You Can Buy a HomeKit-Friendly Thermostat Starting Today

Apple announced HomeKit, its attempt to make every lightbulb and lock talk to your iPhone, well over a year ago, but things that can actually whisper sweet nothings in your iDevice’s ears have been few and far between. Most notably, you haven’t been able to buy a HomeKit-enabled thermostat, something that changes today.

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Ex-attorney general says DOJ could negotiate with Snowden

Edward Snowden might be able to see his family in person again -- and (if things go his way) not from behind bars, either. According to former Attorney General Eric Holder, there's a "possibility" for the Department of Justice to negotiate an agreeme...


This Trash-Covered Glacier Is a Monument to Boston’s Godawful Winter

Over the course of last winter, Boston’s snowplows moved thousands of tons of snow (and trash) into ‘snow farms’ around the city, where it sat waiting to melt in warmer weather. Well, the warmer weather’s still here, and so is the snow.

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The Universe might contain millions of hidden black holes

Black holes are, by definition, impossible to see by conventional methods and are often further obscured by thick blankets of dust or gas. But that's not an issue for NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). It can peek through the obsc...


Samsung’s profits down again as it misreads demand for newest phones

Samsung predicts that its earnings from April-June of this year will likely be down four percent from last year, suggesting that sales of its newest flagship smartphones have failed to hit the mark. However, it will still be the company's highest qua...


NASA Captures North Sea Algae in Full Bloom 

Every summer, the population of algae in the North Atlantic reaches a peak, with the blue-green color of the phytoplankton causing the ocean to visibly change, even from space.

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Army scientists build smaller, tougher, cheaper solar cells

Army researchers at the Redstone Arsenal have announced a significant breakthrough in solar energy production. They've created a photovoltaic solar panel that is smaller, more robust and less expensive to build and operate than any other panel curren...


Google’s latest science camp for kids starts on July 13th

If you want your kids to learn something while they're out of school but would rather not ship them to some distant summer camp, Google is about to come to your rescue. It's kicking off the latest edition of its annual Camp Google on July 13th, and t...


Instagram Is Finally Fixing Its Crummy Resolution

Instagram is a great way to share over-emojied pictures of fireworks with friends, but for years, pictures have been limited to a fairly-pathetic 640 x 640. Now that it’s not 2009, and most high-end smartphones have screens that can handle the pixels, Instagram is (finally) upgrading to HD.

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Gene-modded mosquitoes will fight Dengue Fever in Brazil

The Brazilian city of Piracicaba has a potent new weapon in the ongoing fight against Dengue Fever, which infects more than a million people annually: genetically modified mosquito lotharios Created by Oxitec of Abingdon, UK and bred locally within B...


In these new cars, your phone gets its own air conditioner

By Kim Lachance Shandrow, Entrepreneur Staff Smartphones don't play well with hot cars. If you've ever received the dreaded temperature warning on your phone's home screen after leaving it in a sizzling vehicle for too long, you know exactly what we...


NASA’s latest Pluto images actually show a planet

At last, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is sending back images of Pluto that look (slightly) better than brown blobs or pixel art. The probe has delivered a new batch of images from between 7.8 million to 9.2 million miles away, or close enough that ...


Where did the word OK come from and what does it actually mean?

We say it almost everyday. When friends text to meet at 7. Ok. When your boss hands you an assignment. Ok. When you need to pay the bill. Ok. And so on. But where did that term come from? What did it first mean? This interesting word breakdown from Arika Okrent dives into the real origin of OK and reveals how it’s similar to the OMG and LOL of today.

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What’s on your HDTV: ‘The Strain’, Shark Week, Hannibal Burress

Shark Week is in full swing on Discovery, as the network tries to find even more shark-related programming it somehow hasn't covered yet. (The answer, apparently, is to just make stuff up -- we won't be fooled again by Alien Sharks and Ninja Sharks.)...


Documentary explains why ‘Shenmue 3′ is a big deal

The Shenmue series represents a milestone in the gaming industry for many fans, a point where console experiences truly took off. The first Shenmue, released in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast, was an immersive, emotional, cinematic role-playing game tha...


IT’S ON: Japan Accepts US Giant Robot Fight Challenge

Last week, we reported about how MegaBots, the American giant-piloted-robot-concern, finished their brute of a mech, the MegaBot Mark II, and immediately challenged the one other existing giant fighting robot, Japan’s Kuratas, to a duel. Well, peoples of earth, get excited, because the Japanese accepted. It’s on.

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Google Just Made It Super Easy To Build a Website With Material Design

Ever wished your lame-ass blog could look a little more like a sweet, crisp Material Design app? Well, it’s your lucky day: Google has a new tool that will do most of that work for you.

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Microsoft has $500K in prize money for HoloLens science projects

Microsoft wowed me a few weeks ago with its internal HoloLens programs, but like we've seen with Kinect, the coolest uses aren't always the ones Redmond devised. To help make more applications a reality, the tech giant has opened up what it's calling...


Laser projection creates galloping horse movie on the clouds

A bright green horse was projected across the sky over Nottingham late last month. It wasn't a Bat-Signal-style projection that was made from a searchlight on the ground. Instead, the silhouette of a rider on a horse was projected directly onto the c...


Microsoft Rebrands Xbox Music as Groove Without Making It Any Better

Just call Xbox Music “Groove” now. Groovy, man.

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Apple Stores to carry third-party accessories in custom boxes

Apple is well-known for being very particular about its packaging... and it apparently cares about other companies' packaging, too. According to 9to5Mac, the tech giant is telling retail staff that it will soon sell third-party accessories in boxes c...


Hack Exposes What an Utter Piece of Shit This Spyware Company Is

Spyware maker Hacking Team just asked its customers to stop using its software in the wake of a large data breach. Good! Because Hacking Team is a corrupt trashcan company that provides weapons to criminals.

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YouTube star PewDiePie made $7 million in 2014

Last year around this time, word got out that Felix Kjellberg, a 24-year-old Swedish bro known online as PewDiePie, made $4 million a year by playing video games, recording his reactions and uploading the resulting videos to YouTube. At the time, he ...


