Monday, June 16, 2014

10 States With the Fastest Growing Economies

10 States With the Fastest Growing Economies

10 States With the Fastest Growing Economies

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

This post is in partnership with 24/7Wall Street. The article below was originally published on

The United States economy grew 1.9% in 2013, down from the 2.8% growth rate in 2012, as growth in the world's largest economy remained inconsistent. The largest contributors to the national economy were nondurable goods manufacturing, real estate and leasing, as well as agriculture and related industries.

While the U.S. economy grew less than 2%, the output of a number of states grew well in excess of 3% last year. North Dakota continued its torrid growth pace, leading the nation with a state GDP growth rate of nearly 10%. This year, Wyoming and West Virginia were the second- and third-fastest growing states, respectively, rebounding from slow growth in 2012. Based on data released this week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), these are the 10 states with the highest real GDP growth rates for 2013.

There were considerable differences in what drove national growth and what drove output in the fastest growing states, according to Cliff Woodruff, an economist at the BEA. "For the nation, it was nondurable goods manufacturing and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting [that] were the top two contributors to national growth," Woodruff said.

On the other hand, in "five of the top states, [growth] was primarily a result of mining," which includes oil, natural gas and coal production. Among these was Wyoming, the nation's second-fastest growing state, where mining accounted for 6.1 percentage points of the state's 7.6% growth rate.

MORE: The States With the Strongest and Weakest Unions

All of the top four states for GDP growth were among the top four nationwide in terms of the mining sector's share of growth. Additionally, three other top states were among the top 10 for GDP growth contributions from the mining sector.

Outside of those states that benefited from mining activity, a few of the nation's fastest growing states did follow the national trend, deriving a significant share of their growth from agriculture. Among these were Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, where agriculture and related industries added at least one percentage point to growth. These states were all among the top five nationwide for the contribution of agriculture to the states' growth rate.

Outside the mining and agriculture sectors, however, these states often shared little in common. For example, nondurable goods manufacturing contributed 1.2 percentage points to Texas' 3.7% GDP growth, a larger contribution than in most states. However, the sector contributed far less in most other fast growing states.

Similarly, Colorado, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Texas were all among the top states for construction's relative contribution to output growth. However, construction output was a large drag on growth in both Wyoming and West Virginia, lowering GDP growth by 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points, respectively.

One common trait among a number of the fastest growing states, however, was a resilient government sector. According to Woodruff, "government was the largest detractor — if you will — from growth in most states." While the government sector directly pulled down GDP nationwide, and served as a drag on output in all but 11 states, this was not the case in the fastest growing states. In fact, six of the top 10 growing states did not experience a drop in output from the government sector.

MORE: 10 Companies Paying Americans the Least

Strong GDP growth was also reflected in state job markets. The unemployment rate in all of the 10 fastest growing states was below the national rate of 7.4% in 2013. Each of the four states with the lowest annual average unemployment rates was among the 10 fastest growing states in 2013. This includes North Dakota, the nation's fastest growing state, where the unemployment rate was just 2.9% in 2013. South Dakota and Nebraska, also among the fastest growing states, had unemployment rates below 4% last year.

Since having more people means more spending on goods and services, population growth often coincides with GDP growth. In fact, while the U.S. population rose just 0.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the population growth in most of the states with the fastest growing economies was well above that. Five of the six states with the fastest population growth rates were also among the top 10 for GDP growth.

Based on figures published by the BEA, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the fastest growing economies. The BEA's state growth figures and the industries' contributions to growth are measured by real gross domestic product, which accounts for the effects of inflation on growth. GDP figures published by the BEA for 2013 are preliminary and subject to annual revision. Real GDP figures for past years have already been revised. Population figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau and reflect estimated growth between the July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2013. We also used median household income from the U.S. Census Bureau. Last year's unemployment rates are annual averages and from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Home price data are from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Information from the Energy Information Administration was also utilized.

These are the 10 states with the fastest growing economies.

