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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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Posted: 28 May 2014 11:19 AM PDT

In the poem "Old Folks Laugh," included in her 1997 collection of poetry, I Shall Not Be Moved, she made clear that her advice about laughter wasn't just about not taking yourself too seriously. The poem's conclusion states that laughter is still the best medicine: "When old folks laugh, they consider the promise / of dear painless death, and generously / forgive life for happening / to them."

Watch: Millionaire Gives Cash Away in Twitter Scavenger Hunt

Posted: 28 May 2014 11:17 AM PDT

The story seems like something out of a classic movie: a mysterious millionaire giving away his money in a free-for-all scavenger hunt.

But in San Francisco, one mysterious moneyman is doing just that — and disseminating the clues in the form of tweets.

Twitter user @HiddenCash has been hiding envelopes with $100 bills (or 5 $20s) all over San Francisco and then tweeting their whereabouts. The only thing he asks in return is to tweet out a photo when you find the cash.

The benefactor, who has not revealed his identity, said in an interview with CNN “This is not a set-up charity, but I wanted to do something fun and creative.”

Fox News Just Hired Clueless Actress Stacey Dash

Posted: 28 May 2014 11:06 AM PDT

Next time you flip on Fox News, you just might find yourself watching Stacey Dash, the actress best known for playing Dionne in Clueless. The network has signed the 47-year-old as a contributor who will “offer cultural analysis and commentary across various daytime and primetime programs,” Deadline reports.

“Stacey is an engaging conversationalist whose distinctive viewpoints amongst her Hollywood peers have spawned national debates – we’re pleased to have her join Fox News,” Bill Shine, Executive Vice President of Programming for the network, said in a statement.

If you’re thinking that Dash isn’t a good choice, well, that’s way harsh Tai.

A Brief History of How Maya Angelou Influenced Hip Hop

Posted: 28 May 2014 11:02 AM PDT

The renowned poet Maya Angelou, who died at age 86 today, was a major inspiration to the hip-hop community — Wu Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige and mogul Russell Simmons are among the celebrities who mourned her death on Twitter today. But Angelou’s relationship with rap runs deeper than just a few memorial tweets.

Tupac Shakur’s posthumous 1999 release Still I Rise (released as 2Pac+Outlawz) borrowed its title from Angelou’s poem of the same name; the rapper and the poet met on the set of the 1993 movie Poetic Justice, an experience that brought him to tears, as Angelou once told it:

“Years ago I did a movie called Poetic Justice, and there was a young man the first day who cursed so, I couldn’t believe it. I walked around, behind him, tried to ignore him. But the second day, he and another young man, [a] black man, ran to each other and were about to fight. Hundreds of extras started to run away. But one black man walked up to the two young men, and I walked up, and I took one by his shoulder. I said, ‘Let me speak to you.’ … He finally calmed down, and I said, ‘Do you know how much you are needed? Do you know what you mean to us? Do you know that hundreds of years of struggle have been for you? Please baby, take a minute.’ … I put my arm around him. He started to weep. The tears came down. That was Tupac Shakur. I took him, I walked him down into a little gully and kept his back to the people so they wouldn’t see him, and I used my hands to dry his cheeks.”

“Still I Rise” was also the title of a track on Nicki Minaj’s 2009 mixtape, Beam Me Up Scotty. Though the rapstress doesn’t name-check Angelou specifically, her lyrics about continually overcoming hardship match the themes of Angelou’s poem. There are plenty of others who do mention her explicitly, however: As XXL also points out, Angelou is referenced in a number of songs by Nas, Wale, Danny Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Jean Grae and The Roots.

Kanye West, too, has referenced Angelou throughout his career. The recently married rapper mentioned her on a 2002 remix of Talib Kweli’s “Get By” and on “Hey Mama” from 2005′s Late Registration. He also cited her as an inspiration alongside other greats in a 2010 blog post written several months before he released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy:

"We will follow in the same footsteps Maya Angelou, Gill Scott Herron [sic] and Nina Simone. Their work improved with time. They documented what was happening in culture. That is our responsibility as the modern day artists and poets, to accurately represent what is happening now, so when the powers that be try to rewrite history you can always look at our works and find truth and sincerity in a world of processed information.”

