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Mobile Technology News, August 9, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Dances With Google Glass
    In June 2013, Google launched a competition on Twitter soliciting bids from people interested in beta-testing its latest foray into wearable high tech. Since ‘beta-tester’ conjures up visions of bearded geeks in hoodies glued to their Retina displays, some marketing genius at Google coined the term ‘Google Glass Explorers’ and put a snapshot of a dusky model with pouty lips, a tousled mane, and a sleek band of titanium on her forehead, on the home page of Glass.

    (Photo: Reuters)

    The world was invited to pitch its ideas to Google, appended to the hashtag #IfIHadGlass. The winners would have to pony up $1,500 for the privilege of membership in a highly exclusive club of early adopters, but were expected to drive everyone else mad with envy.

    A year later, several thousand Google Glass Explorers find themselves roaming the earth, muttering “OK, Glass” and tapping their temples vigorously. And although Google can congratulate itself on effectively crowd-funding the development of its latest gadget, the demographics of its Explorer program and the blowback from its unfocused marketing strategy indicate a singular failure to engage the public imagination.

    Geeks in hoodies still dominate the Glassian landscape — as far as one can tell from the chatter on the online Explorers forum. (Ballet to the People may be the only Glass Explorer who dons a tutu to go to work.) Explorers are overwhelmingly male, and they avidly share their videos taken #throughGlass while jumping out of planes, stand-up paddleboarding, conducting orchestras, and other extreme sports. They test Glass’ navigational powers while trekking through the Andes, and train medical students by livecasting surgical procedures. They give speeches using Glass as teleprompter, and surf the web hands-free while going through airport security.

    But outside the Explorer community, intrigue over the transformative possibilities of this tiny but powerful computer has often given way to outrage over perceived invasion of privacy – particularly in San Francisco, where Google and other tech firms have become a symbol of corporate greed, their luxurious employee buses propelling us into an Orwellian future. Bars, strip clubs and a growing number of workplaces have banned Google Glass, and Glass Explorers have reported verbal and sometimes physical abuse. (Ballet to the People was assaulted by a vigilante at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, while photographing a lobby art installation. All around her, tourists and theater patrons were busy committing crimes against privacy with their smartphones, but the high-tech device over her eyes apparently marked her as Public Enemy #1.)

    Had Google confined its Explorers beta-test to a handful of industries in which Glass could have the greatest impact — medical science, empowering the disabled, law enforcement, workplace innovation, professional sports, and the performing arts come to mind — it might have avoided much of the negative press and paved the way for a less turbulent commercial launch.

    Google appears to have come to this realization rather late in the game: recently, it bestowed grants on five non-profits who will use Glass in their community outreach, and chose five technical development collaborators who will use it to innovate in the workplace.

    The recent hiring of a fashion marketer to manage the Glass project in the run-up to its commercial launch may be an attempt to dispel the geek factor, though it is unlikely to tamp down the hysteria around Glass as spyware.

    Does it matter whether the masses think Glass looks dorky? Businesses and governments are likely to embrace its transformative power. They will use Glass to conduct site inspections, forensic examinations and audits. They will use it to enhance the instant replay, to diagnose illness, to track and disarm explosive devices. Even if retail consumers show a lack of enthusiasm for slingshotting angry birds at swine #throughGlass, the technology still represents a multi-billion dollar business for Google.

    Thus it is troubling that the company has done so little to address concerns about privacy intrusion — apart from issuing a ban on facial recognition software, and publishing a feeble guide to Glass etiquette. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day.

    Yet it is shortsighted to blame an ingenious advance in technology for a social ill that has been spreading since Al Gore invented the World Wide Web and tablets and smartphones became ubiquitous. Banning Google Glass will not stop creepy behavior, nor will it prevent the amassing of personal data by social media giants and the NSA. As long as consumers demand free web content and the ability to express themselves freely online — in exchange for which they blithely hand over their personal data and their Instagrammed wedding photos — they can hardly yell foul every time someone invents a handier device to facilitate the racket.

    Perhaps the outrage over Google Glass will finally provoke a radical shift in our culture of surveillance, with consumers spurring tech companies to innovate in ways that reinforce civil society, and regulators who vigorously back consumers.

    Amid the swirl of controversy surrounding Glass, Ballet to the People assembled four of the hottest young dance-makers in San Francisco to experiment with the technology.

    Modern film techniques have whetted the perspective of the audience as voyeur, allowing the layering of fantastical effects that are impossible in the theatre. But until now, the dancer has always been the object of the viewers’ gaze.

    With Google Glass, we can, for the first time, integrate what the dancer sees into the work that she is performing. We can send text and audio instructions to the dancer via the tiny prism display on her forehead. We can send her visual inspiration, or deliberately disrupt her concentration.

    At the heart of the groundbreaking experimental film, entitled Capture, Milissa Payne Bradley pays sly homage to the iconic Russian classic Swan Lake – using Glass as a magical tool that transforms sea birds into young women, trapped on the beach at San Francisco’s Lands End.

    Dexandro “D” Montalvo collaborated with his dancer, Babatunji Johnson, to convey the experience of dance from the eyes of a dancer, and the evolution of breakdance from gestures that implicitly mark out a dancer’s social identity. Montalvo puts his dancer on the street, against the backdrop of a wall in the Mission District, which a graffiti artist has claimed as a canvas for his own self-expression.

