Day: March 2, 2017

Kale Pesto

Kale Lemon Pesto

Move over basil, kale would like some room at the pesto table!

I recently needed some pesto for a recipe and thought I would pick some up ready made at the market. Oops! I forgot, basil is a warm weather plant, and it and its pesto are hard to find around here in winter.

No problemo. It’s easy enough to make pesto from scratch with kale. Like its basil pesto cousin, kale pesto is terrific with pasta, potatoes, sandwiches, and with any and everything which calls for pesto.

Continue reading “Kale Pesto” »

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The 'Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillian' series

“Your first doomsday machine is a malevolent, inscrutable wristwatch.”


The Please Don’t Tell My Parents series, by Richard Roberts, is a wonderful young adult series of novels about Penelope Akk and her two friends Claire and Ray. They are normal middle school kids just hoping their superpowers will kick in soon. (more…)

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How Derek Jeter's once-mocked startup became a sports media powerhouse

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CHRISTOPHER MINESES/ MASHABLE

For the better part of 20 years, Derek Jeter ruled New York like few celebrities before or since.

He wore the Yankees’ pinstripes from 1995 to 2014, racking up more hits than anyone who wore them before. Was called “Mr. November” for his habit of coming up huge en route to five World Series titles, and “The Captain” because that’s what he was.

Deep in the belly of the American media machine, he became renowned — and resented — for exercising meticulous control over his public image: Late-inning heroics in the Bronx, exiting the clubhouse looking fitted for a GQ shoot, whisked through the side-door of a Manhattan hotspot as a pack of reporters shouts futile questions. Read more…

More about Players Tribune, Derek Jeter, Sports, Entertainment, and Sports

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Lorde is back with a euphoric breakup song, 'Green Light'

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Lorde as a woman scorned is furious, yes, but thriving. 

After an appropriate dose of mystery, Lorde dropped her new single, “Green Light,” Thursday, the first off her album, Melodrama. 

In the video, she dances around town shaking her legendary head of hair. 

She left some clues in her native Auckland.  

auckland thank you so much for coming out last night.pic.twitter.com/2AYtggOpGc

— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017

i am so proud of this song. it’s very different, and kinda unexpected. it’s complex and funny and sad and joyous and it’ll make you DANCE

— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017 Read more…

More about Music, Pop Star, Lorde, Entertainment, and Music

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Waste away at Jimmy Buffet's new retirement community

Aging Jimmy Buffett fans, aka Parrotheads, take note! Latitude Margaritavile is a new senior housing community under construction in Daytona Beach, Florida. The facility is scheduled to open in the fall and promises to “reflect Margaritaville’s authentic, ‘no worries,’ tropical vibe.” Sounds lovely. I can just imagine my life there, “nibblin’ on sponge cake, watchin’ the sun bake.”

A Margaritaville-Themed Retirement Community is Coming to Florida(Mental Floss)

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Meet Orisa, the 24th 'Overwatch' hero

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This is Orisa, a quadrupedal robot with an automatic projectile cannon for an arm, and she is the latest hero to join the Overwatch roster.

Revealed today, Orisa is a new, versatile tank hero playable on the public test region on PC now and coming soon to all platforms. She is an omnic modeled after OR-15 defensive bots and was built by Efi Oladele, an 11-year-old genius who has only recently popped up in the Overwatch universe. Orisa’s self-professed primary function is “to keep you safe.”

Orisa has a wide range of abilities as a tank, all of which are laid out on her hero page on the Overwatch website. You can check them all out below: Read more…

More about Blizzard Entertainment, Orisa, Overwatch, Esports, and Gaming

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Floodgate closes sixth fund with $131 million

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-11-00-18-am Floodgate, an 11-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based early stage venture capital firm, has raised $131 million for its sixth fund, according to an SEC filing that shows the firm turned to just eight investors for the capital commitments. Though small by today’s fundraising standards, the fund reflects a bit of a departure for the firm, whose fifth fund closed with $76 million in 2014.… Read More

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Startups and nonprofits set sights on closing the achievement gap through internet access

Internet Login Field With the dawning of the digital age, low-income students face a new, unprecedented challenge: access to high-speed internet. Startups and nonprofits across the country are stepping up to help low-income families connect to the internet. They deliver programs that aim to facilitate the personal, academic and professional growth of their local communities. Read More

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Google Assistant hits more Android devices today

google-assistant Your Android phone is about to get an upgrade. Google today is making good on its promise to bring its Siri alternative known as Google Assistant to more Android devices, starting today. The company announced at Mobile World Congress over the weekend that its Assistant would soon launch in the U.S., followed by English-language launches in Australia, Canada and the U.K., as well… Read More

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Al Franken sending Jeff Sessions letter “to have him explain himself”

When asked this morning on CNN about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ lie regarding his communication with Russia, Sen. Al Franken was generous. “At the very least, this was extremely misleading.” Franken also said, “During the campaign, he made a bald statement that he had not met with the Russians. That’s not true.”

