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Mobile Technology News, April 14, 2015

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.

  • Phishing hits victims 'in minutes'
    Phishing emails ensnare their first victim within 82 seconds of the attack messages being sent, suggests a report.
  • BLU Win HD LTE Windows Phone Now At The Microsoft Store for $199 Unlocked

    The value priced but powerful BLU Win HD LTE Windows Phone has made its way to the Microsoft Store and is priced at $199 unlocked.  If you don’t remember, this new phone was announced just before MWC this year and is the latest in the lineup from BLU Windows Phones aimed at giving solid mid-range features at an attractive price.  This new phone also eliminates one of the complaints with the BLU Win HD which is that it did not support LTE bands for higher download speeds so at $199, it is a great deal for what it has to

    The post BLU Win HD LTE Windows Phone Now At The Microsoft Store for $199 Unlocked appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Child porn deleting effort ramps up
    A child abuse watchdog says it is wiping more illegal photos and videos from the internet after a change in strategy.
  • The future restaurant is here
    The future restaurant is nearer than you think
  • VIDEO: Fukushima robot fails to respond
    The company that owns the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan has been forced to abandon a new robot inside one of the damaged reactor vessels.
  • The Day I Stopped Being A Zombie Parent!
    Today, with technology literally at our fingertips, we are able to capture every moment and experience we have. Taking pictures of every little thing we come in contact with — our food, our kids and really all of our experiences — so much so that we forget to truly enjoy the moments we are living. A few weeks ago, I went on a trip with my daughter’s class to the Sugar Bush. While we were there, the kids were given an opportunity to experience what it was like to work on the farm by carrying the tools and checking the buckets for sap. Each parent — including myself — quickly scrambled for their smartphones and started happily snapping away yelling ‘smile’ or ‘over here’ as the kids tried to enjoy the moment. When I came home, I sat down and scrolled through the pictures I had taken. While I did this, I noticed how happy my daughter was; I noticed how her little hands were holding the buckets and the wonder in her eyes when looking into the bucket to see if there was sap. I could see how much she enjoyed this experience, but, to my dismay, I also realized that although I had the pictures to prove it, I didn’t have the bursting emotions I should have to go along with the pictures. Instead of actually living in the moment, I hid behind my camera — or phone — and forgot to take in the beauty of it all. This left me heartbroken. How many moments like this had I been present for, but in fact had missed? How many times had I hid behind my phone thinking I was present when in truth, I was not? How many times had I been a zombie parent — physically there, but emotionally unaware?

    There is no doubt that the landscape of parenting has changed drastically in the last 10 years. The personal invasion that social media and technology has made on our existence and experiences is colossal and it has literally changed the way we live. No doubt technology and everything that comes with it is incredible. However, we have managed to allow it to take the place of our emotions, our sensations and our excitements. Think of this: How many times have you thought about a memory — one that you don’t have a physical picture of — and how many times has that simple thought and visualization of that memory in your mind brought you sheer and utter joy? Now, think of the possibly thousands of pictures on your smartphone that you have probably taken hastily in an effort to preserve the moment or memory. How do you feel when you look at them? For me, there is no doubt that the pictures — especially of my kids — still bring me joy, but the emotional attachment to the moment is nowhere to be found. That feeling of joy and of remembering the smell in the air or the feelings from that moment are nonexistent because the only feelings left are the panic of “where’s my phone” or “wait… my storage is full I need to delete some pics before I can take a new one.” Sad, isn’t it?

    Maybe it’s time we put the cameras away and allow the picture to develop in our minds instead of on a memory card. Maybe it’s time we allowed ourselves the joy of the moment instead of trying so hard to hold onto something superficial because, if we were to lose our phones, then we’ve also lost our memories with it — now that would be awful.

    My message is this: Instead of trying so hard to snap and record every moment on our devices, maybe it’s time we sat back and allowed the remarkable mechanism that is our heart, soul and mind to record them because clearly, what they are able to capture can never be seen, felt or transmitted through the lens of our smartphones.

    With all my love,


    To read more articles written by Eleni visit her Blog at http://www.thechatterboxx.com

    Follow Eleni on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Chatter-Boxx/1561709477399904?ref=hl

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  • America's Combat Towards Government Surveillance

    John Oliver has won us over again this season, after having a challenging and well-done interview with the infamous Edward Snowden on his popular HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. As an avid viewer of his show, I can honestly say that I have gained more knowledge of the world in his half hour comedy than a weeks worth of watching programs on BBC or CNN. It’s pretty clear that comedy is a useful source to inform citizens on delicate issues. His program also makes it clear that American citizens are very uninformed compared to other nations when it comes to domestic and foreign politics. This is already common knowledge to many Americans, but Oliver’s program on April 5th, made one thing obvious to viewers, and that is we have a very limited knowledge about the Internet. This is particularly the concern that Oliver was questioning in his interview with Snowden. Other than the proven weakness of the media of this issue and Snowden’s reckless management of these dangerous NSA documents, Americans are scarcely uneducated of this matter.

