Month: June 2018

Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ destroyed major Apple Music and Spotify streaming records

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It’s been a big week for Drake. 

First the artist confirmed on multiple tracks off his album Scorpion that he is indeed a father. Now, one day after the new album’s Friday launch, we’ve also learned that Scorpion broke a big streaming record: It earned the most streams on its very first day, on both Spotify and Apple Music. 

Apple Music confirmed the broken record on Instagram, noting that Scorpion was streamed more than 170 million times in its first 24 hours of release. An earlier post also noted that the album had hit #1 in 92 countries. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Music, Spotify, Drake, and Apple Music

Red, White, and Blue Layer Cake

This Red, White, and Blue Layer Cake is ideal for any 4th of July spread—everyone loves cake, and a pretty layer cake like this one makes the day feel extra special.

It starts with tender and moist vanilla buttermilk cake, which then gets layered with fluffy Swiss meringue (which will hold up well on a hot summer day). Top it off with plenty of ripe summer berries—strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries!

Continue reading “Red, White, and Blue Layer Cake” »

WhatsApp copies Telegram to add one-way ‘broadcast’ mode to group chats

“Good artists borrow great artists steal” is a phrase that Facebook seems acutely aware of.

It’s common to speak of Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-app-now-social-network, borrowing from Snapchat, but now Facebook’s WhatsApp chat app is increasingly drawing its innovation from others such as Telegram.

This week, WhatsApp outed a new feature for its groups that is essentially a replica of Telegram’s channels — that is, a one-way broadcast communication stream.

Telegram channels are popular for setting up a broadcast news feed that allows people to sign up to get alerts from channel admins, who might be news agencies, companies, schools, public interest groups or more. Now WhatsApp is adding the feature to gives its message app new use cases.

Actually, as is often the case for WhatsApp, users have unofficially adopted channel-like behavior for some time. Last year, for example, there were reports of a rural journalist using the messaging app to report and broadcast local news. Doing that is suddenly a whole lot easier through this new ‘broadcast-only’ feature.

“One way people use groups is to receive important announcements and information, including parents and teachers at schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations. We’ve introduced this new setting so admins can have better tools for these use cases,” WhatsApp wrote in a short blog post.

Still, the fact that WhatsApp requires users to provide a phone number to join groups — anyone’s number can be looked up by any group member — is one issue when it comes to creating or joining public groups. Telegram has introduced usernames, which mitigate that issue, but still, the app doesn’t have anything like WhatsApp’s scale which is a crucial consideration when deciding which app to plump for.

WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion active users, more than 200 million of which are in India, whereas Telegram recently passed 200 million active users worldwide.

Europe’s ‘biggest ever’ LSD bust nets more than $5 million in seized cryptocurrency

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Not cool. 

A combined task force of the Spanish Guardia Civil, the Austrian Federal Police, and Europol yesterday announced what they’re calling “Europe’s biggest ever LSD bust” and oh man in unrelated news I totally need to rethink my July 4 plans to just sit back and stare at fireworks for hours while contemplating life.

According to the press release, the bust went down in the Spanish cities of Granada and Valencia, and resulted in the seizure of approximately €4.5 million (around $5.25 million) worth of bitcoin, lumens, and IOTA. Read more…

More about Bitcoin, Lsd, Cryptocurrency, Dark Web, and Iota

Squeaky Clean: How To Clean Up The Different Types of Carpet Stains

Every awesome house has a carpet inside it somewhere. Whether it’s in the living room or the bedroom, a rug is there to provide safety, beauty, and charm. A lot of times, a carpet faces a lot of roughing up as it puts up with a lot of factors that can gradually increase its deterioration.

One of the most dreaded things that can happen to your carpet is a horrible and stinky stain. You and your guests won’t see it immediately, but you will surely notice it eventually. And when you do, it’s important that you know how to approach it.

Below are the different types of carpet stains and how to effectively remove them.

Wine Stains

wine spill

Hosting a house party is a common event that a lot of us do. A party is fun especially when it has music, food, and drinks. However, all the fun goes away when it ends, especially for those who have to clean up after.

Imagine this: You wake up and walk around the house, seeing the aftermath of an epic party. You then look down at your carpet and see the biggest stain.

How to get rid of em’:

Most wines are red or purple and are hard to miss once it stains your carpet. Time is of the essence when dealing with wine stains.

It’s better to deal with them when they’re fresh by using a small rag wet with hydrogen peroxide. Rub it vigorously, being careful not to spread it even more. Afterward, use a spray bottle with warm water and some detergent to finish the job.

Writer’s Note: You can apply the same steps when cleaning up blood stains.

See Also: A Quick Guide on How to Clean Up Blood Spills Properly

Pee and Poop

pet pee and poop

The poop that our furry friends leave behind is always a huge and smelly mess. Sometimes, poop isn’t the only problem because our pets also pee on the carpet or any furniture. When their pee dries up, it forms yellow botches and is quite pungent.

And it doesn’t stop there. Pets can also throw up on your carpet leaving a similar stain and smell behind.

