Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some iPhone 6 Plus Owners Claim It’s Bending in Their Pockets

Some iPhone 6 Plus Owners Claim It’s Bending in Their Pockets

Some iPhone 6 Plus Owners Claim It’s Bending in Their Pockets

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 11:31 AM PDT

Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus has an awesome new design feature fanboys can’t get enough of: Some owners of the 6.2-inch device are complaining their brand new phones are bending when they’re put in smaller pockets, MacRumors reports.

To be fair, this isn’t the first smartphone to experience posture issues. The pocket-curving phenomenon has been discussed by Android users, too. And some Apple users have also posted photos of curved iPhone 5s units.

What does this mean for the future of iPhones? As HuffPost’s Kim Bhasin says, maybe this will spark a cargo pant renaissance.

Venezuela’s Maduro Courts Chavez Faithful With Government Shake-Up

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 11:11 AM PDT

“Our Chávez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and we delegates,” began María Estrella Uribe, a red-clad supporter of Hugo Chávez at the lectern of a Socialist party convention in Caracas earlier this month.“Hallowed be thy name… Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from evil and oligarchy.”

The latter part of the prayer to the former Venezuelan President was answered just a few days later, when Rafael Ramírez, the country’s oil minister minister and vice president responsible for the economy, was sidelined. A longtime lieutenant of Chávez, Ramírez had lately begun pushing to overhaul the struggling Venezuelan economy. In June, on his way back from an Opec meeting in Vienna, he took a detour to London to meet investors. His aim? To re-establish “communication with financial markets.” He wanted to refinance the country’s debt by tapping the international markets and talked publicly about raising the price of heavily-subsidized gas (the government loses out on some $12.5 billion a year to ensure that Venezuelans pay no more than a couple of cents per liter at the pump).

But he was pushed aside by Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, who, ever since he won a Presidential election last April, has struggled to get a grip on spiraling inflation and shortages of basic goods such as flour and shampoo. The crisis has knocked Maduro’s popularity—his approval ratings languish in the mid-thirties—and even fanned speculation in some quarters about the possibility of a default (the government insists it will honor its obligations down to last dollar).

Maduro announced Ramírez’s departure from the oil portfolio on Sept. 2, moving him to the foreign ministry in a televised speech billed as the great sacudón or shake-up. “We must begin a new stage in the revolution,” Maduro said, naming Chávez’s cousin, Asdrúbal, as the country’s new oil chief. Rodolfo Marco Torres, who participated in Hugo Chávez’s failed 1992 coup attempt against the then government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez, took over as the new vice president for the economy. Ramírez also lost his post as the head of the national oil company.

The reshuffle signaled another lurch to the left for Maduro as the souring economy takes its toll on ordinary Venezuelans. Ramírez’s move out of oil ministry also underscored the President’s main challenge—maintaining the support of the thousands of Venezuelans who backed Chávez. The opposition—divided as it is between a radical flank led by the still-imprisoned Leopoldo López and a more moderate faction spearheaded Henrique Capriles—poses little threat, at least for now. February saw the biggest anti-government protests in Venezuela in over a decade as students took to the streets. But the momentum behind that movement has waned. “The students have other priorities,” says Carlos Romero, a Venezuelan political analyst, “to finish their studies, to look for a job or to go abroad.”

Maduro’s real problem is keeping the left united behind his leadership, a challenge that is apparent in the Caracas slum of 23 de Enero—a well known bastion of the left and the place where Chávez and his co-conspirators planned the 1992 coup attempt. “Things are going from bad to worse,” says Winifer López, 20, a nurse who lives in the slum. “I always supported Chávez. He was wonderful for this country. But what on earth made him leave Maduro in charge?”

For Romero, the government reshuffle is a signal that “Maduro believes that a radical path would mean he will have more support from Chavistas [supporters of the late leader].”

“He does not like to be seen as a reformist, rather as a true believer of socialist ideas, of the legacy of Chávez,” Romero adds. “In order to maintain his popularity he has to be more radical to project him as a strong leader. That is why he moved Ramírez.”

When a Corgi and a Lamb Race, Everyone Wins

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Before they were populating the internet with their adorable antics — and costing businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue as their employees waste working hour watching corgis surfing, riding merry-go-rounds, or twerking — Welsh Corgis were bred to herd sheep. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends with them too.

While Fashion the Corgi could be getting in touch with her deep-bred instincts to herd Tansy the Lamb into a corner, after watching this clip, there’s no doubt that the two are good buds as they race around the yard at a hot clip.

Watch now, but don’t tell your boss we said you should spend your time watching instead of filling out a spreadsheet.

