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Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Is the World’s Most Average Font

This Is the World’s Most Average Font


This Is the World’s Most Average Font

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Before we all give up handwriting for good in lieu of touchscreens, the Universal Typeface Project is attempting to figure out what exactly the world’s average handwriting looks like. The project aims to develop a new font determined by thousands of individuals writing out there ABC's, traces that can be seen on the project's website. The exact averages form an elegant kind of Comic Sans—which was supposed to approximate informal handwriting but failed utterly. These are the platonic ideals of English-language letters.

Mousing over each version of a letter brings up the name and location of the person who wrote it. Rather than standardizing our language, the Universal Typeface actually restores a sense of individuality to typefaces online—it's poetically organic rather than strictly designed to always look the same. It's possible to sort the handwriting by country or gender, seeing how it varies for different writers. The letters are even ever-changing as more people contribute their own handwriting.

Amazon Sued for Profiting Off Kids’ In-App Purchases

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:58 AM PDT

The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Amazon on Thursday, alleging that the company allowed children to rack up “millions of dollars” worth of in-app purchases on its tablet devices without obtaining parents’ consent.

The FTC says that Amazon’s children’s games for the Kindle Fire tablets, available for download through Amazon’s app store, enabled children to spend “unlimited” sums of money on virtual items within the game, such as coins, stars or acorns. The FTC alleges that the in-app purchases “blurred the line between what costs virtual money and what costs real money.”

"Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. The FTC highlighted one internal communication in which an Amazon employee likened the growing chorus of customer complaints to a "near house on fire."

The lawsuit comes one week after Amazon vowed to challenge the FTC in court. The online retailer rejected a settlement deal, arguing that it had already responded to customer complaints by setting up a passcode for purchases and offering refunds.

“Parents can say — at any time, for every purchase that’s made — that a PIN is required,” said Amazon spokesman Craig Berman, the Associated Press reports.

Watch Dogs Has Shipped 8 Million Copies to Date, Says Ubisoft

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:56 AM PDT

This is what lots of buildup and unparalleled anticipation will buy you: 8 million copies shipped of a game that’s really not too shabby, but at the same time nothing like the breakthrough event Ubisoft pitched it as in the lengthy lead-up to its debut. (I reviewed the game here.)

Ubisoft just announced the figure in its first quarter 2014-15 sales report. Note that’s 8 million copies shipped, not sold, but still indicative of the game’s popularity — it sold over 4 million copies during its first week on shelves, so wildly successful by any measure. Watch Dogs launched on May 27 for Windows, PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360, and a Wii U version is due later this year.

And it sounds like everything else is coming up roses for the company, financially: Ubisoft reports it had record first quarter sales of €360 million ($490 million), up 374% over the same period last year and notably higher than Ubisoft’s declared €310 million target. Ubisoft also cited strong digital sales growth — up 149% to €84 million ($114 million) thanks in part to Watch Dogs, but also the company’s free-to-play mobile games as well as standalone others like Trials Fusion, Child of Light (reviewed here) and Valiant Hearts: The Great War.

The company’s second quarter outlook is to do €85 million in sales ($116 million), and full-year sales of €1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) — the latter’s just a confidence update and the company upholding an already-announced target. The company’s key releases this calendar year remain Assassin’s Creed Unity (October 28), The Crew (November 11) and Far Cry 4 (November 18).

In any case, the chances we won’t see a Watch Dogs 2 are now infinitely less than zero.

Nearly 60% Of People Use Nutrition Info on Menus

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:37 AM PDT

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 57% of U.S. adults over 18 use menu labeling information like calorie counts to make their orders.

The researchers looked at surveys from 17 states and found that women were more likely to use menu labels, and that labeling helps customers pick lower-calorie options. A 2010 federal law requires restaurants that have at least 20 locations to list calorie information on their menus (though regulations to implement the law have still not been finalized).

The new study is important, because it shows that Americans actually do care about menu labels, though perhaps only by a slight majority. Several earlier studies have shown the opposite. For instance, a 2012 study concluded calorie listings would have little impact on the obesity epidemic. Another 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, examined the receipts of 1,100 McDonald’s diners. Some of the participants were given calorie information as well as education about how many calories are recommended for men and women and others were given no information. Both groups ate more than the recommended amount of calories, and there were no differences between the groups, suggesting people underestimate what they’re eating, even with calorie numbers.

All of which means that while it’s great consumers are looking at calorie counts, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are acting on the information.

There are a few criticisms of nutrition labeling in fast food restaurants. Two Johns Hopkins obesity experts wrote an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine last year arguing that without any context, people have no idea how many calories they should be eating, making the data essentially meaningless. Some researchers have suggested that health authorities use other measurements, like how much physical activity it would take to burn off a 550 calorie burger. Finally, a focus on calories, say some experts, misses the point, since a small Coke could have the same calories as a handful of almonds, though to say they are the same nutritionally would be absurd.