Franken will be sending Sessions a letter “to have him explain himself.”

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Apple's USB-C plans might not kill the Lightning connector

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Calm down, Apple fans. We’re probably not going to lose the Lightning connector — not with the iPhone 8, at least.

The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell on the tech world earlier this week with a report claiming Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 will ditch the company’s standard Lightning connector in favor of a USB-C port. This would be a huge move for Apple – on par with the iPhone 7 killing the headphone jack – as a shift in charging ports would leave loyal iPhone adherents with piles of Lightning-dependent accessories in the lurch

However, new information claims all three of this year’s iPhone models will keep the the Lightning connector, but they’ll adopt USB-C Power Delivery technology for super-fast charging speeds. Reliable Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities shared the news in his latest research note, which first surfaced on MacRumors.     Read more…

More about Rumors, Lightning Port, Usb C, Iphone 8, and Apple

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AWS cloudsplains what happend to S3 storage on Monday

Person watching light column in cloud of blocks AWS took a lot of heat when the its S3 storage component went down for several hours on Monday, and rightly so, but today they published a post-mortem explained exactly what happened complete with technical details and how they plan to prevent a similar event from occurring again in the future. At the core of the problem was unsurprisingly human error. Some poor engineer, we’ll call… Read More

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Young fan saves the day during intense college basketball game

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We’ve got a new sports hero on our hands that will could join the same ranks as Ali, Ruth, Robinson and DiMaggio.

After the ball was knocked over the backboard and got stuck behind the rim at a Fresno State- Boise State basketball game, this young kid saved the day when he was hoisted onto the backboard framework and retrieved the stuck ball. 

The players tried everything to get the ball down, including a broomstick. But, it wasn’t until this boy worked his magic that the game could continue.

MVP! MVP! Read more…

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Young fan saves the day during intense college basketball game

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We’ve got a new sports hero on our hands that will could join the same ranks as Ali, Ruth, Robinson and DiMaggio.

After the ball was knocked over the backboard and got stuck behind the rim at a Fresno State- Boise State basketball game, this young kid saved the day when he was hoisted onto the backboard framework and retrieved the stuck ball. 

The players tried everything to get the ball down, including a broomstick. But, it wasn’t until this boy worked his magic that the game could continue.

MVP! MVP! Read more…

More about Sports, Kids, Ball, Game, and Boy

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Young fan saves the day during intense college basketball game

TwitterFacebook

We’ve got a new sports hero on our hands that will could join the same ranks as Ali, Ruth, Robinson and DiMaggio.

After the ball was knocked over the backboard and got stuck behind the rim at a Fresno State- Boise State basketball game, this young kid saved the day when he was hoisted onto the backboard framework and retrieved the stuck ball. 

The players tried everything to get the ball down, including a broomstick. But, it wasn’t until this boy worked his magic that the game could continue.

MVP! MVP! Read more…

More about Sports, Kids, Ball, Game, and Boy

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Kristen Stewart says text messages are kinda ghosts and who are we to argue?

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In a way, Kristen Stewart texts you every single day just to see how you’re doing. And in another, actually real way, your relationship with Kristen Stewart is completely in your head but still yours to keep. 

The actress, who is promoting her new film about a girl haunted by her brother’s ghost, Personal Shopper, thinks text messages and social media are pretty much just that — your projections. And that’s fine. 

“When you speak to someone on the phone, that is a decipherable, understandable exchange,” she explains to V Magazine. “But with text and social media, it’s essentially a dialogue with yourself and your interpretation of a shadow. It’s not invalid; it’s a new language.” Read more…

More about Actress, Celebrities, Social Media, Kristen Stewart, and Watercooler

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Kristen Stewart says text messages are kinda ghosts and who are we to argue?

TwitterFacebook

In a way, Kristen Stewart texts you every single day just to see how you’re doing. And in another, actually real way, your relationship with Kristen Stewart is completely in your head but still yours to keep. 

The actress, who is promoting her new film about a girl haunted by her brother’s ghost, Personal Shopper, thinks text messages and social media are pretty much just that — your projections. And that’s fine. 

“When you speak to someone on the phone, that is a decipherable, understandable exchange,” she explains to V Magazine. “But with text and social media, it’s essentially a dialogue with yourself and your interpretation of a shadow. It’s not invalid; it’s a new language.” Read more…

More about Actress, Celebrities, Social Media, Kristen Stewart, and Watercooler

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Netflix teases Dave Chappelle's return

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It’s almost time.

Netflix on Thursday uploaded a very short teaser to promote comedian Dave Chappelle’s upcoming specials for the streaming service, his first in 12 years.

The first special will be an original produced by Chappelle and director Stan Lathan.

Netflix said in November that two more never-before-seen episodes will come directly from Chappelle’s “personal comedy vault.”

The comedian’s specials drops March 21. Read more…

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Netflix teases Dave Chappelle's return

TwitterFacebook

It’s almost time.