    If Snowden really wants us to solve our surveillance issue in America, then we must have a conversation that Americans are capable of having just as Oliver suggested. The first step to having this conversation is to increase our knowledge of the Internet and the technological concepts needed to understand in this discussion. By June 1st, Congress will renew our current government surveillance program unless we have this debate to reform it. This can’t happen though if we aren’t educated from the concepts used in the language of the Patriot Act or the documents that Snowden wants revealed of the NSA.

    Oliver demonstrated several times that Americans are ignorant and gullible towards politics of the Internet and the Internet in general. However, one observation in the interview that caught my attention was after Oliver asked Snowden if the American people have the capability of having a conversation on government surveillance. As soon as Snowden started explaining the complex nature of the Internet, Oliver quickly interrupted and jokingly responded that this explanation is equivalent to when an office worker see’s the IT guy come in to the office. He quoted, “Don’t teach me anything, I don’t want to learn”, which inherently characterized the American reaction towards learning the technology behind the Internet. This led to Snowden accepting this truth as he peered away from Oliver’s face and stated he was “sympathetic to the problem.”

    It’s evident that we need to have a basic understanding of the Internet and the engineering behind it. I myself am a victim of this ignorance and I am sure you the readers are stricken to this as well. We admit this and we also take this for granted. In a 2014 Pew survey, they found that Americans have an alarmingly low basic knowledge of the Internet. They tested over 1,000 participants with diverse backgrounds and found that only 23 percent of people were aware of the difference between “the Internet” and “the World Wide Web”, as they are same thing. Other data they found was that 34 percent of the surveyors actual knew what Moore’s Law is, which is about the number of transistors that can be on a smartphone. In addition, 44 percent responded true when asked if “private policy means company keeps users info confidential”. These are technical facts that you think so little about that you didn’t even notice I lied about all of them. The facts are that the Internet and the World Wide Web are not the same thing, that Moore’s law is actually about the number of transistors in a computer chip and not in a smartphone, and private policy does not necessarily mean that companies keep the information they collect on users. Now I hope I’ve kept your attention and realize the importance of why we need to learn this information. The Internet has become part of our lifestyle and we seriously need to know how it works before someone with disagreeable intentions will use it against us.

    This is not entirely our fault for having this low skill set, as it’s purely a systemic one. Most people receive basic training from schools, but our public education system has yet to fully stress the importance of including computer science as a core curriculum. As a student who received his whole education from New York State, a state with a supposedly succeeding education system, I have not attained any sort of technical training. This is not because I or any other students weren’t interested in acquiring this knowledge, but our administrators neither offered these classes to begin with nor stressed the importance of graduating with these courses as we were overloaded with the basic liberal arts classes such math, science, history, etc.

    To learn skills in information technology, one must either teach themselves the expertise, take a class outside of school, or wait until college to learn. However, waiting until college may not be the best solution as we enter college with a higher liberal arts background than in technical training, which means a student who wants to learn programming must start with zero preparation and potentially struggle throughout the courses. Also postponing your desire to take classes in computer science in college might also be a problem if your university prohibits you from taking these courses unless you are majoring in that degree or are in the engineering school.

    This is a troubling aspect in our American education system where we are doing a poor job at preparing our youth in this sector. While focusing on liberal arts is definitely important to teach our children, John Oliver’s uncovering of Americans ill-informed comprehension of the Internet proves we need to place computer science at the same core level as math, science, history and reading. Especially since we learn and are given assignments from those latter subjects on our computers. If we don’t do so now then we will have some government agency make us “sacrifice our values” as Edward Snowden mentioned and potentially watch over us like “Big Brother”.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Oh, You Don't Think Being A Celebrity Ever Blows?

    Society is doomed, and Pedro Martinez is a Saint. There is no grey area.

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  • Google Says Go Mobile or Go Home
    If your website doesn’t pass the Google Mobile-Friendly test, your chances of being seen by users of mobile devices is about to go down. Way down. And it could seriously cost you.

    On February 21st, Google announced that beginning the week of April 21st they would begin to downgrade sites that are not mobile-friendly in searches done from mobile devices.

    This isn’t Google trying to be mean (trust me), they’re just doing their job by trying to give users a better and more relevant search experience. According to the Pew Research Center, as many as 15 percent of Americans own a smart phone and don’t have another reliable means of Internet access. That means the only screen they have for viewing your website is the small mobile screen. No wonder Google thinks it’s time for us all to provide a mobile-friendly site.