How to get rid of em’:

If the stain or mess is still wet, try blotting it with white paper towels until the stain and moisture are absorbed. Be careful not to rub it in as it can quickly spread if done the wrong way.

Keep blotting it carefully until the stain is gone and the area becomes dry. If the stain is all dried up, try moistening it so it’ll become softer and smoother to clean up. Whether it’s dry or wet, a stain will smell.

To eliminate the odor, try using vinegar mixed with warm water and spray it on the stain. You can also substitute vinegar with detergent, lemon juice, etc.

Bubblegum

bubblegum stain

Most kids and some adults love chewing gums which could mean a bad sign for your carpet. When bubblegum hits your carpet, be ready for a sticky situation. Gum sticks to the fibers of your carpet, which mean carelessly removing them can damage your rug permanently.

How to get rid of em’:

One of the most popular methods of removing gum on your carpet is to put a ziplock bag full of ice cubes over the gum. When it’s cold or frozen, use a sharp object such as a knife to scrape away the gum carefully.

Another method is to use cleaning solvents and applying it on a cloth. Rub the cloth on the gum and slowly remove it by rubbing vigorously. Be careful in using solvents as most solutions will stain certain fabrics.

Takeaway

No one wants a carpet that has a large, visible stain on it. And for sure, no one wants to notice a carpet that reeks of poop and pee. However, although it may sound horrible, staining your carpet is a reality that most of us face.

Don’t lose hope. Whether it’s poop, wine or an annoying piece of chewing gum, rest assured that there are methods that can quickly remove the stain and stench away from your carpet. You just have to know the different types of carpet stains so you can properly address them.

The post Squeaky Clean: How To Clean Up The Different Types of Carpet Stains appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Capital Gazette releases front page following tragic shooting

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Despite a shooting tragedy that claimed the lives of five people at its offices, the Capital Gazette declared it would still put out a paper on Friday.

“I can tell you this: We’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” declared Capital reporter Chase Cook, just hours after an active shooter opened fire inside the newspaper’s headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. 

Early on Friday morning, the paper released its front page. 

The Capital’s headline didn’t flinch from what just happened: “5 shot dead at The Capital,” it read, leading with the photos of staffers who had been killed on Thursday afternoon.  Read more…

More about Media, Newspaper, Shooting, Gun Control, and Capital Gazette

Big tech companies are looking at Hollywood as the next stage in their play for the cloud

This week, both Microsoft and Google made moves to woo Hollywood to their cloud computing platforms in the latest act of the unfolding drama over who will win the multi-billion dollar business of the entertainment industry as it moves to the cloud.

Google raised the curtain with a splashy announcement that they’d be setting up their fifth cloud region in the U.S. in Los Angeles. Keeping the focus squarely on tools for artists and designers the company talked up its tools like Zync Render, which Google acquired back in 2014, and Anvato, a video streaming and monetization platform it acquired in 2016.

While Google just launched its LA hub, Microsoft has operated a cloud region in Southern California for a while, and started wooing Hollywood last year at the National Association of Broadcasters conference, according to Tad Brockway, a general manager for Azure’s storage and media business.

Now Microsoft has responded with a play of its own, partnering with the provider of a suite of hosted graphic design and animation software tools called Nimble Collective.

Founded by a former Pixar and DreamWorks animator, Rex Grignon, Nimble launched in 2014 and has raised just under $10 million from investors including the UCLA VC Fund and New Enterprise Associates, according to Crunchbase.

“Microsoft is committed to helping content creators achieve more using the cloud with a partner-focused approach to this industries transformation,” said Tad Brockway, General Manager, Azure Storage, Media and Edge at Microsoft, in a statement. “We’re excited to work with innovators like Nimble Collective to help them transform how animated content is produced, managed and delivered.”

There’s a lot at stake for Microsoft, Google and Amazon as entertainment companies look to migrate to managed computing services. Tech firms like IBM have been pitching the advantages of cloud computing for Hollywood since 2010, but it’s only recently that companies have begun courting the entertainment industry in earnest.

While leaders like Netflix migrated to cloud services in 2012 and 21st Century Fox worked with HP to get its infrastructure on cloud computing, other companies have lagged. Now companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are competing for their business as more companies wake up to the pressures and demands for more flexible technology architectures.

As broadcasters face more demanding consumers, fragmented audiences, and greater time pressures to produce and distribute more content more quickly, cloud architectures for technology infrastructure can provide a solution, tech vendors argue.

Stepping into the breach, cloud computing and technology service providers like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are trying to buy up startups servicing the entertainment market specifically, or lock in vendors like Nimble through exclusive partnerships that they can leverage to win new customers. For instance, Microsoft bought Avere Systems in January, and Google picked up Anvato in 2016 to woo entertainment companies.

The result should be lower cost tools for a broader swath of the market, and promote more cross-pollination across different geographies, according to Grignon, Nimble’s chief executive.

“That worldwide reach is very important,” Grignon said. “In media and entertainment there are lots of isolated studios around the world. We afford this pathway between the studio in LA and the studio in Bangalore. We open these doorways.”

