Thursday, May 22, 2014

Samsung Reportedly Making Its Own Virtual Reality Headset

Samsung Reportedly Making Its Own Virtual Reality Headset

Samsung Reportedly Making Its Own Virtual Reality Headset

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:42 AM PDT

Samsung is reportedly set to announce a virtual reality headset later this year that would compete with the forthcoming Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus.

The Korean consumer electronics giant has already developed early versions of the headset, which wraps around users’ faces, giving users peripheral and forward views, anonymous sources told Engadget. The virtual reality headset would be compatible with Android games.

The finished product is intended to target a lower price, undercutting potential competitors, and could be the first mass market virtual reality headset released. Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion earlier this year and Sony is working on its own Morpheus virtual reality headset, but those devices won’t become available for at least another year.

Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation..


The She-Hulk Scandal Explained: “Porn Star” Comment Has Fans Angry

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:36 AM PDT

She-Hulk isn’t exactly the most famous comic-book character out there, but her name has been popping up on blogs and Twitter in the last few days — largely from people who are Hulk-level angry. So what has fans up in (giant, green) arms?

How it started: On an episode of the podcast Scriptnotes that was published on May 20, a panel of superhero screenwriters played a game of trying to come with reboot ideas for random comics characters, as in ‘elderly Spider-Man’ or ‘Seth Rogen as Spider-Man.’ Then, Captain America scribe Christopher Markus drew The Hulk, which brought the conversation around to the topic of She-Hulk. At that point, host Craig Mazin and guest David S. Goyer — a writer of the upcoming and super-buzzy Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — got into a conversation about the reason for the character’s existence. When Mazin posited that she was just there to provide titillation for young male Hulk fans, Goyer took it a step further.

His theory, he said, was that She-Hulk was created by a man for male readers as an extension of a power fantasy: boys who felt powerless fantasized about Hulk-ing out and beating up their enemies; She-Hulk was “the chick you could f-ck if you were Hulk” — or that the reader could, taking Hulk as a stand-in — and essentially a “giant, green porn star.” The conversation also included a discussion of She-Hulk’s body size, over the question of whether her muscles make her “chunky” or if she’s just got “enormous boobs.”

Wait, who’s She-Hulk? A less-famous extension of the Hulk franchise, She-Hulk is the alter-ego of Jennifer Susan Walters. She was introduced in 1980, in the Marvel comic Savage She-Hulk #1. As Jennifer, she was a timid lawyer and a cousin of Bruce Banner (who’s the original Hulk, for the uninformed). She was wounded in mob crossfire and, to save her life, she got a blood transfusion from her cousin — which turned her into She-Hulk. As She-Hulk, she’s more confident than she was before she got green, and taller, but she’s still smart. She eventually joined the Avengers and the Fantastic Four teams; in a later storyline, she was further exposed to radiation, and thus stuck as She-Hulk semi-permanently. Even so, she continued to work as a lawyer. You’d probably rather be her than be Bruce Banner.

Why fans are angry: Though She-Hulk doesn’t exactly get a free pass from female comics fans — as the gurus on the subject over at The Mary Sue point out, tacking “she-” onto the beginning of a nickname isn’t exactly the most woman-friendly naming convention — her depiction in comics is generally miles away from “giant, green porn star.” For one thing, Walters and Banner are cousins, so She-Hulk being “the chick you could f-ck if you were Hulk” is already gross. On a deeper level, his comments have been seen as stripping away She-Hulk’s power. Ironically, in a conversation that includes Mazin critiquing the idea of creating a female character for the sake of male fans as sexist, Goyer’s interpretation of her backstory pushes into that sexist mold the rare character who didn’t already belong there.

Why it matters: As Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post put it, Goyer is a “dominant voice” defining what today’s superheroes look like so it’s noteworthy that he sees a “feminist hero” character — “an expression of how terrific it would be not to have to censor yourself, to be allowed to be angry without some man declaring you unladylike” — as a mere sex object. Furthermore, as NPR’s Linda Holmes points out, it’s not hard to see where Goyer’s ideas come from given stereotypes about comics readers and female characters, and his embrace of the stereotype implies that he’s not interested in appealing to people who want to break away from it.

What the experts say: Stan Lee, who co-created She-Hulk, thinks Goyer missed the mark. He has said that he never saw her as a love interest for Hulk and that her brains were the most important characteristic.

What happens now: Goyer hasn’t commented on the uproar, but She-Hulk fans are eager to point those upset by his comments in a different direction — to She-Hulk herself.

The current series of She-Hulk comics, by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido, launched in February to rave reviews.

