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Friday, September 26, 2014

Apple Responds to ‘Bendgate,’ Says Bent iPhones Are Rare

Apple Responds to ‘Bendgate,’ Says Bent iPhones Are Rare


Apple Responds to ‘Bendgate,’ Says Bent iPhones Are Rare

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Apple responded Thursday to claims that its new iPhone 6 Plus is bendable. The hashtag #Bendgate as well as an Unbox Therapy video of a user bending his phone went viral within a few days of the iPhone 6 Plus’s release last week, and customers were not happy about it.

Apple said that with normal use a bend in the phone is rare, and that the numbers of users that have reported bent phones is extremely low; only 9 so far. Apple has publicly displayed the rigorous tests that phones undergo before being released to consumers, and has announced that some bent phones will be eligible for replacement.

An Apple rep added that the company is “looking into this with an insane amount of detail.”

Please Stop Telling Me I Won’t Care About My Dog Anymore When I Have a Baby

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 11:22 AM PDT

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

When I found out I was pregnant, Milly, our nine-year-old cockapoo, was the first to know. She was sitting at my feet in our bathroom, waiting rather impatiently to go outside for a walk. As I squinted, anxious to see if a second line might appear on the pee stick, it occurred to me that I was probably more sure about getting a dog almost a decade ago than I was about the idea of having a child now.

The very first time my husband and I saw Milly, she was curled up in such a tight ball that we couldn’t tell where she began and where she ended. She was a little circle of black and white fluff that made us squeal like school children. Her saucer-shaped puppy eyes and inexplicably long eyelashes peered out from under her old-man eyebrows and our hearts went from solid, functioning muscular organs to oatmeal-grade mush.

She was our dog.

We took her home one year after we were married, and people would often ask if she was “practice” for having a child. The answer, truly and honestly, was no. We just really wanted a dog. And Milly wasn’t practice for anything at all. She was a real-time floppy embodiment of our heart and souls and from the minute she pranced through our front door she has filled our lives with an unreal amount of happiness.

So as my eyes darted back and forth from her pathetic, take-me-on-a-goddamn-walk face to the second pink line that was slowly revealing that there was a teeny human growing in my uterus, I kind of freaked out and. As I am wont to do when it comes to Milly, I asked her opinion.

“Doodlebug! What do you think about a baby?!” I expressed this to her with the same zeal I applied to treats and walks, which riled her up enough to circle my ankles and bark at absolutely nothing in general.

A little time passed and we began sharing our news with family and friends, and it surprised me how quickly Milly’s name and, apparently, her place in our universe, was thrown into the conversation. Here are a few gems that stuck in my craw:

“Oh, once that little baby comes, you’ll forget you ever had a dog!” (Correct! I will promptly erase the last nine-plus years of my life so I may better focus on the raising of my child.)

“Don’t be surprised when whole days go by and you don’t even walk her!” (I’m assuming that the person who said this spent those “whole days” either ankle-deep in all sorts of dog excrement and/or gingerly leaping over massive piles of canine mess.)

“I had a friend who gave her dog away one week after having her son. She couldn’t stand having that thing around.” (That “thing”? Couldn’t stand? Gave away? Wait, what? Find new friends, girl.)

“If you think you love Milly, just wait until you meet this baby!” (Because I couldn’t possibly find it in my shriveled, frigid raisin heart to love two adorable things at once!)

It goes without saying that being pregnant often brings about a slew of unwanted and unnecessary advice from people you know and strangers alike, but it shocked me (and grated on my hormone-riddled nerves) that people were so quick to discount our poor pooch and write her off forever. It seemed to me akin to telling parents who were about to have a second child that their first children were like the first batch of burnt pancakes. Just go ahead and toss ’em! You have new, shiny babies coming! Who needs the old ones?!