    Lauren Benjamin worked in the movement style of House Dance, whose freedom, positive energy and playful spirit to her evokes the qualities that children naturally bring to their exploration of the world. Hence her choice of a school playground setting – in contrast to the gritty, late-night, underground dance clubs where House Dance originated.

    Robert Dekkers plays with the notion that we use technology to hide, to craft and project an image of ourselves. His dancers wear Glass to signify a partial revealing (and concealing) of one’s genuine self.

    As engineers continue to refine Glass, as business finds more ingenious applications for it, and as competitors debut other wearable computing devices, Google may shed its reputation as the North Korea of the tech world and Glass will win acceptance just as television did in a world previously dominated by radio. Dancers and dance filmmakers in particular will embrace Glass as an instrument that heightens their story-telling power.

  • Badass Feminist Robot Puts Pie Charts On Actual Pies
    What, you ask, is better than a feminist robot? A feminist robot with a sweet tooth, obviously.

    As part of Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s second ever Art + Technology Lab, artist Annina Rüst has crafted a robotic installation entitled “A Piece of the Pie Chart,” commenting on the lack of ladies in both artistic and technologic environments. Highly aware of her minority status in her spaces of work, Rüst crafted a machine that generates edible pies adorned with pie charts, illustrating gender disparity in a variety of art and tech spaces.

    A Piece of the Pie Chart at Stadtgalerie Bern, November 2013 from Annina Rüst on Vimeo.

    The pie-happy machine, which you can see in action above, springs an automatic assembly line into action. Users put pre-baked pies, made by the artist’s family members, onto a conveyor belt, where a heat gun warms the pie’s top layer so the pie charts can stick. Robot arms pick up a pie chart and a vacuum cleaner suspended from the ceiling sucks up the diagram, and the arm places the chart atop that delicious and informative pastry. A webcam posts each newly baked protest on Twitter, before the pies are displayed in a gallery setting or put to more political use.

    The pies can also be mailed by the exhibition visitors to the places where the data originated to remind companies, universities, and public sector entities how large (or rather small) the piece of the pie is that women in technology can claim for themselves,” the artist explains on her website. “Mapping gender data onto images of edible pies is a way of adding a material representation to gender statistics. It is also a way to add more urgency to the feminist cause.”

    Gender is a very contentious topic in the tech world,” Rüst explained to The Creator’s Project. “Many technologists immediately get defensive when the topic of gender and technology is discussed. I therefore chose a ‘sweet,’ humorous, seemingly non-threatening form of protest using pies.”

    Like an alternative form of satire, Rüst warms others up to pressing ideas through a seemingly innocuous vessel — baking.


    The combination of technological machinery and domestic labor also creates an interesting intersection of domains normally associated with disparate genders. Incorporating household objects like vacuums and baked goods into the very fabric of technology actively opens up a space where these two arenas can coexist and — more importantly — collaborate.

    “It’s a Rube-Goldberg-like contraption that mixes robotics hardware with more domestic tools such as a vacuum cleaner, a heat gun, and baked goods,” said Rüst. “So far, many people have commented that they like this eclectic mix of robotics and the domestic because it helps them imagine a technology future designed by an equally eclectic and diverse set of technology producers. In short, I am happiest when I can appeal to an audience’s sense of imagination.”

    Rüst is one of two female participants in this year’s Art + Technology Lab. The first edition of the initiative, which took place from 1967-1971, featured dozens of artists and, you guessed it, no women. This year the ratio of women to men is 1:3, which, though a great improvement, still leaves more work to be done.

    Feminist protest art that uses different forms of data collection, analysis, and visualization has existed for at least 43 years and yet gender parity is not yet reality,” Rüst wrote in a blog piece for LACMA. “This doesn’t discourage me. Rather, I think that a multitude of voices and approaches are needed. Gender data collection, analysis, and visualization needs to be applied to other areas of life as well—in my case, technology creation. My pie visualizations emphasize economic and workplace implications for women working in the art and tech world and in intersections thereof.”

    Help women get a piece of the pie by following Rüst’s project here.

  • 'Sketchy' app sparks racism row
    A new app called SketchFactor, which uses crowd-sourced data to alert users to ‘sketchy’ areas, is in hot water after some accuse it of being racist.
  • Dear Gawker, Not All 'Sketchy' Neighborhoods Are Black Neighborhoods
    Racism. Let’s talk about it. Plenty of people mentally wander to a different place when the topic of racism arises — a place somewhere between discomfort and distrust. While this is a congested intersection, it’s not a bad spot to park. On the contrary, this is exactly where we should go and dwell when the the subject of racism surfaces because it may be the only way we can work toward getting unstuck.

    That’s why I was in some ways pleased when I saw the Gawker blog post “Smiling Young White People Make App For Avoiding Black Neighborhoods” in my Facebook newsfeed late last night. In this post, Sam Biddle writes that the new app, SketchFactor, which launched today, is a “racist app made for avoiding ‘sketchy’ neighborhoods, which is the term young white people use to describe places where they don’t feel safe because they watched all five seasons of The Wire.”

    Now hey, I love The Wire, and I appreciate the blogosphere for cultivating a community of liberated writers who can quickly and publicly share their views. But what I’m not understanding is why Biddle didn’t reach out to SketchFactor’s founders, Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington, for an interview or even a mere quote to explain their intentions for the app before he published the post and before the app went live.