47% of Unemployed Americans Have Just Stopped Looking for Work

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:27 AM PDT

Nearly half of unemployed Americans have “completely given up” looking for a job, a new survey has found.

Pollsters for job staffing company Express Employment Professionals asked 1,500 unemployed American adults how they were faring in their job hunts. A startling number were, in a word, fed up.

Source: Express Employment Professionals

83% expressed a willingness to accept a job that would pay less than their previous position, and 45% blamed the economy for producing what feels to them like a jobless recovery.

"After searching for four years and being unsuccessful, I am tired of trying,” one respondent said, according to the surveyors.

Despite the troubling numbers, 91% agreed with the statement "I'm hopeful that I will find a job I really want in the next six months,” indicating that they still held out hope that they could land a job, even if the search felt beyond their control.

PHOTOS: Celebrities Just Love Google Glass

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:24 AM PDT

The UK’s Prince Charles isn’t the only celebrity to be caught wearing Google Glass, Google’s high-tech specs. Check out these other notable names rocking Google’s still-in-beta face-computer.

Adam Silver is Serious About Punishing Donald Sterling

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:18 AM PDT

The NBA commissioner who banned Donald Sterling from the league for life comes into focus thanks to Sports Illustrated's inside look at his upbringing. Diversity, it seems, has always been a part of his background. One of his closest friends growing up, Masawani Jere, is the chief of the Ngoni tribe in an African village in Malawi called Emchakachakeni.

The two met in high school in Westchester, N.Y., when Jere's father was a counselor to Malawi's United Nations ambassador, SI reports. While Jere's parents regularly traveled to and from Africa, Silver's were separated—his father in Manhattan, his mother spending winters in Boca Raton—and the two bonded over being on their own. Though Jere moved back to Malawi in 1986, the two remain close, and when Jere's son was born, he received a Spalding basketball hoop as a gift from Sterling.

The story also cites his other close friend, Regan Orillac. "I'm Irish Catholic," he said. "[Maswani] is African. Adam is Jewish. We were an odd group, but we made a little family."

His upbringing, which was spent mostly alone with these friends while his parents were away, prepped him for his solo act with the NBA. While league has formally charged Sterling for his racist rants and scheduled a hearing to take place two days before the NBA finals, many are skeptical the punishment will actually be seen through. But Silver tells SI: “I know what is appropriate here. I have no doubt.”

Read More at Sports Illustrated

Man Who Kept Woman Captive For 10 Years Charged With Kidnapping, Rape

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:10 AM PDT

A man who abducted his ex-girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter and held her captive for 10 years was charged Thursday with rape and kidnapping to commit a sexual offense.

Isidro Medrano Garcia’s 25-year-old victim escaped Monday after nearly ten years of imprisonment and assault, calling police for help after reconnecting with her sister on Facebook.

The victim told Santa Ana police that Garcia drugged and kidnapped her when he was living with her mother in August 2004. The assaults, she said, had begun two months prior.

“He told her then, ‘You can’t go home. You’re here illegally, you don’t speak the language, your mom’s called the police, they will send you back. I’m your only hope,’” Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said at a Thursday press conference.

Police say that the victim tried to escape twice and was severely beaten. Garcia and his victim moved to several different locations and, eventually, she was no longer physically restrained. Garcia got them employment at the same night cleaning service to keep her close by. She was forced into marriage in 2007 and gave birth in 2012.

Garcia faces five felony counts and will be arraigned later Thursday.


Don’t Drink the Maple Water: Which Health Drinks Are Actually Healthy

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:09 AM PDT

Liquid nutrition is having a moment. From kombucha teas to high-priced "cleanses," grocery stores are devoting whole aisles to a rash of new beverages that claim to energize your mind, trim your waistline, and supercharge your body. But while some offer legitimate health perks, "no drink is going to offer you a magic bullet against whatever ails you," promises Mayo Clinic's Katherine Zeratsky, RD, LD.

Here's what Zeratsky and other nutrition experts have to say about the trendiest health drinks on the market:

Coconut Water
The Claim: Billed as "Mother Nature's sports drink," coconut water is a dehydration-slaking, nutrient-restoring alternative to plain H20 or more "synthetic" workout recovery beverages.
The Cost: $3 and up for roughly 16 oz
The Truth: Coconut water contains a lot of potassium—more than a medium-sized banana—as well as electrolytes, which help your body absorb H20, explains Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, author of Peruvian Powerfoods. But if you're refueling after a serious workout, coconut water alone won't be enough to replenish what your body has lost, he adds. And if you haven't been exercising? Don't let the word "water" fool you into thinking this beverage isn't caloric, Zeratsky warns. "People tend to lose track of the calories they consume in beverages. But if you're drinking a bottle or two of coconut water a day instead of water, that extra 100 or 200 calories will add up," she stresses.

