Facebook is looking to become an even bigger part of its users’ lives, as the Ney York Times reported on Tuesday that it has already signed agreements with certain news companies – including NYT itself, BuzzFeed or National Geographic – to display full content directly on the platform rather than just sharing links leading to their respective sites.
Most media outlets currently acknowledge the importance and influence of Facebook by having their own pages on the platform, on which they share updates regarding new content posted on their external sites while also providing links leading to them. The average loading speed when accessing a media site from Facebook is 8 seconds, and the company considers that eliminating it would make a world of difference especially on smartphones.
In exchange for posting their content directly on the site, publishers would get revenue from ads running on their article pages. This would mark the first time content publishers would share advertisement revenues with Facebook on a regular basis; the American giant has experimented with this concept sporadically in the recent past, including splitting income with the NFL for ads presented in sponsored football videos.
Reaction to this speculation has been mixed within media publishers: reportedly, The Guardian employees suggested that this might work only if contracts are signed for the entire industry rather than separate outlets, with them also retain control over any kind of advertisement. Most have declined to comment on the idea, waiting probably for the social media giant to presenting them with something concrete before judging on its viability.
However, the idea of integrating news into the most popular social media platform worldwide could have a series of game-changing implications for online news outlets. If, let’s say, only a couple of high profile publishers jump the pond and accept letting their content fully within Facebook, the possible exposure they could reach grows significantly, considering that the site has more than 1.3 billion users. News sites that choose not to collaborate with Facebook might end up finding themselves at an extreme disadvantage from this point of view; this in turn might lead to the creation of a very disparate coverage medium. Non-Facebook publishers might find themselves needing to adapt their content to be different enough from Facebook ones, so that it could still generate the present amount of traffic despite not having the same accessibility as their competitors.
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A report that analyzes involvement of Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) officers in shooting incidents from 2007 to 2014 suggests that they require more training to have them become less prone towards using their firearms and approach certain cases with more non-violent methods.
The report, published on Tuesday, was issued at the request of Philadelphia Commissioner Charles Ramsey, and was comprised by the US Department of Justice’s COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services), an office oriented towards the rapport between law enforcement agents and the communities they serve.
It presents that PPD officers have been involved in 390 shooting incidents throughout the city between 2007-2014, out of which 20 were off-duty and 4 accidental. When sorted by place of happening, almost a quarter of them happened in the 22nd and 25th districts of Philadelphia combined, which are unsurprisingly the districts with the most intense criminal activity.
Race statistics, at a first glance, feed the recent tumultuous landscape of accusations of racism in OIS (officer involved shootings), with 60 percent of the PPD forces involved in such incident being white, and 80 percent of the suspects black. About 55.8 percent of the suspects involved in shootings had firearms, while 15 percent were unarmed.
The COPS report sub-classified shootings against unarmed suspects occurred during the period by motivation, and shows that 29 out of 59 such incidents were “threat perception failures” – instances in which officers opened fire at suspects that were in fact harmless because of certain movements or misidentification of non-threatening objects.
The paper holds over 90 recommendations for the PPD, mostly revolved around a better training of its officers in use of non-lethal force and identifying threat perception. Having a more transparent review system for cases in which deadly force is used would also help at both identifying instances in which use of firearms is avoidable and promoting a culture of using them as a last resort.
“It’s a good report with a lot of solid recommendations, these changes don’t happen overnight, but we’re going to push as hard as we can and make substantial changes over the next few months” commented Commissioner Ramsey, who has the fourth most numerous police force in the country under his command.
This report follows a nation-wide stint of controversial officer-involved shootings in Ferguson, Cleveland and New Orleans. These have brought into the forefront of public debate the question of whether law enforcement is harsher for certain races, and also if policemen in general are taking too many liberties with regard to using their guns.
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The Paris mayor’s office has announced on Saturday morning that it will take a number of emergency measures for Monday, including banning half of its traffic and making public transport free, in an attempt to deal with the dense pollution cloud that covered the city recently.
A partial driving ban will be applied on Monday, meaning that only vehicles with even numbers on their license plates are allowed to circulate – barring exceptions such as ambulances, taxis or police vehicles. However, odd-numbered cars will be allowed on the road if they carry more than three passengers.
To counter the impact this might have upon the car-heavy population, public transport will be free on Monday, as well as most of the parking lots throughout the city; these measures were initially applied only for the duration of the weekend. This is just the third time in the city’s history that such a measure is adopted, last time happening in March 2014. However, with no effective means to control traffic city-wide, it only amounted to 16 percent drop in vehicle usage.