1. North Dakota

> GDP growth: 9.7%
> 2013 GDP: $56.3 billion (5th lowest)
> 1-yr. population change: 3.1% (the highest)
> 2013 unemployment: 2.9% (the lowest)

North Dakota has been the fastest growing state in the nation every year since 2010. In fact, the state's GDP grew by 9.7% last year after it already grew by a stratospheric 20% in 2012 alone. The state's oil boom, driven by hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in the Bakken shale formation, has been responsible for much of this growth. Last year, mining directly contributed 3.6 percentage points to the state's growth rate. Other growing industries, such as real estate and construction, have also contributed to the state's growth. State residents have benefited from this growth. The state's unemployment rate as of last year was just 2.9%, the lowest in the nation, while home prices were up nearly 28% over the past five years, also better than any other state.

2. Wyoming
> GDP growth: 7.6%
> 2013 GDP: $45.4 billion (2nd lowest)
> 1-yr. population change: 1.0% (11th highest)
> 2013 unemployment: 4.6% (6th lowest)

Wyoming's economy grew by 7.6% in 2013, just one year after its economy experienced the worst contraction in the nation. The fact that growth rates in Wyoming may be somewhat volatile should not come as a surprise. The state was the nation's least populous last year, with slightly less than 583,000 residents.. Additionally, the state is highly dependent on the fortunes of the mining sector. Last year, 37% of Wyoming's total output came from mining, the most of any state. The state's budget is also highly dependent on taxes from resource extraction. Mining alone accounted for 6.2 percentage points of the state's 7.6% growth in 2013. Wyoming leads the U.S. in coal production, and all eight of the nation's largest mines are in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, according to the EIA. Wyoming is also among the largest states for natural gas production.

3. West Virginia
> GDP growth: 5.1%
> 2013 GDP: $74.0 billion (12th lowest)
> 1-yr. population change: -0.1% (the lowest)
> 2013 unemployment: 6.5% (18th lowest)

After shrinking by 1.4% in 2012, West Virginia's economy grew by 5.1% last year, more than all but two other states. While West Virginia is well-known as one of the nation's largest coal miners, the state is also a burgeoning source of natural gas. According to a report by the Bureau of Business & Economic Research at West Virginia University, the state's coal production is expected to decline in the coming years, while natural gas production has risen dramatically and is expected to continue to grow. However, outside the mining sector, the state had little in the way of growth. Last year's 5.1% rise in GDP was driven largely by the mining sector, which added 5.5 percentage points to GDP growth, meaning, on balance, the state actually contracted outside the sector. By one measure, West Virginia is among the poorest states in the nation. The median household income in the state was just $40,196 in 2012, lower than in all but two other states.

To see the rest of the list, click here.

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The Magic of Dubliners

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:10 AM PDT

It was half way through "The Boarding House," a story from James Joyce's collection Dubliners, published exactly 100 years ago, that I realized what good writing really was. In the story a young man staying in a boarding house becomes involved with the owner's daughter. One morning, the owner asks to see him, and the young man waits in anguish before meeting with her: "He had made two attempts to shave but his hand had been so unsteady that he had been obliged to desist. Three days’ reddish beard fringed his jaws and every two or three minutes a mist gathered on his glasses so that he had to take them off and polish them with his pocket-handkerchief." The moment I read those lines I knew right away what it felt like to be unshaven and to wait for a girl's mother, even though I couldn't grow a beard in 8th grade, and I certainly never had a girlfriend. Before "The Boarding House," I had never imagined that anxiety could have collateral damage—that one might not be able to shave even though one might desperately want to, or that a scared fog might collect on one's glasses. I had never imagined that writing could ever be that incisive, or that precise.

I had borrowed the book from my high school library—I heard the name Joyce thrown around the house, and Dubliners was the shortest of his volumes. I tore through several stories during lunch, and even reread "Araby," a story about a young boy who offers to buy a trinket for a girl he likes. I finished my math test early so that I could get back to my book, I was asked to leave English class the next day when my teacher caught me reading the copy of Dubliners I had tucked into my backpack. We were supposed to be studying Travels with Charley, but could anyone really expect me to read Steinbeck after Joyce? That year, I decided that I would go to University College in Dublin, and if that failed, then I would go to the nearby Trinity College.