Eric Holder Says Edward Snowden Could Possibly Work Out a Plea Deal

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder—the guy who filed a criminal complaint against Edward Snowden for three felony violations of the Espionage Act—is now hinting that Snowden could strike a plea deal if he came back to the US.

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See the Great Barrier Reef from the perspective of a swimming turtle

I’m not saying I’d trade places with this turtle but imagine how wonderful a life this little guy has. He enjoys things slowly, his body is protected by his home which is always attached to his body and he can just dip into the Great Barrier Reef and swim in the ocean whenever he wants to. That sounds like a life worth trading for.

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Helio’s cellphone service comes back to life with a $29 plan

Remember Helio, the virtual carrier that tried to cater to the tech-savvy young crowd (not so successfully) with data-centric plans and rebranded basic phones? It's baaaack. Ubi Telecom, a mobile company focused on Korean-speaking Americans, has quie...


Ellen Pao To Reddit Users: ‘We Screwed Up’

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao apologized to the website's devoted and vocal users on Monday after abruptly firing a well-liked staffer and triggering a mass revolt by volunteer moderators that shut down large swaths of the site last week.

Pao, who lost a high-profile gender discrimination case against her former employer in March, posted the apology for the recent upheaval that has seen volunteers clash with corporate officials on one of Reddit's message boards.

The controversy started on July 2 when Redditt dismissed Victoria Taylor, a popular staffer who coordinated the hugely successful "Ask Me Anything" Q&A sessions with public figures. It escalated when moderators protested Taylor's outing by cutting off user participation to some subreddits, as the San Francisco-based site's topical message boards are known.

We screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years. We haven’t communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes. We have apologized and made promises to you, the moderators and the community, over many years, but time and again, we haven’t delivered on them. When you’ve had feedback or requests, we haven’t always been responsive. The mods and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of reddit.

Pao went on to promise improved tools for moderators and announced a new "Moderator Advocate" role that will help staff better connect with Reddit users. She did not directly address Taylor's dismissal but asked users to be patient as they improve communications.

I know these are just words, and it may be hard for you to believe us. I don't have all the answers, and it will take time for us to deliver concrete results. I mean it when I say we screwed up, and we want to have a meaningful ongoing discussion. I know we've drifted out of touch with the community as we've grown and added more people, and we want to connect more. I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now.

Some of the popular subreddits set to private last week included /r/IAMA, /r/gaming, /r/history, /r/Art, /r/videos and /r/funny, though most went back up by mid-day Friday.

A moderator on the /r/IAMA, or "Ask Me Anything" subreddit that Taylor presided over, explained in a Reddit post on Thursday that Taylor was integral in keeping the page running and that removing her without proper notice was like having "the rug ripped out from under [them.]"

"Before doing that, the admins really should have at least talked to us ... not to suggest that we expect to know about Reddit's inner workings. Just that there should have been a transition in place or something worked out to ensure that Victoria's duties would be adequately handled, which they are not," the moderator wrote. "We had a number of AMAs scheduled for today that Victoria was supposed to help with, and they are all left absolutely high and dry."

In a tweet that day, Taylor thanked the Reddit community for standing by her.

Thank you to everyone for their good wishes and support. Love you guys.

— happysquid (@happysquid) July 2, 2015

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What’s The Most Over-The-Top Tech Job Perk? 

When we looked at startup horror stories last week, several commenters pointed out that crazy perks can be used to distract employees from the awful nature of their jobs. Beer pong tables, free massages, bottomless alcohol—even company-paid trips to sex workers. What’s the perk to end all perks?

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Parents Need Screen Sense Along With Common Sense

Your baby needs your attention more than your mobile device. This week, Jane Brody became the latest columnist to express her concern about what information technology is doing to children. In a post on screen addiction at the Well blog, the author and long-time personal health columnist for the New York Times sounds the alarm bell about the amount of time young children are now spending viewing screens and consuming media, given the potential harms that may result.

In its 2013 policy statement on "Children, Adolescents, and the Media," the American Academy of Pediatrics cited these shocking statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010: "The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day." Television, long a popular "babysitter," remains the dominant medium, but computers, tablets and cellphones are gradually taking over.

"Many parents seem to have few rules about use of media by their children and adolescents," the academy stated, and two-thirds of those questioned in the Kaiser study said their parents had no rules about how much time the youngsters spent with media. Parents, grateful for ways to calm disruptive children and keep them from interrupting their own screen activities, seem to be unaware of the potential harm from so much time spent in the virtual world."

At times, Brody's post makes information technology sound like a virus -- "texting looms as the next national epidemic," she warns -- but in a time when apps, games and social media are specifically designed to grab and hold our attention, using various signals, notifications and nudges to bring us back in, that language isn't nearly far-fetched or alarmist as it might sound.

In turning her attention to technology and development, Brody is updating her long-time focus upon physical health and fitness to encompass the mental health and fitness of our children, at a time when parents are looking for tips for parenting when screens are everywhere.

As a parent of a toddler who spends a lot of time around screens, I'm extremely sensitive to Brody's concerns and have been questioning when, how, where and whether to integrate technology into our lives and hers. (I look forward to her followup post next week, on parents' role in children's use of electronics.) Earlier this year, I spent a lot of time talking to parents, pediatricians and academics about how to incorporate screens into the lives of children. My motivations were straightforward: I wanted to learn about what other parents were doing and what research suggested we do as well.

In that context, Brody shared the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that children under 2 have zero screen time, describing a world in which "preverbal toddlers" are "handed their parents' cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers."

She's taking the line that many pediatricians do. If you look around playgrounds, parks, supermarkets and buses, however, it's not hard to find parents and children doing something else. In reading columns like this, I sometimes feel like we've gone back to the future, revisiting concerns about the impact of television on kids in a new context. In decades past, though, we could turn off the TV or keep it out of the bedroom. Today, once parents and their children get smartphones and tablets, the devices follow us around in a way that TV never did, with attractions and notifications and access to diversions, distractions, friends, family and knowledge that a "dumb" TV never had.

"The AAP's recommendation makes sense if you understand the context in which the recommendation is made," said danah boyd, principal researcher at Microsoft and the founder of Data & Society Research Institute, in an interview published earlier this year.