Perhaps people have had different experiences with their pets. For us, Milly is as much a part of our family as actual human family members, if not moreso. In fact, I tend to prefer the company of my dog to most people, in general. She is beloved and she’s been along for the ride of our marriage, which hasn’t always been smooth or easy. She’s lived in our apartments and houses, cities and suburbs and, despite one nasty incident involving the ingestion of a substantial amount of packing tape, she’s made each move seamlessly. (In her defense, the packing tape had it coming. It had the nerve to deny her access to her toys and food. Not cool, packing tape.)

As long as we were there with her, she found her new nooks and settled in. Her philosophy has always been, “You guys hanging out? I’ll hang out.”

Milly’s personality is, at once, fiercely loyal and shockingly contrary. There is a chance that when I call her name and pat the empty space next to me, she will stand up and pointedly walk away to the furthest corner possible. Or, she might walk right over and curl up next to me so tight and with such loving conviction that I vow never to move from that spot. I have spent many an afternoon risking severe nerve damage from various limbs falling asleep as well as borderline-fatal UTIs because I’ve had to go to the bathroom but don’t want to move for fear of losing snuggle time.

I find such great comfort in Milly. I’m not sure if it’s simple familiarity or the fact that she looks like a stuffed animal come to life, but I’ve always felt calmer with her around. Having spent a great deal of time in hospitals, a place where dogs are strictly forbidden, I can tell you that the thing I missed most, more than the comfort of my own bed or the idea of not being woken up at 3:30 a.m. to have my blood drawn, was my sweet, little dog.

When she isn’t in the house, there’s an emptiness that is completely unsettling. I’ll listen for the jingle of her collar or the clicking of her paws on the hardwood floor and, when I hear neither, my heart sinks a bit. This feeling has existed for almost a decade and I doubt it will go away just because another person enters the picture.

I fully recognize that things will change. For example, I probably won’t have time for our regularly scheduled conversations where I ask her, repeatedly, why her nose is so delicious or who made her so cute. (All valid questions, people). But Milly will continue to be, as she has been, a very important member of our small clan.

So next time you see a pregnant woman walking her dog down the street, keep all your dog-and baby-based opinions to yourself and stick to awkwardly petting her belly like the other strangers. Or, better yet, just pet her dog.

Liz Shields is a writer from Boca Raton, Florida by way of New York.

A Study in Contrasts for Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 11:03 AM PDT

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, two Tea Party senators in the hunt for the White House, find themselves in a nearly identical position these days. Both sons of celebrated conservative leaders, they regularly speak at the same events, criticize the same Democratic President with a similar message of back-to-basics constitutionalism, and poll nationally at about 10% among Republicans in the way-too-early 2016 polls.

But on Friday, as conservative Christians gathered in Washington for the Values Voter Summit, their differences were far more apparent than their similarities. Paul stood behind the podium in blue jeans, quoting the Founding Fathers and modern authors off a teleprompter, ever the iconoclastic intellect. Cruz roamed the stage in a boxy suit, preaching a passage from Psalms again and again in a call for spiritual rebirth.

Both cast the political crisis now facing the country as a crises of the spirit, but from there they began to diverge. While they both boasted of anti-abortion credentials, only Cruz raised the issues of gay marriage and Iran, building his nearly hour-long address around Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” The night, he said, was the current rule of a Harry Reid in the Senate and Barack Obama in the White House, and dawn would come in two stages, in this year’s midterm elections and in 2016, with twin Democratic defeats.

“How do we turn this country around? We offer a choice not an echo,” Cruz said, offering himself as a sort of condensed Republican, without the fluff of the others. “We defend the values that are American values. We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel.”

Paul was introduced to the stage with a different sort of branding. “He is on the edge, he has an edge and it gives him and edge,” went the sales pitch, and he did his best to cast himself as a non-conformist over the course of about 17 minutes. At multiple points, he noted that both political parties had failed to adhere to the proper path, which he described as faith in God and close adherence to the Constitution. “What America needs is not just another politician or promises,” he said. “What America really needs is a revival.”