Netflix on Thursday uploaded a very short teaser to promote comedian Dave Chappelle’s upcoming specials for the streaming service, his first in 12 years.

The first special will be an original produced by Chappelle and director Stan Lathan.

Netflix said in November that two more never-before-seen episodes will come directly from Chappelle’s “personal comedy vault.”

The comedian’s specials drops March 21. Read more…

More about Release Date, Trailer, Comedy Specials, Netflix, and Dave Chappelle

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Lou Reed's archives acquired by New York Public Library

On what would have been Lou Reed’s 75th birthday today, his widow Laurie Anderson announced that the New York Public Library has acquired the musician’s complete archives. To celebrate, the NYPL is hosting displays and events celebrating Reed’s life and work. Details here. Meanwhile, the good people at indie record label and publisher Anthology tweeted that they will work with the library and Reed’s representatives “to publish new works!” From the NYPL:

The Lou Reed Archive includes:

• Original manuscript, lyrics, poetry and handwritten tai-chi notes
• Photographs of Reed- including artist prints and inscriptions by the photographers
• Tour itineraries, agreements, road manager notes & paperwork
• 600+ hours of live recordings, demos, studio recordings and interviews
• Reed’s own extensive photography work
• Album, book, and tour artwork: mock-ups, proofs and match-prints
• Lou Reed album and concert posters, handbills, programs, and promotional items
• Lou Reed press for albums, tours, performances, books, and photography exhibits
• Fan mail
• Personal collections of books, LPs and 45s

The collection documents collaborations, friendships, and relationships with Delmore Schwartz, Andy Warhol, John Cale, Maureen Tucker, Sterling Morrison, Mick Rock, Robert Quine, Sylvia Ramos, Doc Pomus, Václav Havel, Hal Willner, John Zorn, Robert Wilson, Julian Schnabel, and Laurie Anderson.

More at the New York Times: “Lou Reed Archives Head to New York Public Library

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How to imagine 52 factorial

I remember being fascinated by a description of eternity in “The Shepard Boy,” from the Brothers Grimm:

In lower pomerania is the Diamond mountain, which is two miles high, two miles wide, and two miles deep. Every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first second of eternity will be over.

Similarly, Scott Czepiel has a great essay on imagine the immensity of 52!, or 80658175170943878571660636856403766975289505440883277824000000000000, which is the number of ways an ordinary deck of cards can be shuffled:

This number is beyond astronomically large. I say beyond astronomically large because most numbers that we already consider to be astronomically large are mere infinitesimal fractions of this number. So, just how large is it? Let’s try to wrap our puny human brains around the magnitude of this number with a fun little theoretical exercise. Start a timer that will count down the number of seconds from 52! to 0. We’re going to see how much fun we can have before the timer counts down all the way.

Start by picking your favorite spot on the equator. You’re going to walk around the world along the equator, but take a very leisurely pace of one step every billion years. The equatorial circumference of the Earth is 40,075,017 meters. Make sure to pack a deck of playing cards, so you can get in a few trillion hands of solitaire between steps. After you complete your round the world trip, remove one drop of water from the Pacific Ocean. Now do the same thing again: walk around the world at one billion years per step, removing one drop of water from the Pacific Ocean each time you circle the globe. The Pacific Ocean contains 707.6 million cubic kilometers of water. Continue until the ocean is empty. When it is, take one sheet of paper and place it flat on the ground. Now, fill the ocean back up and start the entire process all over again, adding a sheet of paper to the stack each time you’ve emptied the ocean.

Do this until the stack of paper reaches from the Earth to the Sun. Take a glance at the timer, you will see that the three left-most digits haven’t even changed. You still have 8.063e67 more seconds to go. 1 Astronomical Unit, the distance from the Earth to the Sun, is defined as 149,597,870.691 kilometers. So, take the stack of papers down and do it all over again. One thousand times more. Unfortunately, that still won’t do it. There are still more than 5.385e67 seconds remaining. You’re just about a third of the way done.

To pass the remaining time, start shuffling your deck of cards. Every billion years deal yourself a 5-card poker hand. Each time you get a royal flush, buy yourself a lottery ticket. A royal flush occurs in one out of every 649,740 hands. If that ticket wins the jackpot, throw a grain of sand into the Grand Canyon. Keep going and when you’ve filled up the canyon with sand, remove one ounce of rock from Mt. Everest. Now empty the canyon and start all over again. When you’ve leveled Mt. Everest, look at the timer, you still have 5.364e67 seconds remaining. Mt. Everest weighs about 357 trillion pounds. You barely made a dent. If you were to repeat this 255 times, you would still be looking at 3.024e64 seconds. The timer would finally reach zero sometime during your 256th attempt. Exercise for the reader: at what point exactly would the timer reach zero?

Michael Stevens of Vsauce made a good YouTube video visualization of Czepiel’s essay (above).