“I am delighted the state has agreed to put in place a partial driving ban on Monday, which I have been requesting for several days” wrote Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Twitter, one of the measure’s most staunch supporters.
This comes after a week in which the French capital has been covered in a dense cloud of smog, making it for a short period on Wednesday the most polluted city in the world according to Plume Labs – having registered a pollution rating of 125, halfway between harmful and critical.
Criticism has come from multiple directions against state authorities, with many saying that future pollution clouds might averted only through long –term measures to reduce pollution, such as a definitive ban on heavy-polluting vehicles. This comes as a measure set to enter in July will ban pre-2001 diesel vehicles.
The cloud itself also passed the English Channel into the United Kingdom in the last few days, with peak levels being reached on Thursday. Most heavily affected were the northern and central parts of the UK. According to the UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, the smog cloud has fully dissipated and brought pollution levels within normal in the country.
Image Source: BBC
We’ve seen parental control technology in a lot of different circumstances, with video games and TV providing possibilities for controlling the children’s experience, but the future iteration of the Chevrolet Malibu will put this into one of its weirdest contexts.
A video launched Friday on the Chevrolet YouTube channel presents a new feature called Teen Driver that the General Motors brand will incorporate in the 2016 version of the Malibu. And it is essentially the same thing as TV control system applied to an automobile.
Parents lending their vehicle to their freshly driving licensed children will now be able to control a wide range of options regarding the vehicle’s performance and more when their teens are driving it. After activating a PIN code on the car’s electronic system and linking it with their sixteen years old’s set of keys, the parent is able to set up some parameters regarding the teen’s driving.
For example, they can set a maximum speed limit, which when surpassed will knock off a loud alarm inside the car. The system will also generate a report card accessible by the parent which leaks on the distance driven by the teen, the number of times maximum speed alarms were set up, average speed or the frequency if stability control kicking in.
In addition to this, activating Teen Driver will also lock most of the vehicle’s security features, such as Collision Alert, Traction Control or Parking Assist, so that they cannot be turned off.
“We developed this system so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids – they can discuss and reinforce safe driving habits. As a mother of two, I know anything that has the potential of keeping one’s family safer is of great value to parents” said MaryAnn Beebe, safety engineer for GM, who presented the Teen Driver system in the video.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is set to officially debut in April, with it being available to purchase starting with December this year. It remains to be seen whether this system will actually be a breakthrough in providing better safety for teens while driving, or if its use will ultimately be the one of a joke between two partners sharing the same car.
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The Pope, who celebrated two years in office on Friday, declared 2016 a Jubilee Year dedicated to mercy, to honor his most cherished Christian virtue. Francis has been preaching mercy ever since he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and even before: when he became a bishop, he chose the words “miserando atque eligendo” (Latin for “by having mercy and by choosing”, from venerable Bede’s Homily 21, where Jesus is said to see a tax collector, “and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing”, the Lord asked the man to follow him). These words have remained his motto as a Pope and are represented on his coat of arms.
The announcement of the Jubilee Year was made during a sermon within the penitential service performed for Lent. The audience at St. Peter’s Basilica burst into applause as they heard the unexpected news. In his sermon, Pope Francis said that “no one can be excluded from the mercy of God”.
The Jubilee Year is bound to start a little earlier than the beginning of the new year 2016, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2015), and end on November 20, 2016, with the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Holding Jubilees is an old tradition within the Catholic Church, dating back to 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII proposed to celebrate one Jubilee every century. After 1475, ordinary Jubilees have been organized at 25 years intervals, to allow every generation to witness at least one. Extraordinary Jubilees are organized more rarely, usually on special occasions. The Holy Year of Mercy will be an Extraordinary Jubilee. It will also mark the anniversary of 50 years since the ending of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
Although he is widely popular compared to former Pope Benedict, the current pontiff declared on Friday, just two years after being elected the head of the Catholic Church, that he does consider following Benedict’s example and retiring after a few more years. “I have a feeling my pontificate will be brief”, the Pope said, considering that Benedict’s decision to retire was not exception, but a way of instituting a tradition.