What struck me about those lines in "The Boarding House" was how expertly they disguised themselves as banal. There was nothing flashy about them—unlike the lyrical final paragraph of "The Dead," arguably the most famous story in the whole collection, or the heart-wrenching moments in "Eveline," a story about a girl leaving home. With almost no disquisition, Joyce unpacks everything there is to know about this young man. He uses a patch of crimson stubble to describe the sensation of being afraid, and on edge. Joyce puts to shame the clich├ęs meant to act as subtle indications of a character's tormented mental state—Gatsby's long disappearances from parties, Holden Caulfield's underage drinking habit. These supposed hallmarks of dark and tortured characters have allowed us to forget that fear doesn't make us cling onto a flask, but rather, makes it hard to hold a razor straight enough to shave. Joyce's three-day beard is a way of staring down all of our anxieties and apprehensions by pointing out something so simple about ourselves that we may never even have noticed it.

This is, perhaps, the magic of Dubliners. The stories convince us that they and their characters are almost unimportant until they kick us in the heart. When we read Dubliners we know that each of Joyce's Dubliners is stuck, but unlike many authors, Joyce never actually has to say She was working a dead-end job that was only meant to last a few months. And then 15 years went by. Good writing, Joyce reminds us, makes a deeper incision because anything else might just as well be anecdotes around a dinner table. Joyce reminds us that there is something inelegant about relying on the universal, Hollywood stand-ins for certain emotions. A good surgeon does not simply remove the bulk of a tumor, but cuts deep enough that he inevitably ends up scraping off some living, human tissue as well. The two sentences of "The Boarding House" are a constant reminder that it is not enough to have good depth of field, but that nothing—not even the stubble on a chin 100 years ago in Dublin—should be out of focus. And now, ten years after reading those sentences for the first time, I think of Joyce when I run my anxious fingernails across a red, scruffy, three-day beard of my own.

The Government Wants to Regulate How You Use Google Maps

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:03 AM PDT

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking aim at the way drivers use navigation tools such as Google Maps. A proposed bill would grant the National Highway Safety Administration the right to issue guidelines on the functionality of navigation apps that could potentially be a threat to driver safety and force changes to apps that don’t comply with the guidelines, the New York Times reports.

The Department of Transportation has been grappling with the increased use of technology in the car for the last several years. In 2013 the agency issued guidelines on the use of in-car navigation systems, advising that no task on the devices should require more than a two-second glance and 12 seconds total to accomplish. The newly proposed bill, though, would also apply to smartphone apps, like the popular maps software Google and Apple develop. Such apps currently reside in a murky area when it comes to laws that ban calling and texting while driving. A California man faced a $165 fine for using his phone as a navigation aid because other uses of a phone, such as talking while driving, are banned in the state. An appeals court later overturned the decision, according to the Times.

Critics of the proposed measure say it would be impractical for the government to monitor the vast number of navigation apps and whether people are using them while driving or not. But with injuries from car accidents involving a distracted driver on the rise, it's likely the National Highway Safety Administration will continue to seek ways to regulate the ways people use electronics while behind the wheel. The bill, a wide-ranging piece of legislation regarding transportation, is expected to pass in Congress in some form by the end of the year.


The House Republican Whip Ring: Three Enter, One Wins

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 11:00 AM PDT

The race for House Republican Whip—who counts and coaxes the votes necessary to pass legislation—is a secret affair, and thus prone to deception. If you added up the votes provided by the supporters of each of the three candidates now angling for the job, you end up with about 240 votes, which is greater than the 233 House Republicans eligible to vote.

It's this misdirection and scheming that makes the race for an important but notoriously difficult position so much fun to watch. The two story lines so far—this race is about where are you from, a red state or blue state, and about how conservative you are—may be broadly true, but individual relationships and backroom politics also play a role.

There are three candidates in the running right now, Louisiana’s Steve Scalise, Illinois’ Peter Roskam and Indiana’s Marlin Stutzman.

Those rooting for Scalise, the chairman of the massive Republican Study Committee, are selling the appeal of a red state leader, since the rest of leadership is likely to be filled with members from states Obama won in 2012—Ohio's John Boehner as Speaker, California's Kevin McCarthy as Majority Leader, and Washington's Cathy McMorris-Rodgers as Conference Chairwoman. Indeed, Scalise has deep support from the south, but Roskam's backers include southern Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), George Holding (R-N.C.), Kay Granger (R-Tx.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Tom Rice (R-S.C.), a source close to Roskam tells TIME. To shore up more support, Roskam sent out a letter on Friday committing that his chief deputy whip would be named from a red state.

