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Monday, March 17, 2014

Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay Arrested for Intoxicated Driving

Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay Arrested for Intoxicated Driving


Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay Arrested for Intoxicated Driving

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 11:07 AM PDT

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, 54, was arrested late Sunday night for intoxicated driving after he failed police sobriety tests and prescription drugs were discovered in this car.

On Sunday night, Irsay was pulled over while driving slowly near his home, and for other suspicious driving behaviors like stopping and failing to use turn signals, the Associated Press reports. Irsay then failed multiple roadside sobriety tests. So-called Schedule IV drugs were discovered in his car, and were reportedly not connected to any prescription bottles. Schedule IV substances include such drugs as Xanax, Darvocet and Ambien.

The Associated Press reports that Irsay is facing a preliminary misdemeanor charge for driving while intoxicated, as well as four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, he could face six months to three years in jail for each charge. He is being held in jail at a $22,500 bond.

Irsay has said he doesn’t drink, but admitted in 2002 having become addicted to painkillers after a years-long series of orthopedic operations. He said he had overcome the dependency.

Irsay’s spokeswoman Myra Borshoff Cook declined to comment to the Associated Press. Colts spokesman Avis Roper told the Associated Press: “The team will issue additional statements when the facts are sorted and we are aware of the next steps to this process. Many fans have reached out to express their concern and we appreciate their support.”

[AP]

There’s a New, Weird Old Spice Ad

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 11:04 AM PDT

In the new Old Spice ad starting to go viral, actor and former NFL player Terry Crews shaves himself — quite literally, a version of himself that is the size of a hair follicle. And he screams. A lot.

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But considering how painful a bad shave with an electric razor can be, the screaming may actually be quite appropriate.

Watch This LEGO Robot Solve a Rubik’s Cube in a Record 3.25 Seconds

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:54 AM PDT

This is the CubeStormer 3, which just hauled in the Guinness World Record for analyzing and solving a Rubik’s cube in 3.253 seconds. It’s made out from LEGO, magic, the devil, children’s dreams, children’s nightmares and an ARM processor — the type you may or may not find in your smartphone or tablet, depending on the model. (It’s actually powered by an eight-core ARM chip-infused Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone that controls four robotic hands and eight LEGO Mindstorm sequencers, per ARM’s press release.)

So which poor, disheveled, jerk of a robot did the CubeStormer 3 just snatch the title away from? That would be the CubeStormer II. So at least the creators are keeping the title in the family. And hopefully CubeStormer II — which analyzed and solved a Rubik’s cube in 5.35 seconds — was given a nice retirement package.

CUBESTORMER 3 Smashes Rubik’s Cube Speed Record [YouTube]

So What Exactly Is Cosmic Inflation Anyway?

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:52 AM PDT

The universe literally shook today. That’s nothing new though, since as we now know it’s been shaking for 13.8 billion years. A single observation by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has just confirmed two of science’s most tantalizing theories: the existence of gravitational waves and the long ago, high-speed inflation of the universe.

So what exactly is cosmic inflation, and why does it matter?

Ninety-nine years ago, Einstein first explained that gravity wasn’t exactly a force, as much as it was a warping of “spacetime” which, as the name suggests, is kind of space plus time multiplied by, well, everything. Picture spacetime as a trampoline: drop a bowling ball on it and the entire mat will warp and jiggle. Those jiggles are gravitational waves.

In the 1980s, other theorists posited the inflationary universe, the idea that in the first .0000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds after the Big Bang (and before you ask, yes, that’s a real number) the universe briefly expanded faster than the speed of light—which should be impossible but isn’t, provided it’s spacetime itself doing the expanding.

What the Harvard-Smithsonian scientists did was observe a sort of distortion in the microwave energy left over from the Big Bang. That distortion could only have come from gravitational waves, and it could only have been an event as violent as a light-speed-plus expansion that set everything jiggling. Two theories confirmed with one nifty observation.

Why should you care—apart from the fact that it’s all just deeply cool?

The same reason you may have cared about the Higgs Boson: because this stuff is head-crackingly complex, because we live in an era in which there are people around who can actually figure it out—and oh yeah, because it explains how you, the planet, and everything else that’s ever been since the dawn of measurable time came into existence. So, not bad for a day’s work at the lab.

Here’s How Tired People Were After Daylight Saving, According to Facebook Data

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:37 AM PDT

The Monday morning after the clocks sprung forward for Daylight Saving last week, Americans were feeling sleepy. Rather than take that statement at face value, the data scientists at Facebook decided to find out just how sleepy people were. (In non-scientific terms: They could have used an extra hour of shut eye).

