Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Watch: Page Boy Faints During Queen of England’s Speech

Watch: Page Boy Faints During Queen of England’s Speech

Watch: Page Boy Faints During Queen of England’s Speech

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:18 AM PDT

A page boy for the Queen of England fainted during a speech Wednesday at the State Opening of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster in London.

In this video of the Queen’s 10-minute speech, a loud thud can be heard at approximately eight seconds in.

Yep, that’s the sound of the young attendant fainting and hitting the ground moments after the Queen told the audience the British government would work towards a “comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran.” Perhaps he found the government’s policy toward Iran so objectionable he lost consciousness?

The three page boys left standing assisted the Queen as she left the House of Lords after completing the speech, ITV reports.

[ITV News]


Bergdahl’s Idaho Hometown to Celebrate Homecoming, Despite Anger From Some

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:11 AM PDT

A rally in U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s Idaho hometown celebrating his release after nearly five years of captivity will go on as planned, despite growing questions about the circumstances of the soldier’s capture.

The joy over the soldier’s return among residents of the small mountain community of Hailey, Idaho has been dampened by claims that he abandoned his post. Some have also claimed that the subsequent search for Bergdahl cost the lives of up to six soldiers, Reuters reports.

But Hailey residents say they support Bergdahl either way and that they’re continuing to prepare for a June 28 rally in his honor.

“People in Hailey have been aware for some time that there were questions about how Bowe came to be captured, and that there was a chance that Bowe could be in trouble when he came home,” said Stefanie O’Neill, a rally co-organizer.

The backlash over Bergdahl’s release reached a fever pitch early this week amid reports that the White House overrode interagency security processes to free five Taliban higher-ups in exchange for Bergdahl’s release. There has also been increasing scrutiny of Bergdahl’s absence from his post in Afghanistan before his capture.


Here’s Another Video of Justin Bieber Being Racist

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:08 AM PDT

A video emerged Wednesday showing a young Justin Bieber singing a racist parody of his popular song "One Less Lonely Girl," the second time in the last week the pop star has been depicted making racist comments.

The video, published by TMZ, shows a 14-year-old Bieber sitting in a chair and giggling as he croons the tune while replacing the word "girl" with the n-word.

"One less lonely n—-r," Bieber sings. "If I kill you, I'd be a part of the KKK, and there's gonna be one less lonely n—-r."

Bieber was reportedly singing a parody of his song he had seen on YouTube. Bieber apologized last Sunday after a video emerged that showed him telling a racist joke. He said that at the time of the video's creation, he "thought it was OK to repeat hurtful and jokes."

"I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance," he said in a statement to the Associated Press.

“I’m very sorry,” Bieber said. “I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable behavior.”

TMZ reports that Bieber and his representatives wanted the video released so he can take responsibility for his actions.

Temple Run Scampers Past One Billion Downloads

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Think about the number one billion for a moment: one billion fingers tapping on smartphone and tablet screens, one billion icons indicating data being streamed over radio wave-filled airspace, and one billion instances of an unusually popular game nestling on mobile devices. That’s how many times Imangi Studios’ Temple Run games — both Temple Run and Temple Run 2 — have been downloaded to date, says the company.

Not one billion unique downloads, mind you (I’ve downloaded it at least a dozen times myself, some of those for friends and family) but one billion instances nonetheless. That’s a lot of endless running.

In Temple Run, players swipe their screens in various directions to make a character jump or duck and turn left or right. The character is always running, and stopping indicates defeat. The game generates random twists and turns, head-smacking overhangs and leg-banging impediments, pulling you through a kind of Allan Quartermain (or Indiana Jones) jungle-scape fantasy. Stumble once and you’ll find a gorilla-thing swiping at your heels. You don’t want to stumble twice.

And on it goes, endlessly, with players unlocking points for meeting certain thresholds that they can spend like money (or, of course, spend real money if they’re impatient — and it’s easy to get impatient), racking up high scores shared on worldwide leaderboards. The goal is in essence to get the highest score possible, and plenty of players have maxed the game out. I don’t know what happens when you get to 150 million points in Temple Run 2 — my high score is in the lowly tens of millions — but according to my iPhone’s leaderboard readout, hundreds have hit the 150 million mark so far.

Among other Imangi factoids (trotted out to promote the game, per the milestone), Imangi said players had altogether spent 216,018 years playing the series, that over 32 billion games have been played collectively and that players have run a total of 50 trillion meters in the games to date. Sixty percent of players are female (and 40% male), the top three ways to die are “falling,” “collision” and “monkey,” and players have used the “save me” feature — spend points to continue from your death point — 140 billion times.