There are other, more obvious advantages as well. Streaming — exemplified by the relationship between Amazon and Netflix is well understood — but the possibility to bring costs down by moving to cloud architectures holds several other distribution advantages as well as simplifying processes across pre- and post-production, insiders said.

 

How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

The post How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Two surfers, same waves. But people aren’t cool with the difference in pay.

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Over the weekend, surfers competed in the Ballito Pro, which takes place in South Africa’s east.

In the Billabong Junior Series, the under-18 mens winner was Indonesia’s Rio Waida, while the womens competition was won by South Africa’s Zoe Steyn.

While the news would invite congratulations, a Facebook post showing the two winners has angered people. 

As the photo shows, Waida received 8,000 SAR ($577), while Steyn — who was standing right beside him — received exactly half of that. It’s… not a good look.

“Did the girls surf a different ocean that was easier we don’t know about? This is pathetic,” reads one comment.  Read more…

More about Sports, Gender Equality, Surfing, World Surf League, and Gender Pay Gap

Redbox lands deal with Warner to rent DVDs on the same day they go on sale in physical stores

DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosk operator Redbox announced a deal with Warner Bros. today that allows it to begin offering new releases on the same day they go on sale in physical retail stores. Redbox’s former agreement with the studio meant they had to wait until seven days after the home-video release. In a statement, Redbox said this deal also maintains the availability of new releases in Redbox On Demand, its streaming rental service.

According to Variety, this means Redbox now has same-day deals with almost all of the major studios. In addition to Warner Bros., they include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Lionsgate (its deal with 20th Century Fox is similar to its previous one with Warner Bros ., in that it allows Redbox to rent its movies seven days after their home-video release). One notable exception is Disney, which Redbox has not had a distribution deal with since 2012. This is likely due to an ongoing legal dispute involving digital download codes for Disney content.

Redbox now operates more than 41,500 kiosks, which it said in its announcement is “more locations than Starbucks and McDonalds in the U.S. combined.”

While the idea of waiting for DVD rentals might seem quaint in the age of on-demand and streaming everything, many Americans still rent discs. According to the NPD Group, nearly a third of people it surveyed in the United States last year said they rent DVDs and Blu-rays in addition to using a subscription service like Netflix. Despite reporting declining revenue before its parent company, Outerwall, agreed to be taken private in July 2016, Redbox doubled down on kiosks last year, adding 1,500 with plans to add more this year.

What Should Be Your World Cup Drink This Summer?

The World Cup is in full swing. What better way to celebrate it than by drinking the traditional cocktails from the countries participating? For each of the 32 competing countries, there is a cocktail or mocktail to whip up to celebrate their culture and cuisine.

Whether you’re a football fanatic, a fairweather fan or an unwilling supporter who can’t seem to avoid being dragged along to watch the footie, there’s no better way to celebrate (or tolerate) this year’s tournament and get in the ‘spirit’ than with a cultural cocktail in hand.

Throwing a World Cup party? Add a touch of class and impress your guests by mixing up a batch of cocktails.

Here’s what you’ll be drinking for the next few matches.

Senegal v Colombia

For Senegal v Colombia, you’ll be drinking an exotic combination of Jus de Bissap. It’s a refreshing mocktail made of pineapple juice, lemon juice, dried hibiscus, vanilla extract, ginger, and orange blossom. It also has the somewhat stronger Carendals – aguardiente with soda water, lemon juice, and fresh strawberries.

Japan v Poland

For Japan v Poland, there are some fairly strong cocktails on the menu. Samurai Rock is Japan’s offering. It’s made by mixing sake with lime juice. For Poland, it’s the Zubrowka and Apple. It’s a lethal combination of Polish vodka mixed with apple cider.

England v Belgium

For the all-important England v Belgium match? You’ll be sipping a classic Pimm’s Cup where you add Pimm’s and lemonade with lots of fresh fruit and mint. You can also try the Black Russians to wake you up. It’s simply vodka and coffee liqueur.

Panama v Tunisia

For Panama v Tunisia, mix up a batch of Seco Sours. It’s Seco Herrerano, strawberry syrup, and lemon juice topped with lime and mint. You can also try the Arab Springs. It’s Boukha, lemon juice, and grenadine topped with ground cardamom, mint leaves, and pomegranate seeds.

Which cocktails will you be drinking most frequently?

favourite world cup drinks

Certain nations have performed better than others throughout the World Cup’s history. This means that as the tournament progresses and more and more teams get knocked out, the cocktails from countries like France, Spain, and Brazil are likely to be on the menu most often!

That sounds like a rather ideal situation, given that France’s national cocktail is the delicious Mimosa. It will transport you to Belle Paris and the banks of the river Seine.

Spain’s is the fruity Sangria which will bring to life visions of the beautiful Costa del Sol and Brazil’s is the tangy Caipirinha that can transform even the dreariest of days into a sunny day on the busy streets of Rio!

Other favorites from around the world

cocktail drinks

Here are the other national cocktails which you need to try out, too.

Australia’s Fairy Floss Windmills

This playful cocktail consists of vanilla vodka, strawberry floss, elderflower liqueur, apple juice, and cranberry juice with a twist of lemon.