(h/t Daily Picks and Flicks)



Russia Says It’s Putting Another Man on the Moon…By 2030

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 11:08 AM PDT

Russia’s space agency said Tuesday it will launch a “full-scale” exploration of the Moon as part of a long-term mission to get a human being on the lunar surface for the first time in decades.

The head of Roscomsos, Oleg Ostapenko, said that designs were already underway for a manned spacecraft that he estimated could reach the moon by the end of the next decade. “By that time, based on the results of lunar surface exploration by unmanned space probes, we will designate [the] most promising places for lunar expeditions and lunar bases,” Ostapenko said, according to a translation by Russian state-owned news agency ITAR-TASS.

The mission was announced at a government meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who has previously threatened to sever ties with American space agencies over the West’s reproach of Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

“At the end of the next decade, we plan to complete tests of a super-heavy-class carries rocket and begin full-scale exploration of the Moon,” Rogozin said.

Chinese Uighur Leader Sentenced to Life on Separatism Charges

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 10:48 AM PDT

It was supposed to be an adventure. It was Feb. 2, 2013, and Ilham Tohti, a Beijing-based professor and writer, and his 18-year-old daughter, Jewher Ilham, were on their way from China to the United States. He was to start a year-long residency at Indiana University, she was tagging along to help him settle in. They got to the airport, checked their bags, and made their way through the gleaming terminal. But at immigration, they were stopped.

Security personnel took them to a small room where they sat for several hours. Eventually, they informed them that Ilham Tohti could not leave. Jewher, then 18, was put on a flight to Chicago. She landed in the U.S. alone, with no money and only rudimentary English. “I was so afraid,” she says.”I did not know what to do.”

So began the journey of Jewher Ilham. With the help of a family friend, she made her way safely to Indiana. But she has not seen her father since the airport. And she may never see him again.

On the morning of Sept. 23, Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism. He is a leading advocate for the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim minority that has long bristled under Beijing’s rule. His brutal detention, closed-door trial and harsh sentence are yet more signs that when it comes to certain issues, the ruling Chinese Communist Party will tolerate zero dissent.

Ilham Tohti’s case comes at a time when his native Xinjiang is experiencing a rise in violence. The Chinese government says the upheaval in its far northwestern territory, home to the Uighurs and other minority groups, is the work of extremists with links to foreign terror. Though Tohti often wrote about his desire for inter-ethnic harmony, officials have linked him to the recent unrest. “Tohti encouraged fellow [Uighurs] to use violence,” reported Xinhua, a state-backed newswire. They also faulted him for “making domestic issues international.”

Rights groups say the charges are trumped-up and the conviction amounts to political scapegoating. “Ilham was only exercising his right to free expression, for which he should not be imprisoned” read a statement from China Human Rights Defenders, an NGO. “The government is trying to lay blame on him for recent violent incidents and divert attention from its own policy failures that have contributed to rising ethnic tensions.”

Jewher Ilham has always maintained her father’s innocence, and from her new base in Bloomington, Indiana, she has done what she can to clear his name. When she first arrived in the U.S., her father’s friend and colleague, Elliot Sperling, helped get her into English classes. At first, she was unable to communicate in English, and Sperling served as a round-the-clock Chinese-to-English translator. In April 2014, just over a year into Ilham’s studies, she testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. She spoke about their fateful trip to the airport, her father’s detention and torture, and the hardships faced by her brothers and stepmother back home. A month later, she accepted the PEN Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award on her father’s behalf.

“I had never imagined that I would be in such a situation; I never thought that one day my father would be imprisoned in Xinjiang and I would be on the other side of the world, trying my best to speak for him,” Ilham said.

But speak she did, beautifully: “My father Ilham Tohti has used only one weapon in his struggle for the basic rights of Uyghur of Xinjiang: words, spoken, written, distributed and posted,” she said. “This is all that he has ever had at his disposal, and all he has ever needed. And this is what China finds so threatening.”

When I interviewed Jewher in August she seemed determined, but tired. She said she started each day by typing her dad’s name into Google, searching for news about his case. “I hate the feeling that I have to learn information about my father on the Internet,” Jewher said. She often gets early morning calls from journalists—appreciated but tough to balance with mid-term exams.

I did not have the heart to call this morning, the day her father was sentenced to life. But I will be thinking of her. She is young and brave, but so very far from home.

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio Demand the UN Take Climate Change Seriously

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 10:44 AM PDT

Leonardo DiCaprio, the United Nations’ newly appointed Messenger of Peace, addressed world leaders at Tuesday morning’s UN Climate Summit, urging them to fully address climate change, “the greatest challenge of our existence on the planet.”

DiCaprio touched on his history as an actor to differentiate from fiction and fact.

“I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems. I believe that mankind has looked at climate change in that same way,” he said. “As if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away, but I think we all know better than that now . . . None of this is rhetoric, and none of it is hysteria. It is fact.”