    *Full disclosure: I met McGuire almost a year ago during UN Week at a lunch I organized for nonprofit leaders.*

    After reading the Gawker writeup, I emailed McGuire asking her if she’d be interested in being interviewed so she can share her goals for SketchFactor. She said yes immediately, and wrote “for the record, the author of the Gawker post *never* talked to us.” Since the article has gone live, McGuire and Herrington have received dozens of messages via social media saying that they should be raped, stabbed and killed.

    “The goal of SketchFactor,” is to improve city navigation on foot and shed light on trouble spots throughout cities across the U.S,” says McQuire. “One of the categories people can report on is racial profiling.”

    This means if you feel like you’re being racially profiled you can report the incident to SketchFactor as being “sketchy” whether you’re black, white, yellow, red or polka dotted and striped. Racial profiling is also highlighted as a main factor on the app’s site. Nowhere on the site or within the app does it say that “sketchy” equals black. The Gawker post implies that since the founders are white, they must undoubtedly consider black neighborhoods as sketchy.


    So does SketchFactor sound like a racist app to you, or does it sound like perhaps, a number of readers saw the title of the article and reacted hastily without either fully reading the post or doing any research on the app? Unfortunately, with all the speed and real-time sexiness of social media comes the potential spreading of misinformation or lack there of.

    There are a number of apps similar to SketchFactor. There’s CitySourced, a mobile civic engagement platform that enable residents to identify civic issues (public safety, quality of life, environmental issues) and report them to their city hall. There’s HarassMap, a tool for anyone who has been harassed or assaulted and for witnesses to harassment and assault all over Egypt to anonymously share and report their experiences. There’s Protect Brazil, an app designed to facilitate reports of violence against children and adolescents. To my knowledge none of these apps have been deemed racist.

    So racism. Let’s talk about it. But first let’s define it. In the book Portraits of White Racism, David Wellman defines racism as a “system of advantages based on race.” By “system” Wellman is referring to beliefs and actions of individuals, as well as institutional practices and policies. Based on this definition, does racism still exist in modern society? While the world has come a long way since Jim Crow laws, racism is still alive. Debates over affirmation action, the exhaustive, controversial and often inaccurate media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case, and the fact that there has been little to no reporting done on any of the 64,000 black women missing in America are indicative of this hard, cold truth.

    So let’s not make it worse. Good people of the Internet, I encourage you to read everything you can before taking an official stance on topics that spread like wildfire via social media. I implore you to openly discuss anything your heart desires, especially tough topics like racism. But be informed first.

  • An Instagram Worth a Thousand Likes: What Our Photos Are Really Saying About Us
    “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

    Arthur Brisbane, author of the famed adage first outlined in 1911, likely had no idea how clairvoyant his words would eventually become. In his Emoji-less, Instagram void world, Mr. Brisbane still foresaw the power of a picture.

    Decades later, one could discern that our generation speaks at a trillion miles a minute with the rapid circulation of picture texts, Tumblr posts and Snapchats. That’s without considering how many words Arthur would accredit to a GIF, a Vine or a YouTube video.

    But the discussion never really was about how we were communicating — rather, the focus has always been centric around what we are saying. Arguably, a picture has become far more than a mere 1,000 words to an average Millennial. 2014-08-07-6394946623_6023a9844e_m.jpg Our lives revolve around platforms that shove endless, mesmerizing streams of photos in front of our eyes. Just last year, Facebook pulled a 180° on its 1.3 billion users and unleashed a disarmingly simplified image-focused redesign that automatically buried text heavy status updates and posts underneath pictures of friends’ smiling faces. Even Twitter, a platform rooted in plain 140-or-less Tweets, underwent a facelift that introduced “Visual Tweets” that embedded previews of photos and videos directly into a users’ timelines.

    So the question remains: What exactly are we communicating to each other?

    Within the flurry of social medias, it’s unsurprising that Instagram has steadily gained clout over other popular platforms. How else could the phrase “selfie” blossom? Underneath who-knows-how-many layers of Lo-Fi and Valencia filters, the answer — quite literally — is staring us in the face.

    Selfies, the new age portrait, noiselessly scream “LOOK AT ME.” Now, before you’ve rolled your eyes and picked your phone back up searching for a new notification, take note: this seemingly obvious message carries impactful side effects that are seriously changing the mindset of our coming generations.


    A like once literally conveyed, “I like this,” or “I like what you’re saying.” Over time, as the population realized how social media could alter one’s own image perceived by their friends and the rest of the world, a like transformed into “I approve of you, what you are saying and/or what you look like.” And as people became glued to their newsfeeds with less excuses to simply overlook a post or two, the mere absence of a like became an outward expression of the opposite.

    I feel it in my own conscious when I prepare a photo to post on my Instagram feed; a muted, but present voice that questions if the clothes I’m wearing are well framed, if the filters I’ve carefully chosen will appear flattering and if what I’m posting is interesting enough to garner likes from my followers. Right under our noses and double-tapping fingers, social media wordlessly transformed from a place to share into a defining partition of our own self-image.

    That’s not to say the influx of social media influence hasn’t birthed positive results as well. I’ve seen friends of various talents smartly utilize the ability to directly connect with people all over the world to become “Internet famous.” As a part time model, I’ve seen how Instagram can function as an unofficial digital business card for photographers, businesses and fans to interact with. A friend’s personal journey to lose weight and become fit has launched her page into one of a yoga icon that has collected hundreds of thousands of followers along with sponsorship offers from dozens of clothing brands designed for bendy yogis.

