Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence’s Class Clown Moments Caught on Film

Jennifer Lawrence’s Class Clown Moments Caught on Film

Jennifer Lawrence’s Class Clown Moments Caught on Film

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:22 AM PDT

A Look Inside Jacques Cousteau’s Conshelf II Expedition

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Wall Street Killed the Cupcake

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:15 AM PDT

The Crumbs cupcake shop in my neighborhood just shut down. It's a sad day for the entire sugar industry: Crumbs, a once-growing collection of shops with visions of becoming a national bakery chain, abruptly folded its 65-store operation in 12 states, putting hundreds of people out of work. The company had been delisted from NASDAQ last week, its stock trading for pennies from a high near $14. Sales were falling, Crumbs was losing money and unlikely to become profitable anytime soon. As of its last quarterly filing, the company had just $300,000 in cash on hand, and its liabilities included $244,000 in gift cards outstanding. Hope you didn't own any of them. Crumbs lost $5 million in its last quarter.

Was Crumbs a victim of Americans turning toward eating healthier, especially among children, as the First Lady has encouraged? Fat chance. We are as plump and pleased as ever, and our appetite for donuts, cronuts, deep-fried Oreos and Baconators will not be reposing anytime soon. Long live junk food, if maybe not us.

But you could see this one crumbing long before it happened. Crumbs made good cupcakes—one of those sweet bombs could keep an 8-year old wired for about three days—but its failure isn't so much about the product so much as the way Wall Street works to bake new companies. The recipe almost guarantees trouble in the future for many firms. Crumbs joins the long list of once hot food franchises that couldn't resist the smell of growth and ultimately had difficulty managing it: David's Cookies, Krispy Kreme, Einstein Bagels, World Coffee, just to name a few. They can survive, but generally after massive restructuring. Crumbs ran out of time and money.

The pattern is similar: a good product or idea becomes increasingly popular, and investors get moon-eyed about the prospects. At the same time, other operators and investors will swear to you that there's plenty of room for more than one brand—or that if there isn't much room, their concept is superior.

In the mid-90s, it was the humble bagel's turn for the national spotlight. The players included Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Chesapeake Bagel Bakery, Manhattan Bagel, Noah’s New York Bagels, Big Apple Bagels and the Great American Bagel among others. Several of them went public, which funded overexpansion. They dreamed big. “What happened to the pizza in the ’40s and ’50s is happening to the bagel today," said the ceo of Manhattan Bagel at the time. "Soon there will be bagel shops on every street corner.” Except in Manhattan, where there are no Manhattan Bagel shops. Einstein, Noah, Chesapeake and Manhattan would eventually become part of one company, as the craze subsided and the industry consolidated. Then it was doughnuts. Krispy Kreme also got creamed by massive overexpansion funded by its very popular IPO. Even in the U.S., we can only eat so many doughnuts.

Cupcakes are now repeating the pattern, with predictable results. In the cupcake game, Crumbs competitors include Magnolia Bakery, Sprinkles, and any number of hipster-preneurs in major cities not to mention the likes of Duncan Donuts and Starbucks, which flanked the cupcake shops with offerings of their own. If cupcakes were that hard to make, your mom wouldn't have churned them out on demand.

Why isn't there more caution? Because that's not Wall Street's real concern. The investment industry's mission is to throw money at enough startups—from cupcakes to social media—and hope to land on a winner. Failure is built in, the only question being who is going to take the losses. A lot of time it's overeager shareholders who pile in these stocks because all they see is unlimited growth. In food, the best case scenario is Starbucks, whose original store still operates on Pike Street in Seattle along with thousands of others around the world. An IPO allowed Starbucks to enjoy rapid growth and made a lot of investors rich. But part of Starbucks strategy was to be capitalized enough to blow other rivals out of the water by grabbing the best locations. That left everyone else to scramble to remain competitive—and why there's really no No. 2 in premium coffee.