It was a neat recasting of the revolution metaphor that has accompanied his—and his father Ron Paul’s—rapid political rises over the last decade. Unlike Cruz, who limited his foreign policy criticism to the President and the lack of effort to make Christian persecution a priority in diplomatic relations, Paul called for a shift in the way the nation approaches intervention, arguing that even detestable secular dictatorships in the Middle Sast were preferable to the chaos following their toppling. “It’s time to put a stop to this madness,” Paul said, “And take a good heard look at what our foreign policy has done.”

Paul has generally been more supportive than Cruz of efforts to negotiate a resolution to the nuclear stand-off with Iran, and chose not to raise the issue specifically before the Christian, Zionist audience. Cruz, by contrast, joked of U.S. diplomats “swilling chardonnay in New York City” with their Iranian counterparts.

Cruz spoke at length about his pastor father, Rafael, his journey to the United States from Cuba and his Christian faith. Paul made no mention of his father, who won delegates for both the 2008 and 2012 Republican National conventions.

Judging from the noise of the applause, at the Omni Shoreham ballroom, Cruz’s presentation was received with somewhat more enthusiasm, though both were rewarded at the end with standing ovations. But the two men had come to the room with different missions. For a Cruz campaign, Christian conservative support will have to be core pillar of support. For Paul, the focus in on assuaging Christian conservative doubts as he focuses on building out new parts of the electorate from more libertarian leaning Americans.

“Where the spirit of the lord is there is liberty,” Paul said in conclusion, quoting from Corinthians 3:17. Then he said the opposite was also true. “Where there is liberty, there is always space for God.”

The message: The conservative Christian community, long an anchor of the Republican Party, has nothing to fear from the new edgy candidate in their midst.

Vanishing Marine Will Be Tried on Desertion Charge

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:49 AM PDT

(RALEIGH, N.C.) — A U.S. Marine who vanished in Iraq and later wound up in Lebanon will be on trial in military court on desertion and other charges.

A news release Friday says a Marine general has referred 34-year-old Cpl. Wassef Hassoun for a general court-martial. No date has been set.

The case began in June 2004 when Hassoun disappeared from a base in Fallujah, Iraq. He later appeared in as a captive in a photo purported to be taken by insurgents. A few days later, he wound up in Lebanon and was brought home to the U.S. before disappearing a second time.

His defense attorney has said that during the second disappearance he was prevented from leaving Lebanon during court proceedings there. Civilian attorney Haytham Faraj has said the case against Hassoun is almost entirely circumstantial.

Denzel Washington’s Carbon Copy Action Films: A Retrospective

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:46 AM PDT

This might sound bold, but consider it: No one has sought out cookie-cutter roles in the last decade with quite the same gusto as Denzel Washington. The two-time Academy Award winer for Best Actor has appeared in no fewer than eight bona fide Liam Neeson-style movies (that is, action thrillers typically driven by motives of revenge or preventing a calamity). Liam Neeson appearing movies like this is one thing — it’s provided the Oscar nominee with a career renaissance and given the world the gift of Taken.

Washington is a different case, though. When he made his first pure action movie of this millennium, Out of Time, in 2003, he was just a year removed from his second Oscar win (for Training Day) and was, by all accounts, one of the most coveted actors in the world. His next straight-up action role was 2004’s excellent Man on Fire, and in the following few years, Washington took just one such job (Deja Vu in 2006). After 2007, marked by the respectable (if somewhat disappointing) American Gangster and The Great Debaters, Washington devoted himself fully to action/thriller films designed to do little other than grab some money at the box office, make him look like a badass, and be forgotten the instant they left theaters. Think they were all nuanced and special in their own way? Consider this: Washington made two movies (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Unstoppable) about saving trains in an 18-month span.