    As both a woman and a young person, I am constantly bombarded with controversial headlines that demand society to stop using Photoshop to manipulate unrealistic body images and upset about fat-shaming, skinny-shaming and race-shaming. You name it — someone is likely shaming it. Perhaps the underlying reason why I always desire to look more tan in my photos is the same as why Kylie Jenner suddenly looks like she’s 25-years old and constantly drowsy (read: drunk) when she’s barely had her driver’s license for a year.

    Society’s acceptance used to be a judgment isolated to unlucky celebrities and vicious tabloid magazines. Social media, our constant frenemy, has abridged that gap and bared our selves — our faces, our bodies, our clothes, our doings and our thoughts — for the entire online world to judge. As the younger generation begins to infiltrate our social medias and whichever that may arise next, it will be important to refocus the meaning of a like, a comment or a follow. Nudging the notoriously disdainful atmosphere of the Internet away from narcissistic popularity contests and celebrity-dom and further towards a platform of useful, thought-provoking information as it once was could recapture the thoughtfulness and positivity of the Millennial generation.

    A picture does speak a thousand words. So what will you say today?

  • How to make cyber scams go pop
    How Batman can help you avoid online scams
  • What Computer Geeks Taught Me About the Future of Aging

    Sometime in the near future, our nation may not have enough qualified workers to serve every older American who needs services and supports.

    That’s more than a little scary, especially for baby boomers who are turning 65 at the rate of about 10,000 a day.

    I am one of those baby boomers. But I’m not scared anymore. And I have an energetic group of computer “geeks” to thank for that.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m still concerned about the future of aging services. By 2050, there will be 89 million Americans between the ages of 65 and 84.

    These older adults will make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population. That’s the highest percentage of older Americans we’ve ever seen in this country.

    The real challenge will come from another demographic fact. The Pew Research Center estimates that by 2050 — just as the number of older people is ballooning — there will be significantly fewer working-age people available to care for them.

    So why am I not scared?

    Geeks to the Rescue

    The computer geeks who eased my fears about aging were college students participating in an event called the “LeadingAge HackFest.”

    Teams of 4-to-6 participants spent two days last October holed up in a Dallas hotel trying to create a technology-driven tool that would improve the lives of older adults and their families.

    The technology solutions devised during the HackFest all-nighter were pretty impressive. But the technology itself wasn’t what eased my fears about the future of aging services.

    What set my mind at rest was the realization that we might actually be able to solve our looming caregiver crisis by enlisting the help of some pretty non-traditional partners — partners like the young techies who traded their weekend plans for an opportunity to hit on the next big idea in aging services technologies.

    To be frank, providers of aging services need lots of help from people just like this — people who, up until now, we have never invited into our care settings.

    It’s Not Just About the Technology

    LeadingAge will again be encouraging young men and women to develop promising age-related technology solutions during this year’s Hackfest, which takes place Oct. 18-20 in Nashville.

    But, why stop there? Why not encourage providers of aging services to enlist other nontraditional partners who could help us address the challenges associated with an aging population?

    These new partners need just three basic characteristics — all of which I witnessed at the LeadingAge HackFest:

    An interest in the challenges facing older people, even if those challenges aren’t directly related to their course of study or career path.

    A belief that they have what it takes to improve the aging experience.

    A willingness to collaborate with older adults and providers of aging services to come up with solutions that actually have a chance of working.

    There’s a long list of new partners who could help us change the lives of older people if we would only ask. Here’s the short list:


    Who understands the needs of older people better than older people? So why don’t aging services organizations hire more of them?

    Let’s recruit retirees to work in our care settings. Let’s create flexible, part-time jobs that appeal to their retired lifestyle.

    These older workers might share jobs with younger workers who would carry out the more physically taxing aspects of caregiving.

    Retired health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, could serve as mentors and coaches for younger and less experienced staff.

    Family Caregivers

    Many dedicated family members have already answered the call to help husbands, wives, and parents cope with illness or late-life challenges. In the process, they have acquired a host of skills that could really benefit aging services organizations and the people we serve.

    With formal training, these family caregivers could become key members of our care teams when they are no longer needed at home.

    High School Students

    High schools are in a great position to educate their students about the aging process. They can also help dispel the myths about older people that often keep young people from entering the field of aging services.

    Our care settings could give these students a place to gain practical caregiving experience and to decide if they wanted to make caregiving a career.

    Providers of aging services might even consider offering financial support to help students pursue certification and degree programs that enhance their skills.

    College Students

    Nursing homes, assisted living communities and community-based service agencies could provide life-changing service-learning opportunities to college students pursuing a variety of degree paths.

    Some providers of aging services already support training programs for nurses, doctors and other health professionals. More providers should open their doors to professionals-in-training as well as a variety of scholars in non-clinical fields.

    It’s not hard to imagine how a drama major might be inspired to become a nursing home’s activity director.

    A technology major might decide to join a retirement community’s IT department. A culinary student could become an assisted living community’s next chef.

    The possibilities are endless, as long as we don’t limit our imaginations — or the imaginations of our new partners.

    Welcoming New People to the Team

    Attracting nontraditional caregivers will require some nontraditional decisions from aging services organizations. We’ll need to:

    Create and sustain relationships with people who have never been on our radar screens. That will take ingenuity and persistence.

    Design jobs that will make young people and retirees want to come to work every day. That’s a challenge for any employer.