Almond Milk

The claim: A healthy, humane alternative to cow's milk.

The cost: $4 for a 65-oz carton

The truth: All "milks" are not created equal—especially when it comes to protein, explains Jennifer Koslo, PhD, RD. "Almond milk has about one gram of protein per serving, compared to eight or nine grams in cow's milk," Koslo says. Almond milk also lacks dairy's branch amino acids, which—along with protein—aid muscle health and growth, Villacorta adds. If you're lactose intolerant and need something to splash on your morning cereal or in your coffee, almond milk is a good choice, Koslo says. "But even if your almond milk is fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients, you're not getting the same benefits you would from cow's milk," she adds. For those worried about the humane treatment of cows, stick to local and organic dairy products, Villacorta suggests.


The claim: Thanks to its bacteria content, this fermented "probiotic" tea bolsters your immune and digestive systems by supporting the microorganisms that live in your gut.

The cost: $4 and up for 16 oz

The truth: "More and more, we're learning about the value of bacteria and probiotics to maintain a healthy population of microorganisms in our digestive systems," explains Stephanie Maxson, MS, RD, a senior clinical dietician at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Kombucha tea—as well as other fermented foods like yogurt and kefir—are good sources of probiotic microorganisms, so they may support your digestive or immune systems. But at this point, it's not clear which types of bacteria are necessary for optimal digestive health, Maxson says. "Because everyone's microbiome is unique, people will react differently to different strains of bacteria." Also, there's some concern that people living with illness—particularly AIDS or cancer—may be at greater risk for infection from the bacteria in unpasteurized, fermented drinks like kombucha tea, Maxson says. If you're healthy and don't mind the cost, she recommends drinking no more than an ounce or two of kombucha a day. "It usually comes in a big bottle, which has enough bacteria to last you a week," she says.

Green Juice

The claim: There are many varieties of this "super" beverage, but nearly all tout the same benefit: a huge helping of healthful fruits and veggies packed into a convenient, easy-to-swig package.

The cost: $3.50 (and up) for 15 oz

The Truth: Plant enzymes oxidate quickly, so your drink has to be really fresh for you to get all the ingredients' nutritional benefits, Villacorta explains. As a result, a lot of pre-bottled, commercially sold green juices aren't fresh enough to offer you the most bang for your buck. And even the fresh-squeezed options won't provide the full range of nutrients you'd get from eating whole fruits and vegetables, he says.

Chia See Juice

The claim: Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, which supports digestion, as well as omega-3s, protein, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants.

The cost: $3.50 for 10 oz

The truth: Chia seeds are good sources of fiber, and also contain healthy vitamins, nutrients, and some omega-3 fatty acids, says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. But these drinks tend to have a lot of other ingredients—like sugar—that make them high in carbs and calories, she adds. Also, it's a lot cheaper to make your own chia seed drinks, Koslo adds. "Just add the seeds to a smoothie and save yourself some money," she recommends.

Juice Cleanses

The claim: Whether you last a day or a week, a juice cleanse can supercharge your energy levels, help you lose weight, flush out your clogged digestive system, and sharpen your brain.

The cost: $7 to $10 for 16 oz

The truth: Drinking the juice of a fruit or vegetable is not as good for you as eating it whole, Zeratsky says. "Nearly all the fiber and a lot of the nutrients are contained in the flesh, so don't let the marketing fool you into thinking drinking a juice is the same as eating the whole vegetable," she warns. And while these cleanses are convenient, they're also a lot more expensive than buying whole fruits and vegetables, Bowerman adds. "If people can afford cleanses and they want to drink them once in a while to supplement their regular diet, that's fine. But they shouldn't be consumed on their own for extended periods, because they're not nutritionally complete," she explains.

Aloe Vera Drinks

The claim: They support immune and digestive health, and aid weight loss.

The cost: $2.50 for 16 oz

The truth: "I've heard anecdotally that aloe vera can be good for digestion, but there's really not much science behind it," Koslo explains. She says there are also some reports of complications like diarrhea and cramps from drinking too much of these beverages. "No dietician is going to tell you you need to get aloe vera in your diet," she adds. "If you want to drink it, there may be some benefits. But I would do so sparingly."

Hemp Milk

The claim: Another vegan alternative to dairy milk, this beverage provides omega-3s and plant-based nutrients.