Denmark’s Anaconda

Shake together cachaca, Midori, lime juice, and pineapple juice to create a fruity cocktail that tastes like a fruit cocktail!

South Korea’s Grapefruit Soju

The clue is very much in the name but this cocktail is a delightful combo of soju and grapefruit juice.

Serbian Rakija

Prosecco, Rakija, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice make up this Serbian thirst quencher.

Switzerland’s Champagne St. Moritz

This fancy aperitif is a recipe of gin, champagne, apricot brandy, and orange juice.

Make this World Cup a round-the-world trip of cultural cocktails. And of course, since the World Cup is being hosted in Russia this year, it’s only fair that each match should also be accompanied by a toast of vodka. Get either a straight or mixed with ginger ale to create the nation’s Moscow Mule.

The post What Should Be Your World Cup Drink This Summer? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas

When it comes to cocktails, the situation dictates the drink. If you’re having a swanky steak dinner, then that’s a martini sort of meal. Headed to a picnic and Shakespeare in the Park? That begs for the boozy Pomegranate Paloma, swigged from a flask. (Assuming you’re seeing a comedy. If it’s a tragedy, go with something bitter, such as a Dark and Stormy.)

But if the weather is sporting triple digits and I’m floating on a raft in the pool, then it’s time to go for something juicier and far more thirst quenching. Enter the watermelon margarita.

Continue reading “Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas” »

Google rebrands its ad lineup, with AdWords becoming Google Ads

Google’s complex lineup of ad products is getting rebranded.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, the senior vice president who leads Google’s ad efforts, explained the rebrand at a press event this morning, where he said the company has been getting “consistent feedback” over the past few years that the plethora of ad products and brands — assembled largely through acquisitions — could make it be confusing for advertisers.

“This is a primarily a name change, but it is indicative of where we have been directing the product” for the past few years, Ramaswamy said. He also said the rebrand points to “where we want the product to go.”

Moving forward, Google’s ad products will be divided up into three major brands. First, what’s now known as AdWords will become Google Ads, which Ramaswamy said will serve as “the front door for advertisers to buy on all Google surfaces,” whether that’s search, display ads, YouTube videos, app ads in Google Play, location listings in Google Maps or elsewhere.

In this case, it’s not just a name change. Google is also launching something it calls Smart Campaigns, which will become the default mode for advertisers. It allows those advertisers to identify the actions (whether it’s phone calls, store visits or purchases) that they’re prioritizing, then Google Ads will use machine learning to optimize the images, text and targeting to drive more of those actions.

The second brand is the Google Marketing Platform, which combines DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360, the company’s analytics tools for marketers. Under that umbrella, Google is also announcing a new product called Display & Video 360, which combines features from DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio and Audience Center.

Managing Director for Platforms Dan Taylor said the Google Marketing Platform is responding to a growing need for collaboration — for example, he said Adidas used the platform to bring its brand and performance marketing teams together with the measurement team.

Google Marketing Platform

The Marketing Platform includes a new Integrations Center where marketers can view all the ways they can different ways they can connect their Google tools. (And while the focus here is on integration within Google’s platform, Taylor said the company remains committed to interoperability with outside ad exchanges and measurement providers.)

The third brand is Google Ad Manager, a platform that combines Google’s monetization tools for publishers, namely DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers. In this case, Jonathan Bellack, director of product management for publisher platforms, said there’s already been a “three-year journey” of merging the two products as the programmatic ad-buying becomes used across more types of advertising.

“These categories have just been breaking down for a while — all of our publishers already log into one user interface,” Bellack said. So the only thing that’s really changing is “the logo.”

One result of all this consolidation, and one that Ramaswamy described as “bittersweet,” is that the DoubleClick brand is going away. On the other hand, while they weren’t the focus of today’s announcement, the AdSense and Admob brands will continue.

The rebrand is expected to start rolling out in July. Ramaswamy and Taylor both emphasized that no product migration or training will be required.

“The look and feel is going to change a little bit, but the core functionality is not changing,” Taylor said.

‘Simpsons’ fans dream of a Mexico and Portugal World Cup final

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Fans of The Simpsons will never forget its classic parody of soccer. 

From 1997, the episode “The Cartridge Family” poked fun at the sport with its meaningless but exotic player names (“Ariaga! Ariaga II! Bariaga!”) and the impatience Americans had for the sport.

In that fictional match (which ended in a riot), Mexico and Portugal battled it out to “determine once and for all which nation is the greatest on earth.”

For followers of the sport, the inclusion of the two countries was a bit of a joke in itself at the time. When the Season 9 episode aired, Portugal’s team was on the slide, ranking 30th in the worldMexico, however, managed to reach a much more respectable 5th.  Read more…

More about Soccer, The Simpsons, World Cup, Entertainment, and Movies Tv Shows

How to Rewire Your Brain for Success

The brain is an incredible organ. It is constantly regenerating and renewing itself while absorbing the information being thrown at it. However, not every piece of information it absorbs is positive or even correct.

For example, if you fall down in public and feel embarrassed, the thought “I’m an idiot” pops into your head. Your brain will absorb it and form a neural pathway. This pathway is the connection through which neurons send their signals from one part of the brain to another.