Researchers worked with Facebook Data Science to create graphs out of anonymized, aggregated data that chronicled people’s sleepy scale. The graph below shows that users adding “feeling tired” to their Facebook status was up a total of 25% from the prior Monday and a whopping 86% between the hours of 5am to 12pm. Not shown is that “sleepy” was up 28% and “exhausted” was up 20%. People wanted a nap!

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But some states were dealing with their sleep deprivation better than others. The map below shows how different geographic regions reacted to Daylight Saving on Facebook — the darker the blue, the larger the “feeling tired” status increase.

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Arizona, which doesn’t practice in the cult of Daylight Saving, didn’t feel sleepier than usual. The darkest blue is in the middle of the country, Florida, and in the North East. According to Facebook, Delaware was the tiredest state of them all. “Feeling tired” statuses increased by 231%.

Luckily by Tuesday, tired statuses were down 6.5% and by Thursday, it was as if nothing happened.

But not everyone was a spoilsport. Facebook says that while some people complained about being tired, positive reactions to Daylight Saving were up, too. There was a 21% increase of using the word “wonderful” and 19% increase of the word “great.” Annoyed was down 14%.

Morning people.

VIDEO: Neil deGrasse Tyson Makes Science Sexy in Cosmos

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:37 AM PDT

Think The Big Bang Theory in real life, but a lot less socially awkward: Popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has no problem attracting women as the new host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Tyson partnered with Seth Macfarlane to relaunch Carl Sagan’s ’80s TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, in a new science documentary series. The pair was recently featured in a GQ photo shoot, after which Tyson tweeted, “When the universe lands in a GQ shoot, you know science is trending in the world.”

What’s also trending is the way people are reacting to Tyson’s “Sexiest Astrophysicist” appeal, which Tyson humbly attributes to science, and not himself.

“When you tell people something that’s intellectually delectable, they can feel sensually towards it,” Tyson told PEOPLE. “But I think at the end of the day, the object of their affection is the universe.”

Arias Penalty Phase Retrial Set for September

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:34 AM PDT

(PHOENIX) — Jodi Arias’ second penalty phase trial has been scheduled to begin in September.

The 33-year-old former waitress was convicted of first-degree murder in May for the June 2008 killing of her one-time boyfriend in Arizona, but jurors couldn’t reach a decision on a sentence.

A judge on Monday set the new trial date with jury selection beginning Sept. 8.

Under Arizona law, while her murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure a death sentence.

If the second panel fails to reach a unanimous decision, the death penalty will be removed from consideration. The judge then would sentence Arias to spend her entire life behind bars or to be eligible for release after 25 years.

Everything You Need to Know About the Mega Chinese IPOs Coming to America

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Silicon Valley's tech leaders are about to face some stiff competition from across the Pacific. A number of Chinese Internet companies, many with businesses similar to American firms like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, are preparing initial public offerings in the U.S. markets later this year. The cohort is being led by Alibaba, the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant that announced Sunday that it would list on one of the U.S. stock exchanges.

American investors, already ravenous for tech stocks, see huge growth opportunity in China's online market. The Internet population there is expected to balloon from 618 million people to 800 million by next year, according to government estimates, and e-commerce spending is estimated to reach $670 billion by 2018. "U.S. investors are a lot about growth and margin potential," says Brewer Stone, managing director of international banking at Pacific Crest Securities. "China has been delivering that over the years and is delivering it increasingly now."

The Chinese companies, meanwhile, want to escape the tight controls the Chinese government places on its stock exchanges. On the mainland, a 14-month moratorium on IPOs has led to a backlog of nearly 800 companies requesting to go public. Though the ban was recently lifted, Chinese firms still face limits on daily gains and losses on their stock price that don't exist in the U.S. Alibaba chose the U.S. over Hong Kong primarily because Hong Kong regulations would have lessened the company's ability to select its own board of directors.

China and Wall Street have a troubled history, though. In 2011 several Chinese firms were delisted from U.S. exchanges because of accounting irregularities. Because Chinese law prohibits companies from fully opening their financial books to foreign parties, it was difficult for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate these incidents for potential fraud. Now the SEC is considering banning four large accounting firms from auditing Chinese companies that list in the U.S for failing to comply with government investigations. Such a move would affect hundreds of Chinese firms that use these auditors and could potentially cool excitement from both investors and Chinese CEOs about listing on U.S. exchanges. Other Chinese laws, such as the government's strict censorship policies, could also stifle Internet companies.