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NASA released a ton of software for free and here’s some you should try

software-2017-slider NASA has just published its 2017-2018 software catalog, which lists the many apps, code libraries, and tools that pretty much anyone can download and use. Of course, most of it is pretty closely tied to… you know, launching spacecraft and stuff, which most people don’t do. But here are a few items that might prove useful to tinkers and curious lay people alike. Read More

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NASA released a ton of software for free and here’s some you should try

software-2017-slider NASA has just published its 2017-2018 software catalog, which lists the many apps, code libraries, and tools that pretty much anyone can download and use. Of course, most of it is pretty closely tied to… you know, launching spacecraft and stuff, which most people don’t do. But here are a few items that might prove useful to tinkers and curious lay people alike. Read More

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Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman reveal what they'd tell their 'X-Men' characters

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Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart having been playing their X-Men characters for 17 years. That much time creates an indelible relationship between character and actor, and if they could meet their alter-egos, they’d want to say thanks.

“This has been a character that I’ve loved playing. I would say thank you to him, and I’d also like to just put my hand on his shoulder and go ‘You’re okay, man,'” Jackman told Mashable, before adding that the hotheaded Logan might “punch me in the head.”

The two actors take their final adventure with these characters in Logan, out March 3. Read more…

More about Logan Movie, Logan, X Men Franchise, X Men, and Exclusive

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Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman reveal what they'd tell their 'X-Men' characters

TwitterFacebook

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart having been playing their X-Men characters for 17 years. That much time creates an indelible relationship between character and actor, and if they could meet their alter-egos, they’d want to say thanks.

“This has been a character that I’ve loved playing. I would say thank you to him, and I’d also like to just put my hand on his shoulder and go ‘You’re okay, man,'” Jackman told Mashable, before adding that the hotheaded Logan might “punch me in the head.”

The two actors take their final adventure with these characters in Logan, out March 3. Read more…

More about Logan Movie, Logan, X Men Franchise, X Men, and Exclusive

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Ozlo releases a suite of APIs to power your next conversational AI

Illustration of laptop connected to bookshelf Building on its promise to give the entrenched a run for their money, conversational AI startup Ozlo is making its meticulously crafted knowledge layer available for purchase today. Ozlo’s new suite of APIs that includes tools for both expressing knowledge and understanding language will help to democratize the creation of conversational AI assistants. In the spirit of the expert systems… Read More

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Ozlo releases a suite of APIs to power your next conversational AI

Illustration of laptop connected to bookshelf Building on its promise to give the entrenched a run for their money, conversational AI startup Ozlo is making its meticulously crafted knowledge layer available for purchase today. Ozlo’s new suite of APIs that includes tools for both expressing knowledge and understanding language will help to democratize the creation of conversational AI assistants. In the spirit of the expert systems… Read More

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Sign up to volunteer at Disrupt NY

Disrupt London volunteers If you’re looking to roll up your sleeves to help put on the best startup show in the Big Apple, you should definitely sign up to be a TechCrunch Work Exchange Volunteer at Disrupt NY 2017. TechCrunch is thrilled to announce that we are now accepting applications to the Work Exchange at this year’s show in New York City, and we hope you’ll consider joining us.… Read More

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Sign up to volunteer at Disrupt NY

Disrupt London volunteers If you’re looking to roll up your sleeves to help put on the best startup show in the Big Apple, you should definitely sign up to be a TechCrunch Work Exchange Volunteer at Disrupt NY 2017. TechCrunch is thrilled to announce that we are now accepting applications to the Work Exchange at this year’s show in New York City, and we hope you’ll consider joining us.… Read More

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Snap had a very special, very Snapchat lens for its IPO day that you can't get

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On the outside of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Snap Inc.’s IPO looked rather boring.

A yellow background. A black font. Simply the name: Snap Inc. 

TBH this could use the ghost logo $SNAP pic.twitter.com/DPTw37KjAi

— Kerry Flynn 🐶 (@kerrymflynn) March 2, 2017

It seemed so stale for a company beloved by millennials (including me) for its puppy filters and rainbow-vomiting lenses. 

But, turns out there was a surprise hidden inside. It was a discovery, only made, with the help of Twitter: Elite Daily political reporter (and friend) Alexandra Svokos had mentioned me on Twitter in response to Shane Ferro’s question on the matter: Read more…

More about Business, Wall Street, Evan Spiegel, Puppy Filter, and Snap Inc

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Snap had a very special, very Snapchat lens for its IPO day that you can't get

TwitterFacebook

On the outside of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Snap Inc.’s IPO looked rather boring.

A yellow background. A black font. Simply the name: Snap Inc. 

TBH this could use the ghost logo $SNAP pic.twitter.com/DPTw37KjAi

— Kerry Flynn 🐶 (@kerrymflynn) March 2, 2017

It seemed so stale for a company beloved by millennials (including me) for its puppy filters and rainbow-vomiting lenses. 