DiCaprio also joined some 400,000 people in New York City in a Sunday march meant to raise climate change awareness.

Watch the Trailer for Private Violence, HBO’s Documentary on Domestic Abuse

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 10:42 AM PDT

One in four American women experiences domestic violence, and yet it is one of the most underreported crime. In the upcoming HBO documentary Private Violence, two survivors of domestic abuse share their stories in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness month in October.

The new documentary comes on the heels of the debate over domestic violence in the NFL and the #WhyIStayed campaign on Twitter in which victims shared their reasoning for remaining in abusive relationships. It will explore how women become trapped in dangerous situations and why they remain.

The film will air on HBO and HBOGo on Oct. 20 at 9 p.m.


Clinton Says Corporate Tax Rate He Approved Needs to Change

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 10:31 AM PDT

President Bill Clinton says it’s time to revamp the corporate tax rate that he signed into law during his tenure as the nation’s leader.

Speaking at the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative conference Tuesday, Clinton discussed the issue of so-called corporate “inversions” — the practice of relocating a company’s headquarters overseas to take advantage of a lower tax rare.

Clinton told CNBC’s Becky Quick that the U.S. Treasury Department is doing what it is legally obligated to do, which is collect what money is due under American law. The real problem needs to be solved on the floor of Congress, and it demands a bipartisan solution, he said.

“We’re bailing water out of a leaky boat,” Clinton said. “This is practical economics and practical politics.”

The Treasury announced new measures Monday to stem the tide of corporations buying foreign companies in order to move abroad and take advantage of lower tax rates. Thirteen such deals worth $178 billion have been announced this year, according to Dealogic. A couple examples include Burger King’s purchase of Canada-based Tim Hortons and Medtronic’s nearly $43 billion deal to buy Irish medical-device maker Covidien.

When the current 35% corporate tax rate was signed into law in 1993, it was on par with other nations around the globe. Many of those foreign rates have since lowered their corporate tax rates, setting the scene for the current tax inversion-friendly environment. For example, Canada’s corporate tax rate is between 11% and 15%, and Ireland’s is about 12.5%.

Now the U.S. is one of the highest corporate tax rates globally, and that just won’t work anymore, Clinton said. The U.S. legislature has failed to review the standard corporate tax rate in relation to other nations since the mid-1990s — and that could continue to affect the nation’s competitive stance.

Clinton shied away from labeling tax inversions either patriotic or non-patriotic, dodging one of Quick’s questions. But he did say he believes that the corporate tax rate can be lowered while closing existing loopholes and still allow the government to collect the same amount of tax revenue.

Clinton praised American companies such as Corning and Dow Chemical. Both, he said, have focused on keeping jobs in the U.S. He also praised Alibaba Group CEO Jack Ma, whose company just launched the largest initial public offering ever late last week.

Clinton praised Ma’s approach to business: He focuses first on customers, then employees and shareholders third, Clinton said of Ma.

This article originally appeared on

The 7 Most Important Tech CEOs You Wouldn’t Recognize

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 10:26 AM PDT

See the Bizarre History of Contraception in This Fascinating PSA

Posted: 23 Sep 2014 10:21 AM PDT

Get ready to cringe.

A new PSA from EngenderHealth’s WTFP?! (Where’s The Family Planning) Campaign takes viewers on a tour through history and the myriad ways women have tried to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Many of the methods, outlined in the video above, are unsavory at best and dangerous at worst. In ancient Egypt, women used “crocodile dung mixed with honey” for spermicide. In ancient Greece, women drank lead-riddled “blacksmith water,” which is toxic. And in the U.S. during the 1960s, women would put fizzing cola in their vagina after sex as a bizarre — and misguided — way to prevent pregnancy. (The birth control pill was introduced in the U.S. in 1960, but as TIME noted in its 50th anniversary story about the pill, “women usually had to be married to get it.”)

But the point of the video isn’t just to give us a look back on the weird ways women have tried to control their bodies. According to EngenderHealth, a New York City-based non-profit that focuses on women’s reproductive health, today more than 220 million women around the world want to use contraceptives, but can’t access them. Factors such as income, cultural and religious restrictions, lack of information and poor healthcare can all prevent women from safely and effectively preventing pregnancy.

Even in the U.S., access to birth control is not universal and measures to make it free have often been met with severe backlash. Remember Sandra Fluke?

This matters. A 2013 report by the Guttmacher Institute found that women who can control when they have children, not to mention how many they have, are more likely to fulfill their education and career goals, and earn higher wages. What’s more, access to contraception has also been linked to lower rates of maternal and infant deaths.

So if EngenderHealth’s unsettling video and campaign helps increase awareness and access to contraceptives, it’s worth cringing through.


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