The original Temple Run launched in 2011, a few years after Angry Birds (one of the most popular mobile series of all time), so this is Imangi joining Rovio in the billion-downloads club, though Angry Birds, which hit a billion downloads two years ago, is now in the two billion downloads club, a point Rovio said it reached last January.

Movies Streaming Slowly? Blame Verizon, Netflix Says

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:34 AM PDT

Netflix has a new strategy in its battle over who should pay to deliver video to users: make customers think slow speeds are Internet Service Providers’ fault.

A Twitter user spotted on Tuesday a new buffering screen that blames Verizon for slow speeds. "The Verizon network is crowded right now," the screen reads.

Netflix users have been reportedly experiencing slower streaming speeds on Verizon's FiOS Internet service in recent months. Netflix agreed in April to pay Verizon to establish a direct connection to its network to deliver video content across the "last mile" into users' homes.

However, Netflix says it’s ideologically opposed to such paid peering agreements, viewing them as a violation of net neutrality. ISPs such as Comcast and AT&T have said that Netflix should pay for the costs of serving its own video content, while Netflix argues that ISPs essentially get paid twice, first from customers and then from content providers, when they charge interconnection fees.

Now, Netflix is placing blame on ISPs not only in blog posts but within the Netflix app itself. These types of messages may start popping up for other Internet subscribers too.

"We are trying out different ways to keep our members informed," Netflix spokesman Joris Evers said in an email. "This is a test that isn’t limited to Verizon."

Though the Verizon deal was signed in late April, streaming speeds for FiOS and Verizon's slower DSL service were no faster that month, according to Netflix's monthly ranking of ISP streaming speeds. Bob Elek, a Verizon spokesman, said in an email that the company has not changed its network since inking the Netflix agreement. Elek also said the Netflix buffering message could “confuse” customers.

"We are working quickly to implement the network architecture and expect improvements to be experienced across the FiOS footprint throughout 2014," he said. "Having said that, this seems to be PR driven – we’re investigating this claim but it seems misleading and could confuse people."

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he will look into Netflix's paid peering complaints as his agency attempts to establish new net neutrality rules this year.

30-Second Tech Trick: Get Fewer Friend Requests on Facebook

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:34 AM PDT

REVIEW: Edge of Tomorrow: Being Tom Cruise, Forever

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:28 AM PDT

The movie begins with world news services — BBC, Sky News — reporting the invasion and near-conquest of Europe by extraterrestrial entities. Even CNN interrupts its 24/7 coverage of that Malaysian plane, giving Wolf Blitzer a chance to report an actual breaking story. And at the end (no spoiler alert necessary), we learn that "Russian and Chinese troops are moving across Western Europe without resistance." That's supposed to be the good news.

So we're in the movies' favorite nightmare fantasy land, Armageddon — or, through most of Edge of Tomorrow, a replay of the D-Day invasion, but with Allied forces deploying from London to fight not the Nazis but the Mimics. Described as "a spectacularly evolved, world-conquering organism," and looking like jellyfish or octopi with limbs resembling Rastafarian locks, these alien beings take on the properties of the creatures they have encountered and assimilated. With tremendous speed and agility, they pop out of nowhere and zap, you're dead — you and virtually all the other soldiers you hit the beach with. The Mimics can achieve this because they've been through this battle many times before; and "an enemy that knows the future can't lose."

(READ: When Tom Cruise went nuts on Oprah)

The only way to survive, and perhaps save the mission, is to catch a dose of the Mimics' strength. You die on the battlefield, then are instantly reborn back at the Heathrow training base, where you sharpen your warrior skills while memorizing every detail of the Mimics' movements. Landing for the second or hundredth time on the beach, at the exact same future time, you relive your fatal nightmare, but with crucial tweaks: now you can anticipate the enemy's feints and score some kills. Guiding you is a luscious, superefficient soldier, Rita Vrataski — the Angel of Verdun, or the Full Metal Bitch — though each time you meet her, she doesn't know who you are.

Tom Cruise is the Groundhog Day grunt, and Emily Blunt the Angel Bitch, in Edge of Tomorrow, a furiously time-looping joy ride and the smartest action film of the early summer season. The movie's only static element is its title, which oddly suggests a mashup of TV soap-operas. Director Doug Liman and screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth could have borrowed a name from any number of James Bond films — You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, Tomorrow Never Dies, Die Another Day — to describe its hero's curse and gift. Or they could have kept the title of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's 2004 source novel: All You Need Is Kill. (It sounds exactly as cool in in the original Japanese: Oru Yu Nido Izu Kiru).

In Steven Spielberg's 2005 War of the Worlds remake, Cruise was an ordinary dad trying to outrun an alien takeover. In last year's Oblivion, he was a career soldier battling his own clone. As Maj. William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow, he is, at first, the anti-Tom. A former ad-agency spin doctor, Cage joined the service to create promos that would entice civilians into deadly combat. He's the Don Draper of World War III.