    Is Going Mobile Really Worth It?

    If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you can find out how many mobile visitors you currently have. It’s just a few quick steps.

    Even if your percentage of mobile visitors is small now, you should still think about becoming mobile friendly. That 15 percent of Americans who almost exclusively use mobile is trending upward. You won’t know how much traffic you’re missing out on because — to mobile searchers — you just won’t be there in the search results.

    Are You Mobile Friendly?

    The first step for website owners is to run their site through Google’s Mobile Friendly testing tool. Just type your website URL in and click Analyze. Google will display your results in just a few minutes. Here is an example of the before and after results of a website I recently optimized for mobile.


    Red means you have problem, green means you’re good. If you don’t pass the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, you’ll need to contact your web designer to help you out. If you use WordPress, you can install a mobile friendly plugin on your website.

    Pay attention and take action on this big change or you might lose website traffic and business.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Everything You Need To Know About The Viral Protests Against A Hawaii Telescope
    The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Hawaii’s Big Island is slated to be one of the world’s largest, most powerful telescopes. But the $1.4-billion project is now in jeopardy in the aftermath of protests on social media and across Hawaii that brought construction to a halt.

    The site of the proposed project on the summit of Mauna Kea is a sacred location for many Native Hawaiians, and demonstrations have sparked broader discussions about both respect for indigenous cultures and the meaning of scientific progress.

    Here’s everything you need to know to understand the multi-faceted issue:

    Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
    From seafloor to summit, it’s the highest mountain in the world at 32,000 feet. Because of dry, clean air at the summit, which rises 13,796 feet above sea level, and its distance from light pollution, the telescopes on Mauna Kea are able to view the faintest galaxies.

    mauna kea

    Scientists love Mauna Kea.
    The summit is home to the world’s largest astronomical observatory, with 13 working telescopes operated by astronomers from 11 different countries. The combined light-gathering power of the instruments at Mauna Kea Observatories is 60 times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

    mauna kea

    But Native Hawaiians love Mauna Kea, too.
    Many Native Hawaiians believe Mauna Kea is the origination point of the Hawaiian islands, according to Mana magazine. There is a confirmed burial site on Mauna Kea, and Native Hawaiians have also been known to bury their umbilical cords on the mountain as a way of connecting themselves back to the sacred land.

    A photo posted by Irie Love (@thisisirielove) on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:20pm PDT

    Opposition to building on Mauna Kea is nothing new.
    According to Mana, “This may be the most vocal (and viral) protest of them all, but lawsuits, opposing testimonies and ‘sleep-ins’ against the development of telescopes on top of Mauna Kea have been happening consistently for decades.”

    A photo posted by Tanoai Reed (@samoanstuntman) on Apr 10, 2015 at 1:54am PDT

    TMT is especially controversial because of the scope of the project.
    Although the TMT site on Mauna Kea was selected because it is largely hidden and there are no archeological finds or ancient burials in the immediate area, the project is significantly larger than anything already built there. The telescope would be 18 stories tall with structures spanning 1.44 acres.

    The $1.4 billion project has received funding from a number of private and public organizations, including the University of California system, the California Institute of Technology and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy. The United States, Japan, India, Canada and China have all contributed as well.

    thirty meter telescopeAn artist concept illustrating the TMT Observatory (bottom left) at the proposed site on Mauna Kea.

    To some Native Hawaiians, the Thirty Meter Telescope would desecrate a very sacred location.
    Our stance is not against the science,” protester Lanakila Mangauil told the Associated Press earlier this month. “It’s not against the [telescope] itself. It’s against their choice of place.”

    A photo posted by @mauiwowskee on Apr 4, 2015 at 2:38pm PDT

    Some conservationists and environmentalists also oppose the telescope.
    Some argue that the telescope would obstruct the scenic viewplane, while others are concerned that the construction will cause ecological damage, particularly to the Mauna Kea aquifer. In 1998, a judge found that the University of Hawaii was putting scientific research on Mauna Kea ahead of protecting the site’s natural resources. Some activists are hesitant to trust the university now, even though the school says extensive research shows that TMT is no risk to the aquifer.

    The view from the summit of Mauna Kea.

    In terms of scientific research, TMT provides unparalleled opportunities.
    TMT would allow astronomers to see 13 billion light-years away and the “forming galaxies at the very edge of the observable Universe, near the beginning of time,” according to the project’s website.

    keck telescope
    An artist’s rendering of a new planet forming around a star. Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea found the planet, which is 450 light years away from Earth and is being built by dust and gas.