Fortunately, the U.S. is not going to run out of cupcakes anytime soon. This is basically a mom and pop business that is still best run by mom and pop. Cupcakes may have had their run for now, but investors are always going to be hungry to find the next new food style to fund. And grilled cheese is waiting in the (chicken) wings.

Study: People With Extreme Obesity Die 14 Years Earlier Than Normal

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Adults who suffer from extreme obesity tend to suffer a range of ailments, from organ failure to cancer, that on average shave 14 years off of the normal lifespan, a new study has found.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute studied an international sample of 9,500 extremely obese adults, or those who weighed roughly 100 pounds more than their recommended body weight. Compared with healthy adults, the extremely obese population tended to suffer from higher rates of life-threatening illnesses, particularly heart disease, cancer and diabetes. On average the extremely obese lost 14 years of life, matching the loss of life suffered by smokers.

"While once a relatively uncommon condition, the prevalence of class III, or extreme, obesity is on the rise,” the study’s lead author, Cari Kitahara, said in a statement. "Prior to our study, little had been known about the risk of premature death associated with extreme obesity.”

2K Announces Battleborn, But Do We Need Another MOBA?

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:06 AM PDT

World, meet the vaguely-named new shooter (kind-of-sort-of) from publisher 2K and Borderlands creator Gearbox Software, Battleborn. Battleborn, meet your nomenclature-cynical readership.

What’s in a name? To be fair not much when it comes to this sort of thing. It’s the alliterative front, the epitome of anodyne label, the rolls-off-the-tongue-like-a-sugar-pellet fishhook you quickly forget once you’re playing the thing. So let’s forgive Gearbox its lapse in titular creativity and focus on what they’re promising Battleborn is and might do.

For starters, and I apologize if this makes you want to close you browser’s view tab, it’s a MOBA, or multiplayer online battle arena, which is the somewhat superfluous cool-kids way of referring to a real-time strategy game with action-angled house rules.

Gearbox calls it a “hero-shooter,” and that’s the twist: that it’s a cooperative shooter which Gearbox boldly proclaims will offer “an experience unlike anything you've played before.” Given the track record for such multiple-times-daily claims, I highly doubt that, but there you have it.

Here’s the narrative summary, which could really be any narrative summary:

Set in a distant future, the only hope for the last star in a dying universe is a new breed of warriors who must put aside their differences to drive back an unstoppable menace. Players choose from a myriad of powerful heroes and fight together alongside their friends in a narrative-driven co-operative campaign, or battle against them in fast-paced competitive multiplayer matches.

If you want a smidgen more, Game Informer has the exclusive reveal, else there’s some stylish prancing and leaping around to think deeply about in the reveal trailer above.

New York Becomes Twenty-Third State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:00 AM PDT

New York became the twenty-third state to legalize medical marijuana this week, but its law is one of the most restrictive in the country.

Under the new legislation, doctors can prescribe marijuana in non-smokable forms – including pills, oils and vapors – for seriously ill or injured patients.

Among the other states that allow medical marijuana are Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey.


Photos: Life Aboard the International Space Station

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 10:55 AM PDT

The New Pelvic Exam Guideline Gives Women More Tough Decisions

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 10:42 AM PDT

Last week, the American College of Physicians (ACP) released guidelines saying doctors can skip the pelvic exam for women who are not pregnant and have no unusual symptoms, spawning strong reactions from physicians and regular women alike.

The new recommendations set off a lot of strong reactions among physicians and women’s health groups, with well-respected experts in the field split on the recommendations. One doctor from Mount Sinai hospital in New York told me the obstetrics and gynecological community “will laugh at this.” But another expert, Dr. Eve Espey, the Family Planning Fellowship Director at the University of New Mexico told me that “there’s not good evidence to support an annual pelvic exam or an annual exam for that matter.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG) is standing by its position that it “firmly believe[s] in the clinical value of pelvic examinations.”

