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03.08.17 | 6:45 pm

VSCO just launched a new version with animated images and “favoriting”

Imaging app VSCO unveiled a new version today that adds the ability to create GIFs as well as block other users and "favorite" images you find particularly interesting. The company says that the new features represent some of its users' most requested features.

To create GIFs (called DSCOs within the app), you'll simply tap open the camera app, tap DSCO, and then press and hold the rainbow circle that appears to record. Your short video will then be presented in a loop.

Features will begin rolling out to new users today, and will be available for all VSCO users in the coming weeks.

04.24.17 | 27 minutes ago

Could eye drops cure jet lag? 

Jet lag is a waste of perfectly good vacation days, but a cure to all that yawning, stumbling, and sleeping through breakfast may be in the eye of the (very sleepy) beholder. As Popular Science reports, a recent study published in the Journal of Physiology could translate to a cure for jet lag that's as easy as applying eye drops.

Researchers discovered a new group of cells in the retina that send signals about changes in light from the eye to the brain. These cells and a molecule they release (called vasopressin) help regulate the biological clock—or at least that's what it does in rats. If you could reduce the amount of vasopressin traveling from the eye to the brain, that could help your internal clock adjust to the new time zone, theoretically doing away with jet lag. It's something that has already worked in animals and has exciting possibilities for humans. One of the study's authors, Mike Ludwig, a professor of neurophysiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, suggests that tweaking vasopressin output could happen via eye drops—eventually. "That is very futuristic," he said. "We are far from that at the moment." Until then, we'll just use eye drops to do away with dry eyes. Skip the cat nap and read the full article on PopSci.

04.24.17 | 41 minutes ago

Camp director John Waters is about to become a real-life camp director

John Waters is best known as the director of campy films like Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and Serial Mom. Now he is taking that on-screen camp experience and transforming it into a real world business—specifically, the summer camp business.

Called Camp John Waters, the adults-only camp is set in bucolic Kent, Connecticut, on a campground complete with cabins and a lake, according to Variety. As one would expect, a John Waters summer camp doesn't include traditional summer camp activities like macrame and swim lessons, but instead something called "Bloody Mary Bingo," a costume contest, Burlesque lessons, and in lieu of a campfire singalong, Hairspray karaoke. Waters himself will perform a one-man show and judge the John Waters costume contest. The event is scheduled for September 22-24, with tickets starting at $499.

[Photo: Jeff Vespa/Contributor/Getty Images]

04.24.17 | 2 hours ago

NASA’s Peggy Whitson just set a record by spending 534 days in space

Peggy Whitson just broke a record for a U.S. astronaut. As of 1:27 a.m. EDT on April 24, 2017, she had spent a cumulative 534 days, 2 hours, 49 minutes, and counting floating around the International Space Station, according to NASA. For the effort, she received a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump on Monday and, perhaps more important, the endless admiration of wannabe astronauts around the world.

Breaking records is nothing new for Whitson, who already holds the title of first female commander of the ISS. She's also the oldest woman to fly to space for NASA, proving that when it comes to space travel (and Aaliyah songs), age ain't nothing but a number. 

Whitson's latest record surpassed the U.S. record set by astronaut Jeff Williams, who lasted 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. By the time Whitson's feet touch terra firma, she will have spent more than 650 days in space. While Whitson holds the U.S. record for cumulative space hours, the record for longest consecutive spaceflight is held by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent nearly 438 days on the former Russian Mir space station, according to Verge, while Gennady Padalka stayed on the ISS for a combined 878 days in space.

[Photo: NASA]

04.24.17 | 3 hours ago

Report: Amazon has a team of people exploring the role of self-driving vehicles

Amazon is considering the role of autonomous vehicles in its quest to build out its delivery network. The company put together the small self-driving team roughly a year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. It's not building its own cars—at least not yet—but rather exploring how driverless trucks and cars may play a role in getting products to consumers faster and more cheaply. This is no surprise given Amazon's expeditious shipping capabilities. The company is also working on ferrying packages to homes via drone. 

[Photo: Flickr user Torley]

04.24.17 | 3 hours ago

Samsung social media just shut down a troll in the best way

Samsung just reminded the internet that if you play with fire, you just might get burned. In a social media promotion, the phone company asked its Twitter followers to post the first photo they took with their Galaxy S8s. However, because this is the internet, and the internet is the worst, it only took a few minutes for someone to chime in with the eye roll-worthy tidbit that their first photo was "a dick pic." The tweet got hundreds of retweets and LOLs, of course, until Samsung's social media folks stepped in to destroy the troll with a single emoji of a microscope. Pure fire. 

04.24.17 | 4 hours ago

Jimmy Choo is for sale

Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe company, announced that it is up for sale. JAB Holding, a German consumer goods company, acquired the brand in 2008 for $800 million and took it public in 2014, retaining a 67.6% stake. JAB has recently been investing in American coffee brands and is about to buy Panera, the sandwich chain.  These investments hinge on the broader trend of consumers choosing to spend money on experiences rather than luxury goods. 

Read more in the New York Times. 

04.24.17 | 4 hours ago

Here’s a video of Larry Page’s flying car in action

Google's Larry Page wants to make flying cars, like, a thing. To make that straight-out-of-science fiction idea a reality, he's backing a project called Kitty Hawk, which is led by Sebastian Thrun, who helped get Google into the self-driving car race. 