And as more things cause embarrassment for you, the stronger that pathway becomes to the point that it affects how you live your life.

What if you utilize how your brain works naturally to promote productivity, happiness, a sense of self-worth, and success in your workplace? The results will amaze you.

What Am I Talking About?

importance of mindfulness

What I am really referring to is something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapy used by mental health professionals all over the world. CBT is an evidenced-based therapy that assumes changing harmful thinking can lead to an ultimate change in behavior. Even further, more recent versions of CBT focus on changing a person’s relationship to harmful thinking. It rewires the brain and those aforementioned neural pathways to initiate a change in behavior.

This kind of practice can also be described as ‘mindfulness’. It involves focusing on the present moment and acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings while noticing one’s relationship to those feelings. It is much easier to change one’s relationship to feelings and circumstances when they are acknowledged.

Does This Even Work?

The Harvard Gazette recently published an article outlining a study done on the effectiveness of using the above techniques to change one’s brain with respect to depression. I believe this to be interchangeable with anxiety, stress, or even a lack of productivity in one’s life.

Dr. Gaelle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at Harvard Medical school and a neuroscientist, began practicing mindfulness and experienced great benefits. As a scientist, she wondered how it could benefit others and how the process could be documented.

What is amazing about her study, outlined in this article, is that she could visually see a difference in scans of patients’ brains before and after they practiced mindfulness and the change seemed to be there to stay.

See Also: 7 Ways Mindfulness Can Unlock The Door To Your Authentic Life

What Does This Mean For You?

practice mindfulness

Even if you are not struggling with something as serious as depression or PTSD, utilizing a tool or practice like mindfulness or CBT could really make a difference to your success as a person. It’s possible that you have some thought patterns cycling on a daily basis that are hindering your success in work or your productivity on a project.

I truly believe that taking inventory of your daily thought patterns can tremendously help you. You can begin by pinpointing something in which you have a physical hiccup.

Do you struggle with deadlines and procrastinate until the last second? Do you eat healthy all day and binge on all the unhealthy foods right before bed?

Whatever your goals or scenarios are, write them all out as they pop into your head.

See Also: How to Deal With Depression: 22 Things You Need to Try Today

For example, if you struggle with procrastination, your thoughts surrounding this issue may be one or a few of the following:

  • I feel overwhelmed.
  • I want to do a perfect job so I fear to start the project.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I dislike my work and do not want to begin the project.

You probably have a lot more thoughts or reasons for feeling such way. So, sit with yourself for a few minutes and really think about them before writing them out. Choose one that you deem is harmful to your productivity and write down why it shouldn’t be that way.

In Conclusion

Now, you know how to rewire your brain for success.

The next time you are procrastinating, revisit what you’ve written and it’ll create the positive changes you want in your brain. It will file this new information and override the old, ultimately changing your behavior.

I hope you find this information helpful in your quest for a more productive, happy, and successful life.

The post How to Rewire Your Brain for Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Jimmy Fallon on Trump’s tweet: ‘Shouldn’t he have more important things to do?’

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For the most part, Jimmy Fallon has tried to avoid being political on The Tonight Show. But he can’t avoid it when the politics come to him. 

Following a tweet by Trump which told the late night show host to “be a man,” Fallon responded to the furore in the opening monologue of his show on Monday night.

“When I saw that Trump had insulted me on Twitter, I was going to tweet back immediately, but I had more important things to do,” Fallon joked. “Then I thought, wait, shouldn’t he have more important things to do? What are you doing? You’re the president. Why are you tweeting at me?”

Of course, Fallon isn’t the only late night show host that’s been in Trump’s firing line. Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert also received scorn from the president at a rally on Monday. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Tv, Politics, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Fallon

Oh, the things I would do to get this cardboard-style Nintendo Switch

Nintendo is building on its strange but wonderful cardboard Labo platform with some sweet Mario Kart integration and a truly fabulous limited edition Switch with a faux-cardboard finish. It really is just the greatest thing and I would do terrible things to have it. Unfortunately some smart kid will probably get it, because you have to win it by designing something cool with Labo.

So, first the Mario Kart stuff. If you have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch, and you really should because it’s excellent, you can now use the Toy-Con (buildable with the Labo Variety Kit) as a sort of real-world controller. You twist the right “handlebar” to accelerate and rotate the whole thing to turn.

This is the first game to get its own special Labo support, but the company says more are on the way. Splatoon 2, perhaps?

If you’re a creative type and you have a Labo set, you’re in luck. There are two new contests you can enter, and entry puts you in the running to win the amazing neutral-colored Switch shown up top. I really don’t know why I love it so much, but I do. And if you do too, you should enter. (If you’re in the U.S. or Canada. Sorry, world.)

The first challenge is to create a musical instrument with the Toy-Con pieces and “craft materials.” You’ll have to document its creation and show it working on video; it’ll be judged on “Quality, Creativity, Spirit, and Sound.” Caps Nintendo’s.

The second challenge is to create a game or game-like experience using Toy-Con Garage. Same judgment categories as before, minus Sound.

