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Undefined Objects Encourage Household Improvisation
Romin Heide's system of containers promotes creativity and innovation for common household needs.
Elon Musk's boorbedrijf begint met graven van ondergrondse tunnel voor auto's
Dat maakte Musk op zijn Twitter-account bekend. De boormachine heeft het eerste deel van een tunnel in Los Angeles afgerond. De machine heeft de naam Godot meegekregen, vernoemd naar een toneelstuk van Samuel Beckett: Wachten op Godot. "We hoeven niet langer op Godot te wachten", tweet Musk. "Het boren is begonnen." Onduidelijk is hoe ver de machine al heeft geboord en waar The Boring Company precies is gestart. Eerder deze maand werd er nog onderhandeld over vergunningen....

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Deze Nederlanders speelden grote rol bij eerste iPhone
Beeld: ImranChaudhri Het is vandaag 10 jaar sinds de release van de eerste iPhone. In januari werd al gevierd dat het 10 jaar sinds de onthulling van de telefoon door Steve Jobs was. Toen kwam een deel van het team dat de eerste software voor de originele iPhone ontwikkelde bij elkaar voor een kleine reünie. Daar waren ook twee Nederlanders bij aanwezig, zo was te zien op deze Instagram-foto. Derde van rechts op de foto staat Marcel Van Os, die nog altijd...

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This World-Famous Public School Choir Just Made Lin-Manuel Miranda Cry

Type the words “Hamilton cover” in the search box on YouTube and you’ll discover there are roughly 6,710,000 videos there of people belting out the hit Broadway musical’s songs — some with more skill than others. But the rendition of a “Hamilton” tune that made the show’s writer and director Lin-Manuel Miranda cry on Wednesday comes from the most famous public school choir in the world: Staten Island’s PS22 Chorus.

As part of the #Ham4All Challenge, a viral social media campaign that Miranda launched, the New York City-based chorus covered “Dear Theodosia,” a song from the first act of the musical. Through the challenge, the Broadway hitmaker hopes to boost support for the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition, a group of 12 nonprofits that advocate for fair and humane immigration reform. 

Miranda is asking people to post video clips of themselves singing or rapping their favorite Hamilton tune. It’s no wonder, then, that the PS22 Chorus chose “Dear Theodosia,” which “Hamilton” character Aaron Burr sings to his baby daughter. Kids in the chorus, which was founded in 2000 by Staten Island native Gregg Breinberg, come from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds — and given that 37% of New York City residents are immigrants, many of them, or their parents, were likely born in another country.

Lyrics like “Some day, some day. You’ll blow us all away,” perfectly express the hopes and dreams that immigrant families have for their kids when they come to the United States. But in recent months, schools nationwide have had to address the fear some students have that they — or their parents — will be deported.

This isn’t the first time that songs from “Hamilton” have become a rallying point for the immigrant experience. In February, the phrase "Immigrants, We Get the Job Done," which is the title of a song on the “Hamilton Mixtape” album, became a common sight on signs at protests against President Trump’s immigration ban

The chorus kids singing the song does give chills — so it’s understandable that Miranda would tell his 1.48 million Twitter followers that it made him cry. As for the #Ham4All challenge, it’s not likely that many participants will be able to outsing the PS22 Chorus. Folks who have reason to believe they’re better off singing in the shower can always contribute to a Prizeo campaign that benefits the effort. If they do, they have a chance to win tickets to the Los Angeles premiere of “Hamilton.”

Twin Strangers Website Promises To Help You Find Your Doppelgänger

Those who’ve been watching Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return” know all too well what happens when your doppelgänger runs amok. They can commit crimes and sully your good name. For those who’d like to find and connect with their doppelgänger, there’s a new website called Twin Strangers that promises to help you on the hunt.

Twin Strangers has a free search option that allows you to scroll through people who have your same basic face type. For every face you see you can either check “yes” or “no” to curate a list of those you think may be the one. Starting at $2.99, you can use artificial-intelligence face-recognition software for a better shot at finding them in the website’s database.

Who knows — if you get lucky, you may find your long-lost twin and have some serious fun tricking your friends and relatives.

 

Ad Researchers Have Just Determined That Sex Doesn’t Help Sell

Consumers are painfully familiar with the refrain “sex sells” every time one questions why there are so many racy images featured to promote decidedly non-sexual products, but does sex really sell better than other approaches?

A research team drawn from Ball State University and the University of California Davis sought to put the adage to the test to see if sex was as potent a selling device as common lore made it out to be. A meta-analysis (via QZ) reviewing 78 peer-reviewed studies looked domestically and abroad at 17,000 subjects to determine if sex did, in fact, sell. 

They found it doesn’t. At least no more than other methods of advertising. 

Speaking to the University of Illinois, the study’s lead author, John Wirtz stated simply, “We found literally zero effect on participants’ intention to buy products in ads with a sexual appeal. This assumption that sex sells — well, no, according to our study, it doesn’t. There’s no indication that there’s a positive effect.”

Somewhat unsurprisingly, male subjects tended to favor the more sexual advertisements, but that preference didn’t translate into converted sale any more than other factors did. 