When TV was first introduced into most households, it was seen as a social object where the family gathered to watch and engage. This shifted as TVs proliferated and many exhausted parents used the "boob tube" as a glorified babysitter. For a while, there was all sorts of marketing out there telling parents that TVs could be educational. Mostly this involved selling products (like Baby Einstein) that had no proven educational value. As more research came out, we learned crazy things like when people are watching TV, they process food at a rate slower than sleep (hence, connection to obesity). As a result, the AAP started pushing parents to see TV (and, hence, the "screen") as a problematic part of the household, something to be critiqued and considered. And the push was all for supervision, mostly to make this kind of activity social as opposed to a passive mechanism.

Since TV, things have gotten more complicated. We read books on screens now. We talk to grandma through Skype. We look up recipes for dinner. We play games. And yet most parents are not in a position to assess whether or not something is a healthy kind of engagement or a destructive kind of engagement. Things are particularly tricky with the younger cohort who often obsess over whatever they engage with. (How many times have you read any given Sandra Boynton book? Again? Again? Again?) And all of a sudden, everything gets fraught.

What we have now is common knowledge that the AAP recommends against screens and so we have a massive number of parents out there feeling guilty (or resentful). This is one of many ways in which parenting is regulated and people feel guilty. And the reality is that the issue is not inherently the screen, but the dynamics around the screen that the AAP is trying to guard against. This only gets messier because kids see parents engaging with devices and that creates a mega unhealthy dynamic.

The observation that Brody made that resonated the most with me and other parents was that "technology is a poor substitute for personal interaction."

As parents, we may focus upon what our children are doing with their devices but not look in the mirror to see how our own behavior and habits are reflected back at us or them.

We also have to show them how to use these tools without being addicted them. (I've already learned that my daughter will frequently do as I do, not as I say.) How parents are using screens around their children is critical, with respect to what that use may be replacing. In this context, it's not so much what our kids are doing with devices but what the parents are NOT doing: giving children our full attention, love and focus. That may mean teaching them how to do things, like build models or sand castles, cook a dish, program a robot, play an instrument, work with animals or tend a garden, or sharing spiritual, social or cultural experiences.

Technology may be a tool or a mediator in some of those contexts, too. It's there that her column may have lacked some nuance. Building a Minecraft server with your children or playing Minecraft with them has just as honorable a place in present-day society at playing boardgames did in my childhood. I hope to learn how to do that, if she's interested, along with riding a bike, learning to swim and playing the piano.

As a digital journalist who frequently works out of a home office, I can't simply leave my laptop and cellphone at the office, but I'm doing my best to put them away when I'm done working. I've consciously tried to make books, blocks, paper, pens, puzzles, trains and dolls part of my child's home environment. I hope that the "screen sense" I model for her will inform her choices and development. I know I need to be better about pocketing the phone at parties and powering it down during dinner. We're all figuring out what works as we go.

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3D Scans Show How Semen Controls Sexual Behavior in Female Flies

It definitely takes two when it comes to making baby flies. Scientists have known for years that fly semen can trigger ovulation and make females lay more eggs. But no one knew exactly what those proteins did to the female reproductive tract. A new study published in PNAS takes a deep look inside fruit flies to find out.

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Comedy Central channel starts streaming on Roku

It took a while, but Comedy Central is finally bringing its video content to Roku's streaming devices. As Variety points out, although the network hasn't made an official announcement, the channel's now available for download. You will need a pay-TV ...


Deadspin Video Shows FSU QB De’Andre Johnson Punching Woman In Face At Bar | io9 First Look At Axana

Deadspin Video Shows FSU QB De’Andre Johnson Punching Woman In Face At Bar | io9 First Look At Axanar, The Star Trek War Movie We’ve Waited Decades For | Jalopnik Why Did Mechanics In New York’s Worst Neighborhood Go On Hunger Strike? | Kotaku The Relentless Champions Of Classic Fallout | Kinja Popular Posts

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Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S6 can now be had for $499.99

In the months following the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6, we’ve spotted a couple of notable deals on the flagship Android phone. If you didn’t pull the trigger on either of those, though, today there’s a new deal that offers the best price we’ve seen on a GS6 yet.

GoyZdq1mBFoSamsung Galaxy S6Samsung


Foodies Tend To Be Healthier And More Adventurous, According To Study

Everyone has that "foodie" friend, the one who's known for her love of adventurous eats. She's the pal who always knows which restaurant to go to, the one who loved kimchi way before it was a thing and the type who insists on marvelling at the lobster roll before digging in.

A photo posted by N•h£|¥ (@elly_dv) on Jul 6, 2015 at 8:33am PDT




Her Instagram is overflowing with delicious-looking foods like kaleidoscope-colored donuts and human-torso sized pizza slices and she has no problem planning day trips in search of deep-fried delicacies. Yes, foods like these can contribute to obesity and poor health, but a new study revealed a finding that is rather counter-intuitive: Adventurous eaters have a lower BMI and might be healthier than those less likely to eat outside of the box.

The Cornell Food and Brand Lab study, which was published in the journal Obesity, surveyed 501 U.S. women about their eating habits. Those who had eaten the most eclectic variety of foods, like kimchi, beef tongue and seitan, rated themselves as more physically active, interested in nutrition and healthier than those with non-adventurous diets. The braver eaters had lower BMIs and a greater love for cooking. "They also reported being much more likely to have friends over for dinner,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Lara Latimer.

"There's a real advantage of liking a wide variety of food and being adventurous," Dr. Brian Wansik, a co-author of the study and the director of Cornell's Food and Brand lab said in a video about the foodie findings. "If nothing else, you seem to have a lot more fun in life, and it might even get you a little healthier."

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A Rideable T-Rex Skeleton Tricycle Is all my Jurassic Dreams Come True

It’s the rare finds like this, the one in ten thousand discoveries, that justify Craigslist’s existence. Someone in Eugene, Oregon, is actually willing to part with this magnificent 12-foot long custom T-Rex skeleton tricycle they made that comes complete with handlebar-controlled jaws that really open.