    TMT would also benefit the University of Hawaii and the state of Hawaii.
    While the state owns the land, the University of Hawaii has a 65-year lease for most of the area above an elevation of 12,000 feet. While UH doesn’t benefit financially from the telescopes, its Institute for Astronomy enjoys a global reputation because of the Mauna Kea Observatories. The project is also expected to create 300 construction jobs and up to 140 permanent jobs on the island.

    thirty meter telescope
    An artist concept illustrating the TMT Observatory.

    But even some scientists feel conflicted about the current debate.
    Using the hashtags #DecolonizeSTEM and #DecolonizeAstronomy on Twitter, many scientists weighed in about their conflicted emotions regarding TMT. The project “is predicated on this idea that we have some permission to take over these spaces and use them for scientific research,” Adam Burgasser, an associate professor of astrophysics at the University of California, San Diego, told BuzzFeed. “Even though I benefit greatly from that professionally, I don’t think we can make that assumption that we have rights to this mountain,” he added.

    Astronomer and professor Emily Rice, a resident research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, weighed in from New York City.

    “It’s hard to admit something you’ve benefited from is harmful to others,” she wrote on Twitter. “But once you know, it’s wrong to minimize or ignore it.”

    Protesters first made news when they intervened in October of 2014.
    The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources officially approved the site for TMT in April of 2013, but nonviolent protesters showed up to block the access road at the site’s groundbreaking ceremony in October, 2014.

    protesters halt hawaii telescope
    Protesters on Friday, April 10, 2015.

    Protests then picked up again in March of 2015, when construction was set to begin.
    Demonstrators blocked access again when construction crews showed up to begin work. By the beginning of April, thousands of protesters had gathered across the Hawaiian islands and more than 30 people were arrested at the Mauna Kea summit.

    A photo posted by @hokuuuuuuuu on Apr 3, 2015 at 7:59am PDT

    The conflict had an emotional impact on many in Hawaii, including some of those making the arrests.

    This is hard to swallow… Just before being “arrested” during a PeacefulProtectionAct FreedomOfSpeech CulturalSpiritual…

    Posted by Kauhane Lee on Thursday, April 2, 2015

    Soon after, celebrities like Jason Momoa, Kelly Slater and Ian Somerhalder helped make the protests go viral.
    Using the hashtag #WeAreMaunaKea, several celebrities have helped the demonstration go viral across social media. Many in opposition are writing “We Are Mauna Kea” on their bodies and posting photos on social media, asking friends to sign a Change.org petition. So far, more than 40,000 people have signed the petition to Gov. David Ige (D) to “stop TMT Construction and Arrests of Mauna Kea Protectors.”

    A photo posted by Jason Momoa (@prideofgypsies) on Apr 6, 2015 at 12:26pm PDT

    University of Hawaii Manoa students also organized a protest on campus.
    Hundreds of students gathered to build an ahu, or shrine, out of stones. UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said the university is respecting the demonstration and has no plans to remove the ahu.

    The opposition is nuanced and part of a larger dialogue in Hawaii.
    After statehood, there was unprecedented development in Hawaii, and as a result, many residents don’t trust the state government to protect or preserve the land (in Hawaiian, the ‘aina).

    Moreover, while many protesters object on religious and spiritual grounds, some see the issue as part of a continuing struggle to regain Hawaiian sovereignty.

    A photo posted by Kim Brown (@kymbucktu) on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:05am PDT

    And not all Native Hawaiians see the telescope as sacrilege.
    Some Native Hawaiians are pointing out that their Polynesian ancestors are best known for being celestial navigators — and that a device that allows Hawaii to see the stars better than anyone else is a fitting tribute to their culture.

    “I’m one of the Hawaiians that really believes that this is something that we should really take over,” said astrophysicist and Native Hawaiian Paul Coleman.

    polynesian voyaging
    The Hokulea is a replica of ancient Polynesian sailing canoes; it has no modern instrumentation.

    The project has already been through a seven-year public vetting process.
    The back-and-forth over the TMT project has been extensive. In the end, the process ensured there would be strict conditions imposed for future telescope projects on Mauna Kea and that TMT will be the last new telescope constructed on Mauna Kea, with future telescopes limited to the footprint of existing facilities. Additionally, the TMT project has committed $1 million per year for developing a local workforce through financial aid and research opportunities and another $1 million per year for Hawaiian-specific programs.

    sunset rendering

    Nevertheless, the recent protests reached such a fever pitch that Gov. David Ige called a “timeout” on April 7.
    The governor paused construction for one week “to give us some time to engage in further conversations with the various stakeholders that have an interest in Mauna Kea and its sacredness and its importance in scientific research and discovery going forward,” he told local reporters. On Saturday, April 11, Ige extended the moratorium until Monday, April 20.

    protesters halt hawaii telescope
    Protesters at the TMT construction site on the summit of Mauna Kea on April 10, 2015.