Francis, who is 78 now, confessed that he “doesn’t dislike” being the Pope, but sometimes feels worn out by travelling. Another thing he longs for is anonymity – he half-joked about being able to go out and have a pizza without being recognized. He recounted a recent phone conversation with the ex-Pope, who started living a monastic life after resigning, and said that Benedict felt content and respected.
image source: The Telegraph
After organizing an attack last Saturday on Maiduguri, a city in the North-East of Nigeria, where a suicide-bombing killed 50 people or more, the African terrorist organization Boko Haram officially swore allegiance to ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, recognized Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the head of the Islamic State – as “Caliph” and promised to “hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity”.
Now that a week has elapsed since the African terrorist organization’s pledge of allegiance, a 28-minute audio message from Abu Mohammed al Adnani, a supposed ISIS spokesman, announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi accepted Abubakar Shekau’s oath of fidelity and declared that the caliphate has now broadened its frontiers to Western Africa. The ISIS leader congratulated the African extremists, to whom he referred as “our jihadi brothers”. Abu Mohammed al Adnani, the ISIS messenger, summoned Islamic radicals who want to join the jihad to become members of the Boko Haram troops, if they cannot reach Iraq or Syria.
Boko Haram has been active for several years in Nigeria, where it has been organizing terrorist attacks, with the purpose of taking over control and imposing a very drastic version of Sharia law. In the past few years, the terrorist organization has gone from fighting government soldiers to pillaging villages, kidnapping civilians, organizing assassinations, market bombings, as well as attacks on churches and even on mosques that were not part of the Boko Haram group. Their actions have brought instability not only in Nigeria, but in neighboring countries such as Cameroon and Chad as well.
The alliance between Boko Haram and ISIS is not that surprising for experts who study terrorism. According to Jacon Zenn, a Nigerian specialist, such a connection would grant the African terrorist organization legitimacy in front of other extremists, which means that it will gain new recruits easily. It is not the first time Boko Haram tries to become part of a larger extremist group: in 2009 they became the allies of al-Qaeda’s North-African branch (AQIM, or al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb), who helped the terrorists train and also organize the first suicide bombings in 2011. In his annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, National Intelligence Director James Clapper declared his worries that the new self-declared north-African Islamic State might expand to neighboring regions.
image credit: Conflict News
A 2-year old Alabama toddler died after drinking methadone spiked grape soda that belong to his babysitter.
It was revealed by the Alabama Police Department that Demonie Hendon, a two year old boy, died on Saturday after he drank his babysitter’s grape soda that contained methadone.
Bessemer Police arrested Cassie Townsend, the 31-year old babysitter of Demonie Hendon and charged her with chemical endangerment exposure to a child resulting in death. The little boy died on Saturday from methadone ingestion.
Cassie Townsend, the child’s babysitter, was watching Demonie on a Friday night when she saw that the soda bottled she had been drinking from that had methadone in it was not where she had left it, she told the police.
As soon as she saw that the bottle had been moved, she went to check in on the little boy, whom she found to be looking very sickly, which led her to suspect that he had to have drunk from the bottle.
Cassie Townsend took the little child to a hospital in Birmingham on Friday night, but she took him back home, shortly after. Later in the day, she found that the boy had become unresponsive, so she rushed him back to the children’s hospital.
Demonie died in the hospital this Saturday, which made police change its charges. The woman was initially charged with child endangerment (chemical endangerment exposure of a child), but after Demonie died, the charged were updated.
At this moment, police are waiting on toxicology reports to confirm that it was indeed methadone in the grape juice that the Alabama toddler ingested. The report, unfortunately, could take several weeks until it is ready.
Methadone is a medication that is used by drug addicts to reduce the withdrawal symptoms of heroin and other narcotics. The powerful drug is usually dispensed at a clinic and patients are supposed to swallow it on-site. They are not allowed to take the methadone away from the facility, it was revealed by the police. An investigation into the clinic that gave Townsend the methadone is expected to begin.
Image Source: NY Daily News
A paper posted in the Nature Communications Journal aims to demonstrate how chameleons can change their skin color for multiple purposes by manipulating crystal cells situated under their skin.
The study was done by a University of Geneva team comprised of researchers Suzanne Saenko, Michael C. Milinkovitch, Jeremie Tessyer and Dirk van der Marel and is entitled suggestively “Photonic crystals cause active colour change in chameleons” .
By observing a range of both male and female, adult and juvenile panther chameleons – a type of chameleon native to Madagascar –, the researchers found out that the lizards have two pigmented layers of crystal cells – named iridophore cells – which can be used to reflect light in different ways.
These iridophore cells are comprised of nanocrystals whose arrangement can change depending on the lizard’s state, which also changes the way it reflects light and ultimately modifies its skin color.