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TiVo gives ex-Aereo customers a break on its cord-cutter DVR

TiVo made no bones about wanting to scoop up Aereo's former cord-cutter TV business, and that apparently includes many of its viewers. The DVR provider has launched a promo for ex-Aereo customers that gives you a Roamio OTA box, a TiVo Stream and two...


An Annotated Guide to the New Ghostbusters Proton Pack

The release date for Ghostbusters 3 is still a year away, but director Paul Feig is getting very excited. After tweeting images of the uniforms that will be worn by the new Ghostbusters, Feig just provided a nice annotated guide to the new proton packs. It’s a little confusing!

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Upgrade to 802.11ac, and Get a Free 1TB Hard Drive For Your Trouble

If you’ve been waiting on a good deal to upgrade your home network to 802.11ac, this might push you over the edge. Amazon’s tossing in a free 1TB external drive when you purchase a highly-rated NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 router for $170. That’s within $10 of the router’s all-time low price on its own, and the hard drive makes it the best deal we’ve seen. [NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Wi-FI Gigabit Router (R7000) + Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive, $170]http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZV8NYMM/...

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Which of these leaves are not actually real?

Super photorealistic drawings are always fun to see because they tickle your brain into thinking things that you know are fake could possibly maybe be real because they just look so similar. Here’s a drawing from Dino Tomic showing a leaf drawing with a pile of other leaves. It’s hard to tell which one is fake!

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Casualties of Silicon Valley

When I accepted an offer to work in San Francisco South Bay (aka Silicon Valley), I was in for quite a surprise. I lived in East Bay back then. My commute of 35 miles each way didn't seem bad, at least on maps. The reality hit me the first day I drove to work during peak hours. What should have been a 35 minute commute turned into a 2-hour test of patience, and I failed that test miserably.

Besides the obvious frustration, it also impacted my productivity, curtailed work/life balance and not to mention I was contributing to the rampant traffic congestion. I decided to take the shuttle but that was not all that better, especially given the fact that I have motion sickness. So I convinced my husband to move and frankly he didn't need any persuasion after he drove me to work a couple of times and experienced the gridlocked traffic first hand.

Soon after we made the decision, we had lunch with a friend who used to live in Mountain View but had recently moved to Switzerland. He recommended a place called Madera apartments. It turned out that 1 bedroom units there were over $3500 and a 2 bedroom unit was anywhere between $5100 to $6500 per month. I know people compare that to San Francisco and Manhattan, but bear in mind, places like Cupertino and Mountain View are suburban hellholes, not vibrant cities.

With so many tech companies clustered around a small region and with a record high employment, there is a constant inflow of new residents. Clearly the supply can't match the demand and has forced the housing prices to accelerate rapidly. For instance, a report published by City of Palo Alto shows that currently it has more than three jobs for every one housing unit in that area.

This proliferation of housing crisis impacts people at all levels. It is undeniable that despite the unfettered employment growth, the wages for middle class have mostly remained stagnant. Crucial members of our society like teachers, firefighters and nurses are priced out of these neighborhoods. The socioeconomic divide is widening by the day.

That said, it is also true that a lot of people who are fueling the boom can't afford to live around here either. The other day someone posted an article on Facebook about a couple of engineers who are forced to vacate because of greedy landlords. There were so many bitter and colorful comments about how the techies "deserved" it. This is sad in so many ways. Instead of grabbing pitchforks and singling out buses and engineers, I hope everyone realizes that this is a systematic issue across the board and that the engineers are no more to blame for the situation than anyone else who wants or needs to live here.

Redfin recently posted an article about how in 2011, 1 in 7 people in the Bay Area searched for houses outside the Bay Area and now this has increased to 1 in 4. At 7%, Sacramento is one of the most searched cities for housing options. While the median income in the Valley is over $90K compared to $61K in California, one could have a much better life style in Sacramento making $61K compared to a six figure salary around here.

I know several people who either turned down an offer or left Silicon Valley because they can't afford to stay. An average single family house and in most cases townhouses here sells for over a million dollars. If you compare that to Portland or Austin where the median sale price is in mid $300K, the decision becomes rather easy.

This issue is compounded by inexplicable gender inequality. While male workers with a bachelor's degree in Silicon Valley earn a median income of $90K, their female counterparts make $56K. There has been a concentrated effort across most companies to reduce this gap, but we still have a long way to go.

I sincerely believe the local governments can do a lot to curb this crisis. If they could loosen the red tape and get past their development phobia, we could increase the population density. It would make much more sense to have multifamily housing options near train stations instead of worn down houses and dried patches of land. Moreover, denser population makes efficient public transportation options much more viable. And when a suburban area becomes completely overcrowded, it's time to stop developing it as suburbs and start developing it as a city. Talking about underdeveloped sites, Palo Alto city council recently missed out on an opportunity to turn the Fry's site into 221 new housing units. New affordable housing options combined with rent control laws would help everyone, but especially residents with lower incomes.

Tech companies on their part could also do things to relieve this predicament. They need to forego the antiquated idea that people are productive only when they physically show up to work. With the amount of teleconference options and cloud sharing platforms, it's a lot more efficient to have employees work remote than show up frustrated after sitting in the traffic for 2 wasted hours. Personally if I could choose between all the perks the tech companies have to offer versus being able to live in an affordable neighborhood close to my work, I would pick option B any day.

Alternatively, they could open offices outside of Silicon Valley instead of this irrational need for centralization. Either way, they have a moral responsibility to ease this crisis they helped create. Here is another idea: instead of "disrupting" another rather well-functioning business, perhaps we should disrupt the housing market.

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Prepare to be inundated with Happy Birthday tweets

Do you enjoy getting a truckload of birthday wishes on Facebook each year? Well, prepare for the same thing to happen via Twitter. The 140-character social network now allows you to add your birthday to your profile, letting the masses know the prope...


Reddit CEO Says Sorry For Screwing Up For So Many Years

In a post made on-site after a shitstorm of a weekend, reddit CEO Ellen Pao acknowledged that the company has “screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years,” and vowed a change of course. After 180,000+ signed a petition calling for her resignation, the gesture is unsurprising. But it’s mostly a gesture.