It’s not as though Washington isn’t still an exceptional actor. He earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his role in last year’s Flight — a role that could have won him another Academy Award in a year that wasn’t so stacked with remarkable performances. It just seems like immersing himself in a challenging role isn’t something that holds much interest for Washington these days, which is a shame — there are few better at doing so.

Today, Washington’s latest action movie hits theaters. There’s always the chance that The Equalizer will rival Man on Fire and redeem a decade’s worth of mostly unambitious career choices, but if recent history is any indication, you shouldn’t hold your breath — just relax and enjoy the action.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Voices a Pig In Disney’s Gravity Falls: First Look

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:33 AM PDT

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the esteemed astrophysicist and host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, can now add “voice actor” to his resume after a recent stint voicing Waddles, a pig, in Disney’s Gravity Falls.

The show follows brother-sister duo Dipper and Mabel Pines on their supernatural misadventures in the fictional town of Gravity Falls, Oregon; Waddles is Mabel’s pet pig.

Neil deGrasse Tyson becomes the voice of Waddles in the upcoming episode, “Little Gift Shop of Horrors,” when the pet pig accidentally eats a bowl of brain-enhancing jelly giving it the mental know-how to create a machine that allows it to talk.

SMART WADDLES, DIPPER, MABEL
Neil deGrasse Tyson stars as “smart” Waddles in Gravity Falls. Disney XD

On his experience of voicing a pig, Neil deGrasse Tyson had this to say: “I’m a fan of helping anything get smarter. Even if it’s a pig.”

This episode of Gravity Falls premieres on Saturday, October 4 at 9pm on the Disney Channel.

Read more: Disney’s Gravity Falls Creator on How to Create a Show for All Ages

Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:32 AM PDT

“Gender equality is your issue too.” That was the message to men from Emma Watson, Harry Potter star and now United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, in her widely hailed U.N. speech earlier this week announcing a new feminist campaign with a “formal invitation” to male allies to join. Noting that men suffer from sexism in their own ways, Watson asked, “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” Truer words were never spoken. Too bad they are belied by the campaign itself, which is called “HeForShe” and asks men to pledge to “take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls” but says nothing about problems affecting men and boys.

Watson clearly believes that feminism — which, she stressed, is about equality and not bashing men — will also solve men’s problems. But, unfortunately, feminism in its present form has too often ignored sexist biases against males, and sometimes has actively contributed to them. Until that changes, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete.

Take one of the men’s issues Watson mentioned in her speech: seeing her divorced father’s role as a parent “valued less by society” than her mother’s. It is true that in the 1970s and 1980s, feminist challenges to discriminatory, sex-specific laws helped end formal preferences for mothers in child custody matters. But as fathers began to fight against more covert anti-male biases in the court system, most feminists sided with mothers.

There are plenty of other examples. The women’s movement has fought, rightly, for more societal attention to domestic abuse and sexual violence. But male victims of these crimes still tend to get short shrift, from the media and activists alike. Despite several recent high-profile recent sexual assault cases in which the victims were teenage girls, disturbing cases in which boys were victimized — by other boys or by girls — have received far less publicity and sparked little outrage. Experiments have shown that while people are quick to intervene when a man in a staged public quarrel becomes physically abusive to his girlfriend, reactions to a similar situation with the genders reversed mostly range from indifference to amusement or even sympathy for the woman. To a large extent, as feminists sometimes point out, these attitudes stem from traditional gender norms which treat victimhood, especially at a woman’s hands, as unmanly. But today’s mainstream feminism, which regards sexual assault and domestic violence as byproducts of male power over women, tends to reinforce rather than challenge such double standards.

Just in the past few days, many feminist commentators have taken great umbrage at suggestions that soccer star Hope Solo, currently facing charges for assaulting her sister and teenage nephew, deserves similar censure to football player Ray Rice, who was caught on video striking his fiancée. Their argument boils down to the assertion that violence by men toward their female partners should be singled out because it’s a bigger problem than female violence toward family members. Meanwhile, in Watson’s native England, activists from women’s organizations recently blamed the shortage of services for abused women on efforts to accommodate abused men (despite the fact that, as Guardian columnist and blogger Ally Fogg demonstrated, even the lowest estimates of the prevalence of domestic violence against men suggest that male victims are far less likely than women to get help).

