EVERY DAY, TheJournal.ie brings you nine things you need to know with your morning cup of coffee.1. #DISPOSABLE INCOME: A total of 1.8 million people have €100 or less left to spend after they have paid all their essential bills, according to the ‘What’s Left’ tracker survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions.2. #KENYA: The authorities say they are in control of the Kenyan shopping centre that has been under siege since the weekend. Gunfire has been heard from the scene this morning.3. #NAIROBI: A woman born in County Down may have taken part in the Kenya terrorist attack. The Kenyan foreign minister said she was believed to be among the attackers.4. #COURT: A man is due in court today charged in connection with the fatal stabbing of James Humphries in Tallaght on Sunday.5. #LIFEBOATS: Due to the warm weather over the summer, the RNLI lifeboats saw a 43 per cent rise in call outs on last year.6. #MICHAELLA: The Irish woman arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine out of Peru has said she will plead guilty when she appears in court today. [RTE]7. #FARMERS: Eight out of ten farmers say they should have the right to own a gun to protect themselves and their property, according to The Irish Examiner’s ICSA survey.8. #RUSSIA: One of the members of the Pussy Riot group has gone on hunger strike to protest at death threats and what she described as conditions of slave labour at her Russian prison camp.9. #PLOUGHING: More than 200,000 people are set to descend on Stradbally in County Laois today as the Ploughing Championships kick off.Over on DailyEdge.ie: Why you should never, ever leave your children with Lady Gaga, and Kanye West’s crazy interview. The Dredge>
NINE YEARS AFTER the Supreme Court in the US said colleges and universities can use race in their quest for diverse student bodies, the justices have put this divisive social issue back on their agenda in the middle of a presidential election campaign.Nine years is a blink of the eye on a court where justices can look back two centuries for legal precedents. But with an ascendant conservative majority, the high court in arguments yesterday weighed whether to limit or even rule out taking race into account in college admissions.The justices will be looking at the University of Texas program that is used to help fill the last quarter or so of its incoming freshman classes. Race is one of many factors considered by admissions officers. The rest of the roughly 7,100 freshman spots automatically go to Texans who graduated in the top eight per cent of their high school classes.A white Texan, Abigail Fisher, sued the university after she was denied a spot in 2008.The simplest explanation for why affirmative action is back on the court’s calendar so soon after its 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger is that the author of that opinion, Sandra Day O’Connor, has retired. Her successor, Justice Samuel Alito, has been highly skeptical of any use of racial preference.Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in the 2003 decision, probably holds the deciding vote, and he, too, has never voted in favor of racial preference.As a result, said Supreme Court lawyer Thomas Goldstein, “No matter what the court does, it is quite likely that the UT program is going to be in big trouble.”The challenge to the Texas plan has gained traction in part because the university has produced significant diversity by automatically offering about three-quarters of its spots to graduates in the top 10 per cent of their Texas high schools, under a 1990s state law signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush. The admissions program has been changed so that now only the top eight per cent gain automatic admission.More than eight in 10 African-American and Latino students who enrolled at the flagship campus in Austin last year were automatically admitted, according to university statistics. Even among the rest, both sides acknowledge that the use of race is modest.In all, black and Hispanic students made up more than a quarter of the incoming freshmen class. White students constituted less than half the entering class when students with Asian backgrounds and other minorites were added in.Defence“For decades, the defense of racial preferences was, ‘We’d love to find a way to get diversity without using race, but it’s just not possible. There’s just no other way.’ And Texas found another way,” said Richard Kahlenburg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and prominent advocate of class-based affirmative action.The university says the extra measure of diversity it gets from the slots outside automatic admission is crucial because too many of its classrooms have only token minority representation, at best. At the same time, Texas argues that race is one of many factors considered and that it “is impossible to tell whether an applicant’s race was a tipping factor.”The Obama administration, 57 of the Fortune 100 companies and large numbers of public and private colleges that could be affected by the outcome are backing the Texas program. Among the benefits of affirmative action, the administration argues, is that it creates a pipeline for a diverse officer corps that it called “essential to the military’s operational readiness.” In 2003, the court cited the importance of a similar message from military leaders.But lawyers for Fisher, of Sugar Land, Texas, said the race-blind method under which the university automatically admits most of its students has been successful. They say Fisher, who has since graduated from Louisiana State University, was excluded because of her race, and they point to a handful of African-American and Latino students who were admitted with lower scores than hers.“If any state action should respect racial equality, it is university admission,” Fisher’s lawyers said in their written submission to the court.The university says that a fuller picture of the process shows that white students with lower scores also were admitted, while many more minority students with higher scores than Fisher also were not offered admission.The case also raises several contentious side issues, including whether affirmative-action programs hurt the very people they are supposed to be helping. A new book by law professor Richard Sander and journalist Stuart Taylor argues that “large preferences often place students in environments where they can neither learn nor compete effectively, even though these same students would thrive had they gone to less competitive but still quite good schools.”Their book, “Mismatch,” says these students are set up to fail, getting lower grades and dropping out more often than white students with similar backgrounds.Taylor and Sander, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, point to statistics in California to support their argument. After voters changed the state constitution to outlaw racial preferences, UCLA saw significant declines in enrollment by black and Hispanic students.But the number of African-American and Latino graduates was unchanged for the five classes after the ban when compared to the five years before the change in state law, they said.The dozens of legal briefs in the Texas case also highlight a debate over whether racial preference programs actually limit the number of students from Asian backgrounds, who are disproportionately represented in student bodies relative to their share of the population.The university says Asian-American enrollment has increased under the policy that is being challenged. The numbers would be even higher if Texas stopped factoring in race, Fisher and others say.