But, turns out there was a surprise hidden inside. It was a discovery, only made, with the help of Twitter: Elite Daily political reporter (and friend) Alexandra Svokos had mentioned me on Twitter in response to Shane Ferro’s question on the matter: Read more…

More about Business, Wall Street, Evan Spiegel, Puppy Filter, and Snap Inc

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WordPress.com lets you ditch Medium with new import tool

wordpress stickers Publishing platform Medium recently laid off dozens of people. So if you don’t want to hand away your precious writing to a startup that is still looking for its business model, you can move your content to WordPress.com in just a few clicks.
Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, just launched a new importing tool that makes it easier to copy all your Medium content to a… Read More

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WordPress.com lets you ditch Medium with new import tool

wordpress stickers Publishing platform Medium recently laid off dozens of people. So if you don’t want to hand away your precious writing to a startup that is still looking for its business model, you can move your content to WordPress.com in just a few clicks.
Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, just launched a new importing tool that makes it easier to copy all your Medium content to a… Read More

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Blackstorm Labs looks to bring the co-op experience to a Facebook Messenger game

blackstorm boss raids Co-founder Ernestine Fu hopes that Blackstorm Labs, the makers of a bullet hell-ish fantasy shooter called EverWing, has figured out how to tap into that real-time co-operative experience that you might find in a massive online game like World of Warcraft within Facebook Messenger.
The company is calling the experience Boss Raids. EverWing runs on HTML5 within Facebook Messenger, where… Read More

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

The post Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

The post Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is My Cat Going To Drive Me Crazy?

Studies have previously suggested a link between cat ownership and the development of neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. However, a new study published in Psychological Medicine by Francesca Solmi and colleagues at University College London failed to find such a link.

Why would researchers suspect such a link in the first place? This is because of a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma can infect any warm-blooded vertebrate, including people, but it only reproduces in the gut of feline species. When a cat becomes infected with the parasite, it excretes infectious oocysts into the litterbox or elsewhere in the environment for one to two weeks. A new host can acquire the infection through ingestion or inhalation of these oocysts.

Toxoplasma presents a clear danger to two primary groups: immune-compromised patients and unborn children. The latter is why doctors advise pregnant women to avoid changing the litterbox, to wear gloves and a mask while gardening, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Importantly, Toxoplasma can also infect people who consume undercooked meat since the parasite can encyst in muscle tissues of infected animals.

wash fruits and vegetables

See Also: The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Healthy Living

Given these multiple routes of parasite transmission, it is no wonder that Toxoplasma has spread widely around the globe with an estimated one-third of the human population carrying this parasite. Despite its prevalence, most people have not heard of Toxoplasma because it rarely causes symptomatic disease.

However, reports have surfaced over the last fifteen years that Toxoplasma infection may be producing neurological changes in people. Taking up residence as tissue cysts in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, the parasites are never eradicated from the body. Given the parasite’s predilection for the brain, it is tempting to speculate that neurological problems may ensue.

Well-documented studies do indeed show that Toxoplasma causes mice and rats to lose their fear of cat urine. That seems like an oddly specific behavioral change until you recall that the cat is where the parasite completes the sexual stage of its life cycle.

Since 2001, Robert Yolken and E. Fuller Torrey at Johns Hopkins have published many correlative studies showing a link between Toxoplasma infection and schizophrenia. Other neurological problems have also been linked to Toxoplasma infection, as have personality changes.

cat ownership

Since cats are the definitive host and one means of parasite transmission, investigators have been trying to find a link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Yolken and Torrey have published studies suggesting a correlation, but the latest study by Solmi and colleagues contradicts these data.

There are important differences in study design that may account for the discrepancy. The newer study by Solmi’s group used a much larger sample size (nearly 5,000 individuals) than previous studies, and accounted for several confounding variables that could have been misconstrued as a link between cat ownership and neurological disorders. The current study also followed individuals in real-time since the 1990s; previous studies have been retrospective, which relies on the participant’s recollection of the past.

It should also be noted that the current study tracked individuals up to eighteen years for psychotic experiences, which are typically predictive of schizophrenia later in life. Previous studies supporting a link were based on a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia.

None of these studies address whether Toxoplasma actually causes neurological issues in people. This is still an outstanding question that deserves further research. It is estimated that 60 million people in the US are infected with the parasite yet 3.5 million people in the US are schizophrenic. If Toxoplasma is involved with schizophrenia, there must be another factor at play in this relatively small subset of patients.

To date, there is insufficient evidence to declare pet cats to be a cause of mental health problems. Nevertheless, simple precautions can be taken to safeguard you and your cat from getting infected with Toxoplasma. Keep your cat indoors. Do not feed your cat raw or undercooked meat. Finally, clean the litterbox promptly, as it takes a day for the oocysts to mature into an infectious state.

 

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How to Find your Buoy of Safety When You are Drowning in Fear

Have you ever been gripped by paralyzing anxiety? Are you having difficulty overcoming fear?