"I do this to avoid doing that," he tells the hard-ass Gen. Brigham (Brendan Gleeson). "Can’t stand the sight of blood. Not so much as a paper cut." Unlike the gung-ho Maverick in Top Gun, which launched Cruise to stardom 28 years ago, Cage is spoiling not to fight.

(READ: Tom Cruise fights Tom Cruise in Oblivion)

Brigham stockades the reluctant warrior and attaches him to a squad of soldiers due to be dropped on the beach tomorrow. And now he's a Private with a coward's rep, to be bullied by his Master Sergeant (Bill Paxton) and his gruff new mates. (Cruise looks great at 51; say he looks a fit 40. Wouldn't his fellow soldiers wonder why a guy approaching middle age has the army's lowest rank? Answer: No, because it's a movie!) With precious little training in weapons operation or in maneuvering his bulky robot uniform, Cage lands on the beach and sees his squad promptly wiped out. In one weirdly funny image, a cargo plane drops to earth, smashing one soldier. This is the Saving Private Ryan beach invasion, played the second time as tragic farce…

…Except that, on Spielberg's Omaha Beach, there was no fabulous babe, no female Audie Murphy, for an out-of-place, out-of-time soldier to bond with. Rita used to be "in the loop" with the Mimics, but not now: "I had it and I lost it." But when she realizes that Cage has somehow got on the enemy's wavelength — a fact she must face anew each time he sees him, since he's come back from the future — she trains him at Heathrow and fights bravely with him. As the periods of their endlessly repeated first meeting lengthen, they escape the beach for a deserted farm house, then the Thames River, infested with swimming Mimics, and finally Paris in search of the Omega Mimic that directs all the others.

(READ: Richard Schickel on Saving Private Ryan)

For most of the film's two hours, Liman keeps the plot plates spinning with the suave dexterity he showed in Swingers, Go, The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. (Liman had a down phase with Jumper and Fair Game, but all his pictures have addressed the lies that are taken as truth, and the mystery of even a hero's personality.) Photographed by Dion Beebe in the desaturated khaki colors of Private Ryan and World War Z, the movie figures its viewers are bright enough to grab the premise, and parlays that belief into audience exhilaration. Each succeeding visit to Heathrow or the beach is shorter, sometimes only by a second long; the rhythm accelerates vertiginously, the tension tautens. Only toward the climax, when the live/die/repeat cycle is abandoned, does Edge of Tomorrow go logy. But it's two-thirds of a sensational ride — one you can ride over and over without buying additional tickets.

Revealing the timidity of the X-Men: Days of Future Past premise — one man going back in time to connect with a younger version of an old friend — Edge of Tomorrow is also a metaphor for moviemaking: the film all about rehearsal, about living and learning (or dying and learning) and gradually turning mistakes into triumphs. Cage has not only read the "script" of the Mimics' war — he’s infused it into his central nervous system. In that sense, it's a demonstration of the 10,000-hours-of-practice theory popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. Keep doing something forever and maybe you'll get it right.

(READ: Lev Grossman on Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers)

In a complicated scenario with just four prominent roles (Cruise, Blunt, Paxton and Gleeson), the two leading players must radiate star quality and sex appeal. Solemn and toned to the max, Blunt proves a strong partner for an actor who can still earn the sobriquet Tom Terrific. More often than most Hollywood hunks, Cruise steps outside his comfort zone to embrace weird characters — in Magnolia, Lions for Lambs, Tropic Thunder and Rock of Ages. But it's also cool to see him bend the familiar action-fantasy format and, as he does here, stick the landing.

An aging star can't push envelopes forever. According to the Internet Movie Database, Cruise is becoming his own Cage, planning to star in the sequels Mission: Impossible 5, Top Gun 2 and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Twist that last title and you have a suitable name for his current, very savory film: Always Go Back.

Embattled State Senator Gets Nearly 300,000 Votes Despite Dropping Out

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:27 AM PDT

Nearly 300,000 Californians voted for Leland Yee in a Democratic primary Tuesday, leading the embattled state senator to garner 9.8% of the vote in a race to be named his party’s candidate for Secretary of State. But there's just one problem: Yee dropped out of the race in March, but not before a deadline to remove his name from the ballot had passed.

The collection votes would hardly qualify Yee for a spot on the general election ballot. Still, the state senator — who plead not guilty to federal gun trafficking charges in April — finished second in the state's Democratic primary. A total of 287,590 people voted for him.