POLICE IN NEW Jersey are searching for a man who opened fire in a busy shopping centre last night.Authorities believe the shooter is still in the 2.2-million-square-foot mall. SWAT teams have concentrated the search operation in the northeast corner, near a Nordstrom store.Hundreds of law enforcement officers converged on the mall after witnesses said multiple shots were fired there at about 9.30pm (local time).“We are searching for a shooter,” the mayor of the town of Paramus, Richard Labarbiera, told reporters outside the Garden State Plaza Mall.“Everyone is safe. No one has been injured,” he continued.Julio Cortez/AP/Press Association ImagesThe mall is about 12 miles from Manhattan and is home to about 300 stores. Thousands of people were evacuated following the reports of gunfire. LAX gunman charged, carried note saying he planned to kill ‘multiple’ agentsBoy, 13, carrying replica gun shot dead by police in CaliforniaMore details of ‘horrific’ Washington Navy Yard shooting emerge
Source: Full Fork Ahead6. Overnight French toastGot friends coming over for brunch? You can make this overnight French toast the night before, and it all comes together in about 10 minutes flat. Handy. Source: Picasa 3.07. CilbirTurkish-style eggs poached with yoghurt, sprinkled with smoked paprika. Unusual, but tasty. Imagine how cultured you’ll look. Eggs and yoghurt like it ain’t no thang. Source: Home Cooking Montana8. Golden chocolate eggPerfect to make and eat with kids for a special occasion or in the run-up to Easter. You blow the eggs out of the shell using a needle and a straw, clean the shells, then pour in chocolate to set. Of course, you can paint them any colour you want – but the gold is deadly, isn’t it? Source: The KitchnRead: Fed up with the full Irish? Check out these amazing uses for black pudding>Read: Wrecked? Hungover? Here’s how to hack your breakfast> LAST WEEK, WE were all about black pudding.But this week, it’s the turn of the unassuming but brilliantly versatile EGG. The star of the fried breakfast show. The unsung hero of the morning hours. Fried, scrambled, boiled, poached – we all know the old reliables.But why not think outside the box? Or, um, shell?1. Baked egg in avocado (with bacon)Eat this straight from the skin, or else dig it out and spread it on toast. Warm avocado divides people, but you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Source: whiteonricecouple.com2. Chinese tea eggsMarbled tea eggs are a traditional Asian food, usually a snack. You make a tea egg by pre-boiling it, cracking up the shell and boiling it again in tea, sauce or spices. Five-spice powder is commonly used, giving the eggs a salty, savoury taste.Do you like tea enough to dare trying a tea egg? Source: bezajel3. Huevos rancherosHas the burrito popularity surge in recent years piqued your interest in Mexican food? Then huevos rancheros are for you. This dish is popular on rural Mexican farms as a mid-morning meal. You’ve got your eggs in there, some tortillas, salsa, rice, and it’s even been known to come with some refried beans, sour cream, jalapenos or guacamole. Source: jeffreyw4. Arancini eggsArancini are little ball of risotto rice fried. This recipe substitutes sausage meat for an egg instead, making it almost more of a twist on a Scotch egg. Source: Crave DFW5. Egg, cheese and bacon tartNot quite a quiche, not quite a souffléd egg. But definitely the best of both worlds. Recipe here. Incredibly handy, because each little tart serves one person.Or all of them all for you, depending on how you’re feeling.