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How I Turned My Subaru Outback Into A Real Adventuremobile

Shopping for a truck to take off-road, I ended up buying a Subaru Outback, then modifying it to meet my need for dirt. 8,500 miles in, how’s it holding up? Pretty damn well, actually.

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Who Knows What’s Next For Greece? Google, Hopefully

Moments after the Greeks rejected an austerity deal from the EU, they took all of their unanswered questions to Google.

The search platform released a Google Trends report highlighting what Greeks and the rest of the world alike wanted to know during the height of Greece's debt crisis.

In the wake of the referendum's failure, Greeks naturally were wondering about the results of their vote and what it meant for the future of their country. However, it's interesting to note that they were searching exactly what a "no" vote entailed, even after the referendum was over.

referendum google search greece

The data also suggested Greeks were curious about what a future outside the eurozone would be like:

euro google trends greece

Those most interested in Greece's referendum and economic future were Google users in Greece, German-speaking principality Liechtenstein and -- perhaps unsurprisingly -- Germany.

google trends greece interest by country

Elsewhere in the world, people also wanted to know what was going on in Greece, what the vote entailed and what its results could be. One of the top questions was simply, "What is happening in Greece?"

Interestingly enough, in the United States, Google searches of "euro to dollar" spiked dramatically on July 6, the day of the referendum. This comes at a time when the European Central Bank imposed stricter austerity measures on the struggling country and Greek banks have remained closed, allowing Greeks to withdraw a maximum of only 60 euro (about $66) per day.

euro to dollar search interest google trends

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Microsoft’s latest app experiment helps you get friends together

Microsoft's Garage team has tried to solve many everyday problems with its experimental mobile software, but it's now tackling one of the most common: how do you get your friends together for a night on the town? The group's new Tossup app for Androi...


You Can Now Crowdsource Your Medical Diagnoses, But Should You?

What happens when a diagnosis isn't quite right?

Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr, CC by 2.0

In 2003, Carly Heyman fell ill with some bizarre symptoms. She was depressed, gained 50 pounds, would sleep all day but would wake up with a start from horrible nightmares and suicidal thoughts. Her parents took her to doctor after doctor, who would only treat the symptoms but couldn’t identify the cause of her illness. After several years of this, a doctor finally diagnosed her with the rare genetic disorder Fragile X syndrome—all it took was a simple hormone patch to alleviate her symptoms.

Inspired by Carly’s story and others like it, her brother Jared Heyman founded CrowdMed, a crowdsourcing platform in which people with mysterious medical conditions can tap into the power of the Internet to help them find a likely diagnosis. And while this provides people who are ill and frustrated with opinions other than those of their specialists, crowdsourced diagnoses are far from foolproof, or even professional.

The CrowdMed page of unsolved medical cases

CrowdMed

Here’s how it works: A patient like Carly pays $50 to create an anonymous patient account in which she fills out a medical questionnaire about her symptoms and medical history. Then her information is posted on the web site, and “medical detectives” can proffer a diagnosis. After a number of days, the patient receives a report with the best suggestions.

The “medical detectives” are physicians or people with no medical background who are interested in helping. These participants are ranked based on the number of diagnoses they get right (rather, the diagnosis that is most commonly suggested), as well as rankings from their peers on the site. People who get the diagnosis “right” share a cash reward.

On the one hand, a platform like CrowdMed makes sense—there are thousands of rare diseases, and it’s extremely difficult for one doctor (or even a team of doctors) to parse out which symptoms are caused by which obscure diseases in order to treat them. On the other hand, asking for medical advice from a gaggle of uncredentialed Internet busybodies seems risky. And while founder Heyman tells Smithsonian, “Our patients understand that your suggestions do no constitute medical advice and only their doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan,” it’s easy to see how a patient might just forget that and show up to his doctor claiming to have found the definite answer to his medical maladies instead of merely a suggestion.

In the two years it's been operational, the site claims to have helped solve hundreds of medical cases from all over the world. If these patients really did finally get the diagnosis they had needed, that’s a testament to the power of online crowdsourcing to let the best answers reach the top of the pile. But if you’re a medical mystery who is considering submitting your information to CrowdMed, remember to take your results with a big grain of salt, even when you bring them to your doctor.

H/T Smithsonian



Oh God, Someone Ran Fear and Loathing Through Google’s Neural Network

By now, the entire internet’s realized that Deep Dream, Google’s artificial neural network, is capable of some pretty trippy images. But what happens when you run a movie about acid trips through the acid trip generator? Fear and Loathing in your worst nightmares, that’s what.

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Groove Music is the new name of Microsoft’s streaming service

Groove Music Windows 10

The past couple of weeks have included some big streaming music news thanks to the debut of free radio stations on Google Play Music and the launch of Apple Music. Now Microsoft is making some news too.

Microsoft


Windows 10 preview turns Xbox Music into ‘Groove’

Welcome to the new music experience in Windows 10. As hinted at earlier this morning by Paul Thurrott, the company just announced it's rebranding the Xbox Music experience to "Groove", while also renaming the Xbox Video app to just "Movies & TV." Acc...


Bing Maps adds trip-planning tools and easy access to reviews

If you prefer Bing Maps as your go-to navigation tool, the software's preview version received a big redesign. Focused primarily on helping you plan trips, a load of new features aim to make it easier to search, view and share multiple destinations e...


The Perfect Groot Costume Starts With This Rocket Raccoon Backpack

Headed to San Diego Comic-Con this week but still haven’t decided on a costume to wear? With ThinkGeek’s exclusive Rocket Raccoon backpack, you’re about 25 percent of the way to an impressive Groot getup.

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Let’s Explore The Corrupt Town That Inspired True Detective 

How are you enjoying #TrueDetectiveSeason2 so far? It’s okay, right? I don’t know, maybe it kind of sucks. Anyway, if you’re like me, you’ve spent a good chunk of the first three episodes being a little confused by the city-corruption storyline. We’ve been told that there are a lot of “deals being done” and a lot of “money changing hands,” but what exactly is going on? Why does the mayor of the Vinci live in a baller-ass mansion? Why is the city manager such a big deal? Is Vinci even a real place? Allow me to explain.