What I Learned from Panic and Fear

My daughter and I celebrated her high school graduation with a vacation in my home state of Hawaii. To make it extra special, we purchased a zodiac/boat excursion on Kauai to go snorkeling offshore.

The zodiac raft raced us through the azure blue waters with dolphins playfully jumping alongside. We breathed in the salty fresh air and relished the sun’s warmth on our skin.

Once we joined the main boat, we were quickly outfitted with our snorkel gear sans life jacket or float, and jumped in. Not for a moment did I have any hint that I would soon have one of the worst experiences of my life.

We swam in the beautiful waters, floated on the gentle waves, catching glimpses of fish below us. About thirty feet from the boat, I suddenly stopped, panic-stricken. I was sure I was going to drown.

I had passed compulsory swimming classes in grade school, high school, and college. While snorkeling, there was no reason to think I’d drown but fear was immediate.

With a fragile control of my panic, my numb brain reasoned I could swim to the boat if I kept moving slowly toward it, one stroke at a time.

Eventually, I made it back to the boat’s safety, and collapsed onboard, sick to my stomach.

What I Learned about Fear that Day

In my complete panic, I thought I was going to die. Yes, unreasonable—but that thought totally gripped me.

In those moments, I barely hung on to my mind. Thanksfully, lifelong patterns kicked in.

There were others around me. Had I yelled “Help,” I would have been rescued. But my tendency to push down emotions, even strong ones, prevailed, and I couldn’t voice my distress.

Moreover, my early adopted strategy of being self-reliant was so powerful, the thought never occurred to me to ask for help. It was up to me to save myself.

Fear in its primal state reduces us to survival mode because we believe we’re going to die. When fears are the basis for our lives, our choices become limited.

It’s essential to look to see how fear may be running your life, hidden from your awareness.

What Happens When Fear is a Stranger

I’m not a fearful person. Yet when fear arises, it’s extreme and manifests as panic. It’s like someone who represses anger, and out of nowhere rage explodes.

facing fear

The other incident of panic came when I was biking recently. We never learned to ride bikes when we were kids. Consequently, my sisters and I are “dangerous” to self and others when we attempt to ride. But, I decided I was going to become comfortable on a bike.

At the end of my ride, I approached the sidewalk and garage too quickly. When I realized I wasn’t going to turn in time, I panicked, lost grip of the handlebars, hit the garage, and fell to the ground.

Again, extreme fear disabled my mind and my control. But I learned more.

Fears Reveal our Vulnerability

Had I shouted out for help when I believed I was drowning, I would have exposed my helplessness and raw panic to anyone near me. But I was “programmed” to hide such vulnerability–even at the possible cost of my life.

Like many of you, I can hide my vulnerability very well, even from myself.

After all, we are brought up to behave as if raw feelings don’t exist.

What are Our Common Fears?

Fear of failure? Fear of success?

In my view the most common fear is the fear of change.

When people report seeing patterns in their lives, how they
• end up fighting about the same things at every family gathering;
• work in jobs that they hate;
• stay in marriages that are making two people and children miserable
–they cope rather than change.

How about you?

When you decide to make a change, you face an unknown future. The unfamiliar can be uncomfortable.

When you see yourself refusing to make changes to end your suffering, you probably fear change.

These fears may not seem like the same fear I felt when I was headed for the garage door or desperately getting to the boat.

Yet it’s the hidden and powerful fear that runs your life.

See Also: “Feararchy” – The Hierarchy of Fear

What Our Fears Tell Us

When you think of your fears, doesn’t it come down to this? You fear for your safety, a basic survival issue. You believe, I am not safe.

Unfortunately, you may not discover this because you focus on fleeing from this disturbing uncomfortable feeling.

You rarely understand that a personal survival sense of safety is involved when you consider any change.

What You do to Keep Yourself Safe

When you’ve done the conventional things to make yourself feel safe–obtained your education, career, friends and perhaps a family, safety isn’t usually seen as an issue.

But when you don’t have them, you think: I need
• a relationship,
• a better career,
• more money, or
• better friends

You think personal security or safety comes from having certain things in life.

You don’t get to “I feel unsafe.”

Yet any change ultimately stirs issues about safety and survival. You hang on to lifelong beliefs, patterns, and strategies tenaciously, as if survival was at stake.

Your History has Given you Reason to Feel Unsafe

Many of you know your own history of family drama, fighting, illness in the family, accidents, losses, abandonment, betrayal, or abuse that are your reasons for feeling unsafe.

Basic trust was broken when you were young and wounded by neglect. You were alone and needed to feel safe.

If you can imagine a young version of yourself being hurt, feeling lost and desperate, you will sense the instinct to survive rising in response to the fear of dying.

That powerful fear is the driver behind everything you do to survive and make yourself feel safe.

Honor and appreciate it for what it is.

It’s the spirit that kept me swimming to the boat; the spirit behind my decision as a senior to learn to ride a bike.