Scalise has blue state support as well, including McMorris-Rodgers and Roskam's Illinois colleague Aaron Schock. Schock, who left the RSC before Scalise took charge, supports Scalise because of their "great working relationship," and Scalise's views on coal, a source close to Schock tells TIME.

Roskam's team is also pushing back on the charge that he is not conservative enough, although Scalise is clearly has a more conservative voting record. According to a 2013 National Journal ranking, Scalise is one of the top 5 most conservative members, while Roskam doesn't crack the top 150. But some of the most conservative members still back Roskam, including Hudson, who believes Roskam's experience makes him better prepared. "I think we need an effective Whip that can count votes," Hudson told TIME last week. "That’s what I’m more worried about.”

The wild card in the race is Stutzman, who has a Scalise-like pitch that he will bring a fresh perspective and a conservative voice to the table, although he is much closer to Roskam on the National Journal’s scale. Stutzman’s team says he is approaching 50 members, according to Politico, but his competitors dismiss that number as too high. Scalise differs himself from Stutzman with his experience, including whipping votes for a Farm Bill that passed the House last summer without food stamp funding nor a single Democratic vote.

Stutzman’s supporters will prove crucial if a second-ballot were to occur, but Scalise and Roskam supporters are working hard to win on the first ballot Thursday. After several late nights, Scalise spent Saturday up until midnight calling members, then spent a few more hours huddling with his staff, who came back Sunday as takeout containers from Carmine's and other spots piled up (the garbage men don't pick up over the weekend).

Over the weekend, Roskam set up a series of conference calls with his deputies, and spent the day working the phone lines Saturday. Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) reportedly made whip calls from his hospital bed for Scalise while the Roskam source tells TIME that Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) did the same during a family reunion.

How Teens Cope With Cancer: The Fault Is in Their Brains

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:59 AM PDT

The movie "The Fault In Our Stars" is a reminder that cancer does not care how old you are. Some 70,000 teenagers and young adults are diagnosed each year.

The film is based on a young adult novel dedicated to one of those cancer-stricken teens.

Cancer affects teens in other ways as well. "Parental Cancer and the Family," published in the journal Cancer in 2010, estimates that nearly a million U.S. teens live with a parent who is a cancer survivor.

If you ask those parents how their teenage children responded, some might say, "They hardly seemed to notice."

The fault isn't in their stars. It's in their teenage brains.

Teens are in the developmental stage when they create their own sense of self and separate from the family. The news that a parent has cancer is exactly what they don't want to hear. That news pulls them back into the family orbit that they're trying to escape. That can lead to unexpected reactions—general anger, anger at the parent and sometimes a seeming sense of detachment from the family cancer crisis.

When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, our daughters were 12 and 15. They seemed concerned about mom, but they seemed more concerned about hanging out with friends and keeping up with school. Sometimes it seemed as if they were hardly around the house.

Years later, my older daughter and I collaborated on a book about teens facing a parent's cancer. It was only then that I learned how deeply the experience affected Maya and her younger sister Daniela.

Marsha's chemo-bald head was an uncomfortable sight for Maya, who just wanted to be with her buddies so she could feel like a normal teen. Now she wishes she had done more to help out during the months of treatment.

Daniela confessed that each morning at her Jewish day school, she and her friends would say a silent prayer for mom. She kept that to herself at the time. It was her way of trying to create a feeling of control in a situation that was out of control, she says, of trying to do something that could help.

I remember being puzzled when Daniela was supposed to spend the night at a friend's house when Marsha had her lumpectomy surgery, and I got a call that night at home: "Dad, can you come get me?" What I didn't grasp was that even though a sleepover can be a lot of fun, sometimes, when a family's life has been disrupted by a crisis like cancer, a teenager just wants to be home, in her own bed.

So there you have it: outer teenage cool, inner worries, all mixed up in a confusing package.