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How Mexico Is Becoming The Drone Capital Of Latin America

A lack of strict aerospace regulations combined with a growing manufacturing and aerospace industry could turn the country into the drone capital of Latin America. Mexico recently opened the first drone pilot academy in region, and now hopes to become a global competitor in the high-flying industry.

“We saw a wave of consumers buying drones, but they didn’t know how to operate them,” Jose Luis Gonzalez, director of Mexico’s Drone Academy and CEO of Unmanned Systems, told Fusion. So he opened a drone academy in Mexico City and began offering a 9-hour course. They’ve already graduated 50 drone pilots in less than a year.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Check out Predator’s gory moves in ‘Mortal Kombat X’

Predator -- the Invisible Eviscerator; the Brutalizer in the Brush -- creeps into Mortal Kombat X tomorrow, July 7th, for anyone who owns the $30 Kombat Pack as well as the full game. For everyone else, the Dreadlocked Destroyer will be available to ...


What It’s Like to Ride This Incredible E-Bike at 40 Miles Per Hour

What happens if you put a 4,000 watt motor—nearly five horsepower—on a bicycle built of strong, lightweight materials? I’ll tell you: pure craziness, heart-filling joy, and power pedaling at high speeds you could only dream of before.

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What It’s Like to Ride This Incredible E-Bike at 40 Miles Per Hour

What happens if you put a 4,000 watt motor—nearly five horsepower—on a bicycle built of strong, lightweight materials? I’ll tell you: pure craziness, heart-filling joy, and power pedaling at high speeds you could only dream of before.

Read more...




Blaine Gibson, Designer of Lifelike Robots at Disney Parks, Dies at 97

Blaine Gibson, a designer of countless sculptures and audio-animatronic figures at Disney Parks, has died. He was 97.

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Blaine Gibson, Designer of Lifelike Robots at Disney Parks, Dies at 97

Blaine Gibson, a designer of countless sculptures and audio-animatronic figures at Disney Parks, has died. He was 97.

Read more...




Instagram raising image quality in Android and iOS apps

Instagram app for Android

Smartphone cameras seem to be getting better and better each year, and many folks like to share the images that they snap with their phones. Popular Instagram app has long displayed photos at a resolution of 640x640, which is pretty low for today’s phones, but that’s going to change soon.



Instagram raising image quality in Android and iOS apps

Instagram app for Android

Smartphone cameras seem to be getting better and better each year, and many folks like to share the images that they snap with their phones. Popular Instagram app has long displayed photos at a resolution of 640x640, which is pretty low for today’s phones, but that’s going to change soon.



First Look At Axanar, The Star Trek War Movie We’ve Waited Decades For

Star Trek fans have been curious for years about the Battle of Axanar, the decisive turning point in the war against the Klingon Empire. And now, a new unofficial movie will show what really happened at Axanar, and how Captain Garth triumphed. Here’s your first image from Star Trek: Axanar, exclusively at io9!

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This Free Font Automatically Redacts NSA Surveillance Trigger Words

Some might see downloading this free font called Seen as the digital equivalent of donning a tin foil hat. Except that we know that security agencies like the NSA are intercepting emails and other communications , scanning for specific trigger words that this font automatically crosses out.

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Reddit offers an olive branch to moderators: ‘we apologize’

Reddit didn't curry any favor with its legions of users when it sacked its much-admired director of communications, but it's at least trying to make amends. Company chief Ellen Pao has issued an apology that also includes changes that would accommoda...


Japan Says Yes To Giant Robot Duel With America

Screenshot from Suidobashi's robot duel response videoScreenshot from Suidobashi's robot duel response video

Screenshot from Suidobashi's robot duel response video to Megabot

Suidobashi/YouTube

Last week, American giant robot makers Megabot challenged Japanese giant robot makers Suidobashi Heavy Industry to a giant robot battle. The video, subtitled in Japanese and filled with waving American flags, coincidentally happened to come out right before a striking Women’s World Cup championship match where the U.S. handily beat the Japanese national team. Yesterday, Suidobashi Heavy Industries posted their response:

Video of RESPONSE TO ROBOT DUEL CHALLENGE.

In the video, Suidobashi CEO Kogoro Kurata takes the idea of an international robot battle and runs full steam ahead with it, appearing draped in the Japanese flag, and saying that while Megabot's robot is "interesting," he thinks they could have "ma[d]e it cooler." "Just building something huge and sticking guns on it...it's super American," he adds.

Giant robot duels are on! I like to think that this is about a spontaneous desire to see giant robots fighting, but it’s entirely possible it’s a coordinated media campaign for a new sport of human-piloted robot battles. That is awesome in-and-of itself.

Missing from the proposal, and hopefully yet to come, are details about the robot duel. We know right now that it will be between Megabot’s Megabot and Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s Kuratas. The battle is likely set for 2016. We don’t know where it will take place, nor do we know the stakes or the terms of the fight. Proposed giant robot fights are cool, but actual giant robot fights are even cooler.



DeepDream Twitter Bot Spews Trippy Photos

Deepdream Bot/ Twitter

A picture of a boy and his dog warped by Psychic VR Lab.

Transport yourself to a magical land of slug people, dog monsters, and other psychedelic scenes as you scroll though the Deepdream bot Twitter feed. Be forewarned, a significant portion of your day may be lost.

Ever since Google opened up its “DeepDream” source code, we've been mesmerized by the uncanny, computerized dreamscapes that Google’s artificial neural networks (ANNs) cook up, nightmarish chimeras of wobbly towers, bird-cars, and random limbs.

Last week, the Popular Science office as well as the rest of the internet couldn’t get enough of the DeepDream image generator. Now the Deepdream bot on Twitter makes it easy to spend countless hours looking at images submitted by people using Psychic VR Lab, another web implementation of the code. As users upload their images to be transformed, a before and after is posted on the generator’s website, and the bot shares them on Twitter with the hashtag #deepdream.

You would look equally miserable if you had a slug for a bun.

Just a couple of NeverEnding Story Falkors.

Thomas Kinkade's experimental phase.