There will be one grand prize winner and four runners up per contest. Grand prize is that amazing Switch (approximate retail value $1,000?!), plus a cool (?) Labo jacket. Runners up get a pair of cardboard style Joy-Cons and a jacket. Respectable.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to pick up that Labo kit again or use some random pieces you never tried, this is surely that reason. Now get to work!

The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business

Paypal is the biggest payment gateway out there and there’s no doubt about that. It is the most famous online payment system in the world to the point that people associate the word “payment gateway” with Paypal. It offers a nice, clean and very comfortable service within a click and makes everything possible. You know the score.

However, Paypal is not the only payment gateway out there and it is not even the best of the bunch. Sure, it dominates the market but it doesn’t mean that the competition is just slacking around. There are competitors and they rapidly evolve and try to outplay the big guy.

Before we get to the best alternatives to Paypal for business, let’s explain its problem first.

Paypal is a victim of its own marketing. Over the years, Paypal was hyped as the one and only super payment gateway and people believed in that idea. However, the reality is not exactly like that.

Paypal is good for basic transactions. It is serviceable for slightly larger sums but when it comes to a commercial operation with diverse payments and schedules, it gets clumsy and barely usable.

Another thing that raises concerns is security. Paypal is not very good at it. There are holes in its security systems that enable account hijacking and account blocking and that is not something you want to experience. Imagine the consequences of such glitches in your business.

Who are Paypal’s Competitors?

Diversity is the key to success in eCommerce operation. You need to have a set of options for your business and you need to give your customers several options to perform payments.

By using only one payment gateway, you are seriously limiting not just yourself but your customers, too.

With that, here are the best alternatives to Paypal for business you should consider.

Stripe

stripe payment

Stripe is a heavy hitter. It came late to the party and turned the tide on its side simply by being handsome and charming. Jokes aside, it is one of the biggest competitors to Paypal because of its smoothness of operation and security.

Stripe is really easy to integrate into any kind of website. In addition, it avoids redirects and performs the entirety of operation on your website. It gives a larger degree of control over the operation and that is particularly calming for a businessman.

Stripe’s greatest asset is its fraud detection system. It consists of thorough credibility checks, comparison with blacklist databases, and analysis of activity. It guarantees that no one ever will succeed in wrecking your account.

Stripe’s fees are standard but chargebacks are lower than Paypals.

The challenge comes with operating it. In order to make Stripe work, you need to know a thing or two about programming. That isn’t that much of a problem if you think about it for a moment.

Square

square-official-payment

Square is probably the most radical payment gateway out there. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t skew the principles of the economy. Instead, it offers services that feel absolutely different from any other payment gateway available.

For the lack of a better word, Square is “Stripped-down” or “no-nonsense” payment gateway. That is what makes it so attractive to an ever-growing audience.

From the user experience perspective, Square is very similar to Paypal if it was cleaned-up and dropped weight. It is faster, smoother, and more elegant to use.

In terms of service, it is a reliable and trustworthy gateway. If there is something wrong, don’t worry as its customer support service will be the ones to handle it.

Authorize.Net

authorize net

Authorize.Net was there from the very beginning of eCommerce on The Internet. It saw it all and it knows a couple of tricks. As one of the oldest payment gateways active today, Authorize.Net has the benefit of having the time-tested trust.

One of its major assets is security measures. Authorize.Net is a perfect gateway for those who have a paranoia about online transactions.

In terms of UX, it is really user-friendly. You can do whatever you need if its legal. The tools for structuring payments are easy to handle and there are many additional settings that help with nuances and scheduling.

However, Authorize.Net is not cheap and that is a major turn off.

Braintree

braintree

Braintree is a division of Paypal that is a much better fit for eCommerce payments.
The best thing about it is how easy it is to handle very different types of payment. Just a couple of clicks and you can get your thing done.

Another great thing is integration. Unlike Paypal that needs some tweaks in order to fit the website, Braintree fits every type of site like a glove.

Fees are standard but in exchange, you get more features to play with so this is definitely a win. However, there might be some complication regarding technical adjustments.

Conclusion

Paypal still stands tall in the payment gateway segment, but there are worthy competitors who have something else to offer. For business owners, that is a good thing.

The nature of the competition in the payment gateway segment is beneficial for every involved party. It jumpstarted rapid evolution, increased the overall quality of services, and deepened sets of available features.

As such, the variety of options available is inspiring.

The post The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

oBike is closing its dock-less bike-sharing service in Singapore

Singapore’s upcoming licensing for dock-less bike-sharing services has claimed its first scalp after oBike — a Singapore-based company run by Chinese founders — announced that it would cease its service in the country ahead of the implementation of regulations.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is introducing measures to protect Singapore’s streets from a glut of bicycles left all over the place, as photo essays from China and beyond have cautioned can happen.

oBike launched its service at the beginning of 2017, and it claims over one million registered users but still it will end its service today, June 25. oBike said it will continue to run operations in other markets, although it hasn’t said if/when it will refund Singapore-based users with the deposits that they paid upon registration.