    Invest in rigorous training programs and offer competitive salary and benefits packages.

    Foster a corporate culture that respects workers, offers them the freedom to use their skills creatively, and welcomes them as integral and fully functioning members of the care team.

    All this may sound hard. But if the energy and excitement of the LeadingAge HackFest is any indication, it is far from impossible.

    The HackFest made two things abundantly clear. An investment in welcoming nontraditional partners to the field of aging services will bring new energy and excitement to our care settings.

    It will also provide new hope to the people who are depending on us to be there for them if and when they need services and supports in the future.

  • Judge Strikes Down Techtopus Wage Theft Settlement
    The judge overseeing the landmark Silicon Valley wage theft antitrust lawsuit has struck down the $324 million settlement reached between most of the class action plaintiffs and the defendants — Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe.
  • Church Leader Jerald Hill Suspected Of Attempted Dog Sex
    A church leader in Roach, Missouri, is out of a job after being arrested for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a dog.

    Jerald Hill, 56, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted unlawful sex with an animal and attempted animal abuse.

    Authorities began investigating Hill after the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Cyber Crimes Task Force got a tip about a Craigslist post by a man looking for two types of animals for sex.

    One of the chosen animals was a dog, but investigators declined to mention the other type of animal, the Columbia Tribune reports.

    An undercover detective contacted Hill by email and offered a dog for sex. The two then arranged a meeting in Columbia. When Hill arrived, he was arrested without incident, according to CBS St. Louis.

    Hill was released after paying $1,000 bail.

    The allegations have had a negative effect on Hill’s job as the CEO of the Windermere Baptist Conference Center.

    A day after Hill’s arrest, church leaders released a statement saying that the organization is “concerned for the well-being of Jerry,” but will meet next week to start “the process of looking for a new president and CEO,” according to APBnews.com.

  • Judge Orders Rape Accuser To Turn Over Facebook Account
    JOSH CORNFIELD, Associated Press

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey judge has ordered a teen who accused a man of rape to turn over access to her Facebook account, providing another example of social media’s growing use in courtrooms and the resulting privacy concerns.

    Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier this week agreed to a request from David Stevens-Parker’s defense attorney, and the judge said he will privately review two weeks of Facebook postings for any comments related to the alleged rape before deciding whether any can be used in court.

    Defense attorney Andrew Ferencevych said he wants to see if there are any hints that the sex was consensual. Stevens-Parker, 22, was charged with providing the then-16-year-old Princeton girl with alcohol before sexually assaulting her in April 2013.

    Assistant Prosecutor John Carbonara said Ferencevych cited a state court ruling that allowed a defense attorney to require a victim to submit to an eye exam, but Carbonara argued that ordering the teen to turn over Facebook access was a greater invasion of privacy. He said courts don’t typically order crime victims to turn over information.

    If you asked a typical teen whether having an eye examination or giving over Facebook passwords was more of an invasion, “I guarantee 100 percent of them would say to look at your Facebook,” Carbonara said. “That’s the predominant way they communicate to their friends on a lot of issues.”

    Content from social media is routinely used in court, but the New Jersey case is different because it involves a judge ordering an alleged victim to turn over information, said Wendy Patrick, a prosecutor and former chairwoman of the California state bar ethics committee.

    “It’s used all the time and the reason is because the Internet has become a confessional,” Patrick said. “It’s a place where everyone is an open book.”

    Patrick noted that authenticating content found on social media is often the most difficult part of trying to use it as evidence.

    Among the other recent cases where posts on Facebook and other social media have been used in court:

    —The case of two Ohio high school football players convicted of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl drew international attention because of the role of texting a and social media in exposing the attack.

    —Also in Ohio, a grand jury decided not to charge anyone in a public sex act that was photographed by witnesses and later reported by the woman as a sexual assault after images circulated on social media.

    —A defense attorney for a man convicted of killing a University of New Hampshire student spent several hours going over Facebook pages and conversations in an attempt to convince jurors that the state’s star witness was possessed by imaginary characters.

    Carbonara said that the teen victim in the New Jersey case told him she was willing to turn over the information to the judge. Patrick said that it’s good to know that she isn’t opposed to the judge reviewing her Facebook page.

    “Think how you would feel if someone went into your room and said, ‘I must read your diary to see if anything is relevant?'” Patrick said. “It’s just invasive.”

  • Levar Burton's 'Tweeting Rainbow' Needs A Kickstarter Immediately
    This video definitely deserves a Retweet.

    Levar Burton already surpassed the Kickstarter goals for his “Reading Rainbow” app, and now he’s setting his sights on a new project. In “Tweeting Rainbow,” Burton takes on Twitter, teaching kids about everything from Favorites to what @SnoopDogg means by his cryptic tweets about condiments.

    Just take a look. It’s not in a book. It’s “Tweeting Rainbow!”

    “Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

  • A Misguided Fraternity Movement Is Revealing The Worst Aspects Of Frat Boy Culture
    A self-propelled “movement” from male interest website Total Frat Move is stirring up debate over the nature of Greek life, bringing out both the worst and best elements of fraternity culture.

    As TFM announced on their website last week, “There’s an important movement afoot. It’s time to stand up and tell the world why we need frat. Why do you need frat? #WhyWeNeedFrat.”

  • Looking Through the Screen
    Back in May of this year, a video on YouTube titled “Look Up” went viral. Almost everyone I know has watched it. If you haven’t, I’ll fill in the blanks. It was an inspirational poem about taking a break from technology and how you can miss so many great opportunities because you’re too busy scrolling through social media.