For now, at least, investors are viewing these uncertainties as risks worth taking. Of the eight Chinese companies that went public in the U.S in 2013, five doubled their IPO price by the end of the year, according to IPO investment advisor Renaissance Capital. Reuters estimates that as many as 30 Chinese firms may go public in the U.S. this year. Here's a look at some of the largest players that are now in the U.S. IPO pipeline:

Alibaba Group

Like American tech giants such as Amazon and Google, Alibaba's business is heavily diversified. The company's most successful endeavor is Taobao, a marketplace where small-time merchants are able to list their products for free but must pay Alibaba for prominent placement in users' search results. The company also runs a more traditional retail site where sellers include Nike and Apple, an online payments system similar to PayPal and a cloud-computing service like Amazon. Because Yahoo owns 24 percent of Alibaba, the firm is of particular interest to U.S. investors. Alibaba is expected to be valued at more than $140 billion and could raise more than $15 billion in its IPO. That would make it the biggest Internet IPO in the U.S. since Facebook raised $16 billion in 2012.

JD.com

The online retailer isn't a behemoth the size of Alibaba, but it could earn a $20 billion valuation when it goes public later this year. JD.com got a vote of confidence earlier this month from Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, which purchased a 15 percent stake in the company in order to merge the two firms' e-commerce businesses. The boost could help JD.com diversify its operations—more than 80 percent of the company's $7.8 billion in online sales came from electronics in the first three quarters of 2013.

Sina Weibo

Weibo is a microblogging service similar to Twitter owned by the digital media company Sina Corp. The service boasts nearly 130 million monthly active users and generated $188 million in revenue in 2013, mostly from advertising (Twitter's metrics were $665 million and 241 million in the same time period). However, the company is not profitable and its usability is at the mercy of the Chinese government, which has in the past forced Weibo to shut down certain features in order to censor users. In general, social media posts that might incite political activism are banned in China, and companies must comb their networks themselves to ensure such content isn't spread. Weibo admitted in its own IPO filing that these policies could discourage people from posting and reduce traffic. Such concerns may explain why the company is seeking a relatively modest $500 million for its U.S. IPO.

Jumei.com

Cosmetics is now a $24 billion industry in China, thanks to the country's quickly growing middle class. Jumei.com, which runs flash sales similar to Gilt.com, is looking to capitalize on the trend. The company will reportedly seek to raise as much as $600 million in its U.S. public offering later this year that would value the firm around $3 billion. It's currently one of the 20 most-visited e-commerce sites in China and its CEO said last year that the company was on track to generate $1 billion in revenue in 2013.

Chukong Technologies

While Candy Crush Saga creator King Digital Entertainment is prepping an IPO that could value the company at more than $7.5 billion, a mobile gaming competitor from China may soon join it on an American stock exchange. Chukong Technlogies has a hit title of its own called Fishing Joy, a colorful fish-catching game that touts more than 100 million users and a highly successful sequel. The company generates $12 million in revenue from its titles and is reportedly planning to raise $150 million in a relatively small IPO later this year.

Tarena

As China's tech sector grows, so does the need for a well-trained army of engineers. Enter Tarena, an education company that provides IT training for software engineers at 92 centers across 33 Chinese cities. The company touts that its graduates go on to work at Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent Holdings. Tarena now teaches more than 45,000 students per year and pulled in nearly $92 million in revenue in 2013.

Dudes, Tech Aim to Put an End to DUIs

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:33 AM PDT

The next time you go bar hopping, you could pass your keys over to an unusual choice of designated driver—some college-age kid you’ve never met before.

Beyond traditional taxis and upstart ride-sharing operations such as Lyft and UberX, a new category of car service is emerging around the country, and the entrepreneurs who have created these businesses are focused almost entirely on eliminating drunk driving.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel used the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day—one of many holidays where designated drivers are in high demand—as a reason to review growing DD services available to folks in South Florida. The list includes RedCap, which launched in Florida three years ago and has since expanded to San Francisco (with plans for Los Angeles and New York City soon), and Be My DD, an app introduced in Cleveland around St. Patrick’s Day 2010 that now operates in dozens of U.S. metropolitan areas and matches up drivers with customers who have wisely decided to request that someone else drive them home.

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Another startup, Shuttle Dudes, launched a year ago in South Florida, describing itself as “a new key remedy to the ongoing issue of drunk driving.” Interestingly, the company argues that bars and restaurants should support the new designated driver business model because customers will drink (and spend) more once they know they’re not going to have to get behind the wheel. “From surveying actual designated driving customers,” the Shuttle Dudes site explains, “it was found that most would drink more once they knew they had a designated driver booked to drive them home.”