And if teens do seem to be avoiding the parent with cancer, that doesn't mean a lack of empathy. "Sometimes you want to preserve the picture of the parent as they were at the top of their game. For that reason, some children may stay away. They love their parent so much they can't bear to see them sick and not all the way themselves," says psychiatrist Paula Rauch, director of the Marjorie E. Korff PACT Program (Parenting At a Challenging Time) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Other teens are "parentified"—that's a term for kids who take on parental responsibilities. Interviewing kids for the book, Maya and I met teens who cared for younger siblings and handled new household chores.

Avoidance and parentification: "Those are two equally loving ways" to react to a parent suffering from cancer, Rauch says.

Rauch also notes that not every teen wants to talk about it, and that's okay. Although sometimes, in the confines of a car during a round of errands, miracles can happen and even a reticent teen might answer a parent's question: "How are you doing?"

For teens who are able to put their feelings into words, life lessons can be learned: How much cancer sucks, and that one way to cope is by drawing strength from your family.

Tyler, who was 11 when his dad was diagnosed with cancer, did the unthinkable for a boy: He shared his feelings with his mom. "We would tell each other things we couldn't tell anyone else," Tyler says. "I remember her saying that we were the only ones who understood what we were going through. Everyone else understood but they didn't quite understand the way we did."

That close relationship with his mom helped Tyler get through his father's cancer treatments. And it was helpful for his mom, too. Sometimes he'd give his mom a hug or a kiss on the cheek, or hold her hand, and that little gesture meant the world to her. "We were really there for each other," she says. "We were each other's rock. I don't know what I would have done without Tyler."

Marc Silver and his daughter, Maya, are co-authors of "My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice from Real-Life Teens."

‘Duke Porn Star’: I Lost My Financial Aid

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:55 AM PDT

This year, even after student aid, I faced a $47,000 bill to attend Duke University. My turn to porn to close the gap was so famous, in part, due to my reasoning. Faced with either a degree from a less prestigious school or decades of crushing debt, a few hours of work on a porn set revealed itself to be the best way to avoid getting screwed.

To make matters worse, my income now makes me ineligible for the $13,000 in aid I was receiving. My bill for next year will be a staggering $62,000. And I will pay this all on my own; the financial aid office does not care that I am legally financially independent. They view it as my parent's responsibility to foot the bill.

But my porn work pays the exorbitant tab for one simple reason: Demand for porn actresses, especially extremely young ones like myself, far exceeds supply. How interesting that the same basic principle explains why my tuition bill is so high in the first place.

Demand for education, kind of like demand for porn, is pretty inelastic. Kids like me have been told our whole lives that higher education is the only way to be successful in America. President Obama made it clear he wants to keep that demand high in a speech in Austin, Texas.

"I want us to produce 8 million more college graduates by 2020, because America has to have the highest share of graduates compared to every other nation," Obama said. Toward that end, he increased the amount and number of Pell Grants.

Further boosting demand for a college, a moribund economy has made delayed entry into the workforce attractive and competition for jobs fierce. For years, lawmakers have worked toward the clear goal of making sure every American kid enrolls in college. Pell Grants aren't the only method. Guaranteed loans have ensured every kid, regardless of credit score, parental income, or likely ability to repay, can borrow money to go to school. The federal government has for decades effectively subsidized college education through grants and loans, with predictable effects.

Colleges today have zero incentive to lower tuition or make college more affordable. Either way, demand is high and the money will keep flowing. So why bother with thrift?

Sheldon Richman, vice president of the Future of Freedom Foundation and author of Separating School: Liberating America's Families agrees:

What drives the inflation of tuitions are the various forms of government financing. This is basic economics. If the government stimulates demand through grants and loans, other things equal, prices (tuitions) will rise. It's supply and demand. It is unsurprising that much of the money goes to administrative bloat. That's now bureaucracies usually behave.

I've experienced firsthand the kind of bloat Richman describes. NPR published an article days after my story went public about colleges on average hiring more bureaucrats than teachers. It detailed how my tuition goes toward new football stadiums, building luxury dorms, new dining halls, and rock-climbing walls — and don't forget visits from Snooki and music artists.