    But out of the 45 million-plus people who watched it, how many people actually did something about it? How many people had the willpower to say, “Wow, my phone and all this technology is really taking lots of meaning out of my life. I’m going to use it less and focus on more important things”? Most people, myself included, thought, “Wow, that was so great and eye-opening. I should tweet about it,” and subsequently went back on their phones and carried themselves as they would do any other day. Some may deem it a revolutionary video, but no revolution of any significance actually occurred.

    Of course, technology has its obvious pros. Without it, how would this video have spread? How would we get news, information or birthday notifications, without any of the innovations we have today? How would you even be reading this article? We are able to meet new people, connect with old friends, learn things we wouldn’t have access to otherwise and so much more. But when a 2-year-old child can use an iPhone or an iPad just as well (or better) than a middle-aged adult, should there be concern?

    Kids should be familiar with technology, that is perfectly true. But should they be playing mind-numbing games instead of finding a good place for hide and seek, coloring on iPads instead of coloring books, watching YouTube videos instead of playing outside? Children of this new generation will have no idea what life used to be like without technology. I’m not saying I’m immune to all of this — I was born in 1997 — and ’90s kids have developed some sort of superiority complex that makes us believe that we’re the last generation with common sense, had childhoods filled with quality TV shows that didn’t involve dogs blogging and the last ones whose baby pictures weren’t taken with smartphones.

    In some aspects, I guess our seemingly absurd claim does have some merit. We were raised and taught to socialize, not to stay on our phones all day. But in this day and age, when my friends and I get together, we end up spending as much (maybe more) time on our phones as we do socializing. You get together to share on social media how much of a good time you’re having with all your friends, when in reality, everyone is quite bored. The foreign term that is “socializing” has been reduced to people sitting in the same room as their friends, silently, on their phones. As the world goes on and technology keeps advancing, will our ability to interact with other people slowly fade into oblivion?

    We are in the “Me” Generation.’ All we care about is the amount of followers we have on Instagram or Twitter and how many likes our last selfie got — we’re completely self-absorbed in this superficial digital world. I’ve even had people message me and start a seemingly normal conversation about school or friends, when their ulterior motive is revealed: “Oh, and by the way, could you pretty please go like my profile picture? I just liked yours. :)” Is this really what our world has come to?

    Yes, of course technology is not the number one cause for everything that’s wrong with the world. It is not the cause for the uncountable number of people in some parts of the world lacking basic human rights, governments being corrupt, inequality, etc. And sure, technology raises awareness for all these existing problems. But this media that has made us into “social” beings at all times is causing much anxiety and depression. People feel they aren’t loved if they don’t have enough followers, or their picture only gets 10 likes. You see your friends doing all the things you weren’t invited to, you see all the things you could be doing and yet you’re sitting on a couch scrolling through your phone for the 15th time in an hour. We see so much more of the real world and so much more fake photo-shopped images, and we combine the two into some Utopian view of what life could be if we tried, yet it’s so impossibly perfect that we’re never able to reach that point, and it saddens us.

    Without technology, I wouldn’t even be able to write or post this article; our knowledge would be so limited compared to what it is now. And I know that after reading this you might think about it for a while and then you’ll trot back to your daily digital life while I return to mine. And even though I know how it is and I want to “look up” and see the world around me, I end up looking down. This four-inch screen is no replacement for reality, but that is where we find our life. Maybe, we can start by looking up when we want to look down, just once a day; it might not be so bad after all.

  • Chatroom 'rape' woman sent to jail
    A woman who used internet chatrooms to try to arrange for strangers to rape a former work colleague is jailed for six years.
  • 9 Gorgeous Houses That Prove Your Dream Home Is Also A Green Home
    What is sustainability, and what would it look like in your own home? There are a lot of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, like going vegetarian or driving an electric car, but chances are your house maybe be having a larger impact on the environment than you’d like.

    Almost half of the energy your home consumes comes from heating and air conditioning. Unless your house is completely coated in solar panels, more than half of the electricity you’re using is probably generated from coal, gas and oil.

    “Green building” is an effort to curb the environmental toll of inefficient homes, and it’s taking hold in the construction sector. The Huffington Post reached out to nine architects to talk about their stunning projects that are not only sustainable, but beautiful too.

    1. This beautiful butterfly alights on the California hills — and saves you water.
    butterfly house
    Spreading its wings out over the hills of Northern California, Feldman Architecture’s Butterfly House thrusts its owners into the drama of its perch. Not only is the house itself beautiful, but looking out its wall of completely open windows its hard not to be overcome by the drama of the view, says principal architect Jonathan Feldman*.

    “When the clouds go over [the hills] or the fog rolls in, they suddenly become these really cool, exciting personalities that people are living through,” Feldman told The Huffington Post. “It’s cool to have a nice photograph on your wall but these guys are immersed in that landscape every day of the year.”

    The shape of the roof allowed Feldman and his team to incorporate something that he is most excited about: rainwater collection. With California’s recent drought strengthening its grip on residents, rainwater collectors can be assets for people willing to spend a little bit more money. “The long view is worth considering,” Feldman said.

    In the long run, strategizing how a house uses water — including used water — can significantly reduce the pressure a home puts on the environment. “People need to take this water shortage way more seriously,” Feldman said, but added that other projects are showing new possibilities. “We have urban projects where we’re using all the shower water and laundry water to flush the toilets and water the landscapes. That’s something I’m super excited about.”