The researchers conclude that the data could help create more targeted health communication strategies that could help up awareness for menu labels and benefit Americans. With more education, diners may at least realize just how much junk is their fast food.

 

Laverne Cox Becomes First Transgender Person Nominated for an Emmy

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:32 AM PDT

Laverne Cox has become the first transgender person nominated for an Emmy award.

Cox has been nominated in the “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” category for her role as Sophia Burset—an inmate who committed fraud in an attempt to pay for a sex change procedure—in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Cox tweeted her congratulations to fellow cast members on their nominations—OITNB raked up 12 Emmy nods this year, the most out of any comedy show.

GLAAD, an NGO that fights discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the media, noted that Cox repeatedly “breaks barriers” in her advancement of the LGBTQ cause. In addition to being the first openly transgender individual nominated for an Emmy in an acting category, last month she also became the first transgender person to appear on the cover of TIME.

“Today, countless transgender youth will hear the message that they can be who they are and still achieve their dreams – nothing is out of reach,” GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in the statement. “Laverne’s success on a hit series is a clear indication that audiences are ready for more trans characters on television.”

GLAAD also noted that this year’s list of nominations is among the most LGBT-inclusive in the history of the Emmys. Nominees include openly gay actors and actresses such as Jim Parsons, Kate McKinnon, Sarah Paulson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. TV shows featuring LGBT characters and plotlines—such as Orange Is the New Black, Game of Thrones and Modern Family—also had a strong showing.

7 Celebrities Who Successfully Hid Their Pregnancies

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:30 AM PDT

The Internet exploded Wednesday when multiple reports revealed that Eva Mendes is pregnant with Ryan Gosling’s child. But the shocked reaction wasn’t just due to the fact that Mendes is procreating with our collective boyfriend, but also because, if OK! Magazine reports are to be believed, the actress managed to hide said pregnancy from the paparazzi for a whopping seven months.

Although a due date has yet to be confirmed, Mendes wouldn’t be the first mega-star to keep her baby bump under wraps for an impressively long period of time:

Beyoncé

2011 MTV Video Music Awards - Show
Beyonce reveals pregnancy at 2011 MTV VMAs Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic/Getty


As expected, Beyoncé was the queen of pregnancy reveals. The icon let everyone know she was pregnant on her own terms — surprisingly exposing her nearly 5 month baby bump at the end of a live performance at the VMAs. Blue Ivy was born in January 2012.

Adele

The BRIT Awards 2012 - Show
Barely-pregnant Adele performs during The BRIT Awards 2012 Jon Furniss—WireImage/Getty


English pop star Adele successfully hid her pregnancy for seven months in spite of attending awards shows through her fifth month. The star successfully snuck into shows late, wore loose-fitting clothes and dodged the press. Her son Angelo was born in October 2012.

Isla Fisher

On Set Of "Burke And Hare" In London - March 1, 2010
Isla Fisher hid her pregnancy from cast-mates on set of “Burke and Hare” Neil Mockford—FilmMagic/Getty


Isla Fisher hid her second pregnancy with comedian Sacha Baron Cohen from co-workers while filming Burke and Hare. Co-stars didn't notice that Fisher was three months along and only pretending to squeeze in corsets. Elula — whose name was kept hidden for six months — was born in August 2010.

Jennifer Garner

Sea Change Idea Forum Panel Discussion - History Of Progressive America
Actor Ben Affleck, Marian Wright Edelman and a pregnant Jennifer Garner attend the Sea Change Idea Forum Panel Discussion August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage) Jeff Vespa—WireImage/Getty


Jennifer Garner also successfully hid her pregnancy — and morning sickness — from her fellow cast members while filming The Invention of Lying. "We only found out when it was announced in the press," co-director Matthew Robinson told the New York Post. Seraphina was born in January 2009.

Ali Larter

Rochelle Gores Fredston Hosts Communities In Schools Los Angeles West Shopping Event at ARCADE Boutique
Ali Larter rocking a baby bump at Communities in Schools Shopping Event on July 29, 2010 Alexandra Wyman—WireImage/Getty


Ali Larter and her husband escaped to Europe for the first months of her pregnancy to keep their expectant status secret. She revealed her baby bump four months in when she "just want[ed] to live my life" again. Theodore was born in December 2010.

Evelyn Lozada

Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada hid her baby bump for six months. When fans asked how she did it, Lozada tweeted, "LOL – It was pretty easy. Just stay home & mind your own business…" Leo was born in March 2014.

 

Obama’s ‘Between Two Ferns’ Episode Nominated for an Emmy

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:26 AM PDT

An episode of online comedy series “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” featuring President Barack Obama was among the Emmy nominees announced Thursday morning.