SUNDAY MORNING STARTED with Dan Tuohy expecting to win his eighth cap for Ireland, matching up his four starts in New Zealand and north America with a fourth appearance as a replacement.Instead, an untimely chest infection for Paul O’Connell allowed the Ulster lock tip the scales a little further towards full caps.8:30 am: Tuohy is awake and ready to get some carbohydrates in his system when the forwards coach calls him aside. No, it’s not more homework:“I had my porridge in my hand and John Plumtree asked me to have a quick chat. I thought he was just going to go over my role for the bench and make sure I was clued up on everything. Then he said I’m in.”The head coach would later slap him on the back with the words ‘I hope you’re ready.’He was, but hope had little to do with it.“These things happen,” Tuohy says of O’Connell’s ill fortune, “I was prepared all week for coming on early if I had to. I felt I did that all week and that gave me confidence starting today.“I got a lot of reps during training this week, played last week for the Wolfhounds, so I was very comfortable with Joe’s system. “That’s something we’re looking to build. You see us on a regular basis togging out for our provinces and playing extremely well. People were wondering, ‘how come they couldn’t do it for Ireland?’“That’s something we were mindful of – to be a consistent team is tough, but the moretime you spend together, the more game time you spend with each other…. it bodes well for us.”Tuohy may well be put back among the replacements for Wales’ visit to Dublin next week, but now we know he’s ready for anything.Sexton: ‘We started like this last year but fell apart the week after’Schmidt: Wales have a ‘massive advantage’ with seven-day turnaround “Although it seems quite tough to think somebody finds out [they’re playing] just a couple of hours before kick-off, I was confident in the amount of time I spent on the pitch and the amount of time I spent in front of a laptop cluing up on my role.” Facing Scotland always ensures a tough task for a second row, and the visiting pack in Dublin yesterday duly dished up a muscular first half to frustrate Ireland. Tuohy cites lower, more accurate tackles and a higher intensity as the factors which gave them the upper hand in the second half.Despite the early frustration, Ireland still managed to carve out an 11 – 3 lead at the break thanks in large part to the solidity of the set-piece. Without O’Connell, the responsibility of calling the line-out switched to Devin Toner and Tuohy was notable by his absence in the air while Toner and O’Mahony carried out the plays which didn’t need tweaking.When Tuohy did rise, he managed to crucially steal the line-out which followed Jamie Heaslip’s close call with the TMO in the first half and that led to the Andrew Trimble try. The Ulster lock was put up on Ireland’s own throw in the second half and came down to set up a maul that skated over the try-line for number two.It was Ireland’s commitment to running the ball and building phases which sucked the life out of Scotland, and there was Tuphy in the thick of try number three as well.“He was just saying, lads keep hold of the ball,” Tuohy says of Schmidt’s half time message.”Secure the rucks in wide channels, I think that was closely contested by both teams.“They’re a really good defensive side, they scramble back at the death and deny you that try. It’s just a case of finishing those opportunities and I think we did that in second half.”WithinNext week will provide a much greater test. Wales, like Ireland, were able to play a little bit within themselves this week and still take a victory into one of the most anticipated games of the championship. Tuohy echoes the mood of many in the camp that this Ireland side badly needs to win back to back in order to be taken seriously.“There are bigger steps to come. It was always frustrating from a players’ point of view that the provincial sides have done so well, but we struggle to get that consistency into the green jersey.
THINGS WE SHARED:Liberace may be a byword for camp but fashion has played a more meaningful role in his legacy than mere decoration: it helped to soften the public aversion to homosexuality and allowed a gay musician something that was largely forbidden in his time – acceptance.Internships and the new economy seem to go hand-in-hand but, Suzanne Moore writes in the Guardian, the big loser in this scenario is society.What, this? Oh it’s just a tightrope-walking gibbon. No biggie.Uploaded by Saasa SA A child is carried by an adult in Khanaung Chaung Wa village, southeast of Yangon, Burma. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)HERE ARE THE things we learned, loved and shared today as we round off the day in three easy steps.THINGS WE LEARNED: #SEANAD: The full text of the government’s Bill to abolish the Seanad has been published, outlining the exact changes that would be made to the Constitution if the second House of the Oireachtas was to be scrapped. Debates on whether or not to keep the upper house began today, and you can read our breakdown of what exactly would change if the Seanad was scrapped.#SOCIAL WELFARE: As Live Register figures indicated a small drop today, a new report from the Department of Social Protection revealed that some 2.3 million people, or half the population of Ireland, received a weekly social welfare payment last year. Nearly 1.5 million people received payments each week but when qualified adults and children were included, the numbers benefiting from the payments almost doubled.