue, Brexit, T2, Trainspotting, and Watercooler

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Beyoncé's pregnancy photo destroyed Instagram record because of course it did


Sorry, Selena Gomez, you no longer have the most-liked photo on Instagram. 

That honor now belongs to (who other than) Beyoncé, whose pregnancy announcement photo has more than 7,400,000 likes at the time of this writing. 

The photo, which has been online for just over half a day, also has more than 360,000 comments.

More about Instagram, Beyonce, Social Media, and Music

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This Bollywood actor has launched stickers styled on looks from her movies


Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor has done a Kim Kardashian by launching in-app stickers styled after her. 

The stickers are inspired by her looks from the films Neerja, Aisha, Khoobsurat, I Hate Luv Storys and Dolly Ki Doli. Kapoor posted an in-app message announcing the new feature. 

She wrote: “Hey Tribe, now you can react just like I would, simply by using any of these stickers. Just adding a little more Sonam to the Sonam Kapoor App.”

She also shared a preview of it on Instagram. 

More about Films, Stickers, Emojis, Apps, and Bollywood

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Forget Prince George, the Prince of Bhutan is the OG royal baby


Many people might immediately associate the term “royal baby” with the UK’s Prince George, but we think Bhutan has got a cuter kid in its ranks.

Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck is Bhutan’s youngest royal, who just so happens to be turning 1 on Feb. 5. 

To commemorate the occasion, the Bhutanese website Yellow has made the Crown Prince the cover model for the February edition of its desktop calendar. 

The website promises the photo will “melt your heart,” and with those puffy cheeks, a regal-looking yellow robe and that smile, it sure does. Read more…

More about Photography, Asia, Baby, Royal Baby, and Prince

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You can finally control YouTube videos playing on a TV from your iPhone's lock screen


If you have an iPhone and use Chromecast streaming dongle a lot, you can now thank Google for finally bringing some peace to your life. 

Users no longer have to go through the pain of unlocking their iPhone (or iPad, for that matter) every time they wanted to forward or rewind the YouTube video they are beaming on the TV. 

The welcome feature comes as part of an update Google rolled out to YouTube on Thursday. Google isn’t limiting the new feature to its Chromecast, fortunately. It says users who wish to control YouTube playback on smart TVs and other devices such as gaming consoles can do so now from the lock screen. Read more…

More about Lock Screen, Iphone, Google, Chromecast, and Youtube

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This Filipino guy channels his inner Miss Universe by strutting in six-inch heels and speedos


A Filipino guy has become the stuff of legends after a video of him doing a catwalk in only a bright blue speedo and a pair of six-inch heels went viral. 

Sinon Loresca posted a video of himself on Sunday ahead of the Miss Universe competition strutting his stuff in support of Miss Philippines Maxine Medina.

Though Miss Medina failed to win the crown, Loresca’s video has won big time — with his video reaching 6.5 million views on Facebook and over 50,000 views on Instagram.

For the Philippines 🇵🇭 #missuniverse walk of fame 👠👠👑

A video posted by 🅾️FFICIAL 🅰️CCOUNT 🇵🇭 (@sinonloresca) on Read more…

More about Miss Universe, Philippines, and Watercooler

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Oil spill off India's southern coast leaves fisherman stranded, marine life impacted


India’s southern coast witnessed a massive oil spill on Saturday when two oil tankers collided at Ennore Port, north of Chennai city. Subsequently, the area has been enveloped by over 20 tonnes of oil and 40 tonnes of toxic substances keeping local fishermen at bay. 

Fishermen around Marina Beach, which is considered the world’s second longest urban beach, fear venturing into the sea because crude oil contains carcinogens and the port authorities haven’t provided them with protective gear, The News Minute reportedRead more…

More about Fishermen, Coastal Zone, Oil Spill, News, and India

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You can now play Bill Gates' first PC game and run over donkeys on your iPhone, Apple Watch


Bill Gates may be best known for co-founding the world’s largest software firm Microsoft and his philanthropy work, but not a lot of people know he also programmed the first PC game.

In 1981, Gates co-wrote DONKEY.BAS, a game written in BASIC programming language which saw the protagonist run over donkeys who appeared before the car.