“oBike strongly believes and is committed to provide [sic] dock-less bicycle sharing service that would benefit users’ commuting and Singapore’s transportation system, however it is with regret that the new regulation measures do not favour this belief of ours,” the company said in a statement that posted to Facebook.

This move comes weeks after oBike exited Melbourne in Australia following issues with regulation.

oBike has directed its customers to the newly-launched bike service from ride-hailing giant Grab, which went live in March, although that service has temporarily paused new user sign-ups. Other alternatives in Singapore also include services from Chinese duo Ofo and Mobike.

Grab is actually an investor in oBike, as TechCrunch reported last year, after taking part in its $45 million Series B round that was announced in August 2017.

Here are all 47 artists featured in Netflix’s ad highlighting black representation

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Netflix recreated a legendary photo for its new ad showcasing black artists who create original content with the streaming giant.

Aired during Sunday’s BET Awards broadcast, the ad dubbed “A Great Day in Hollywood” features 47 black actors, writers, showrunners, and producers from over 20 Netflix original shows, films and documentaries.

Notably, the ad comes just days after Netflix fired its top communications chief Jonathan Friedland for “insensitive” remarks, which included repeated use of the N-word.

Directed by Lacey Duke (who also did Janelle Monae’s “I Like That” music video), the ad directly references Art Kane’s infamous 1958 Esquire photograph, “A Great Day in Harlem,” which featured 57 jazz legends sitting on the steps of a brownstone in Harlem, New York, including Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Charles Mingus. Read more…

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How to Grill the Best Burgers

Grilled Burger Recipe

Grilling season is upon us, and this year I’ve decided master the art of America’s summertime grilling favorite—the hamburger.

My aim: a burger that is easy to throw together on a weeknight, flavorful enough to stand up to the person who adds every condiment known to mankind to his or her burger, and yet balanced enough to satisfy the minimalist burger eater (ketchup only, please!).

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In Army of None, a field guide to the coming world of autonomous warfare

The Silicon Valley-military industrial complex is increasingly in the crosshairs of artificial intelligence engineers. A few weeks ago, Google was reported to be backing out of a Pentagon contract around Project Maven, which would use image recognition to automatically evaluate photos. Earlier this year, AI researchers around the world joined petitions calling for a boycott of any research that could be used in autonomous warfare.

For Paul Scharre, though, such petitions barely touch the deep complexity, nuance, and ambiguity that will make evaluating autonomous weapons a major concern for defense planners this century. In Army of None, Scharre argues that the challenges around just the definitions of these machines will take enormous effort to work out between nations, let alone handling their effects. It’s a sobering, thoughtful, if at times protracted look at this critical topic.

Scharre should know. A former Army Ranger, he joined the Pentagon working in the Office of Secretary of Defense, where he developed some of the Defense Department’s first policies around autonomy. Leaving in 2013, he joined the DC-based think tank Center for a New American Security, where he directs a center on technology and national security. In short, he has spent about a decade on this emerging tech, and his expertise clearly shows throughout the book.

The first challenge that belies these petitions on autonomous weapons is that these systems already exist, and are already deployed in the field. Technologies like the Aegis Combat System, High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), and the Harpy already include sophisticated autonomous features. As Scharre writes, “The human launching the Harpy decides to destroy any enemy radars within a general area in space and time, but the Harpy itself chooses the specific radar it destroys.” The weapon can loiter for 2.5 hours while it determines a target with its sensors — is it autonomous?

Scharre repeatedly uses the military’s OODA loop (for observe, orient, decide, and act) as a framework to determine the level of autonomy for a given machine. Humans can be “in the loop,” where they determine the actions of the machine, “on the loop” where they have control but the machine is mostly working independently, and “out of the loop” when machines are entirely independent of human decision-making.

The framework helps clear some of the confusion between different systems, but it is not sufficient. When machines fight machines, for instance, the speed of the battle can become so great that humans may well do more harm then good intervening. Millions of cycles of the OODA loop could be processed by a drone before a human even registers what is happening on the battlefield. A human out of the loop, therefore, could well lead to safer outcomes. It’s exactly these kinds of paradoxes that make the subject so difficult to analyze.

In addition to paradoxes, constraints are a huge theme in the book as well. Speed is one — and the price of military equipment is another. Dumb missiles are cheap, and adding automation has consistently added to the price of hardware. As Scharre notes, “Modern missiles can cost upwards of a million dollars apiece. As a practical matter, militaries will want to know that there is, in fact, a valid enemy target in the area before using an expensive weapon.”

Another constraint is simply culture. The author writes, “There is intense cultural resistance within the U.S. military to handing over jobs to uninhabited systems.” Not unlike automation in the civilian workforce, people in power want to place flesh-and-blood humans in the most complex assignments. These constraints matter, because Scharre foresees a classic arms race around these weapons as dozens of countries pursue these machines.

Humans “in the loop” may be the default today, but for how long?

At a higher level, about a third of the book is devoted to the history of automation, (generalized) AI, and the potential for autonomy, topics which should be familiar to any regular reader of TechCrunch. Another third of the book or so is a meditation on the challenges of the technology from a dual use and strategic perspective, as well as the dubious path toward an international ban.