#SURROGATE: The State is to lodge a Supreme Court appeal against a landmark ruling which allowed a biological mother to have her name included on her child’s birth certificate, even though the child was carried and delivered by a surrogate mother. The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that the Registrar General, against whom the original case was taken, will appeal the ruling in order to “to clarify a number of points of law of exceptional public importance”.#RIP: A 41-year-old Polish man who sustained head injuries after he was assaulted with a weapon last Friday in Galway has died. It is understood a row broke out between a group of men on the Cullairbaun estate in Athenry on 31 May. A post-mortem exam is due to be carried out after which gardaí will decide whether the case should be classed as a murder investigation.#CHARGED: Coronation Street actor William Roche, who has played the character Ken Barlow for the past number of decade, has been charged with a further five charges of indecent assault, alleged to have occurred between 1965 and 1968. Last month Roache was arrested and charged with two offences of rape, allegedly involving a girl who would have been 15 years old at the time.Niamh Fallon, six, from Malahide dressed in Victorian clothing as Heuston Station unveils the oldest narrow gauge steam locomotive in the world, The Princess, which has recently been on display at London’s Paddington station and is coming to Ireland as part of The Gathering. (Niall Carson/PA Wire)THINGS WE LOVED: Dublin City Council has announced a new series of operatic performances for the month of June in Merrion Square Park; ‘Opera in the Park’ will showcase four lunchtime concerts, with performances taking place at 1 pm each Friday, starting on the 7 June with La Bohéme.PhD student Joshua Katz has mapped out some dialectal differences across the United States, and Buzzfeed have picked out the best… we just have one question, y’all: what the hell are “tennis shoes”?Some people are just gifted at turning lemons into lemonade. Take ‘Dave’ from Birmingham who, after being left with an £84 parking ticket that he couldn’t afford, decided to auction the offending item on eBay, saying: “There must be one person who has done well in life and can relate to this very small horror story who would like to buy it from me and smile for several days knowing they did a great thing.” As it turns out, more than one person was willing to help…
A CIVIL RIGHTS watchdog has said the proposals to give the government the power to shut down mobile phone networks, if it fears the possibility of a terrorist attack, is a reasonable and “proportionate” power for the government to hold.The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) says the proposal – which is being included in anti-terrorism laws passed by the Dáil today, and being sent to the Seanad – is a reasonable one.This evening the council said the circumstances under which phone networks could be shut down were particularly stringent.“The proposed cessation of mobile services is subject to strict time limits; can only be authorised at the highest levels; and must be demonstrated to be of direct material necessity,” said ICCL policy manager Deirdre Duffy.Duffy said any measure such as the power to shut down a mobile phone network needed to be subject to strict controls in order to be complaint with international human rights and civil liberties standards, and the legislation “largely” fulfilled this requirement.It has been suggested that the proposal to allow mobile phone networks to be shut down has been deliberately brought forward so that the laws will be in place before the G8 summit taking place in Fermanagh next month.The aim of the legislation is to ensure that a bomb cannot be remotely activated over the mobile phone network.Duffy said the legislation was not yet perfect, however, and said the current wording did not guarantee that access to the emergency services would still be available – that is, that a mobile user could still dial 112 to call the emergency services if a network was shut down.She added that the legislation did not discuss the geographical area that could be targeted by a shut-down – “something that in the interest of proportionality should be provided for explicitly in the text”, she said.The ICCL has also called for the powers to be made subject to some kind of parliamentary review, or for a sunset clause to be inserted into the Bill so that TDs would get another chance to evaluate whether the system was working as intended.Read: Britain to use chairmanship of G8 to focus on terror threat
FROM FEELING BAD for Westlife’s Shane Filan to comparing it with a death in the family, the reaction to the cancellation of Garth Brooks’ five Dublin concerts has arguably been somewhat hyperbolic.We’ve been taking a look back at some of the boldest statements that have been made over the past 17 hours, since Aiken Promotions confirmed that tomorrow will, indeed, never come.Fianna Fáil were out of the blocks first, calling it a “bad day for Ireland Inc”, and ready to place blame on a variety of people. Remember when Garth Brooks was happy to play on top of a minibus in Bray? Source: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association ImagesLabour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin went back to teacher mode:The ultimate cancellation of all five concerts has highlighted a number of problems surrounding the use of Croke Park as a venue