“When the skin is in the relaxed state, the nanocrystals in the iridophore cells are very close to each other — hence, the cells specifically reflect short wavelengths, such as blue,” explained Milinkovitch, professor of genetics and evolution within the University of Geneva.
Milinkovitch also said that excitement of the chameleon’s skin – caused by the apparition of a male rival or a female – will further the gap between its nanocrystals and cause longer wavelength colors such as red, yellow or orange to be reflected.
Their famous green camouflage is actually a combination of the blue reflected when the crystals are close one to another with a high amount of yellow pigment that the elusive lizards happen to hold under their skin.
The second layer of nanocrystals in the chameleon’s skin is responsible for reflecting a big part of the infrared wavelengths and thus provides the lizard a highly effective shield against continuous exposure to the sun.
This sets the chameleon apart from other animals that change colors based on the build-up and dispersal of pigments within their skin, such as squids. The nanocrystal manipulation demonstrated by the research seems to be an evolutionary trait that until now seems specific to chameleons.
The research also showed that only adult male chameleons are the only ones capable of changing colors, due to the fact that females and juveniles have way fewer iridophore cells in their upper layer.
Image Source: Phys
It was announced that actor Johnny Depp was injured on location over for the next installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
The actor was on location in Australia at the time of the injury, which happened over the weekend, but he was not filming.
The fifth installment of the Pirates franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is currently filming in Australia.
According to inside sources, the actor needed surgery and had to be flown back to the United States to have the surgery.
At the moment, the circumstances under which Johnny Depp, 51, hurt himself have not been disclosed and the only piece of information known is that he wasn’t on set when it happened.
Sources also say that production of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie is going to be minimally impacted by the absence of its star. Scenes are going to be shot around the Depp’s charismatic character, Captain Jack Sparrow, for the weeks to come.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales began shooting last month in Australian and it is expected to hit the theaters in around two years, the official release date being July 7, 2017.
The fifth installment of the Pirates movie is also starring Brenton Thwaites and Javier Bardem, whose wife, Penelope Cruz, also starred on the franchise while she was pregnant with their baby. The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie is going to be directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.
The next Pirates of the Caribbean movie is going to feature Jack Sparrow in his search for the trident of Poseidon. Bardem is going to play the role of Sparrow’s old nemesis, Captain Salazar who is going to lead a fleet of deadly ghost pirates who have escaped from the Devil’s Triangle. Bardem aims to kill Sparrow, as well as all pirates at sea and Jack’s only hope of survival is to find the Trident of Poseidon. The Trident gives the person who owns it total control over the seas, which is the only way Sparrow is going to defeat Captain Salazar.
The last movie from the popular Disney Pirates franchise, grossed over $1 billion at the box office worldwide.
Image Source: The Guardian
A chopstick stuck in a toddler’s brain for 10 days was finally removed by surgeons. The boy is now in stable condition and is recovering from the operation and the brain infection the injury has caused.
The toddler is from Chaoyang City in Northern China and during a meal, he decided to stick a chopstick up his nose. Unfortunately, the child fell from his stool and the chopstick got lodged into nose and brain.
Hanghang, the little boy, was eating Chow Mein with both his parents when the unfortunate event happened. The boy’s parents took him to the doctor’s office, where only a part of the chopstick was removed and the toddler was sent home. Both the doctor who did the initial removal and his parents believed that the entire chopstick was removed.
The doctors who were in charge of his supervision at the hospital did not order any X-rays, which would have shown that the boy still had a 2 ½ inch-chopstick in his brain. They just took the visible part of the chopstick out and sent him home after minor physical examination.
But, 10 days after he was released from the local hospital, he started experiencing mental fatigue and drowsiness, so his parents rushed him to the hospital.
The hospital staff and Hanghang’s parents were shocked when they got the X-ray results back. The child still had a piece of chopstick in his brain and he was rushed to the surgery.
The surgery was a complete success and the rest of the 2 ½ chopstick was removed. While the toddler showed great improvements following the surgery, he still needs to stay a few more days in the hospital to treat the infection that the chopstick caused inside his brain.
Doctors say that Hanghang is very fortunate that the piece of wood hit a non-functional part of the brain. A child’s brain is very adaptive and can assign functions to new areas that don’t usually perform such functions.
Cases like this are quite common in China. Just last year, a 2 year-old boy from Wuhan, had a similar accident. Fortunately, his operation also succeeded and he is now fine.
Image Source: Fox News