The 65-year-old San Franciscan Democrat was indicted on federal gun trafficking and corruption charges in March. The charges followed a Federal Bureau of Investigations operation after which Yee was accused of accepting money from undercover agents to cover campaign debt. Yee also allegedly agreed to help the agents obtain illegal firearms.

Yee was suspended from the state senate without pay in March following the indictment.

Democrat Alex Padilla and Republican Pete Peterson will face one another in a general election this November.

Army Chief of Staff Promises ‘Thorough’ Review of Bergdahl Capture

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:19 AM PDT

The U.S. Army said Wednesday it would conduct a “thorough, transparent and complete” investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s capture, as soon as he had recovered from five years of captivity at the hands of Taliban militants.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said the army would probe Bergdahl’s disappearance once he had been “properly reintegrated” into society.

“At the appropriate time, we will conduct a thorough, transparent and complete review of the circumstances surrounding his capture,” Odierno said in a statement.

The disappearance of Bergdahl from his post and subsequent attempts to secure his release have raised a slew of questions for administration officials. Chief among them was whether the decision to release five Taliban leaders in exchange for Bergdahl received proper vetting from security staffers and Congress. Intelligence officials told TIME that they had previously lodged objections to the deal, on the grounds that the Taliban commanders posed too great of a risk to national security. Washington Post reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had numbered among the objectors in the past.

The White House declined to describe the details of its decision-making process, arguing that threats to Bergdahl’s life required an urgent decision and that the deal had been approved by consensus among all of the members of Obama’s national security team.

3 Speech Habits That Are Worse Than Vocal Fry in Job Interviews

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:15 AM PDT

Vocal fry: the sound that we can't seem to stop talking about. It's the vibrating, world-weary tone heard throughout popular culture—from the droning conversations of the Kardashian sisters to the red carpet quips delivered by America's favorite quirky girl Zoey Deschanel— and, much to the dismay of those they interact with, young American women can't stop speaking in vocal fry. And unfortunately for them, their creaky speech may be hurting their future job prospects.

A recent study found that women who exhibit vocal fry are perceived as less competent and less hirable (not to mention less educated and less trustworthy) than those who do not. "Collectively, these results suggest young American women should avoid vocal fry in order to maximize labor market perceptions, the study, published in Plos One and funded in part by Duke University, found. Beyond the hiring question, this laconic tone can sound just plain annoying to many people.

But vocal fry is just one of many popular speech habits that have been the target of speech traditionalists' disdain. Here are a few more that drive people crazy.

Up Talk

Have you ever held a conversation with someone and found yourself questioning whether or not he or she was making a statement or asking a question? The person was probably guilty of using up-talk, or speaking with rising inflection, usually tacked on at the end of a sentence. The tone is said to have origins in California Valley girl culture, but D.C.-based vocal coach Susan Miller, says the uncertain, youthful tone is prevalent across both states and genders—despite the assumption that women are the prime culprits of up-talk. “I would say that the majority of employers come to me because people sound young,” says Susan Miller, a D.C.-based vocal coach and speech pathologist whom employers engage to help employees sound more professional. “And it’s the up-talk, the uncertainty, more than fry.”

Nasal Tones

“If you’re from Chicago, you might be ok with nasal talk,” Miller says. But for the rest of the country, nasal tones—think Fran Drescher—are often perceived as annoying. According to Psychology Today, nasal, pitchy voices are often caused by an obstructed airflow in the throat or nasal patches that causes an imbalance in sound vibrations during speech. For others, regional speech trends can lead the the adoption of a voice that makes a person sound as if they’re suffering from a chronic cold.

Breathy, Whisper-talkers

The sultry, wispy voice of stars like Marilyn Monroe may work great for, say, a perfume commercial, but in the office speaking in low tones can hurt you more than it can help, says Miller. “It’s like they’re speaking in a half-whisper, like they’re talking in the back of the movie theater,” she says. But, when you’re in a board room or speaking in front of a large crowd, the last thing you want is a group of people turning to their neighbor asking, “What did she just say?” While studies have shown that men think it’s sexy, but perhaps only better for an actress like Kristen Chenoweth who’s made a career out of a breathy baby voice.

“Voice is important to show authority, to show that you’re confident and you know your subject matter,” Miller adds. “It can be the deciding factor between getting a call for a second interview or being passed over for someone else.”

Search for career advice on a site like and you'll likely to come across a bundle of other speech issues job seekers are advised to avoid. From whispering to yelling or speed talking to mumbling, doing one thing too often can blow your chances at finding a job, or developing new relationships. But, luckily, vocal tone and speech issues can be fixed.

“The nice thing is all of these things can be modified, and rather quickly,” says Miller. “It takes practice, but to just become aware of it and to learn from techniques to change it—from breathing to pacing— makes a huge difference for people.”





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