for outdoor concerts. I believe that huge lessons need to be learned from all sides.Junior Minister Joe Costello is laying the blame solely on the artist:It is difficult to understand why Mr. Brooks made the decision to have no concerts at all, when he was refused only two of the five consecutive concerts sought on the grounds that more than three would be “unacceptable” and “unprecedented.” His determination to have “five or none” smacks of petulance and arrogance, with scant regard for his paying fans.Mediator Kieran Mulvey told the Irish Independent that the debacle will be world news:It will be used against us by competing tourist and concert authorities in the future. It will be spun against us. We’ve got an infinite capacity to score own goals. Open thread: What do YOU think about the Garth Brooks concerts being cancelled? Promoter Peter Aiken is inconsolable, telling Morning Ireland today that it was embarrassing for him. Last night, he said:It’s the right decision. We are devastated; it was going to be the biggest musical event, there will never be another artist in my lifetime that’s going to do 400,000 tickets… All FIVE Garth Brooks concerts have been cancelled There’s a LOT of leftover Garth Brooks merchandise still for sale What do you do now if you have a Garth Brooks ticket? GAA and Croke Park had no indication that Garth Brooks concert licence would be refused He is devastated, he’s down for millions in this deal, if it was any other artist maybe they’d say let’s play the three and recoup some money. He was in it for millions.Senator Averil Power is now worried about our Rugby World Cup.With 70,000 overseas ticketholders left disappointed by the cancellations, our reputation as a tourist destination and location for major international events has also been massively damaged. This couldn’t have come at a worse time ahead of Ireland’s bid for the Rugby World Cup. No one should be in any doubt about the damage that has been done here. Ireland is a country that has worked very hard over many years to promote itself as a tourism venue, and until recently we used to understand very well the marketing power of music events packaged under the ‘Live in Dublin’ brand. With this debacle we have shot ourselves in the foot in a pretty spectacular way. This is a bad day for Ireland Inc. Timeline: Garth Brooks at Croke Park – from sold-out to cancelled Taoiseach: Garth Brooks cancellation a shock to the economy and our reputation It did not have to come to this.The Taoiseach was compelled to talk about it in the Dáil, claiming the concerts could have been worth a quarter of a billion euro. That remark, although nobody is quite sure where the figure came from, is now being quoted by international media. Source: Hugh O’Connell/YouTubeDublin Mayor Christy Burke took it to an extreme on the Six One news last night.This, to me, is like a funeral without a corpse. There’s a sadness throughout the nation. All these mammies have lost their birthday presents thanks to Garth Brooks I feel so sorry for the fans who booked hotels, booked flights. I feel so sorry for the young men and women expecting catering and other jobs. Boyzone manager, X Factor judge and general pop music aficionado Louis Walsh asked 2FM’s Colm Hayes if it was an April Fool’s joke:It’s not funny because there are 400,000 disappointed… Everyone is going to suffer because of somebody, somewhere, with red tape.He also was very much on the side of Peter Aiken and Garth Brooks.I think it is really, really bad for Ireland. We’re supposed to be a friendly nation… I think it is very unfair that a handful of people can hold a country to ransom.Walsh also referenced Bob Geldof, adding he may have been right about the Banana Republic. Finally, let’s spare a thought for Westlife.Shane Filan was meant to be supporting. He’s so disappointed. He’s the most disappointed of anybody I know.Read more of our Garth Brooks coverage: 11 of the best Twitter reactions to Garth Brooks pulling the plug
Last week, we introduced you to a robot that could grab anything utilizing a balloon filled with some coffee grounds. It is a simple–almost genius–innovation in robotic design. And now, you can build your own coffee balloon robot and have hours of fun lifting thimbles, dreidels, paperclips, and other small objects from one location to another.Mr. Wizard would be proud.Of course, the original universal gripper was connected to a complex automated robot arm that could maneuver some precarious choreography. The video demonstration of the homemade incarnation (available after the jump) is a poor man’s coffee balloon robot, for sure. But still, this is a lung-powered proof-of-concept that this design can be recreated anywhere which could spawn a whole industry of homemade robots and other gadgets.via hackedgadgets, Carlos Asmat
In the human world, a home full of plastic bags is generally considered a put off. In fact, A&E has largely built its primetime lineup around such people. Black kites, on the other hand, covet the stuff.In fact, according to a new study, the big Eurasian raptors use plastic and other manmade materials as status symbols of sorts. The birds prefer white plastic, used as a warning against other birds that might attempt to take over their next. According to the geek-cetera journal, the birds who most used plastic were also the best fighters and produced the most offspring.Before plastic came along, the birds used paper and cloth. Before that, it was most likely brightly colored feathers from other birds.