Officials at my school responded that $60,000 is a bargain — they actually spend $90,000 a year on each student. Let's break that $90,000 down. Building and maintaining physical infrastructure on campus gets $8,000. Another $14,000 goes to pay a share of administrative and academic support salaries, which in Duke’s case includes more than $1 million in total compensation to the university president, Richard Brodhead, and more than $500,000 to the provost, Peter Lange, according to 2011 tax filings. Also, $14,000 goes to dorms, food, and health services; $7,000 goes to staff salaries for deans and faculty; and miscellaneous costs take up another $5,000.

And on March 1st, the trustees of Duke raised tuition from $44,020 this year to $45,800 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

I have considered dropping out of Duke. I have sacrificed more than my squeaky clean reputation to finance my education. Flying to shoots during breaks means I rarely see my family. And, of course, my choice to finance through porn has meant intense ridicule and harassment.

I cannot tell you how difficult it is to hear my wealthy friends talk about all of the exciting summer plans in Greece or London they have, while I know I'm going to be working. I'm in that middle-class bind where many students find themselves. My parents make too much on paper to qualify for sufficient aid, but not enough to afford $47,000 a year. Alas, the plight of a middle-class student.

I'm hardly the only student who's struggling with these sky-high bills. Experts predict a massive student loan default on the horizon, on par with the last major mortgage crisis. And, like the mortgage crisis, it's likely the banks and lenders will be bailed out, while the students will be saddled with wage garnishments and ruined credit.

Government must stop the flow of money to schools in order to get tuition rates under control again. That means being honest about the fact that not every child should go to college. Only 59% of full-time, first-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution graduate in four years. That also means making students who can't afford tuition out of pocket find funding in the private market, where lenders are too judicious to lend someone $150,000 to get a BA in underwater basketweaving.

Richman again:

The solution is a complete separation of school and state at all levels. Competition drives down prices and improves products and services, as entrepreneurs strive to win customers by offering a better deal in terms of quality and cost. Government cannot help because the law of unintended consequences cannot be repealed.

Everyone is focused on my decision to perform in porn to pay my tuition. Let's start paying attention to what got me here. Sky-high tuition bills result from a culture, from our President on down, telling every kid to go to college, regardless of their future plans or ability to graduate. And they result from schools being all-too-happy to raise prices to catch all the money flowing from the federal spigot.

Miriam Weeks, also known as Belle Knox, is an adult film star and a rising sophomore at Duke University.

Army Launches Probe into How Bowe Bergdahl Left Base

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:41 AM PDT

The U.S. Army said Monday that it has begun investigating the departure from base and subsequent capture of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

"The primary function of this investigation, as in any other investigation, is to ascertain facts and report them to the appointing authority," the Army said in a statement. "These types of investigations are not uncommon and serve to establish the facts on the ground following an incident."

The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s 2009 departure from a base in Afghanistan has been under close scrutiny ever since he was released last last month after five years in Taliban captivity, in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees. Bergdahl returned to the U.S. late last week and remains under medical care; he won’t talk to investigators until doctors clear him to do so.

"The Army’s top priority remains Sgt. Bergdahl’s health and reintegration," the Army said. "We ask that everyone respect the time and privacy necessary to accomplish the objectives of the last phase of reintegration."

6 Android Phones with Great Battery Life

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:39 AM PDT

One of the most common complaints of smartphone ownership is battery life. Big displays and powerful processors conspire together to drain your phone of life before the day is through. You can get a portable battery charger to keep you going (and you probably should for emergencies and travel), but that’s one more device to carry.

So if you’ve tried to maximize the battery life of your current phone to no avail, check out these six Android phones with exceptional battery life. Each is rated to give you plenty of talk time to last a full day, while still providing an outstanding array of features.


1. Samsung Galaxy S5 (29 hours)

The new flagship phone from Samsung, its 2,800 mAh battery will go for 29 hours of talk before you need to charge it up.

Available on AT&T, Boost Mobile, Metro PCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Virgin and US Cellular


2. Motorola DROID Mini (28 hours)

The “mini” only refers to the 4.3″ display (since when did 4.3 inches become mini?) not its battery life. Though it “only” has a 2,000 mAh battery, that will give you 28 hours of talk time.

Available on Verizon


3. HTC One Max (25 hours)

The huge 5.9″ display coupled with an equally huge 3,300 mAh battery and 25 hours of talk time make the HTC One Max the winner among the phablets.