Watson deserves credit for wanting to end the idea that “fighting for women’s rights [is] synonymous with man-hating.” But she cannot do that if she treats such notions only as unfair stereotypes. How about addressing this message to feminists who complain about being “asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings” when talking about misogyny — for instance, not to generalize about all men as oppressors? Or to those who argue that “Kill all men” mugs and “I bathe in male tears” T-shirts are a great way to celebrate women’s empowerment and separate the “cool dudes” who get the joke from the “dumb bros”? Or to those who accuse a feminist woman of “victim-blaming” for defending her son against a sexual assault accusation — even one of which he is eventually cleared?

Men must, indeed, “feel welcome to participate in the conversation” about gender issues. But very few will do so if that “conversation” amounts to being told to “shut up and listen” while women talk about the horrible things men do to women, and being labeled a misogynist for daring to point out that bad things happen to men too and that women are not always innocent victims in gender conflicts. A real conversation must let men talk not only about feminist-approved topics such as gender stereotypes that keep them from expressing their feelings, but about more controversial concerns: wrongful accusations of rape; sexual harassment policies that selectively penalize men for innocuous banter; lack of options to avoid unwanted parenthood once conception has occurred. Such a conversation would also acknowledge that pressures on men to be successful come not only from “the patriarchy” but, often, from women as well. And it would include an honest discussion of parenthood, including many women’s reluctance to give up or share the primary caregiver role.

It goes without saying that these are “First World problems.” In far too many countries around the world, women still lack basic rights and patriarchy remains very real (though it is worth noting that even in those places, men and boys often have to deal with gender-specific hardships, from forced recruitment into war to mass violence that singles out males). But in the industrial democracies of North America and Europe, the revolution in women’s rights over the past century has been a stunning success — and, while there is still work to be done, it must include the other side of that revolution. Not “he for she,” but “She and he for us.”

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

5 Unique Sleep Gadgets for Under $60

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Cool or Hot Pillow Pad ($32.75)

GelO_Cool_Pillow_Mat
Human Creations

Your blind date was going well until you embarrassed yourself by passing gas more loudly than a tanker truck replenishing the pumps at 7-11. Back home – alone, natch – your face gets red hot every time you replay the unfortunate incident in your head.

The Gel’O Cool Pillow Mat can cool your face down as you’re trying to fall asleep. Just pop it in the fridge or freezer before bedtime, place it on top of your pillow and then lay your shameful head down. During the winter months, you can shove it in the microwave to heat it up instead.

[Human Creations]

White Noise Machine ($54.95)

LectroFan
LectroSound

You live in a studio apartment with paper-thin walls above a rowdy bar and below a 24-hour daycare center full of teething babies with colic. Next door is a 24-hour doggy day care heralded for its innovative use of outdoor-only barking zones. Across the street is a gun range. That’s 24 hours, too.

This highly-rated white noise/fan-sounds machine is small enough to travel with,

but gets loud enough to drown out even the most egregious hoopla. Not that you’d want to take a vacation: Your place sounds nice!

[Amazon]

Blue-Glow Sleep Mask ($39.99)

sleep mask
Sharper Image

You bring your work home with you. It’s not easy collecting soil samples for a living. All the second-guessing! Did I use the correct trowel? Should I be rotating my wrist to the left or to the right? And how many degrees?!

Thoughts like this normally keep you up at night, but this fancy sleep mask can help you relax your mind by bathing your eyeballs in a soft blue light meant to shift your brain from its beta phase to its alpha phase. Even without the blue-glow feature, the wraparound mask blocks out light while leaving room for your eyes to breathe.