    So what’s next?
    The protesters are hoping the case makes it to the State Supreme Court, but TMT organizers argue that they have full legal authority to continue construction.

    The project is slated to be completed by 2024, at roughly the same time as the 39-meter European Extremely Large Telescope being built in Chile.

    thirty meter telescope
    An artist’s rendering of TMT.

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  • Smartwatches Do Little for Journalists But More Useful Wearables Are on the Way

    Don’t look to this first wave of wearables for much that changes how journalists do their jobs gathering news. Coming next, however, are things such as a wrist-launched personal drone and jersey-mounted sports cameras that could open up whole new editorial approaches.

    Most media managers are salivating over today’s smartwatches mainly for what publishers might be able to put on their tiny screens.

    In reality, the more entrepreneurial opportunity this gear presents comes from its embedded activity-tracking sensors. Even if smartwatches aren’t a hit with consumers, dedicated activity trackers are one segment of the wearable market that has shown viability on its own. And having insight into not just where people are but what they are doing at the moment makes possible situationally reactive content — something different for people who are kicked back and relaxed at home vs. in the middle of their Pilates at the gym or bicycling to work when big news breaks.

    But that’s just on the delivery end of news.

    The Nixie wrist-launched drone could be a journalistic tool.

    In collecting content and actually reporting the news, Apple Watches aren’t much of an advancement for journalists. Like Bluetooth earbuds, they are a remote interface to the mobile phone, where the real capability remains. Smartphones have indeed changed how we do news work — giving us constant communication with the newsroom, on-the-go information access, pocketable HD media capture, and locative assistance, among other things. But activity tracking via a wrist sensor isn’t much use to editorial managers except maybe for checking whether your reporter has fallen asleep at the city council meeting.

    Just wait, though. There are more and better wearables coming, some with journalistic application, as demonstrated in Intel Corp.’s recent Make It Wearable global challenge among creators of such technology.

    Take for instance how sports reporting might be enhanced through point-of-view, live-stream video cameras that are small and rugged enough to sew into players’ shirts for football, rugby and other sports contests. Such a camera, along with a stripe of biometric sensors that wirelessly transmit real-time heart rate and other performance data to sports fans, is the idea behind First V1sion. The Barcelona-based startup was a finalist last November in Intel’s competition.

    Video feed from the FirstV1sion jersey camera including player biometrics.

    “A sports event broadcast consists of several cameras but we’re used to these cameras being impersonal, showing what you see from a distance,” says First V1sion founder Jose Ildefonso in the group’s entrepreneurial pitch. “Being in the athlete’s skin is way more exciting. You’re immersed by the sensations of vertigo, speed and emotion.”

    An enterprising news editor might find an application for such wearable tech beyond just sports. Imagine a reporter in the middle of some energetic public demonstration or even a military battle beaming the whole heart-pounding, personal experience back to the newsroom’s audience as it happens.

    In contrast, the U.S. developers of Nixie cited no particularly journalistic aspirations at all in conceiving of their camera-equipped auto-piloted mini-quadcopter that is worn as a wristband. The Intel challenge grand prize winning project is basically just about getting the ultimate selfie.

    “If you don’t have a personal photographer, if you don’t have a personal videographer following you around most of the time, how do you capture those most special moments?” explains project manager Jelena Jovanoic in the Nixie demonstration video.

    The video shows a rock climber, hanging off a sheer face, tossing Nixie into the air to video her traverse in full HD. The 45-gram, hand-size drone is pre-programmed either to boomerang — that is, shoot a picture and return automatically — or to remain aloft and trail the user while capturing continuous footage. Intel showcased the device live at this past January’s International CES in Las Vegas.

    Editorial uses for Nixie seem obvious, assuming local drone regulations allow. A reporter otherwise occupied in covering a news event could offhandedly (pun intended) add a unique visual perspective to his dispatch by simply flicking his wrist into the air.

    Other wearable tech with possible journalistic utility that is just around the corner include:

    • A contact lens version of Google Glass (no, they didn’t shut down the entire project) that reporters could use to discreetly access information feeds while in the middle of interviews or other coverage.
    • Several different devices either carried in your pocket or woven into the fabric of your clothes that turn body motion into enough power to keep your phones, cameras and other essential devices charged up.
    • One I really hope falls flat in the general marketplace because otherwise I know someone in marketing is going to suggest reporters wear it when out and about — jackets with LED displays woven into them that could broadcast headlines across your back.