The cost: $6 for 32 oz

The truth: Like almond milk, you shouldn't think of this hemp-based option as a comparable replacement for cow's milk, Bowerman says. "Most are not as high in protein." On the other hand, hemp milk does offer you some omega-3 fatty acids, although not the super-beneficial type found in fish, Koslo adds. "If you have a milk allergy, this could be a good alternative. But you're not going to get the same protein and nutrients that mammalian milk offers," she explains.

Maple Water

The claim: It's low-cal and loaded with super-hydrating "bioactive compounds" including vitamins, nutrients, and polyphenols—some of which promote thyroid and bone health.

The cost: Roughly $3.50 for 11 oz (although it's not yet widely available)

The truth: The product is so new that there's little research out there on its health benefits, Villacorta says. And while there's some research touting maple syrup as a source of healthy antioxidant compounds, that doesn't mean maple water will offer the same compounds in nutritionally significant quantities, he says. Maple water is supposedly high in antioxidants as well as manganese, which assists thyroid health, bone strength, and vitamin absorption, says Lilian Cheung, RD, of the Harvard School of Public Health. "But these claims are not verified by scientific studies," Cheung adds.

This Is Going to Be the Worst Road Trip Weekend Ever

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

Road rage, clogged highways, traffic tickets, oh my! Is it too late to cancel your Memorial Day weekend road trip?

Memorial Day weekend is here, and naturally, you want to hit the road to celebrate. Unfortunately, so do 30-odd million other people, many of who could use a refresher of high school driver’s ed. The fact that they’re out on the roads in full force is one of the factors making for an unpleasant, potentially dangerous holiday weekend. Among the reasons it might be best to just stay home and use a kiddie pool filled from the hose as your “beach” over Memorial Day weekend:

Traffic Tickets
Across the country, state and local police are involved in a broad initiative to pull over and ticket drivers during the kickoff to the summer road trip season. Some 10,000 law enforcement officers in Arkansas, Kentucky, and dozens of other states—including 572 agencies in Michigan alone—are participating in the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign. It’s underway from May 19 to June 1, and there’s obviously a special focus on the big holiday weekend.

Officially, the point is to remind drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts. But officers pulling over drivers and working in special seatbelt enforcement zones will also be on the lookout for other violations, including but not limited to distracted or impaired drivers. In peak destinations such as Miami Beach, officers will be using DUI checkpoints and automated license plate readers to help them find lawbreakers.

All in all, your chances of getting ticketed this weekend are higher than usual, and that should serve as a reminder to act safely and properly behind the wheel—ideally not just for this weekend, but forever.

More Accidents
Memorial Day isn’t merely the start of vacation season. It also marks the kickoff to the period known as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers in New Jersey, and presumably elsewhere as well. Generally speaking, there are 13% more traffic deaths over Memorial Day compared to a typical non-holiday weekend, making it the second most dangerous holiday in America, after the Fourth of July.

Oh, and you might want to avoid boating this weekend too, or at least be extra careful about it. According to data cited by USA Today, the rate of boating-related claims filed to insurance companies the week after Memorial Day is three times as high as it ordinarily is.

Awful Traffic
No surprise here. The Memorial Day holiday represents one of the biggest weekends of the year for hitting the road. According to AAA, 36.1 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the weekend, and 88% (31.8 million) will use the automobile as their form of transportation. The total is 2.6% higher than the average over the past 10 years, and it’s the second-highest Memorial Day traveler tally measured since 2000.

Road Rage
Given all of the above, it’s also no surprise that road rage incidents are more likely to take place over busy holiday weekends. A new Road Rage Report from Expedia surveyed drivers about the most infuriating behaviors on the road, and the top five drivers you want to steer clear of—and you certainly don’t want to be—are the Texter (put the damn phone away), the Tailgater (you know that jerk), the Multi-tasker (who draws extra hate if texting in addition to applying makeup or eating), the Drifter (stay to your own lane, pal), and the Crawler (some of us are trying to actually get somewhere). Also, if possible, stay away from New York City; it’s most frequently named as home of the “least courteous/most rage-inducing drivers” in the country.

You Can Finally Play Minecraft on PS4, Xbox One and PS Vita in August

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners will finally be able to play console-tailored versions of the runaway-popular sandbox game Minecraft in just a few more months — before summer’s end, in fact.

Minecraft developer Mojang revealed this morning that versions of Minecraft for PS4, PS3, PS Vita and Xbox One, which it’s been prepping for some time, will all be available from their respective online stores in August. What’s more, the PS4 and Xbox One versions will arrive with “significantly bigger worlds and a greater draw distance” than the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

If you want all the details broken down by platform, give Mojang’s post a look here, but in summary: the PS4 and Xbox One editions will include all the features found in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions and cost $20 each, or just $5 if you’re upgrading (Mojang’s giving everyone a one-year period, starting at the release date in August, to take advantage of the upgrade offer). PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will also be able to import worlds created on those platforms, but not vice versa. Cross-platform play will not be supported, and Mojang’s saying some (but not necessarily all) of any downloadable content purchased for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will be transferable, pending licensing decisions.