Earlier today we reported a story from Digitimes, which stated that Motorola was winding down production on the Xoom. According to the numbers, the total units shipped is set to drop dramatically after this month, from around 500,000 units, down to 300,000 a month, eventually tapering off altogether by the end of June.The numbers led to speculation around the blogosphere that Motorola might already be readying the Xoom 2, a follow up to the Honeycomb tablet.Motorola contacted Gearlog to deny the rumors, stating, “The Digitimes article is not accurate. Motorola Mobility will continue to sell and produce the Motorola XOOM beyond the second quarter.”Apparently it’s not all Xoom and doom after all. AdChoices广告
Read more at Electrolux, via Yanko Design The concept of using a box to cool food is one that’s been in existence since the mid 1700s and one that’s not going to change any time soon. One thing that may change by the year 2050, however, is the way that food is cooled.Electrolux Design Lab holds a yearly competition to create home appliances, and each year there’s a particular theme. The theme for 2010 was “The 2nd Space Age,” where students were tasked to redesign household appliances for the year 2050 that will not only take up less space but also use less energy, both of which will be at a premium in the future. All products have to stick with “Scandinavian Design values,” which Electrolux says includes environmental sensitivity, intuitive use, and pleasing to the eyes. Think IKEA.AdChoices广告Russian student Yuriy Dmitriev came up with the Bio Robot Refrigerator which uses a “biopolymer gel through luminescence” to keep its food cold. This device doesn’t look like a normal fridge with a door and separate compartments. The Bio Fridge would be made of a lime-green-colored odorless non-sticky gel that literally morphs around each item placed into the fridge. It looks like something out of a 90s Nickelodeon commercial or something you’d expect to see in a sci-fi flick. When you’re ready to get your food, you simply reach through the gel and grab the product.It’s just one large piece of gel surrounded by a frame, so there are no drawers or doors. It can be hung vertically, horizontally, or even on the ceiling, which seems a little strange, but if we’re really going to be so hard up for space in 40 years, it may be necessary. The Bio Fridge is four times smaller than a normal-sized fridge. It also doesn’t have any moving parts, which means you’ll no longer hear that annoying hum of your old fridge when you’re trying to sleep at night.In the second video below, Electrolux design director Lars Erikson says that the fridge “encapsulates the objects” and the gives it the right temperature to keep each object cold. Erikson says that we’ll probably need to have products that are more decorative since we won’t have the space to hide them away in the future. Skip to the 1:03 mark in the first video to hear about the Bio Fridge.Though this is still a concept, it will be interesting to see how the Bio Fridge shapes up in the future. At least you’ll be able to see everything in your fridge in plain view so you won’t wonder what that nasty smell is for days and finally go searching through your fridge and find that old block of cheese rotting in the back.The deadline for the 2011 competition was Sunday, May 1, so we should be seeing some new designs soon. The theme for the 2011 competition was “Intelligent Mobility,” so let your imaginations run wild with that one.
Facebook made a lot of announcements last week during the f8 conference, one of which was new partnerships with media and entertainment services. Spotify was on the list, allowing you to link your Facebook and Spotify accounts making it easy to share what music you listened to with your friends.It’s a nice opt-in feature, right? Well, no. It turns out the feature, or at least the account link up, isn’t optional at all. Anyone trying to sign up for a new account with Spotify is now asked to supply a Facebook login. If you don’t, you can’t create an account.Such a decision obviously sparked some chatter on the Spotify forums with someone asking how you sign up without a Facebook account. The response from Spotify is very clear: you can’t. From now on all new accounts require Facebook. If you don’t have a Facebook account you need to create one or do without both services.The comments following that response from a Spotify employee have all been negative with users stating it is a ridiculous move. No further official comment has come from Spotify regarding why this is mandatory, so we can only assume it was part of the deal it made with Facebook to get the link up in the first place.If you don’t use Facebook, but want a Spotify account, unfortunately you will have to set up a dummy Facebook account to get access. Existing account holders don’t seem to be affected by this new requirement, though.While this may aid Spotify as a service in the short term, I have to wonder what it means for the longer term prospects of Spotify, especially if users get used to listening to tracks on Facebook pages, and then Facebook goes and implements its own music service at a later date.Read more at Spotify forums and the Spotify blog
If you are going to store 2TB of stuff, it has to be accessible. External hard drives are great, but they work with one computer. Their USB / Firewire / eSATA connections are reasonably quick but they are limited. If you have a lot of data and more than one computer, not to mention, more than one user, than what you needed is networked storage.We might have the cheap deal on the storage device that you’ve been searching for. The Buffalo Linkstation Live 2TB NAS offers a ton of space on-the-cheap, but that’s not the big deal with device (after all, a standard 3.5-inch 2TB hard drive goes for about $120 these days). This Linkstation is such a good deal because it’s a single-drive NAS. Simply connect this device to your network and you’ll be able to access all your files from any device that’s on the network.This NAS device is also DLNA-certified, comes equipped with a Bit Torrent client, and an iTunes server as well. That’s a lot of functionality for a cheap price. And in addition to your network-based home connection, you can also access all your files remotely (and securely), including from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. This means you’ll be able to upload and access documents anywhere.Not bad for about $30 more than a barebones 2TB disk, right?Check out this deal at LogicBuy.