Common took his appreciation of the poet one step further by collaborating with her on his 2011 song, “The Dreamer,” which features Angelou reciting a poem toward the end of the track. (Similarly, Kendrick Lamar uses a recording of her voice on “Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst” from good kid, m.A.A.d city.) Angelou, however, wasn’t thrilled with Common’s final product: She told the New York Post that she was “surprised and disappointed” by Common’s use of the N-word on the song, which she hadn’t been warned about. “I don’t know why he chose to do that,” she said. “I had never heard him use that [word] before. I admired him so because he wasn’t singing the line of least resistance.”

Later, Angelou called into the BET program 106 & Park to clarify her feelings on the matter:

“I will not be divided from Common. By anybody’s imagination, he is brilliant and even genius, maybe. But certainly smarter than us to know that he’s in process. And next week, he might not even use the N-word or the B-word. It may even take two or three weeks, or a month. But I’m not going to be separated from him.”

Angelou believed that rap music was a portal for youth to discover poetry. As she put it in one old interview: “Take ‘A Negro Love Song’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar wrote this poem in 1892. It could have been written last week for Queen Latifah, or M.C. Hammer or L.L. Cool J or whoever they are.”

Last year, talking with TIME, Angelou said she was optimistic about the future of poetry.

“All I have to do is listen to hip-hop or some of the rappers.”

Maya Angelou’s Arkansas: Dignity and Poverty in the Depression

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:53 AM PDT

Born in St. Louis, Mo., on April 28, 1928, the author Maya Angelou grew up in Stamps, Ark., witnessing the racial disharmony that defined the Jim Crow American South of her youth. There she cultivated the dignity and her own brand of quiet strength that would mark her writing and her activism for the rest of her life.

The picture above, of a young African-American cotton picker in an Arkansas field in the mid-1930s, is the sort of tableau that Angelou would certainly have encountered throughout her time in the South: namely, a child in rags, put to hard work at a tender age. The idea that this might well have been Maya Angelou’s fate — and that it was the fate of countless others — puts into stark relief the life she led, and the distance she traveled.

 

Boston Man Breaking Into College Bros’ Homes to Tickle Their Feet in the Night

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:53 AM PDT

A hooded man has been breaking into male students’ homes at Boston College to tickle their feet in the middle of the night, according to Boston PD.

While we could be flip about a super villain by the name of The Tickler —”This is no myth,” Sergeant Michael O’Hara told boston.coom, “It’s happening.”—we won’t be. Because it’s legitimately terrifying.

For two years, the Tickler—described as a 5’8″ black male in dark clothing, a hoodie and on special occasions a “Gator-style mask”—has been haunting the campus, hitting up to three rooms in a night. There are no thefts and he’s usually gone by the time giggling has kicked in.

I thought my friend was just trying to annoy me, but I soon realized it wasn't anyone I knew,” said Daniel Marenzi, who’s feet were targeted in October. “I freaked out and sat up but he was already on the way out.”

[Boston.com]

How Often Does Your College Report Sexual Assaults?

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:53 AM PDT

The prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses is often masked by low levels of reporting, as Eliza Gray reported in a recent TIME cover story. Despite the troubles with reporting, comparing the number of incidents that are recorded on campuses can be instructive. In the interactive below, you can search for your school to see how many sexual assaults it reported between 2006 and 2012.

Counterintuitive though it may seem, a higher number of reports from an institution is often a good sign, because it means the school is doing a better job than others at addressing the issue. According to research from the Department of Health and Human Services [pdf], nearly one in five women is the victim of sexual assault or an attempted assault while attending college. Reporting levels for all schools are well below that number.

All schools that receive federal funding must submit annual security reports to the Department of Education, and the White House recently pressured universities to address the problem more proactively.

In 2012, the most recent full year on record, 4-year non-for-profit and public institutions averaged 1.8 reported assaults. The 55 schools currently facing Title IX sexual assault investigations averaged 12 reported assaults in 2012. The ten schools with the highest number of reported assaults average 27.9 in 2012. As the chart shows, the number of reported assaults is on the rise at many institutions.