Sun of a Thousand Eyes.



Google Shows You Ads for Better Jobs If It Thinks You’re a Dude

Google and Facebook make a ton of dough building profiles on you to help advertisers figure out what to show you. New research shows that you’re better off if Google thinks you’re a guy as it builds its advertising-catnip profiles.

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False Activism on Social Networks Is for Sunshine Patriots

With the Supreme Court's decision in late June regarding the issue of gay marriage, a sudden outpouring of support for the controversial issue commenced. Most notably on Facebook, where millions of users changed their profile pictures to include a rainbow flag overlay thanks to a simple app added by Facebook for the occasion. Although the showing of support was unprecedented, it was also largely empty. In many ways, those who do these sorts of "supportive" profile photos are what Thomas Paine would have called "sunshine patriots."

What's worse, rumors are circulating that the app was created as a social experiment by Facebook, which has been outed for similar things before. Snopes doesn't believe that this is what's happened, but doesn't entirely discount the idea either.

The Washington Post reports that over 26 million Facebook users (roughly 2 percent of all users) utilized the rainbow flag filter. A like percentage of people used a similar filter after the Haitian earthqauke that devastated that country a couple of years ago. Similarly, people filtered their profile photos during the Iranian protests of 2009 and for Egyptian protests during the "Arab Spring."

Yet in all of these cases, the shows of solidarity ultimately meant little. These gestures, while nice shows of support, are in the end just gestures. They aren't solid help. Usually they're done after the fact and most of the time, little concrete support is given to go along with the change in image. Like the Hollywood actor giving a speech to urge donation towards a cause but never actually donating himself, these profile photo changes are empty platitudes. It's easy to click a few times and "support" something, especially after it's the obviously popular thing to do. It's less easy to actually support a cause when it's more controversial or to give concretely to it with time, money, and activism on the street.

Working in politics as I do in the form of a Digital Political Consultant, it's not unusual to see the rhetoric being nothing more than that. Politicians and, often, their supposed supporters are quite often full of themselves but have little to offer but hot air. The world is full of sunshine patriots. At the same time, I see others who quietly (and often with little recognition) dedicate hours of volunteerism and many of their own dollars to support causes or candidates.

Sure, it's nice when armchair activists show their support for a cause, even when it is mostly because it's easy to do so and costs them little socially or economically. Yet you have to wonder if the same person who changed their profile photo to a rainbow flat last week would have shown up to march with gay rights activists ten years ago or put up a profile photo change to a gay, lesbian, and transgender cause last year after donating cash money to an active charity. Or even if they got out of their house to actually vote during election time.

True activism is hard to find. I would urge those who think changing their profile photos on social media in order to follow a trend will make a difference to volunteer and make an actual difference instead. Go to the homeless shelter, the blood bank, the children's hospital, the political march, the council chamber.. go to those places where actual work is being done to make change and participate. Write checks and donate time to those causes you believe in. Change your profile photo if you wish, but follow that up with actual work to help. Don't be one of Paine's sunshine patriots, supporting only when it's easy and popular.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



8 Essential Apps for Traveling Abroad

2015-07-02-1435852917-9429976-planeipad.jpg
Travelers used to carry along guidebooks about each place they were visiting when exploring the world, but now you can find all the information you need in the palm of your hand. There's an app for virtually everything these days and many of them are designed to make traveling easier. Here are eight of our favorite apps for traveling abroad.

1. Viber
Viber is a must-have for communication abroad. The app allows you to text and call anywhere in the world for free when you're connected to Wi-Fi. It works best when used to communicate with other Viber users, but it also contains a ViberOut feature that lets you call contacts in your phone even if they don't want to download the app.

2. Tile
Tile is the ultimate app for those of us with a habit of misplacing things. Stick one of the eight Tiles on virtually any item you want, from keys and wallets to laptops, and the app can track it no matter where it goes. Tile uses Bluetooth technology to create a link between your Tiles and your phone so you have help finding the items you've misplaced. Your valuables are also vulnerable to theft when you travel, so Tile and other apps like it might be able to help you retrieve your possessions if they're stolen.

3. SayHi Translate
Communicating with locals in a new environment can be tricky if you're not a polyglot. SayHi Translate makes the transition from country to country easier by helping you translate your own words. Simply speak into your iPhone or iPad and the app will translate your words into the desired language and speak it back to you.

4. Amount
Currency conversion can be a tricky thing, but that's not the only area in which numbers can be confusing in a new country. The Amount app is a unit and currency converter and not only helps you navigate monetary exchanges, but also categories like speed limits, fuel consumption, cooking measurements and even clothing sizes in case you want to buy a new outfit overseas. The interface is simple to understand and contains over 700 different units in over 30 categories.

5. Entrain
If you find yourself hopping airplanes a lot you probably know how hard it can be to adjust to a new time zone. When jet lag sets in on your trip you can find yourself wanting a nap in the middle of the day. Entrain helps combat this by delivering mathematically proven lighting schedules that'll help you adjust to new time zones in a jiffy. The app records your lighting history and makes recommendations for you to adjust light levels around you throughout the day to help keep you moving.

6. Foodspotting
Photographs on a restaurant's menu can often be misleading, so why not trust people who've eaten there instead? Foodspotting is an app where people can post pictures and reviews of dishes they've devoured at local eateries and it currently features over four million dishes. Use it to seek out the best meals in any foreign locale and find the dishes you want while also getting an actual representation of the food served on your phone.

7. Like a Local
Avoid the tourist traps and let Like a Local tell you where the real hotspots in town are located. As you can probably guess, the app lets real locals post reviews and insights about their favorite places in town for you to see. They're picky about the locals they use, so you won't be getting reviews from someone who's only lived there a week.

8. SpeedSpot
Travelers who can't stand the idea of not getting online during their travels should seriously consider downloading SpeedSpot. The app allows you to search for and test the Wi-Fi capabilities of local hotels, cafes and restaurants. No matter where you go you'll never have to do without Internet access again.

No matter where your travels take you this summer, these apps should help you get the most out of your experience. Go ahead and give them a try and let us know your favorite travel apps in the comment section below!