Much to the dismay of scientists that are focused on other heavenly bodies, like Saturn and transient comets, NASA has announced its plans to send another mission to Mars in 2016. This plan will happen in lieu of proposed missions to explore other destinations in our solar system. A mission focused on geological survey, the 2016 expedition code named “Insight” will send a lander to the Red Planet’s surface that will be tasked on collecting data on the planet’s core and relaying it back to geologists on Earth.While a mission of this nature doesn’t seem nearly as flashy as the successful landing of the Curiosity was, geologists believe it’s one of the most important we can undertake to begin to understand Mars in preparation for landing a human on the planet someday. Right now we have very limited knowledge about the inner makeup of Mars; whether or not it has a liquid or solid core or if the surface experiences any kind of seismic activity are just two of the mysteries looking to be solved with this mission. Pictured in the artist rendition above, Insight will contain two different instruments that will drill down into the surface and send its findings back to the research team.As mentioned above, not everyone is happy with NASA’s decision to return to Mars as it means that two other proposed space research projects were scrubbed in favor of Insight. Most of the grumbling seems to be coming from scientists who are focused on studying Saturn and its moons. One of the competing missions that didn’t get chosen was aimed at sending a probe to Titan to gather data on the liquid methane that covers the surface of the Saturnian moon, a mission that doesn’t have a lot of sex appeal to the general public. Sentiment is that NASA is riding the Mars wave right now, and won’t be getting off until it crashes to shore.No matter what the reason for NASA’s decision today, it makes sense to gather as much intel as possible on a place that has a good chance of seeing some sort of human exploration in the future.Read more at NASA, via USA Today.
It has been nearly 27 years since the launch of the original NES system in the US, yet there continue to be fans who are as die-hard as ever. Enter Reddit user Andrew5785, who created what is no doubt one of the niftiest mods for an old-school gaming platform.Using copper sheet, aluminum, metal, spring clips, plumbing fittings, closet door hardware, rivets, and the technical expertise required to transfer all the innards of a classic Nintendo console into a brand new housing, he managed to create a “Steampunk” NES console mod.This is why video game fanatics are so awesome. Never would anyone see something like this officially released from a major gams console company, even though everyone who sees it instantly wants one. Of course, this isn’t the kind of thing that one could put on an assembly line for mass production. As a result, only one lucky person — Andrew5785’s nephew, gets to be the owner of such a unique piece of hardware.The market for old-school gaming proves to be just as strong as it always has. Case in point — an official new Neo Geo console will be released for the holiday season. It is the non-official, fan-made creations that are the most interesting, though.From the NES electric guitar mod to the iPad NES mod, old-school video games merging with new technology has become a staple of the industry. And it is telling that even with the incredibly sophisticated technology available today, there are still gamers who cling to the era of yesteryear. Who knows what the next awesome retro game contraption will be.Imagur, via Reddit
Sony has always been the red-headed step-child of the smartphone industry. Once a leader in mobile phones, Sony simply hasn’t kept up with the times. Their early smartphones lacked the leading technology and had lackluster designs. Now, several iterations into their Xperia smartphone line, Sony looks to have a winning formula.The specs read along with the best smartphone of 2012: dual-core Snapdragon processor, 720p display, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, and AT&T LTE support. This means the Xperia TL is keeping pace, but Sony has finally taken some extra steps to stand out too.Let’s start with the 13 megapixel camera. Easily the highest resolution smartphone camera on the market, it looks to back up all those pixels with great image quality thanks to a back-illuminated sensor and f/2.4 aperture. The screen, while 720p like the other top phones, comes in larger than most at 4.55-inches and uses Sony’s Mobile Bravia engine to optimize image quality.Sony even thought to include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, allowing you to communicate with other NFC-enabled devices. All of this ships with Sony’s mildly customized version of Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). While this isn’t the newest version 4.1 Jellybean, Sony has a decent history of providing consistent updates for their products.While all of this may not sound like quite enough to wow you away from a Galaxy S 3 or the like, the price tag should at just $99.99 a 2 year AT&T contract, good for both new and upgrade customers. At this price point, the Xperia TL clearly bests its competitors spec-for-spec and you even have the extra claim-to-fame of using the same phone as James Bond.Sony Xperia TL 4G LTE AT&T Smartphone for $99.99 + free shippingOur other top deals:Samsung 840 Series 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-inch SSD for $359.99 + free shipping(normally $699.99 | use instant savings | ends Nov. 14 or sooner)Realspace Calusa Mesh Office Chair for $79.99 + free shipping(normally $179.99 | use coupon code: 367597258 | ends Nov. 15 or sooner)