Available on Sprint and Verizon


4. Motorola DROID MAXX (24 hours)

The “MAXX” is for the amount of juice you’ll get from the 3,500 mAh battery, offering anywhere from 24-48 hours of talk time.

Available on Verizon


5. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (21 hours)

This “phablet” offers a humongous 5.7″ display, which fortunately also leaves plenty of room for a 3,200 mAh battery with 21 hours of talk time.

Available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Virgin and US Cellular


6. HTC One M8 (20 hours)

Battling it out with the Samsung Galaxy S5 is HTC’s newest flagship phone. With a 2,600 mAh battery and 20 hours of talk time, it loses this battle, but still offers admirable performance.

Available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon

(Talk time stats courtesy of Measurement process may vary by manufacturer.)

This article was written by Josh Kirschner and originally appeared on Techlicious.

Jack in the Box Is Apparently Selling Its Own Cronut

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:36 AM PDT

The cronut has a new impostor—and it's a Jack in the Box version in Ramona, California.

At least one of the fast food chain's outlets is selling "croissant donuts," an imitation of Dominique Ansel's original invention (one of the 25 best inventions of 2013), reported Foodbeast.

Croissant donuts at Jack in the Box—the first U.S. fast food outlet to sell cronut knockoffs—are $0.89 for one piece and $1.99 for three pieces, over 80% cheaper than the $5 cronuts at New York's Dominique Ansel Bakery. (And that's not counting the opportunity cost of waiting in the multi-hour-long line to snag one of only roughly 200 cronuts made daily.)

Other eateries have attempted imitations of the trademarked snack—from "doissants" in Indiana to “New York Pie Donuts” in Seoul—but none have managed to spark their own black markets, as Ansel's cronuts did when they were resold for as much as $40.

What would Ansel think of Jack in the Box's latest creation?

"I'm very flattered to be an inspiration for people," the French pastry chef told Eater. "My lawyer says something else."

Van Gogh and the Algorithm: How Math Can Save Art

Posted: 16 Jun 2014 10:32 AM PDT

It took X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and a painting algorithm to reveal the hidden portrait of a peasant underneath the painting of Vincent Van Gogh's "Patch of Grass.” And that feat, accomplished in 2008, was just the beginning.

Art history and mathematics may seem an unlikely combination, but math techniques in image analysis is transforming the way art historians and conservationists do their work. Algorithms can be used to distinguish copies from originals, characterize and quantify the style of one artist in comparison to another, and restore cracks and fading. "What's really important to note is that these are all non-invasive techniques," says William Brown, chief conservator of the North Carolina Museum of Art, who gathered last week in Washington to discuss his work at a panel discussion sponsored by Duke University.

While many restoration techniques interfere with art's chemical composition, the image analysis technique leaves art untouched. Signal processing extracts X-ray images of the art, allowing it to be viewed in enhanced or altered forms while the original remains.

"Basically, there is a mixture of sources in the artwork and we want to make sense of the mix and which elements are more present than others," says Robert Calderbank, director of the Information Initiative at Duke. Calderbank likened the technique to the study of skin cancer, in which scientists separate different types of melatonin from within the same skin lesion.

Brown and Ingrid Daubechies, professor of mathematics at Duke, having been experimenting with the technique since 2011. The two first collaborated to characterize the style of Giotto di Bondone's Peruzzi Altarpiece. For generations, scholars had noted that some of the faces looked much more naturalistic than others, suggesting the possibility that different artists, perhaps di Bondone's apprentices, had painted portions of the altarpiece. By characterizing combinations, such as detail elements of brushstrokes, and using charts to visualize information and patterns, Brown and Daubechies were able to determine which panels were the ones likely painted by di Bondone, and which by his apprentices.

A restoration of another altarpiece, the Ghent Altarpiece, made it possible to distinguish once illegibly cracked calligraphy as the text of Thomas Aquinas on the Annunciation. Using an image-processing algorithm, Brown virtually removed the distortion created by the painting's cradle resulting in an X-ray image of the art, sans cradle modification.

Daubechies is confident that the interdisciplinary work, enabled by data, can produce what neither mathematics nor art could produce independently. "We want to give you a third eye," Daubechies said of entry of mathematics into the art world. "It's not competitive."



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