    Before buying into in any particular wearable tech, keep in mind that news media are a very niche market in the overall economy. So only products that succeed with general consumers are likely to be available very long for our editorial use, especially at a price the average news organization can afford.

    This article is part of a report on wearable technologies being published by the World Association of Newspapers & News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) on the eve of Digital Media Europe, 20-22 April in London.

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  • Turing's notebook sells for $1m
    A 56-page scientific notebook compiled by World War Two Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing sells for $1m at a New York auction.
  • Hillary Clinton's 404 Error Page Is Perfection
    If the idea of a punning president makes you uncomfortable, then we’ve got some bad news for you. Hillary Clinton stands a pretty good chance of becoming president, and her new website shows she’s not afraid to bring the puns.

    Check out the site’s 404 page, which appears when you try to navigate to a page that doesn’t exist:

    hillary clinton 404 page

    If that doesn’t quack you up, we don’t know what will. Sorry.

    Maybe Clinton, who formally announced her candidacy on Sunday, could give the White House’s lame old 404 page a makeover if she’s elected.

    hillary clinton 404 page

    [h/t ClotureClub]

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  • SpaceX To Retry Tricky Rocket Landing, And You Can Watch The Launch Live Here

    UPDATE: Today’s launch has been scrubbed due to bad weather. The next launch opportunity will be tomorrow at 4:10 p.m. EDT.

    SpaceX is set to launch another cargo-laden unmanned rocket toward the International Space Station today–and to try again to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 booster rocket on a platform floating in the Atlantic off Florida’s east coast.

    The launch is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. You can watch it live here beginning at 4:15 p.m.

    (Story continues below infographic–click to enlarge.)

    This will be the company’s third try at landing a rocket on the platform, the Associated Press reported, its first step toward creating a reusable rocket that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk believes could reduce the cost of spaceflight by a factor of 100. The first try, last January, ended in flames when the rocket crash-landed and disintegrated–a turn of events Musk called a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” An attempt last February was scrubbed because of rough seas.

    “I would up my probability to 75 percent at this point in time, maybe 80,” Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president of mission assurance, said on Sunday during a press conference regarding the mission’s likelihood of success, according to Space.com.

    The unmanned Dragon capsule atop the rocket contains more than 4,300 pounds of food, equipment, and experiments to be delivered to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, USA Today reported. The payload also includes an espresso machine designed for use in space, according to AP.

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  • Nearly 5 Years After BP Spill, White House Proposes New Rules For Offshore Drilling

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A week shy of the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama administration proposed new regulations Monday aimed at strengthening oversight of offshore oil drilling equipment and ensuring that out-of-control wells can be sealed in an emergency.

    The explosion of the Deepwater rig on April 20, 2010, killed 11 people and dumped as many as 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

    Federal safety investigators blamed a faulty blowout preventer for the spill and called for stronger regulations of the equipment that prevents oil and gas from rushing to the surface and triggering a spill.

    The proposed rule would require that blowout preventers in wells have two shear rams, which cut through the drill pipe and allow the well to be sealed in an emergency. In the Deepwater Horizon spill, a single shear ram failed to operate properly.

    The redundancy is already an industry standard. The rule also requires an annual review of maintenance and repair records by government-approved inspectors.

    Many offshore drillers already have the capability to monitor from afar their drilling operations. The regulation would require that government workers have access to those facilities when necessary.

    Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell said the rule was needed to allow regulation to keep up with quickly evolving technology.

    “Those things take time and we want to make sure that when we come out with a regulation like this it’s been done very thoughtfully in consultation with a lot of different parties,” Jewell said during a conference call.

    Industry officials said they would be reviewing the proposed regulation, which is estimated to cost about $880 million over 10 years, but emphasized that companies have already taken steps to prevent future spills.

    “Our industry is committed to meeting the nation’s energy needs while maintaining safe and environmentally responsible operations,” said Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute.

    The rule didn’t go as far as some had anticipated.

    The department said it would request comments on whether to require additional sheering capability that would ensure the equipment could cut through anything, such as debris around the pipe.

    “We went back and forth on that,” said Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. “We decided to put that out there as a question and to specifically seek comment on whether that is a realistic requirement and whether it’s achievable.”

    There was little immediate pushback to the 264-page proposal from individual oil and gas companies, or from Republican lawmakers who have regularly criticized the administration of regulatory overreach.