In the realm of computer security there are bugs, and then there are bugs. The latter refers to a real showstopper — the kind of bug that could bring a website to its knees and expose user data if the wrong people figure it out. Just such a bug has been discovered in Ruby on Rails, and it is estimated that roughly 200,000 websites are at risk of attack.The bug is of the most serious nature, and stems from the way Rails handles formatted parameters. While complicated, the object injection attack is 100% effective as described. It could give a remote hacker the necessary access to execute any code on the server running Rails. This would allow the attacker to do just about anything including copying data, deleting web assets, and simply taking the site offline without all that messy DDoS-ing.Ruby on Rails is an extremely popular web app framework that is used on sites like Hulu, Basecamp, Github, and Groupon. What’s worse, the bug has been present for the last six years, ensuring that the majority of existing Rails implementations are affected. Security experts worry that a worm could be developed that jumps from site to site, exploiting the prevalence of this vulnerability with disastrous results.Administrators running Rails are advised to make sure their server is running 3.2.11, 3.1.10, 3.0.19, or 2.3.15. Updating immediately to one of these fixed releases should prevent a server from being infiltrated using this bug. If updating isn’t possible, developers are (strongly) encouraged to disable XML.Updating Rails should be a relatively easy fix for most configurations, but I’m sure someone is going to miss the memo and live to regret it.via Ars Technica
Opera Mini once ruled the mobile browsing world. Though relative newcomers like Safari and the Android browser have taken over the lead, Opera is still a dominant force. As it turns out, 2012 was another strong year for the Norwegian software developer.Opera’s page compression technology has a lot to do with this success. In emerging markets where network connections aren’t always the speediest, Opera’s back-end wizardry can be a huge benefit. Areas like Latin America and Africa showed particularly strong growth, but Opera Mini is growing in places like the U.S, too, and compression could very well be the key.Not everyone wants to to be locked in to a huge data plan, after all. For users on more cost-conscious contracts, Opera Mini offers a way to get a solid mobile web experience without slurping down bits by the bucketload. As device resolutions continue to climb higher, the size of the average web page keeps on growing. Right now the average page weighs in at around 1.2MB. At that size, it doesn’t take long to chew through a gig of mobile data — and that’s where Opera Mini’s compression can be a real boon. It does a good job of helping users stretch those valuable data contract dollars.Clearly its users are taking advantage of the savings. In December 2012, Opera says it processed about 12 petabytes of uncompressed data on the Mini servers alone (Opera and Opera Mobile use different servers for their turbo modes).Although 2012 was a strong year for Opera Mini, there were bumps along the way. Slight drops in the user base were reported in both April and September, but they were ultimately just blips on the radar. By December, Opera Mini had crossed the 200 million user threshold and another 20 million-plus users were running its more full-featured companion, Opera Mobile. While the number of Opera Mobile users has mostly held steady for the past 24 months, Opera Mini is still growing by leaps and bounds.More reading: Opera Ice is a ‘futuristic’ gesture-friendly mobile browser
It’s common knowledge that when Apple is developing a new generation of iPhone it produces many prototype units as it perfects the design. This week we’ve already seen what may be a prototype or final design for the iPhone 5S front panel. Now images of the phone’s interior have been leaked.What you’ll notice in the image above is the main processor is missing any kind of label telling us what part it is. That suggests this is not the final iPhone 5S design, but a design prototype. The chip was also manufactured late last year, which reinforces that this isn’t the final part. It’s definitely newer than the currently available iPhone 5, though, based on the fact the battery has a more recent part number.As we saw with the front panel, not much has changed. The logic board is narrower and has a new layout, and that processor is sure to be an updated (faster) part. The good news is Apple has managed to increase the size of the included battery, just like it did recently with the new MacBook Air. The iPhone 5 carries a 5.45Whr battery, where as the iPhone 5S looks like it will ship with a 5.92Whr unit.The only other change on display can be seen in the image above. The camera flash has changed shape to look more like a pill than a circle. That suggests the iPhone 5S will ship with a dual LED flash.So when will we get to see the final iPhone 5S? Tim Cook made it clear in April that we wouldn’t be seeing any new Apple devices until late September at the earliest. The iPhone 5 arrived on September 21 last year, so it makes sense the iPhone 5S will launch at a similar time, Friday, September 20 or 27 maybe?