In some cases, designated driver businesses are started as exceptionally small operations. Like just one guy. Last summer, the Sioux City Journal ran a profile of Jesse LaFramboise, a local college student who began offering himself as a sober driver in 2012, before he’d even turned 21. Now a three-person operation, Sober Driver staffers patrol the local bar scene in yellow vests and offer to drive people home, in their own cars. Drivers usually place foldable electric bikes or scooters in the customer’s car, to get back downtown after dropping someone off. LaFramboise told Fast Company that he plans on expanding the business to new territory. “Lincoln, Nebraska. Iowa City,” he said. “Maybe in Sioux Falls or Vermilion–a lot of the smaller college towns are good areas.”

How much do these services cost? LaFramboise’s Sober Driver generally charges a base $10 fee, plus $2.50 per mile; if the ride is so far that the driver can’t use a bike or scooter to get back downtown, the rate is upped to $15 and $3.50 per mile. In South Florida, BeMyDD charges $25 per hour for a pickup service, plus a $25 annual membership fee, plus additional mileage charges, while Shuttle Dudes service costs $20 per hour for the first 5 miles, plus $2 for additional miles, and there’s no membership fee.

In some cases, a regular old taxi would be cheaper, but remember these services help get you and your car home.

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Yet another sober-driver service, Sobrio, works differently. As the Hartford Courant detailed last fall, Sobrio is a smartphone app created by a pair of University of Connecticut undergrads in 2012. Passengers pay $2 to $3 per head—via credit or debit cards handled by the app, never with cash—and are picked up and dropped off at parties and bars by Sobrio drivers behind the wheel of their own cars. Everyone involved is a student in the area, providing a level of comfort and safety. Sobrio has since expanded to several other college areas, including UMass-Amherst, SUNY-Stony Brook, the University of Rhode Island, Michigan State University, and Ohio State University.

Gay Teens Are More Popular — According to MTV, At Least

Posted: 17 Mar 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Coming out of the closet can be a real popularity boost. That’s the story MTV is selling, at least, with its upcoming show Faking It, premiering April 22 — and the network isn’t the first to make that leap.

Faking It, the first trailer for which debuted today on BuzzFeed, is about two high-school best friends who pose as a lesbian couple in order to augment their social standing. As the preview shows, the plot gets underway when a popular gay classmate decides to liberate them from the closet, sure that they’re hiding their true feelings and confident that he can help them by getting them voted as homecoming queens. Though the girls aren’t actually gay, they decide to play along in order to win those tiaras.

If that sounds familiar — and looks familiar — that might be because Michael J. Willett, the actor who plays the boy who sets that plot in motion, was recently in a movie that took a similar view.

In G.B.F., which showed at festivals last year and received a theatrical release in January, a character undergoes a similar popularity swing. The movie — the title of which stands for “gay best friend” — is about two friends, both of whom actually are gay (and one of whom is played by Willett), who want to be popular and discover via an accidental outing that being the first out student at their school could do the trick. That’s especially true after the popular girls decide that they need a fashionable gay accessory to complete their entourage and that they’re willing to fight over their school’s potential candidates for that position. Though G.B.F.‘s characters aren’t pretending, the popularity factor is the same: being gay can make a kid stand out, in a good way.

Faking It showrunner Carter Covington told BuzzFeed that he initially found the premise of Faking It offensive, but changed his mind when he decided that the idea was plausible in a modern high school, where having your sexuality be your “thing” can help rather than hinder. He also told The Hollywood Reporter in January that he didn’t think the show would be controversial at all among the demographic for which it’s intended.

But as Covington, who has worked with the Trevor Project, surely knows, not every teen who comes out of the closet (for real or for pretend) ends up with a homecoming crown on his or her head. In fact, the most common news narrative about such stories ends in the opposite fashion. Based on a 2009 survey, the Centers for Disease Control report that 80% of LGBT middle- and high-school students had been verbally harassed at school due to their sexual orientation; though the state of things has evolved quickly over the last few years, an issue of the American Journal of Public Health from less than a year ago reiterated that bullying was “prevalent against youths perceived as gay, lesbian or bisexual.”

Then again, even if seeing newly out teens so lavishly rewarded for their honesty (or, in the case of Faking It, dishonesty) may not be a reflection of the most common experience for real-life gay teens, it may not be a bad thing to depict it, anyway. MTV has already proved that its shows affect actual teens, as 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are credited with helping to bring down the teen birth rate. Maybe Faking It will contribute to a world where “it” won’t be associated with bullying — no faking required.

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