Yet, what I found most valuable in the book was the chapter on ethics, lodged fairly late in the book’s narrative. Scharre does a superb job covering the ground of the various schools of thought around the ethics of autonomous warfare, and how they intersect and compete. He extensively analyzes and quotes Ron Arkin, a roboticist who has spent significant time thinking about autonomy in warfare. Arkin tells Scharre that “We put way too much faith in human warfighters,” and argues that autonomous weapons could theoretically be programmed never to commit a war crime unlike humans. Other activists, like Jody Williams, believe that only a comprehensive ban can ensure that such weapons are never developed in the first place.

Scharre regrets that more of these conversations don’t take into account the strategic positions of the military. He notes that international discussions on bans are led by NGOs and not by nation states, whereas all examples of successful bans have been the other way around.

Another challenge is simply that antiwar activism and anti-autonomous weapons activism are increasingly being conflated. Scharre writes, “One of the challenges in weighing the ethics of autonomous weapons is untangling which criticisms are about autonomous weapons and which are really about war.” Citing Sherman, who marched through the U.S. South in the Civil War in an aggressive pillage, the author reminds the reader that “war is hell,” and that militaries don’t choose weapons in a vacuum, but relatively against other tools in their and their competitors’ arsenals.

The book is a compendium of the various issues around autonomous weapons, although it suffers a bit from the classic problem of being too lengthy on some subjects (drone swarms) while offering limited information on others (arms control negotiations). The book also is marred at times by errors, such as “news rules of engagement” that otherwise detract from a direct and active text. Tighter editing would have helped in both cases. Given the inchoate nature of the subject, the book works as an overview, although it fails to present an opinionated narrative on where autonomy and the military should go in the future, an unsatisfying gap given the author’s extensive and unique background on the subject.

All that said, Army of None is a one-stop guide book to the debates, the challenges, and yes, the opportunities that can come from autonomous warfare. Scharre ends on exactly the right note, reminding us that ultimately, all of these machines are owned by us, and what we choose to build is within our control. “The world we are creating is one that will have intelligent machines in it, but it is not for them. It is a world for us.” We should continue to engage, and petition, and debate, but always with a vision for the future we want to realize.

Her tweet echoed Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but her story had a much different ending

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They both got kicked out of different Washington, D.C. area restaurants on Friday. But only one suffered unjust treatment.

While White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used her government Twitter account on Saturday to criticize a private business that politely asked her to leave, Charlotte Clymer shared a story of her own. Both women were ejected from a restaurant on Friday, but the similarities end there.

“Last night, I was told by the manager of @CubaLibreDC that I couldn’t use the women’s restroom, and after challenging his discrimination with D.C. law and responding to his threat of calling the police w/ “please do so”, I was forcibly removed from the restaurant.”  Read more…

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Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

Chocolate and peanut butter are a definite contender for best dessert duo. Personally, my love for the pairing has a lot to do with the irresistible combination of sweet and salty.

These rich, chocolatey brownies with enticing swirls of peanut butter throughout send my taste buds into a tizzy with every bite. (And it doesn’t hurt that they’re so visually appealing.)

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Bag Week 2018: Timbuk2’s Launch featherweight daypack is tough and tiny

If you need something small, lightweight and indestructible, Timbuk2’s Lightweight Launch Backpack ($129) might be right up your alley. The pack, constructed from famously tough Tyvek, can fit a 13″ laptop comfortably and plenty else. At only 18L, it sounds small, but due to its drawstring-top design and large main compartment, it holds more than enough to make it a functional all-purpose daypack for work or play.

The Launch’s distinct look will be what makes up most people’s minds about this pack. Beyond the drawstring design and this fun lemon-lime interior color, the Launch doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. Still, it checks important boxes with the inclusion of stuff like a water bottle holder, a sternum strap and weather resistant build material.

If you’re a fan of tough lightweight packs, know that the Launch’s Tyvek material gives it more structure than most stuff made out of this kind of material. That’s both a good and bad thing: more structure is great so your pack doesn’t just collapse into a little pile, but because the Tyvek lacks any stretch whatsoever both its front pocket and the top compartment that sits on top of the main part of the pack can be a little tricky to dig things in and out of.

Happily, the Launch holds a laptop very well, thanks to a padded compartment accessible via a full-length side zipper — always the best way to access a laptop in a backpack! The laptop area is a nice touch for such a lightweight pack and makes Timbuk2’s Launch a unique, super-light laptop pack for everyday use, so long as you’re not carrying too much.

If you’re a longtime Timbuk2 fan know that the pack both looks and feels different from most of Timbuk2’s classic designs, and unfortunately doesn’t come in the bright, playful tri-color look that some of its classic messengers do. Still, if you’re into more natural, subdued tones and really don’t want your day-to-day pack to weigh you down unnecessarily, Timbuk2’s Launch is totally worth a look.

What it is: A small but not too small Tyvek daypack that carries a laptop well.

What it isn’t: A Timbuk2 design that you’re used to.

Read more reviews from TechCrunch Bag Week 2018.

bag week 2018