“This is causing such a buzz,” says Dr. Amir Qaseem, the director of clinical policy at ACP. “When we developed these guidelines, we asked: ‘If there was a benefit, it would be to catch ovarian cancer early.’ We did not find that. There is no impact on mortality or morbidity. Why would you do a test for the sake of taking a test?”

When asked about women who have no symptoms, but still have benign masses like ovarian cysts identified during physicals, Dr. Espey says: “Other than cancer, benign masses on the ovaries and uterus, like fibroids, are not important to pick up unless they cause symptoms. Women go to their graves never having known they had a problem.”

As a woman who has undergone her fair share of uncomfortable prodding—and even had surgery following an appointment where my doctor felt something—the suggestion that it was all unnecessary is not only surprising but aggravating. Calling up more experts only added to the confusion. “Women who have had no exam in years are putting themselves at risk for preventable and curable diseases,” says Dr. Linda Carson, a gynecologic oncologist at the University of Minnesota. “I have seen many examples of gynecological diseases that were only picked up by the exam. In the last week alone, I have treated two women with advanced vulvar cancer who did not have a [pelvic] exam despite seeing a doctor for other conditions.”

Dr. Peter Argenta, also a gynecologic oncologist at the University of Minnesota, says that while he applauds the authors’ efforts to review practices that have become routine, he questions their conclusions. “I am concerned that the take-home message may inadvertently be that pelvic exams are unnecessary,” he says.

“There are however, many benign conditions for which surgery is indicated, and for which earlier detection may lead to an easier and safer procedure,” he says. For instance, noncancerous masses that left untouched could result in ovarian torsion or rupture.

Ultimately, the new pelvic exam recommendations leave women with a lot of confusion and a “here we go again” situation when it comes to screening. Already, women nearing age 40 are faced with the dilemma of getting screened for breast cancer. In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advised women to wait until they turn 50 to start yearly mammography screenings, instead of at age 40. The argument being that too many women are being over diagnosed, and undergoing unnecessary biopsies and surgeries. Still, groups like American Cancer Society firmly stand by their recommendations that women start at 40, and many women and doctors will still follow that guideline.

The medical community stands by the fact that patients and doctors should have a conversation about any treatment and test. And as patients, we should know our risks and history, and that should be factored into every medical decision we make.

Tyra Banks’ Strange Sci-Fi Vision of the Future of Beauty

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Women pop pills to temporarily gain Angelina Jolie-like cheekbones; being fat indicates wealth; and women—who will be able to have babies at the age of 120—will rule the world. Sound like a bad sci-fi movie? Welcome to the cosmetically-enhanced future, according to Tyra Banks.

On Monday the Wall Street Journal asked several celebs to write about the future of various industries: Mark Zuckerberg opined on what a world where everyone has access to the Internet will look like, and Taylor Swift wrote about the changing music landscape in which an artist’s connection with the audience is prioritized over the establishment. These celebs stuck to realistic predictions about the near-future. But that’s boring. Model-turned-reality show host Banks decided that the future of beauty looks a lot more like Panem in The Hunger Games.

Let’s set aside the fact that we are nowhere close to achieving the technology Banks is talking about: a serum that increases length and thickness of hair in 24 hours; the ability to conceive and bear children at the age of 120; ingestible pills that temporarily change your bone structure—pretty sure that will never be possible. Her vision of personal robots run by advertising firms, the struggle for uniqueness in a gentrified world and class warfare come directly from bad dystopian novels.

Banks, however, ends on an optimistic note for women: she says that having ultimate control over when they will have children will allow women to run the world: “Women’s empowerment will be an irrelevant concept because the balance of power between the sexes will have shifted dramatically. Women, in control of when they can have children (up to age 120!), and having more degrees and education than men, will be in charge. Men will be responsible for 70% of cosmetics sales and plastic-surgery procedures world-wide. Why? Men will be vying for women’s attention, obsessed with being attractive to females and snagging well-off ladies who can take care of them.” I’m not sure it’s as easy as that: first we have to ensure that women around the world can receive an education and any access to birth control. But I don’t want to crush Banks’ dreams.