Since the operating systems our computers run today look nothing like anything that people in 1981 rocked, a good samaritan has released the iconic game to Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch devices.  Read more…

More about Iphone, Apple Watch, Arcade Games, Games, and Donkey

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Sony’s profit drops 84% to $169M as film business takes $920M write-down

shutterstock sony Sony’s PlayStation business was one of a few bright spots from its latest financial report, which was over-shadowed by a near-billion dollar write-down for its film business. The Japanese tech giant posted a 19.6 billion JPY ($169 million) profit on revenue of 2,397.5 billion JPY ($20.7 billion) for Q3. Revenue was down seven percent year-on-year, but net profit sunk by 84 percent… Read More

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Indonesia's largest fleet of taxis teams up to beat ride-hailing apps


There is a war being waged for Jakarta’s nine million commuters, and the country’s largest traditional taxi company just made a huge play to counter the rising threat from the ride-hailing competition.

Blue Bird, which runs a fleet of 23,000 taxis across the country, announced on Thursday it was teaming up with another big traditional player, Go-Jek.

Go-Jek, which dominates the motorcycle taxi market, has expanded in recent years to cars, under its Go-car feature. 

The move is a strategic one, aimed at tackling a big announcement also made on Thursday by Grab, the reigning ride-hailing app. Read more…

More about Grab, Go Jek, Blue Bird, Ride Hailing Apps, and Taxi

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'Idol' contestant besieged by pro-Trump Twitter users because of his name


Twitter and mistaken identities go hand in hand. Seems like not a day goes past that someone isn’t getting the hate (or praise) that’s meant for someone else with the same name.

This particular story is a little more unusual though, given that it involves a comedian, a famous musician and, uh, the son of the President Of The United States.

See, Shannon Noll is an American comedian known for her off-kilter impressions, as well as her self-described likeness to Barron Trump. In fact, she’s putting on a play called Barron Trump: Up Past Bedtime. But the controversial decision to “take aim” at Trump’s 10-year-old son means she’s coming serious under fire.  Read more…

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Uber bows to government pressure and suspends its service in Taiwan

BEIJING, CHINA - 2016/10/08: UBER art station in Beijing CBD.  There are 8 UBER art stations in Beijing, each with a sculpture made by some of China's promising modern designers, provided especially for the carpooling riders and drivers to gather and find each other easily. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images) Uber is suspending its service in Taiwan following an ongoing stand-off with the government. The ride-sharing firm confirmed in a blog post that its service will be “paused” from February 12. Uber isn’t saying when it will resume in the country, where it is present in four cities, but it hopes that the move will “reset the conversation” and help push through… Read More

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Twitter staff donate $1.59M to the ACLU to fight Trump on immigration

twitter headquarters Twitter is the primary communication platform for U.S. President Trump, but that hasn’t stopped staff of the social media company from donating to one of the most prominent organizations opposing him. Nearly 1,000 employees made a $1.59 million donation to ACLU, which fought Trump’s recent executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the U.S. and is… Read More

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Grab is investing $100M in startups to help it battle Uber in Southeast Asia

grab2 Grab is upping its battle against Uber in Southeast Asia by announcing a flurry of new initiatives in Indonesia, the region’s largest economy and world’s fourth most populous country, which include setting aside $100 million to invest in startups. Today the Singapore-based company, which is valued at $3 billion and claims 33 million downloads, announced what it is dubbing… Read More

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'Bachelor' contestant couple slam claims they're in a fake relationship


It’s hard enough being in femmes same-sex relationship in an often homophobic world, but when you’re in the public eye, there’s even more chance people will doubt you.

The internet collectively rejoiced when contestants on The Bachelor in Australia, Tiffany Scanlon and Megan Marx, announced they’d found love with each other, rather than the “Bachelor,” while competing on the show.

But after fellow contestant and so-called “villain” Keira Maguire said their relationship was just for publicity and “definitely fake,” the pair have hit back at criticism.

More about Australia, The Bachelor, Keira Maguire, Tiffany Scanlon, and Megan Marx

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Milo Yiannopoulos speech at UC Berkeley canceled after campus protests

Image: One of Milo’s lesser-seen incarnations, “Ivana Wall,” speaking at a previous academic engagement. Say the name out loud and you’ll get the joke. “Right about now your dick is probably confused,” read one of the slides on stage during the performance. Image: Reddit.

Pro-Trump and extremist right wing/white supremacist personality Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to deliver a speech at U.C. Berkeley, but his appearance was canceled by university officials tonight after big protests on campus that got out of hand with some people setting some objects on fire. No arrests or injuries reported.