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



HTC previews Q2 2015 results, says it’s expecting a loss

HTC One M8 rear

After reporting a profit in the several recent quarters, HTC today says that Q2 2015 is going to break its profit streak.

HTC has announced its preliminary results for Q2 2015, saying that it expects to report revenue of NT$33.01 billion ($1.067 billion USD) and an operating loss of NT$5.14 billion ($166 million USD). Net loss after tax for the quarter was NT$8.03 billion ($260 million USD).

HTC


What Other Scientists Are Saying About Today’s “Life on a Comet” Claim

This morning, several news outlets gave voice to an extraordinary claim: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where the spacecraft Philae awoke last month, could be home to alien life. But extraordinary claims, we all know, require extraordinary evidence. So guess what these morning’s claims were lacking!

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Uber pushes for rule changes by using drivers as mail couriers

Uber is no stranger to using grassroots campaigns to push for pro-ridesharing regulation, but it just took things one step further: it's turning its app into a political activism tool. If you live in St. Louis, you now have an UberLetters option that...


Get Ready for the Minecraft Generation

Here comes the Minecraft generation.

Now entering Middle School, these youngsters might very well be the ones to take the baton from Millennials.

Admittedly, I am not a social scientist, nor do I play any video games, let alone Minecraft. While purists would use the term empirical research to describe my observations, we are now beginning to see the first of more formal research on these early teens and even younger kids. The Futures Group just adopted a name for the children born since the turn of the century. It has called them Centennials.

When it comes to what I call the Minecraft generation, the June 22 cover of The New Yorker provides an interesting perspective. Entitled "Playdate," the illustration shows two children in the same room, playing Minecraft on two different computers. Through the window, the sky is blue and the foliage bright with colors, while the swing set and ball lay idle.

That image is a far cry from how my own children spent their childhood days. In fact, they spent most of their Middle School years outdoors with their friends playing ball, skiing, shooting hoops, skateboarding, surfing, or just hanging out talking. Yes, digital phones and computers weren't so pervasive then but they wouldn't have traded the time outside with friends for anything.

Now, watching what's going on in the digital world and speaking with some very bright early teens and youngsters, I wonder if we are on the edge of a different generation that could shape much of our future.

Late last year, Minecraft became one of the best-selling video games of all time and was sold to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.

When young players explain why the Minecraft multi-server/multi-player environment is one of their passions, it's a fascinating discussion:

It's the "social aspect," most of them say. They like the personal freedom to pick and choose with whom they play. They call them "friends" and feel like they are developing a relationship that is respectful and constructive because they can simply opt in or opt out with no repercussions.

They can build their own "world." It's not constructed for them but rather they have the freedom to build what they want.

Rules are theirs to make. In a multi-server environment, when you go on other people's servers, the rules show up. The choice to play or not is yours. And, when it's your server, you make the rules. "Fair is fair," they say.

They say there is lots of freedom and an "openness" so that sharing your point of view comes without being judged. And, if there is conflict, it is more easily resolved than in real life.

Minecraft is played across cities, countries and across the world. They connect and "play" with people of different nationalities, religions, cultures and norms.

Above all, depending on how you play the game and despite the fact that there are fights, violence and winners and losers, they talk about a "more gentle" world.

Only time will tell where this goes. After all, it is a game. And these youngsters are only in Middle School.

For some, the view is that Minecraft, like so many other video games or an absorbing mystery novel on the beach in the summer, could just be another form of escapism.

As a dad, I have to add a note of caution: there may be some concerns from so much time, essentially alone, on the computer playing an unreal game with internet "friends," some of whom might as well be imaginary. Plus, they might well be missing the great outdoors, healthy exercise and face-to-face socializing.

Right now, though, there are two things that seem pretty clear about those who like to play Minecraft:

First, they are attracted to a new dimension of technology, one in which the user has control in a way that is different from the past. The program developer essentially starts the process and then the user takes over, changing and shaping the program to suit their needs and the view of a world they wish existed.

And second, they gravitate toward constructive relationships, open sharing of thoughts and a world where there can be peaceful resolution to conflict.

Is it possible that some of what they are looking for -- even at such a young age -- is a reaction to the conflict they see and feel around them, from bullying to terrorism? And, if so, could they be the generation to do something about it?

We shall see.

NOTE: This Op-Ed is a collaboration, in large measure drawing on the ideas, observations and experiences of my family and their friends.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Killer Alien Drama Extant Is Back, Cheesier and Trope-ier Than Ever

Last season on Extant, Halle Berry starred as an astronaut who got inexplicably pregnant with a killer alien baby on a space solo mission and brought it back to Earth. In season two, the inexplicable plot points pile on, resulting in a guilty pleasure dripping with everything you love to hate about scifi.

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Don’t Hold Your Breath For A Skinnier iPhone

Phone makers seem to think that thinner is better. But Apple's next iPhone might not be skinnier than its current iterations.

According to a document obtained by Engadget Japan, an upcoming "iPhone 6S" device is slated to be 7.1 millimeters thick -- precisely the depth of the iPhone 6 Plus, but thicker than the iPhone 6 by 0.2 millimeters.

If the report is accurate -- Apple did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post and generally declines to weigh in on rumors -- you probably won't notice the difference. Credit cards are about 0.76 mm thick, which is more than three times thicker than the supposed difference between the iPhone 6 and upcoming device.

That said, the new device's thickness could make room for an entirely new feature. Cult of Mac reports that the so-called iPhone 6S will feature "Force Touch," the technology that allows new MacBooks and the Apple Watch to understand how hard you're pressing them.

The feature has been expected in the new iPhone for months.

Meanwhile, the phone presumably won't have more storage. As 9to5Mac reports, the 6S will start at 16GB, a model that has produced billions in profit for Apple.

In a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, most Americans said they'd prefer thicker smartphones if it meant better battery life -- it's unclear if one will lead to the other in this case, though.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Batgirl joins ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ on July 14th

Gotham, get ready. The first bit of DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight stars Batgirl, and it's due to hit PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on July 14th for $7 in North America (£5.80 in the UK). This is a story-based expansion called Batgirl: A Matter of Family...


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