Vita owners who picked up the PS3 version of Minecraft will get it free, the PS3 + Vita Edition will run $20 and saves are transferable between the PS3 and Vita edition, so you can play on the PS3, then pick up and play on the go with the Vita if you so choose.

Minecraft across all platforms is the third-bestselling video game of all time (after Tetris and Wii Sports, but before Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart Wii and more recently, Grand Theft Auto V). The game was originally released in 2009, but as word spread and versions arrived for mobile platforms like iOS and Android, it’s gone on to become the most popular indie game ever released.

What I’m Telling My Son About Drunk Sex and Consent

Posted: 22 May 2014 10:01 AM PDT

Talking with a good friend the other day about all the recent attention regarding sexual assault on college campuses—much of it bravely brought to light by coeds who have come forward to tell their stories—we quickly got around to an angle that cuts close to home: What would we tell our teenage sons, who themselves will go off to school in the next few years?

At one point, my friend held up her iPhone and, half in jest, clicked the video button. In order to protect her two boys, she said, she might advise them never to have sex with a girl before getting her consent on the record.

Sexual violence on campus has reached the level of a "crisis" in the words of a recent cover story in Time—one that led the White House last month to issue guidelines raising the pressure on universities to more aggressively combat the problem.

We know that regretted sex and false accusations are undoubtedly the exception, not the rule. Still, as my friend suggested, fabricated claims of rape do happen. And when they do, a young man's reputation is instantly, and often irreparably, shattered. His freedom may be lost.

Certainly, we need to protect our daughters. But we need to protect our sons, too—especially given the widespread hookup culture and the messy realities of binge drinking and of drunken, casual sex on campus.

Let me be clear: This is not about blaming the victim or diminishing the crime of sexual violence on campus and its rampant mismanagement by universities more concerned with their image than with protecting young women.

But we suddenly live in an era where talking to our sons about condoms and STDs before they begin to have sexual encounters is not enough. We must talk to them frankly about consent—and by this I do not mean just teaching them that "no means no." As parents, we must explicitly tell them what's at stake and how to avoid finding themselves in a situation where their actions could possibly be misconstrued as having crossed the line.

With that in mind, there are half a dozen things that I'll be telling my now-16-year-old son before he heads off to college.

First, I am going to talk to him about consent—something that might well seem murky to an inexperienced, awkward, nonverbal teenager, especially when alcohol is involved. A recent must-read article in Slate—which I will share with my son—makes plain that it's a crime to have sex with someone who is too drunk to give meaningful consent, even if the young man is not violent and even if the young woman does not physically resist or verbally object.

Lindsey Doe, a clinical sexologist who has created a free YouTube series dubbed "Sexplanations," lays it out this way: "Consent is not an absence of a no; it is the presence of a yes." Her fantastic video on the subject, "What is Consent?", should be watched by every freshman (male or female) before stepping foot on campus.

Second, I will tell my boy that if he's drunk, he shouldn't have sex. Period. Doe offers this gem: "If you cannot drive a vehicle you ought not to wield your wiener."

Third, I will warn him that he should never take advantage of someone who is drunk. Indeed, if he thinks his only shot at having sex with a woman is because she's smashed, that's a sure sign he should walk away. This is also a great opportunity to explain to my son that sex is better when it's with someone you genuinely care about.

Fourth: I know it can be awkward to talk about sex, but I will advise my son to do exactly that. I will tell him, specifically, that before having sex he should talk about it what it means to him (friends with benefits?) and to her (a relationship?) to make sure there is no misunderstanding. And I will tell him that if he's ever unsure about the signals he's getting from a coed, he should flat-out ask her if she wants to have sex—all without worrying that doing so is unromantic or unsexy or unappealing in any way.

Fifth, I will tell him to take the newspaper test: If what he is about to do were reported on the front page of the local paper, would it be considered improper behavior—or worse? If so, walk away.

Finally, I will tell my kid that it's not enough for him to behave appropriately himself. There will be times when he can safely intervene, encouraging a guy to go home and take a cold shower, or escorting a young woman back to her dorm so she can sleep it off. As Charlotte Alter has pointed out on, bystander intervention is becoming an important tool in fighting sexual assault on campus. I'll encourage my son to be one of the good guys.


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