Yiannopoulos is doing a speaking tour on college campuses to promote his male “Privilege” scholarship fund.


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Crunch Report | Kickstarter Acquires Huzza

Kickstarter acquires video streaming company Huzza, Amazon is planning to build a $1.5 billion air cargo hub and MIT creates a robot with a soft touch. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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New space pics show off the greatest kitten toe beans in all the universe


As if you had any doubt that cats are the original space cadets. 

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) proves once and for all that cats and space belong together, releasing a new image that showcases some glorious cat toe beans in space. 

The Cat’s Paw Nebula (as it’s legit called) was first viewed by UK scientist John Herschel in 1837, according to the ESO. Might he could only make out the brightest “toepad.” Since then, the full extent of the space paw has become visible and impressed humans with its “God’s kitten about to swipe some cosmic crap off the universe’s coffee table” likeness.  Read more…

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Donald Trump is being a total 'mean girl' to world leaders right now


Australia is traditionally one of the United States’ besties, but it’s looking more like the Gretchen Wiener (at best) of the Regina George-ruled highschool that is the Donald Trump presidency.

A report by the Washington Post said that Trump was a total mean girl, during what was meant to be a cordial phone call with the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Trump reportedly told Turnbull that it “was the worst call by far” out of a number of conversations with world leaders, which included Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Trump also chose to end the call 25 minutes in, despite there usual one hour time window. Read more…

More about Relations, Foreign Policy, Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister, and Donald Trump

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This Super Bowl ad for Mexican avocados has nothing to do with Trump


As Donald Trump’s suggested Mexican import tax thrusts avocados into the center of a fiery political debate, the very first commercial to air during this Sunday’s Super Bowl will make the case for buying them from suppliers south of the border.

The organization behind the ad, however, would rather you didn’t talk about politics.

Avocados from Mexico, a group that advertises on behalf of Mexican avocado growers and exporters, has done its best to stay out of the political fray even as its livelihood became a trending topic on social media last week. Read more…

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This robot may have just ruined your sick day


Although robots may soon go to space, it’s still difficult to build one that people genuinely want around the home and office.

Marita Cheng thinks she’s succeeded. Based in Melbourne, her company Aubot has built a telepresence robot that can be controlled by the brain. Although it’s particularly useful for people with disabilities who have limited mobility, Cheng thinks it could also be helpful for a range of users. 

Basically, she’s cancelled your sick day: “Rather than missing out on work when they’re sick, they can send the robot to work,” she told Mashable. “They can still go to meetings at work by putting on this headset and participating via our telepresence robot.” Read more…

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Report: Pokémon Go has now crossed $1 billion in revenue

LookOut-pokemon-go Pokémon Go was 2016’s rocket ship — it broke download records and it raced to $500 million in revenue quicker than any app in history. Now it won yet another accolade, the fastest game to reach $1 billion. That’s according to a new report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower. To give the record some context, a recent App Annie report estimated that iOS and Android… Read More

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Salesforce acquires Sequence to build out its UX design services

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-01-31-39 Salesforce has made another acquisition that underscores how the CRM and cloud software giant is looking to sell more services to its customers that complement the software they are already buying. It has acquired Sequence, a user experience design agency based out of San Francisco and New York that works with brands like Best Buy, Peets, Apple, Google and many more. The news was announced… Read More

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AP: In call with Mexican president, Trump threatened invasion. White House says it didn't happen.

The Associated Press reports that Donald Trump “threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop ‘bad hombres down there’ unless the Mexican military does more to control them itself.”

The excerpt of the call did not make clear who exactly Trump considered “bad hombres,” — drug cartels, immigrants, or both — or the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s response.

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt seen by the AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

A person with access to the official transcript of the phone call provided an excerpt to The Associated Press. The person gave it on condition of anonymity because the administration did not make the details of the call public.

Andrew Beatty reports that the White House denies it.

Every day is another alarm joining the cacophony, with no way to tell which is real and which is just noise.

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AccessMap finds routes that avoid common pitfalls for those with limited mobility

access-map-screenshot1 If you ask a mapping app for walking directions from point A to point B, it’ll do its best, but what if you happen to be in a wheelchair? The apps don’t have information on curb cuts, safe crossings, construction sites that interrupt sidewalks and so on. AccessMap attempts to address this shortcoming, and now offers route-finding in Seattle that takes into account the… Read More

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