    “Before the critics start their predictable calls of ‘burdensome’ and ‘unnecessary,’ they should think about the ongoing costs of the spill,” Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva said in a press release. Grijalva is the ranking Democratic member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

    The public has 60 days to comment on the proposal before it is finalized. Other steps that have been taken over the years to improve safety include increasing the number of inspectors in the Gulf from 55 in April 2010 to 92 currently and requiring that government inspectors observe testing of blowout preventers before drilling can commence.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • More Charities Are Accepting Bitcoins To Tap Into A Younger Pool Of Donors
    Save the Children is thinking ahead when it comes to the ages of its donors — that’s why it decided to go digital.

    “We want to remain contemporary and relevant to current and future generations,” Ettore Rossetti, director of social media and digital marketing at the organization, told The Wall Street Journal. “We don’t only want to be your grandmother’s charity, we want to be your grandchild’s charity. One way to do that is to accept Bitcoin.”

    The international aid organization is one of a handful of nonprofits that now accept Bitcoin — a form of global, decentralized, digital currency that exists online and can be exchanged for U.S. dollars and euros, among other currencies.

    As Rossetti noted and Forbes reported last December, more and more charitable groups are accepting donations in the currency, including the American Red Cross, the Wikimedia Foundation, Greenpeace and United Way Worldwide — the largest charity in the U.S. in terms of public donations, according to Forbes.

    Elizabeth Ploshay, an account manager at BitPay — a company that converts Bitcoin donations to dollars for nonprofits — told the Wall Street Journal that Bitcoin is gaining interest among “charities that are older and want to rebrand themselves or tap into a younger pool of donors.”

    A survey conducted last year by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found the average age of a Bitcoin user is 33 years old.

    Ploshay also noted the digital currency can benefit organizations that accept small donations from individuals, as Bitcoin doesn’t charge transaction fees.

    Last year, donating to nonprofits using Bitcoins became more enticing for donors, too: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled virtual currencies should be treated and taxed as property, which allows donations to be deducted from a donor’s income tax.

    Although Bitcoins may be becoming increasingly popular among nonprofits, accepting them won’t make an enormous difference in their fundraising — yet — according to Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority.

    “Right now, accepting or not accepting Bitcoin donations is not likely to be a make-or-break decision for you,” he wrote on the website. “That being said, if your donors tend to skew younger or are generally tech-savvy, or ‘early adopters,’ accepting Bitcoin for donations could appeal to your donor base and lead to more and larger donations.”

    To take action on pressing education issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

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    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • 19 Funny Twitter Reactions To Hillary Clinton's Presidential Announcement
    Something tells us this election is going to be Hill-arious.

    Twitter didn’t waste any time reacting to Hillary Clinton’s announcement that she is running for President (shocker, we know), and in many ways, this feels like the beginning of comedy’s election season. We eased into it with Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, but now that both sides of the aisle have candidates, it’s officially on.

    To mark the start of a year-and-a-half of political jokes flooding our feeds, here are some of the funniest Twitter reactions to Clinton’s announcement video, official logo and the notion that we didn’t already know she was going to run:

    Madonna is Coachelling, Hillary is running. Oh, the 90s, how I missed you.

    — Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) April 13, 2015

    It’s going to be lit in 2016… pic.twitter.com/vxPeg06sqt

    — The Gawd™ (@Chf_BoyarB) April 12, 2015

    .@HillaryClinton announced she is running for president. Man, I did not see that coming.

    — Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) April 12, 2015

    #Hillary2016 pic.twitter.com/Tl29o6BLBg

    — Lizzie McGuire (@ImLizzieM) April 12, 2015

    “Ha what if Hillary made Julia Louis-Dreyfus her veep” is the absolutely dumbest but also MOST EXHILARATING thought I’ve ever thunk

    — Samantha Pitchel (@ssamanthaa) April 13, 2015

    Running free. #Election2016http://t.co/qDquXA33Hn pic.twitter.com/Qh71UsDn1I

    — someecards (@someecards) April 13, 2015

    Excited to hear Rand Paul’s reaction to Hillary as soon as he gets out of the 3:30 showing of Paddington.

    — aaron blitzstein (@BlitznBeans) April 12, 2015

    Get ready for Hillary Clinton to pretend to believe the hell out of Me.

    — God (@TheTweetOfGod) April 12, 2015

    Missed opportunity imho pic.twitter.com/UHIBLVavtc

    — Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) April 12, 2015

    One big difference between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. One of them doesn’t mind if you use her last name.

    — LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) April 13, 2015

    Finally figured out what the Hillary logo reminds me of pic.twitter.com/rFF47dUlWR

    — Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) April 12, 2015

    Hillary For President in 2000-and-Late

    — Matt Goldich (@MattGoldich) April 12, 2015

    So glad to see we finally have a presidential candidate brave enough to support ladies who grow their own tomatoes! #Hillary2016

    — Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) April 12, 2015

    I just got an email saying #Hillary Clinton is running for president. Now the email is gone and I can’t find it. #Benghazi

    — Jeff Lindsey (@jefflindsey55) April 12, 2015

    Please let Hillary’s campaign song just be Nicki Minaj’s verse in Monster. #Hillary2016

    — Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) April 12, 2015

    Everyone, Hillary wants us to swipe right!!!! #Hillary2016 pic.twitter.com/Pi81TuDGYr

    — Keola (@MrKeola) April 12, 2015

    Not going to lie, was worried Hillary was going to announce she was leaving One Direction. #Hillary2016

    — Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) April 12, 2015

    Cool #Hillary merch pic.twitter.com/EkqIhidvsH

    — Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) April 12, 2015

    anyway, I’m counting down the seconds until someone Photoshops Hillary’s logo to look like an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt

    — a time to shrill (@theshrillest) April 12, 2015

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Sorry, Cynics: Apple Watch Might Be Company's Biggest Launch Ever
    People really, really want the Apple Watch.

    Nearly 1 million U.S. consumers preordered the tech giant’s first smartwatch when it went on sale last Friday. The estimate comes from Slice Intelligence, a firm that uses e-receipts to measure digital commerce. Apple’s latest offering was preordered by 957,000 people, who spent an average of $503.83 on the device, putting the watch on track to be the company’s biggest new product release ever.

    When the original iPhone launched in 2007, it took 74 days to reach 1 million sales. In 2010, the original iPad took 28 days. (Both products were initially only made available in the United States, which is not the case with the Apple Watch.)

    Neil Cybart, a finance expert who tracks Apple on the Above Avalon blog, minced no words about the significance of the watch’s release.

    “It’s pretty clear that with the Apple Watch, Apple will have its largest product launch,” Cybart said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

    That said, while the demand for the device is clearly there, it’s unclear whether Apple will actually be able to ship enough watches to outpace sales of the original iPad and iPhone. When Apple released numbers for those devices, it counted units that were shipped, not just reserved via preorder. Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, warned that demand for the Apple Watch may outstrip supply, and customers who placed orders on Friday were already being informed that their orders may not ship until this summer — months after the product’s official April 24 release.

    Cybart also noted the importance of global sales of the Apple Watch.

    “The big thing here is the country rollout,” he said, pointing out that the watch was available for preorder in eight countries beyond the United States. “It says a lot for how many units Apple can actually sell.”

    Apple announced in March that in addition to the U.S., the watch would be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom. The ability to go global is huge for the company: When the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went on sale last September, their global preorder numbers rocketed past 4 million in the first 24 hours.

    Cybart said he expected that the overall weekend preorders for the Apple Watch could potentially reach 3 million units globally. While that would put it below the iPhone 6’s first-day preorder numbers, he said it would make the Apple Watch the most successful “new product category” launch.

    Of course, high sales aren’t necessarily surprising. The Apple Watch connects directly to an iPhone, which enjoyed record sales last year. And Apple’s reach across the globe is greater than it’s ever been: The company signed a deal with a massive Chinese network just before the launch of the iPhone 6.

    Critics have had a mixed response to the Apple Watch. Many call it unnecessary. But consumers, it seems, are ready to spend some cash on a little luxury.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Florida Teen Charged With Computer Hacking After Changing Teacher's Computer Background To Gay Kiss Image
    A 14-year-old Florida student has been charged with a cybercrime after allegedly hacking onto his school’s computer network to change the background image on a teacher’s computer to a photograph of two men kissing.

    Eighth grader Domanik Green, who attends Paul R. Smith Middle School in Holiday, was suspended from school for 10 days and also charged with an offense against a computer system and unauthorized access, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

    A number of media reports are pointing to the fact that one of the computers that Green accessed had encrypted questions for the 2014 version of a standardized test that Florida administers to students in all its public schools stored on it, but authorities say that the teen did not view or tamper with those files. Meanwhile, Green has argued that his actions were merely a prank.

    “I wasn’t really thinking, I was just kind of really annoyed at the teacher that day,” he told ABC Action News. “I took a picture off of Google and put it on his laptop and blew it up. That way, when he got on the laptop, there’d be a picture of something gross.”

    Green’s mother, Eileen Foster, acknowledged that her son did something wrong but felt that the arrest was unnecessary, and said she didn’t think it should be so easy for students to access the school’s computer system.

    The fact that Green didn’t access the test files or change grades, Foster noted, “proves he doesn’t deserve a felony charge” for the offense, according to WTSP-TV.

    Still, authorities stood their ground.

    “Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco is quoted as saying.

    H/T The Gaily Grind

    Correction: An earlier version of this story misquoted the amount of time the student was suspended. This has been corrected.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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