    *The architect Jonathan Feldman is not related to the author of this story, also named Jonathan Feldman.

    butterfly house
    butterfly house

    2. Recycling has never looked this good.
    eagle ridge
    Situated on Orcas Island in Washington, architect Gary Gladwish’s Eagle Ridge Residence emphasizes the use of recyclable materials. “I don’t rule something out just because it’s used,” Gladwish told HuffPost. “Some of the appliances, the fireplace, all of the wood siding, the material for the bathroom counters, all of that was used, upcycled or recycled material.”

    The Eagle Ridge Residence also uses structural insulated panels, which can cut down on waste and costs considerably. The panels save time in construction, produce less waste on the site and save money in energy costs, since less heat is escaping the structure.

    “The waste stream in this country is greatly contributed to by construction,” Gladwish said. In building the home, all the waste generated by its construction was taken off site in five loads in an SUV. According to the project’s description, the majority of this waste was recyclable as well.

    eagle ridge
    eagle ridge

    3. A little positioning can make spending on heating and air conditioning a thing of the past.
    manifold house
    Los Angeles’s Manifold House takes advantage of southern California’s year-round warm climate to control the home’s temperature. Using strategic positioning and careful planning of the home’s indoor shapes, architect Aaron Neubert and his team from ANX push toward “passive” solutions to keep their buildings naturally cool.

    What really interests Neubert is how knowledge of passive ventilation has fundamentally changed the design process. “If you’re bringing fresh air through plant material or over water, it increases the cooling of the space, and the question becomes how do you make that beautiful?” he told HuffPost. “It becomes interesting, because you’re not just talking about aesthetics with the client, you’re talking about performance.”

    In the Manifold House, windows and vents within the home can help keep the house at the desired temperature. This precise tuning of the air channels in the house completely removes the need for typical air conditioning systems.

    manifold house
    manifold house

    4. Solar panels can be easy on your eyes — and your wallet.
    lowrise house
    In Menlo Park, California, the Low/Rise House uses an electrifying approach to keep the house very low-carbon: an array of solar panels. Hidden from view along the home’s flat roof surfaces, the array reduces the overall energy demand of the house significantly. The house is also positioned to remove the need for air conditioning during the day, even when it gets to be hotter than 100 degrees. Together, there is almost no draw on the grid for power.

    “In order for green building to be successful, sustainability shouldn’t be obvious, it should be an integral part of your design,” principal architect Dan Spiegel of the Spiegel Aihara Worshop told HuffPost. Even though the solar panels are nearly invisible, they will provide the house with almost all its power, and pay themselves back in less than five years.

    To keep the house tightly insulated, the solar panels aren’t bolted to the roof. No holes are drilled through the building envelope; instead, ballasts keep the solar panels in place and ensure that if the solar array ever needs to be adjusted, the roof will not be needlessly damaged.

    low rise
    low rise

    5. What could be better than a house on Martha’s Vineyard? A house MADE OF Martha’s Vineyard.
    island house
    Driving through a grove of trees and a meadow on Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll come across what architect Peter Rose calls “good behavior in a precious landscape.” The Island House by Peter Rose + Partners in Edgartown, Massachusetts is a green vacation home for a family of five that does its best to have a low impact on the island.

    “The house is almost invisible, and much smaller than the house it replaced,” Rose told HuffPost. What gives the house its cloak of invisibility is its wood siding, made of unfinished wood that weathers naturally over time, and a green roof, populated by local sea grasses. The roof collects water into a cistern, irrigates the land around the house and keeps the house independent in terms of its water use.

    “Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most precious, beautiful places in this world,” Rose said. When designing the home, providing the owners with the opportunity to experience the location was key. Passive cooling keeps the temperature stable, even when letting the outside in. “When the windows open up, you drift into a beautiful landscape.”

    island house
    island house

    6. With a bit of planning, you can build a normal sized house with 30 percent fewer trees.
    main street house shed
    “Getting a building right, so it endures, is the first step,” SHED Architecture & Design’s Thomas Schaer said about the construction of the Main Street House in Seattle, Washington. The house uses advanced framing and a bit of extra planning to significantly cut down on its material usage and costs.

    “In standard framing, you don’t need to align your studs, and there’s so much extra wood, it’s almost idiot proof,” Schaer said in an interview with HuffPost. “But with advanced framing, with extra care and planning, you can use 30 percent less of everything.” Advanced framing also prevents the transfer of heat from the interior to the exterior, creating more insulation, which keeps the house’s temperature more steady.

    Requiring less materials then means requiring less lumber for construction. Areas the size of Panama are cut down every year for wood and paper products, and advanced framing can be a driving force for reducing our demand for wood. Schaer says that this is a common practice in Canada, but the United States has been slow to move away from standard framing.

    main street
    main street

    7. Get rid of your heating and air conditioning and replace it with…concrete?
    courtyard house
    To architect Ted Cameron of DeForest Architects, sustainability is more than being fashionable in looking for solutions; true progress is made in designs that have more than just “green lipstick on.” His Courtyard House, situated on Lake Washington in Seattle, is certainly fashionable, but its structure is what makes it so green.