Crashing and falling to the ground taught me I wasn’t going to die. It was so freeing; I laughed as I picked myself up off the ground.

How Can you Deal Effectively with Fear?

You can lose any one of the basic things in life that you gather to make yourself feel secure–family, friends, partners, money, reputation, or your health at any time.

It’s foolish to rely on external sources for the deep sense of safety you need.

Yet how do we build an internal sense of safety?

Go to the Source for the Truth, Where the Fear Originated

The source of the truth is in the young heart that first experienced the fear. There was no logic or language then, just the instinctive response to hold that fear secret, deep in the heart.

When you can go to this source of your need to feel safe, you can transform the fear.

Your intention takes you there. You don’t need any language. You are there to provide a corrective experience—to make a compassionate connection with the part of you that felt lost, alone, abandoned, and afraid.

A heart-to-heart connection restores trust and a sense of safety. You can be reassuring in your stance–you, the adult, knows with certainty that all the fears, especially the fear of annihilation or death, are not true.

See Also: 5 Tips to Eliminate Fear From Your Life

Other Ways to Have a Sense of Safety

sense of safety

When I see beauty in Nature — flowers, birds, waterfalls, mountains, canyons, meadows—and get absorbed by the beauty of what I see, I forget the fearful me, and I feel safe.
When I appreciate the gifts and full presence of an artist or musician or performer, I forget the small me — safety is no longer an issue.
When I am grateful for what I usually take for granted — the sun that nourishes all life on earth, and the Earth for the oxygen and plants that support our lives–I know I will always have this support and caring.
When I know the space and peace of meditation, I experience myself as something other than the usual me, that has no judgment about death.
The more I connect with Oneness in others and in Nature, there is a sustaining sense of safety.

When We Live through a fear, What Happens?

It was a delightful and relieving experience to read what Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the German plan to demoralize Londoners with the continuous bombing during World War II. The opposite result was a surprise.

When Londoners survived the bombing—living through their worst fears and still being alive, they were invigorated and unstoppable.

Having a fear and moving forward anyway, and learning that the fears were worse than any imagined outcome, is liberating.

Know the Power of Fear and Freedom from Fear

Choose to ride a bike when you’re afraid, panic and fall, to learn that you don’t die.
Choose to make changes because avoiding changes makes life stale or distressing.
Choose to move ahead and risk making mistakes.
Choose to let go of the familiar, to choose what is different, new, and unknown.
Choose to move through fear to learn what lies beyond.

Then you will know freedom, aliveness, and your best dreams realized.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Les Brown

The post How to Find your Buoy of Safety When You are Drowning in Fear appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Living After The Death Of A loved One

I’ve been thinking about death.

My Dad died last year. Diagnosis to death in 5 weeks. A sharp 3-week decline and a 2-week hospital stay. A surgery that was never finished. Cancer had its day.

My friend is fighting off death, just. The big C again. It gets a lot of us. The NHS washed their hands off him. But in his words, “I am not a willing candidate to die.” He’s found advanced treatment in Germany at a cost of £150k.

We’re trying to raise money for him now.

So naturally, death is on my mind. In fact, since my Dad died, I don’t think it’s ever left. Grim has been hanging around, trying to entice me into his home, wanting to add another one to his ledger. He’s wasting his time.

I wish I could say it’s transformed me. That the smell of death has been a timely reminder that life is for a brief sneeze of time. That every second is precious. That life should be seized.

It has, kind of. Lately, it’s sent me to the recesses of my mind to the primeval dwellings where loss, pain and love reside. Like an indefinite Airbnb stay, I’ve been hanging out here.

death hit by a train

And I think loss does that to you. I think it’s like being hit by a train, but not realising you’ve been hit until you wake up from the coma you’ve been in for the last 6 months. And then you hurt. Basic function for 6 months, just about connecting with reality, and then massive constant pain.

The sort of pain that induces lethargy in the day but keeps you up all night. The sort of pain that makes you relive conversations and edit them for better outcomes. The sort of pain that blunts your reality, right here, right now.

And, like climbing out of quicksand, dealing with it can be hard. The first step is to acknowledge you’re in quicksand. Acknowledge the emotional pain you’re in, and then be still until you understand what that means. Only then can you begin to deal with it.

I’m writing this to say that struggling to deal with loss is okay. That you are not alone. That, you are suffering along a journey that millions of others before you have dealt with, and you can take comfort from that. They got through it, and so can you.

It’s hard, yes. If you acknowledge that, instead of carrying it with you, it gets easier. Realise that you’re human, that it’s okay to hurt, and that even the tiniest pitter patter of steps forward is progress.

In fact, largely, you soon realise that dealing with loss is hard, not just because of the loss itself, but because of the expectation you place on yourself that you should be fine about it.

“Just get on with it.” “You’ve got to keep living.” And so on. You find yourself comparing daily to the imaginary measuring stick you’ve set for yourself. “I should be doing better by now.” Like we do with our careers, or comparing with our friends. But worse, because this is pure loss.