Here are the top-ten schools with the highest cumulative reports of sexual assault from 2006 to 2012. Again, high reports don’t necessarily mean the highest levels of the crime.

  • Ohio State University-Main Campus, 248
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 208
  • University of California-Davis, 206
  • University of California-Los Angeles, 168
  • Harvard University, 152
  • Indiana University-Bloomington, 149
  • University of California-Berkeley, 143
  • Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus, 136
  • Dartmouth College, 125
  • Princeton University, 122

Numbers show on-campus and off-campus forcible and non-forcible sexual assaults.

Methodology

Forcible and non forcible sexual assaults are available from 2006 to 2012 from the Department of Education’s annual security reports. This includes on-campus security reports, such as dormitories and school buildings, and non-campus security reports like Greek housing. Schools are filtered by four-year private not-for-profit schools and public schools.

Judge Orders Temporary Halt to Ohio Executions

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:47 AM PDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio executions have been put on hold for 2 1/2 months after a federal judge said he wanted to hear arguments over the state’s new lethal injection procedures.

The temporary order delays executions scheduled for July and August while attorneys prepare filings about the state’s decision to boost the dosages of its lethal injection drugs.

The one-page order by Columbus federal judge Gregory Frost on Tuesday affects the state’s latest death penalty policy change, which was announced in late April. Ohio uses two drugs injected simultaneously in executions. The policy change considerably increases the amount of the sedative and raises the amount of the painkiller.

The procedure update followed the Jan. 16 execution of Dennis McGuire, who repeatedly gasped during the record 26 minutes it took him to die.

The state said in April it was making the changes “to allay any remaining concerns” after McGuire’s execution, though it stood by the way McGuire was put to death.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said its review of McGuire’s execution determined he was asleep and unconscious a few minutes after the drugs were administered and his execution was conducted in a constitutional manner.

“He did not experience pain, distress or air hunger after the drugs were administered or when the bodily movements and sounds occurred,” the state said.

Frost’s order delays the July 2 execution of Ronald Phillips, sentenced to die for the rape and death of Sheila Marie Evans, his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, in Akron in 1993. Phillips last execution date was also delayed as he unsuccessfully requested to donate organs to his family members.

The order also delays the Aug. 6 execution of William Montgomery, who shot 20-year-old Debra Ogle and her 19-year-old roommate Cynthia Tincher on or around March 8, 1986.

Intel Shows Off Health-Tracking Smart Shirt

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:39 AM PDT

For all the talk about smartwatches, smart rings and smart earbuds, maybe the cleverest place to put wearable technology is on the clothes we’re already wearing.

At least that’s what Intel’s thinking. The chip maker used Re/code’s Code Conference to show off a smart T-shirt that can track your heart rate and other health data. As The Next Web explains, Intel partnered with smart clothing firm AiQ to design the sensor-laden shirt. The shirt’s electronics live in a separate box that you can unplug when it’s laundry time.

There’s no word on pricing, but Intel says the shirt will become an actual product this summer. And don’t worry; according to Engadget, Intel envisions all kinds of other places for wearables, including “eyes, ears, wrist and torso.”

Peer Pressure Lasts Only Three Days, Study Says

Posted: 28 May 2014 10:38 AM PDT

Feeling pressure to go on a date with someone all your friends told you was so cute? Just wait three days and your true feelings might be revealed. It turns out the influence of others may not have as big an impact on your decisions as psychological researchers previously thought, according to a new study published in Psychological Science. In fact, their opinion may only be impactful for a short period.

Researchers at Chinese universities asked men to rate the attractiveness of 280 female faces. After they rated each face, the study participants were shown the average ratings the rest of the experimental group gave the face. They were then asked to rate the same faces after one day, three days, one week or three months. The research team found that individuals’ initial judgments could be altered by others’ opinions in the first three days. After that, they stuck with their initial assessment.

Our findings suggest that because the social-conformity effect lasts several days, it reflects a short-term change in privately held views rather than a transient public compliance,” the authors of the study said in a statement.

Obviously, peer pressure can be constant and doesn’t work in the limited, fleeting way tested in this experimental setting. Still, it’s good to know we are capable of making our own decisions independent of our friends — after a few days go by.

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