    Much of the Courtyard House’s structure is made of concrete, which uses radiant heating to keep the house’s temperature regulated. “The radiant floor of the house evens out the spiking of temperature,” Cameron said. The home faces the sun and absorbs heat during the day, and then uses its stored heat to stay comfortable at night. “The house cools down at night and stays cool at night,” even without an air conditioning system.

    “There is a trend to return to modernism now, but green building won’t fall out of favor,” Cameron said. “Resources and fossil fuels can’t just be wasted anymore.”

    courtyard house
    courtyard house

    8. Don’t sacrifice; you can still live large even if you build small.
    lavaflow 5 craig steely
    Large homes are a symbol of status in the United States, but architect Craig Steely asks, “Do you really need to build that big?” Lavaflow 5, overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the island of Hawaii, is remarkably small. At 1,100 square feet, it provides a comfortable home that uses as much energy as it generates.

    By stripping away extraneous materials and space, the footprint of construction becomes much smaller. “I’ve always been inspired by how good buildings look before they’re finished,” Steely said in a phone interview. “They look compelling, powerful and strong; but then they become covered, clad, buried and killed in layers of requirement.” Steely’s skeletal structure is all “sharp and bones,” which affords less space for rot and mold to grow.

    The small frame and roof of the house were prefabricated in San Francisco and shipped to Hawaii, where they were assembled in five days. The house also uses passive cooling to keep the house at a comfortable temperature and a solar heating system to provide the home with hot water without the need for gas.

    lavaflow 5
    lavaflow 5

    9. Seal your envelope tight and heat your home with a hair dryer.
    park passive house nk
    “This house is a vision of how things should be. Energy and water are two of our top priorities,” said Joe Giampietro of NK Architects. “If you’re building any other way, your house is outdated as soon as its done,” builder Sloan Ritchie agreed. The Park Passive House in Seattle, designed by NK’s Marie Ljubojevic and Lauren McCunney, has cut its energy consumption by 90 percent thanks to the careful design of the architect and builder.

    “We really try to balance with the environment,” Giampietro told HuffPost. Part of what helps the house conserve energy so effectively is its tight envelope; the envelope prevents the outside temperature from affecting the inside temperature when all the windows and doors are closed and allows heat to spread through the house easily. “Theoretically, the net energy needs of the house can be met by a small heat source, like a hair dryer,” he said.

    Jennifer Ritchie is the wife of Sloan Ritchie, and together they live in the home comfortably. Ms. Ritchie, accustomed to her previous home, had difficulty managing all the captured heat at first, but quickly learned how to keep the house cool all day. “I owned a 1912 Craftsman home that had been ordered out of a Sears catalog that wasn’t even insulated,” she said. “With the multi-locking windows and insulation, it makes things really quiet and it reduces our electricity and gas bills significantly.”

    park passive
    park passive

  • This Device Claims To Make Texting And Driving Totally Safe
    The dangers of texting and driving are well-known, but a San Francisco-based startup has a device it claims will let drivers use a phone safely while barreling down the road.

    The video above introduces us to Navdy, a device that sits on your car’s dashboard and projects information from your smartphone onto a 5.1-inch-wide glass display. The device is also hands-free: you can simply swipe left in front of you to answer a call, or right to dismiss a notification. This way, you can keep your eyes on the road, or at least looking forward, while using your phone.

    Sleek and user-friendly as it may seem, such technology does not ensure driver safety. Hands-free infotainment technology is no cure for distracted driving, according to more than 30 research studies. Although hands-free devices let drivers look straight ahead, a 2013 study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that, even when drivers keep their eyes on the road, mental distractions can still be dangerous. As a driver’s mental workload increases, their reaction time slows and brain function is compromised, causing them to scan the road less and miss visual cues.

    navdy screen

    Not distracting at all.

    Navdy attempts to reduce this danger by enabling any notification on your phone — texts, calls, social, navigation — to be read aloud or disabled entirely.

    The technology behind Navdy — called a Heads Up Display (HUD) — has existed in fighter planes since the 1950s, and automakers have been trying to bring it to the mainstream market for three decades. On its website, Navdy claims that more than 4 million HUD-equipped new cars were sold between 2010 and 2013. But its high cost has kept it largely confined to luxury vehicles — until now. Navdy retails at $499.

    navdy swipe

    Navdy also reminds potential customers that not every local law in the U.S. is fully down with hands-free texting. Its FAQ says “it is your responsibility to use Navdy in a way that complies with applicable laws.”

  • Watch This Magician's Mind-Bending Illusion Very Closely.. It Makes Order Out Of Chaos
    Magician and New York Times crossword puzzle wizard David Kwong says we’re wired to solve puzzles and make order out of chaos — and he’s got a trick to prove it.

    We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com.

  • Chatroulette Guy Isn't Doing What You Think He's Doing. Or Is He? (NSFW?)
    “Chatroulette is a great way to make friends and form lifetime bonds and relationships. It is a place of sharing ideas, and an opportunity to connect with people from around the world,” said nobody ever.

    Let’s face it, when you sign on to Chatroulette, you are signing on to see d*$%. That is, unless you come across comedian Jonny of JonnyTV.

    Watch the video to the very end. Trust us — the twist has a twist.

    Porn For Women,” anybody?

  • App from the Cleveland Clinic helps assess symptoms of multiple sclerosis

    Neuroscientists at the Cleveland Clinic have developed an iPad-based tool for assessing disability and symptoms from multiple sclerosis.

    The post App from the Cleveland Clinic helps assess symptoms of multiple sclerosis appeared first on iMedicalApps.

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