So if you take issue with an ad like the one below on either the grounds of objectification or just good taste and logic…

...then take some comfort in the confirmed finding that it’s not doing much to help the people who decided to make it. In fact, the company responsible for the racy ad above has actually taken steps to tone down its at-times raunchy efforts. Though social pressure may be a factor, ultimately, the decision is just a function of the bottom line. 

“If the ‘sexy ads’ had been effective, it’s unlikely the company or ad agency would have made such a drastic change,” Wirtz said. “When product is moving, people don’t make changes.”

So any time someone gives you “sex sells” as a knee-jerk reaction, don’t hesitate to cite this development. 

The iPhone Helped Convince Us We Need The Web All The Time, Every Day

That’s according to Brian McCullough, who runs the popular Internet History podcast, and discussed the iconic device’s impact upon its 10th anniversary.

The iPhone wasn’t the first so-called smartphone when it launched in 2007, but it was arguably the first to capture the popular imagination, and it certainly shaped the evolution of smartphones after that. The iPhone and other smartphones are such a central part of life that it’s easy to forget what the world was like before they showed up. It was a world of Blackberries, pen styluses, and a few poorly functioning touch screens. And Facebook was just a baby.

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Facebook’s Censorship Rules Protect Some Subsets Of People, But Not Others 

via Twitter

Facebook has officially hit 2 billion users. Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s CEO, announced the milestone on Tuesday, saying, “As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people! We’re making progress connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together.” But policing a social network with so many users from different cultures and communities isn’t a simple task, according to documents released by Pro Publica.

According to a 1996 federal law, most tech companies are not required to censor their user-generated content, so Facebook is free to make its own rules for censorship. Currently, Facebook employs around 7,500 content reviewers who work as human censors. These censors have a specific algorithm to follow when deciding whether to delete posts. The result is a platform where certain subsets of people are allowed to be targets of online attacks, while others are protected. 

Protected categories (PC):

Race, sex, gender identity, religious affiliation, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and serious disability/disease. 

Non-protected categories (NPC):

Social class, continental origin, appearance, age, occupation, political ideology, religions, and countries.

Facebook deletes the following types of attacks when directed at protected categories: 

Calls for violence, calls for exclusion, calls for segregation, degrading generalizations, dismissing, cursing, and slurs.

Facebook created rules to guide its content reviewers on whether to delete or allow certain posts.

PC + PC = PC

Example: African-American + Jewish = Protected category

PC + NPC = NPC

Example: African-American + child = Non-protected category

Therefore, an attack on African-American Jews would be deleted by Facebook content reviewers. But an attack on African-American children would not be deleted because age is not a protected category.

Under this algorithm, white men are protected while African-American children are not. 

via Facebook

Recently, Facebook released a new category: quasi-protected (QPC). This designation applies to migrants who are only protected from calls for violence and dehumanizing generalizations. But they are not protected against calls for exclusion and degrading generalizations that are not dehumanizing. 

PC + QPC = QPC

NPC + QPC = NPC

Therefore, Muslim migrants are a quasi-protected category, but teen migrants are a non-protected category.

“The policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes,” Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook told Pro Publica. “That is the reality of having policies that apply to a global community where people around the world are going to have very different ideas about what is OK to share.” Danielle Citron, a law professor and expert on information privacy at the University of Maryland, disagrees, saying the rules are “incorporating this color-blindness idea which is not in the spirit of why we have equal protection.” Citron also believes the “rules protect the people who least need it and take it away from those who really need it.”

Here’s What Twitter Thought Of The First iPhone Back In 2007

To appreciate the hoopla of iPhone launch day, you had to be there. But if you weren’t–or have forgotten about it–read these tweets.

In June 2007, Twitter was 15 months old, and not yet a mainstream phenomenon. It was, however, developing a booming audience among the technorati. So when the first iPhone arrived at Apple Stores–still maybe the most-hyped moment in the history of consumer technology–it’s no shocker that it kind of took over Twitter.

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Put Down Your Starbucks, Investigators Find Seriously Unappetizing Substance

Image via Wikipedia

Just when you thought you had enough to contend with in this topsy-turvy political climate, a BBC investigation revealed some coffee chains are adding more crap to the mix — literally. According to the outlet’s “Watchdog” program, which seeks to keep brands honest, “varying levels of the bacteria” commonly found in fecal matter were discovered in iced drinks from Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Caffe Nero.

According to the BBC report, 70% of the Costa Coffee ice samples contained the strain of bacteria associated with feces. In addition to studying the ice used in popular coffee drinks, the BBC researchers looked at bacteria levels on tabletops, serving trays, and chairs. Sanitation expert and head of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Tony Lewis called the levels “concerning,” telling the British outlet, “these should not be present at any level — never mind the significant numbers found.”

OK, but what’s wrong with a little bacteria? After all, our own bodies contain roughly 40 trillion bacterial organisms. Well, not all bacteria are created equal, something Lewis contended by calling the strains found in the coffee drinks “opportunistic pathogens” and “the source of human disease.” Yeah, no one wants an extra shot of disease with their mocha frappuccino.

While Costa Coffee said it’d be updating its ice-makers and safety guidelines in response to the report, Starbucks remained skeptical and announced it’d be running an internal investigation. Caffe Nero also told BBC it’d be taking similar steps. According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the company regards hygienic requirements “extremely seriously.” Regardless, we’re probably going to stick to hot drinks for a while. 

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