Harry Potter Characters: Where Are They Now?

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 10:40 AM PDT

J.K. Rowling just can’t quit the Harry Potter series. The author penned an official update on her website Pottermore Tuesday, in the tabloid-esque voice of Daily Prophet gossip correspondent Rita Skeeter.

If you haven’t the time to read all 1,500 words of Skeeter’s breathless dispatch, here’s a quick guide to where your Potter favorites are today — and a little commentary on what characters she left out might now be up to:

Harry Potter:

It turns out that Harry is not quite a millennial. The famous wizard is on the cusp of his 34th birthday and his hair is actually showing signs of gray. (Why, JK? Why?) Potter has two young sons, James (after his father) and Albus (after Dumbledore), and —according to the Deathly Hallows epilogue— a daughter named Lily Luna. His marriage to Ginny is intact, although his face shows signs of fresh struggle. Potter has an ambiguous scar over his right cheekbone that he got while working in the Auror department of the Ministry of Magic.

Ron Weasley:
Rowling has proven that her characters really can’t have it all in the hair department. According to the article, his “”famous ginger hair appears to be thinning slightly.” But at least he is still happily married to Hermione with two kids, named Hugo and Rose. While Ron began his career with BFFL Harry in the Ministry of Magic, he now co-manages his brother Geoge’s wizarding joke shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. He also shows “no obvious signs of mental illness,” so that’s good.

Hermione Granger:
Unsurprisingly, Hermione kept her last name and acts as the Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The mother of two also has to answer annoying media questions about work/life balance. Even witches have to Lean In, I guess.

Ginny Potter (Nee Weasley)
Too old for nicknames, Ginny is a journalist covering the Quidditch World Cup at the Daily Prophet. Start tweeting, media scene. She’s just like us.

Viktor Krum:
Still a Bulgarian seeker. Still friends with Harry. And our guess is that he is still in need of a good pair of tweezers.

Neville Longbottom:
Neville became a popular Herbology teacher at Hogwarts. He is married to a woman named Hannah, who is rumored to be on the hiring track as a Matron at Hogwarts. They lived above the Leaky Cauldron and like a good Ogden’s Old Firewhisky every now and then.
Editor’s Note: Neville may also do light modeling when Hogwarts is on break because LOOK AT HIM:

British actor Matthew Lewis, played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter AFP—AFP/Getty Images

Luna Lovegood:
Luna Lovegood married Magizoologist Rolf Scamander, whose father Newt wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We wish them well on their hunt for Crumple-horned Snorkacks. They have twin sons.

George Weasley:
George is the wealthy co-manager of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

Charlie Weasley:
Bachelor. A dragon wrangler. Fan fiction in 3…2…1…

Percy Weasley:
Percy is the Head of the Department of Magical Transportation. Obviously.

Bill Weasley:
In spite of scarring from a werewolf encounter, he married Fleur Delacour. They have a beautiful daughter named Victoire who likes making out with Harry’s godson Teddy Lupin.

But of course, Rowling couldn’t get to all of our favorite characters. Here is our own fan-fiction guess at what some unmentioneds are up to right now (with apologies to Rowling):

Dudley Dursley:
Dudley is currently nursing a minor credit card debt due to excessive Candy Crush habits and Type 2 diabetes due to excessive candy eating habits. On the bright side, however, his temperament has improved and Harry is on the family Christmas card list.

Draco Malfoy:
Malfoy is married with children and works as the head of a ethically precarious division of Gringotts Bank. His robes are always perfectly tailored and monogrammed.

Cho Chang:
Cho is a defense against the Dark Arts tutor.

Molly Weasley:
The grandmother of 12 has a booming Etsy business for her knitting.

Moaning Myrtle
Still in the Hogwarts girls’ bathroom terrorizing witches about their periods (and just about everything else)

Rita Skeeter:
Rita will be a “journalist” until the very end. Although the Daily Prophet gossip columnist is currently under investigation for wand tapping.


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