The ultralight flyer took a test flight over a lake near San Francisco, the New York Times reports and the video shows that the future is now(ish). The plane looks like a cross between a drone and a pontoon boat, as it comes outfitted for water landings. While the final product will undoubtedly look a little different, Kitty Hawk hopes to be selling the planes by the end of the year and you can already become a member of the fan club and join the wait list. Price is still TBD, though.

The flyers are already approved to operate in the U.S., but don't expect to see them racing the BART train anytime soon, as they are currently only legal to fly in un-congested areas. The first round of products are designed for hobbyists and recreational use, according to TechCrunch, and strangely you don't need a pilot's license to fly one, so your next lake vacation may involve 10-year olds dropping water balloons from the sky.

[Photo: Kitty Hawk]

04.24.17 | 7:13 am

If these pictures really are of the next iPhone, we want one now

Benjamin Geskin says he has sources at Foxconn that provided him with a CNC model (a nonworking prototype of the body) of the next iPhone, currently dubbed the "iPhone 8."

04.24.17 | 6:56 am

Madewell is ramping up its denim donation program after a blockbuster Earth Day

The fashion industry is a highly polluting one. This is partly because consumers have gotten used to treating garments as disposable, throwing them out when they are out of style. Madewell, a brand that generates a quarter of its sales from denim, has responded to this waste by encouraging customers to bring in old pairs of jeans to be recycled. Since 2014, customers could drop off old pairs of jeans (of any brand) at stores to receive a $20 coupon to buy another pair from Madewell. These collected jeans are sent to Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green project, which recycles old denim, transforming it into natural cotton fiber insulation for homes. 

This Earth Day, the brand was setting out to hit 150,000 jeans donated, but it blew right past it, collecting 155,532, which translates to about 186 houses insulated. The company is now dedicated to collecting 200,000 by the end of 2017. Madewell involves its entire staff in this eco-initiative, inviting employees to be part of Habitat for Humanity projects that use this insulation in houses. 

04.24.17 | 6:38 am

Unroll.me’s CEO is “heartbroken” that users discovered it sells their data

The simple email unsubscribe service was revealed to be selling its user's anonymized data to the very apps they were unsubscribing from. The revelation came from a New York Times profile on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. In it, it was revealed Uber buys data from Unroll.me that showed how Lyft's user base was progressing. After the news broke, Unroll.me's CEO Jojo Hedaya wrote a blog post saying the company is "heartbroken" its users found out how it makes money on the free service:

Our users are the heart of our company and service. So it was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service. And while we try our best to be open about our business model, recent customer feedback tells me we weren't explicit enough. Sure we have a Terms of Service Agreement and a plain-English Privacy Policy that our users agree they have read and understand before they even sign up, but the reality is most of us—myself included—don't take the time to thoroughly review them.

H/T: Guardian

04.24.17 | 6:15 am

The top revelations from the NYT’s profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

The profile is a deep exploration into Kalanick's history and thinking. Some highlights:

• Back in 2015 Uber's app was secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after it had been deleted or the iPhones had been erased–a practice known as "fingerprinting."

• Fingerprinting is often used as a fraud detection and prevention method that helps certain companies detect when people are using stolen smartphones to game the system.

• Apple banned the practice of fingerprinting using a user's device's UDID back in 2013 due to privacy concerns.

• Apple CEO Tim Cook personally called Kalanick to Apple's headquarters to tell him to stop fingerprinting phones or else Apple would pull Uber from the App Store.

• Back in 2003 Kalanick registered to run for governor of California.

• Actors including Edward Norton, Olivia Munn, Sophia Bush, and Leonardo DiCaprio along with music superstars Jay-Z and Beyoncé are investors in Uber.

• One time Jay-Z wired Kalanick even more money to invest in a larger share of the company, but Kalanick wired it back to him, saying that he had too many interested investors already.

• Kalanick wanted Oprah Winfrey to join Uber's board.

•Kalanick is a big admirer of Amazon.

• His main mantra is "growth above all else."

You can read the New York Time's full fascinating profile of Kalanick here.

04.24.17 | 5:49 am

Yahoo reportedly mismanaged a humanitarian aid fund earmarked for Chinese political dissidents

The Yahoo Human Rights Trust was established in 2007 after Yahoo agreed to pay $17.3 million to settle a case against it in which it turned over information about a Chinese journalist to the Chinese government, who later imprisoned that journalist. However, now a group of Chinese citizens is suing Yahoo, alleging the company turned a blind eye as the man responsible for overseeing the fund squandered $13 million of it, reports Forbes:

[The squandered funds were spent] on "expenditures having nothing to do with providing humanitarian assistance to imprisoned Chinese dissidents," according to their complaint. The group alleges that the bulk of that money went to the man responsible for overseeing it, among other things, and that only $700,000—or about 4% of the fund—was spent on direct humanitarian aid.

"In standing idly by while it knew the Yahoo Human Rights Trust was being squandered, Yahoo abandoned its responsibilities to Trust beneficiaries, who have risked their lives by speaking out for political reform in China," Times Wang, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a written statement.