So you’ve got to get rid of that measuring stick, and realise that it will take as long as it takes. Sure, there are ways to deal with it better, but time is the ultimate judge.

In fact, some loss never leaves us, and that’s okay. Do I think my Mum will ever fully heal from losing my Dad? No, because it was a 48-year old love. A deep-rooted, soulful kind of love. And the loss of that is the reminder of the love that was there. And so it can’t fully heal because of how deeply they loved each other.

coping with loss

And that’s fine. Because we can take that loss and use it daily as a reminder of how capable of love we are. We can say, “Today I hurt from loss, and I am going out into the world and expressing love. In my interactions, in my relationships, in my career.

Sharing is also liberating. Talking to others, sharing your pain. It gives the other person the chance to express their love and it helps to fill your empty cup. It creates new connections and new possibilities.

See Also: How To Get Back a Normal Life After a Loss

My friend who is battling death is a wonderful example. Stoic-like, he says to me, “I can acknowledge this is what happened (getting ill). Then I have two choices. I can either let the pain I feel own me and overwhelm me, and I’ll die. Or I can use it, acknowledge it, and solve the problem in front of me (getting better).”

So dealing with pain means acknowledging pain and going into the world anyway. It’s not pretending it doesn’t exist. That’s the same as being shaped by it. Instead, it’s saying, “Hello pain, hello loss, I see you,” and then getting from your day anyway.

See Also: 8 Tips for Coping with Pet Loss

 

The post Living After The Death Of A loved One appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Breeze through 32 locations in Asia in this breathtaking hyperlapse video

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Ever wanted to see more of Asia?

Now you can live vicariously through two backpackers, who spent six months travelling through 32 locations in Asia.

Swiss couple Sylvain Botter and Jenny Gehrig of Lytchee TV visited Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China and Myanmar to make this hyperlapse video. 

Watch as these nine countries whiz by in a blur, and dream about your next trip in the region. Read more…

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Chat app Line is developing an AI assistant and Amazon Echo-style smart speaker

line nyse 2 Messaging app Line is taking a leaf out of the books of Amazon, Google and others after it launched its own artificial intelligence platform. A voice-powered concierge service called Clova — short for “Cloud Virtual Assistant” — is the centerpiece of the service, much like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Assistant. Beyond the assistant… Read More

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Japan's biggest messenger is taking on Amazon's Alexa

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Amazon’s Alexa may be up against big competition. 

South Korean internet giant Naver, which runs Line, Japan’s biggest messaging app, unveiled on Wednesday its own AI virtual assistant. 

The new assistant is called Clova, and will be entirely voice-based. It’ll be available as a smartphone app as well as a hardware speaker called Wave, similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Clova is scheduled to be available in Japan and South Korea between April and June this year.

Naver is also tying up with huge conglomerates Sony in Japan and LG Electronics in South Korea, to get the Clova into toys and home appliances down the road. Read more…

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Drones and UAVs are going to help inspect our subway tunnels

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Singapore is keen to start using drones and unmanned aerial vehicles to inspect its extensive underground subway tunnel network.

The transport regulator put out a request for companies on Wednesday to design and develop suitable trial technologies, including 360-degree video mapping of the tunnels, as well as software that would automatically detect defects and provide their location. 

These smarter technologies are hoped to supplement the current manual inspection process, which take about three hours at a time, the Land Transport Authority said in a press releaseRead more…

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Social media influencers, it's time to be truthful about your #ads

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If you’ve been turning a profit on Instagram, it’s time to get your #ad house in order.

A new provision in the code of ethics, issued by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), seems aimed at brands and influencers who hawk their wares on social media. Coming into effect Wednesday, the code states that sponsored content “must be clearly distinguishable as such to the relevant audience.” 

Some bloggers are using hashtags like #sp or #sponsored on Twitter and other platforms.

The world of influencer marketing, where celebrities, public personalities and bloggers get paid to promote brands across their social media accounts, is a nebulous one and notoriously difficult to regulate.  Read more…

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Nintendo Switch cartridges taste disgusting but that's not stopping anybody

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There’s plenty of intrigue and excitement when it comes to the imminent launch of the Nintendo Switch. But please, don’t put the cartridges in your mouth.

According to reports, the game cartridges themselves taste goddamn awful. While the question of why people started putting them in their mouths to begin with remains, it turns out Nintendo’s made them taste bad intentionally.

It’s to dissuade children from trying to eat them. Makes sense considering the cartridges are pretty small, and well, children eat everything in their sight. Read more…

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Octane AI boldly bets that Convos are the future of content

maroon-5-facebook-post-to-octane-ai-convo-in-situ One billion people use Facebook Messenger every month. And no matter how bad the current perceptions of the bot scene are, that number is hard to ignore. Octane AI is counting on celebrity content creators to build conversational experiences that people actually want to have. With its public launch and the rollout of its content creation platform Convos, the Octane team is taking a gamble on… Read More

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