[Sharper Image]

NASA Light Bulb ($59.95)

NASA bulb
Hammacher Schlemmer

At first blush, a $60 light bulb sounds expensive. But you know what’s marginally more expensive? Going to space. That’s what you’d otherwise have to do in order to use this thing. So if you think about it, this NASA light bulb pretty much pays for itself after all the trips you won’t take to space.

You’re supposed to use it in a bedside lamp for a half hour before you go to sleep so it can ramp up your melatonin levels. You can optionally use it at your next dinner party to see if you can get your guests to pass out in their soup.

[Hammacher Schlemmer]

Sonic Boom Alarm Clock ($39.10)

sonic boom
Sonic Bomb

“Enough with trying to get me to fall asleep!” you bellow, slamming your hammy fists on your particle-board workspace as anger-spit forms in the corners of your mouth. “I can’t wake up!”

For you, there’s this ridiculously loud alarm clock.

I sleep and wake like a normal person, so this thing sounds awful. A 113-decibel alarm? Pass. A vibration doodad so powerful it can shake your entire bed? No, thank you. Flashing red lights? I’m good, thanks. There’s nothing quite like being terrified first thing in the morning.

[Amazon]

No Charges in Toxic Tea Incident at Utah Eatery

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:12 AM PDT

(SALT LAKE CITY) — No charges will be filed in a case involving a woman who nearly died after unknowingly drinking iced tea mixed with chemicals at a suburban Salt Lake City restaurant, prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors determined after reviewing an extensive investigation by the South Jordan Police Department that there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill said Friday in a short news release.

Authorities have said an employee at Dickey’s Barbecue in South Jordan unintentionally put the heavy-duty cleaner lye in a sugar bag, and another worker on Aug. 10 mistakenly mixed it into the iced-tea dispenser.

Later that day, Jan Harding took a single sip of the sweetened iced tea and suffered deep, ulcerated burns to her esophagus. She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Lye, an odorless chemical that looks like sugar, is used for degreasing deep fryers and is the active ingredient in Drano.

Harding, 67, spent nearly two weeks in a Salt Lake City hospital. She has been out of the hospital for weeks and is recovering.

Her attorney, Paxton Guymon, wasn’t immediately for comment.

The Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. didn’t immediately have any comment. The company earlier said the incident was isolated and unprecedented in the chain’s 73-year history.

Guymon has said he discovered another lye incident at the restaurant in July. An employee burned herself when she stuck her finger in a sugar container and licked it to test for the chemical cleaner, he said.

Harding was the first person to drink from the chemically laced batch of tea, and no one else was harmed. She said recently in her first public comments that it felt like an all-consuming fire in her mouth.

She said she is recovering but still doesn’t feel like herself. She said doctors say she must undergo additional tests before they can determine what long-term complications she could face.

Harding and her Baptist minister husband, Jim Harding, have said they are not angry with anyone at Dickey’s. They said they are sharing their story in hopes that other restaurants will take measures to prevent something similar from happening, perhaps by adding colored dye to dangerous chemicals.

Man’s Obituary Says He “Despised” the Kardashians

Posted: 26 Sep 2014 10:09 AM PDT

“Funny obituary” may seem like an oxymoron, but the one that ran for Raymond Alan “Big Al” Brownley in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his September 21 passing is the latest humorous write-up to go viral on Legacy.com.

Here are the five best lines:

• “He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians.”

• “He was highly proficient at cursing. He liked four-letter words just about as much as four-wheel drive pick-up trucks.”

• “Big Al was known for his timeless words of wisdom, including ‘Life is hard; but it’s harder if you’re stupid’ and ‘Don’t be a jackass.'”

• “His famous holiday eggnog had enough whiskey to grow hair on your chest.”

• “He had a life-long ménage a trois with his homemade chili and Gas-X.”

And you can check out a roundup of some of the other hilarious viral obituaries here.

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