The six-minute, 30-second episode featuring the President has been nominated for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program. It was first published on the humor website Funny or Die on March 11. Galifianakis’ show sees the actor interview a string of famous guests whom he asks inappropriate and awkward questions.

Though Galifianakis is biting, he’s no match for the President who, when asked if he wishes he could run a third time, replies: “Uh, if I ran a third time, it’d be sorta like doing a third Hangover movie. It didn’t really work out very well, did it?”

Obama then proceeds to try and educate Galifianakis about the Affordable Care Act and registering with Healthcare.gov online or by phone. Galifianakis responds: “I’m off the grid. I don’t want you people, like, looking at my texts.”

While Obama himself is not up for an Emmy for the episode, he has previously received the Grammy for best spoken word album for Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast on August 28 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Actor Seth Meyers is hosting this year's awards.

This Is the Age Americans Feel Best About Their Appearance

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Your grandparents may feel better about their looks than you do. In a Gallup survey released Thursday, Americans aged 65 or older were most likely to “agree” or “strongly agree” that they always felt good about their appearance.

Sixty-six percent of the American seniors surveyed gave the two highest possible responses to feeling good about their looks, compared to 61% of 18-34-year-olds and 54% of 35-64-year-olds.

Gallup surveyed over 85,o00 adults to ascertain how Americans’ feelings about their physical appearance change over time. The results showed an overall dip in satisfaction upon entering middle age and a resurgence of confidence among senior citizens, but researchers also found variations regarding gender and race.

Men gave higher satisfaction rates than women at nearly every age, but the differential decreased later in life. African Americans (68%) and Hispanic Americans (67%) also felt more confident in their looks than white (55%) or Asian Americans (62%).

The survey did not, however, try to account for actual attractiveness among respondents, so any correlation between one’s confidence in their appearance and others’ perception of it could not be concluded. “However, older Americans’ looks are generally out of sync with the youthful standard of beauty that prevails in American culture,” Gallup said, “and yet they are most happy with what they see in the mirror.”

FIFA Denies Luis Suarez’s Appeal for Chiellini Bite

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:19 AM PDT

sportsillustrated

By Paul Palladino

Uruguayan Luis Suarez’s appeal of his suspension has been denied by FIFA, soccer’s governing body announced on Thursday.

Suarez was suspended last month for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match on June 24. He was banned for nine of Uruguay’s matches in addition to a four-month ban from all soccer-related events, meaning he will have to sit out matches for his club, Liverpool

Brazil’s Nightmare Gets Worse: Argentina to Play for World Cup Title

It was the third biting incident in Suarez’s career. He was also suspended eight matches and fined $63,000 for racist remarks on the pitch in 2011.

In Suarez’s absence, Uruguay lost in the round of 16 to Colombia in the 2014 World Cup.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

WATCH: Argentina Ousts Dutch, Sets Up Final vs. Germany

 

Obama’s New Drug Policy Looks a Lot Like the Old One

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:15 AM PDT

The Obama Administration unveiled an updated drug policy Thursday, including a new emphasis on treatment and addiction programs and a push to curb abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers.

Michael Botticelli, the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, framed the retooled strategy as a shift away from the punitive policies that have produced record incarceration rates.

“Our prisons and jails are already overcrowded with people who desperately need compassionate, evidence-based treatment for the disease of addiction—not a jail cell,” Botticelli said in a statement before an event in Roanoke, Va.

Among the elements of the plan are expanded access to drug education, treating drug addition as a health issue rather than a criminal one, and a push to divert nonviolent drug offenders into treatment rather than prisons. It promotes tackling the twin scourges of heroin and prescription opiates, whose abuse rates have climbed.

The Administration’s call for criminal-justice reform reflects widespread agreement, inside the White House and out, that the war on drugs has been a misbegotten failure. The Department of Justice has emphasized the need to overhaul its approach from being “tough on crime” to being “smart on crime.” The updated policy is a continuation of that strategy. “The plan we released today calls for reforming our criminal justice system to find alternatives to incarceration—and effective interventions across the entire system to get people the treatment they need.”

But for the most part, the Administration’s approach looks like more of the same. It outlines no changes to the White House’s approach to marijuana, a blow to legalization advocates in the same week that Washington state became the second to legalize the sale of cannibis to adults for recreational purposes.

Despite the President’s belief that pot is less harmful than alcohol, federal law still classifies it as a Schedule I drug on par with cocaine and ecstasy. Discrepancies between state and federal pot laws have blocked legitimate weed-business owners from accessing banks and left the threat of jail time looming over users, sellers and growers even in states where some form of the drug is now legal.

The new strategy calls the increasing perception that cannabis is relatively harmless—fed not only by state legalization efforts, but also perhaps the President’s own remarks to that effect—a “serious challenge” to drug reform efforts.

"The drug czar’s office is still tone deaf when it comes to marijuana policy,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Why stay the course when the current policy has utterly failed to accomplish its goals?”

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