Iowa to offer an official driver’s license app in 2015 originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.
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Iowa to offer an official driver’s license app in 2015 originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.
Previous estimates said developing countries would need to invest $70 to $100 billion per year through 2050. But a new U.N. report says it's more like $250 to $500 billion per year.
The post Developing Countries May Need Five Times More Investment Than Expected To Adapt To Climate Change appeared first on ThinkProgress.
A newspaper photographer reporting on a TGI Friday's flying "Mobile Mistletoe" drone had her face sliced open by the 23" drone's six bare rotors, and Friday's blamed her for the injury, saying she flinched when the restaurant's drone pilot landed a smaller copter on her outstretched hand. Read the rest
What do Americans under 35 look for in a place to live? According to Vocativ's 2014 Livability Index: Good public transportation, great food, and excellent entertainment options. Portland nabbed the top spot in last year's survey, but this year the winners are New York City (#1) and—surprise—a bunch of cities in Texas. How did your city stack up?
Last year around this time I reported on Vocativ's first Livability Index, which qualified the best places for 35-and-unders to put down roots by examining highly specific data points like coffee shops per capita and the all-important price of an ounce of weed. Although there seems to be a "best places to live" ranking released every week, they aren't really looking at the issues important to this particular age group, says Vocativ's CEO Scott Cohen.
"We want to do this so we can speak to our demographic of people in their 20s and 30s," he says. "We've gotten great feedback, from people saying thank you for your methodology, to those accusing us of having faulty methodology."
That feedback from last year informed this year's study. The team started out the same way, looking at the 100 largest cities in the U.S., then narrowing the list to a top 35 based on very specific criteria. But they made a few tweaks to the methodology, which might be why New York skyrocketed to the top of the list and Portland shuffled down to #10.
One of the biggest additions was diversity, which looked at both ethnic and LGBTQ populations. Another was weather, which ranked cities by average humidity and number of sunny days (which is also perhaps why LA, which was shut out last year, ranked 13th this time).
Sample rankings for Minneapolis, which was #1 for jobs
These indicators were wrapped into eight overall categories, from demographics to jobs to entertainment. While some of the groupings are fairly obvious (housing includes the rent of a two-bedroom apartment, cleaning service and internet), others are a bit more complex. "Appeal," for example, includes the new weather category, in addition to walkability and crime.
The team then added more heft to the categories most relevant to the needs of young adults: Jobs and housing. The next two important areas? Transportation and food.
Using datasets from the U.S. Census and FBI, as well as information from places like Yelp and Walkscore, the index paints a pretty complete picture of what life is like in these cities. I was thoroughly impressed with the description of Los Angeles, although I will say I'm not as keen on the overall method of determining the price of a night out, city-to-city: The cost of a beer, one ounce of weed, and dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Do people really go to Buffalo Wild Wings?
Here's the top ten. New York City, although it's incredibly expensive, did so well in areas like transportation, food options, and entertainment that it beat the competition handily. If you head on over to the top 35 you'll probably notice that nine cities from Texas made it on the list, namely because of their highly diverse, very affordable, very young cities with low unemployment. Lubbock, Texas, is the youngest city in the U.S., for example, while Houston has some of the strongest job growth.
Top art by Christopher Classens
Tablet ownership among U.S. consumers is on the rise, and growing at a faster rate than that of any other connected device. According to The NPD Group's Connected Intelligence, Connected Home Report , as of the third quarter of 2014 (Q3 2014) there were 109 million tablets in use, up 35 million from last year. “Now that the tablet market is unmistakably past the early adopter stage we are able to gain visibility into what the user base is still doing with their devices, and in this case it...
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Mondo, a leading Digital Marketing and Tech resourcing provider, announced today that it was named as one of the “Best Places to Work” in New York City by Crain's New York Business magazine. Mondo has placed in the top 30 out of 100 chosen companies for the last two years. The honorees are measured against factors such as employee benefits and opportunities for advancement, and must employ at least 25 staff members within the five boroughs to be considered eligible. “We're hon...
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Bush administration officials insist that torture works.
The post New Torture Report Expected To Show That Everything Cheney Has Said About Torture Is A Lie appeared first on ThinkProgress.
Back in May Cox Communications announced that the company would be launching faster 1 Gbps services. While the company said the majority of the company's footprint wouldn't even begin to see 1 Gbps until sometime in 2016 (when DOCSIS 3.1 sees broader deployment), Cox will start delivering 1 Gbps speeds to some new housing developments in a number of scattered markets this year.
In October Cox officially announced they'd be launching the 1 Gbps service in Phoenix and parts of Virginia under the "G1GABLAST" brand. In According to the Cox announcement, the service will run users $70 a month -- if bundled with Cox television services.
Today Cox announced that the company would similarly be offering 1 Gbps connections to a select number of high-end apartment customers in Irvine, California.
"Cox already offers the fastest residential Internet in Orange County, and with the launch at Park Place Apartment Homes, we're the first provider in Southern California to offer 1 gigabit speeds to residential customers," Cox crows in the announcement. "As technology continues to advance and change how consumers use broadband, Cox will be well positioned to serve our customers in the future."
Even though the year ended without a permanent fix to the broken immigration system, there has been some movement to gain more recognition for immigrant rights and to bring them into the formal American economy.
Discovery Communications and Hulu today announced an expansive new agreement for the distribution of titles from Discovery's unparalleled portfolio of programming available to U.S. Hulu subscribers. Popular programs, including MYTHBUSTERS, THE LITTLE COUPLE, SAY YES TO THE DRESS, TREEHOUSE MASTERS, HOW IT'S MADE and HOMICIDE HUNTER will debut on Hulu beginning in January 2015. Hulu also will gain exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to Discovery Channel's hit series DEADLIEST ...
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Extreme Reach, Inc., the leading provider of TV and digital video advertising delivery and measurement solutions, and Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN), a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, today announced a multi-year agreement that enables Extreme Reach to provide automated Nielsen encoding of all TV commercials distributed for all Extreme Reach and Nielsen clients. With this automated encoding approach, Nielsen TV and Online Campaign RatingsTM data ...
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Rare collectibles such as a convertible Ferrari 250 GT found under stacks of magazines. 60 cars in need of a home and restoration are set to go to auction.
The post Dreams do come true: Over 60 automotive treasures rediscovered in a French barn appeared first on Digital Trends.
In the 1940s, people tuned into regal radios that were as much a piece of furniture as they were a gadget. So when computer designer Jeffrey Stephenson decided to build a small, high-end gaming PC, he took design cues from a popular Canadian radio model, The Addison. Stephenson crafted an intricate paean to old-fashioned radio aesthetics so he could play his favorite modern games. The results are beautiful:
Stephenson built the machine from the inside out, starting with a simple frame and computer parts and turning it into a working gaming PC that doubles as an object of beauty.
This is what the project looked like in much earlier stages:
Here are the specs Stephenson lists:
Intel Core i7-4770K CPU
Gigabyte Z97N-WiFi Mini-ITX Motherboard
Gigabyte GTX970 Video Card
HyperX Fury 8GB System Memory
HyperX 480GB SSD
Silverstone 450W Modular SFX
Power Supply All-In-One Generic 120mm water cooling system
Beep beep beep beep beep.
Darude's "Sandstorm" turned 15 years old last month.
Beeep beep beep beep beep beep.
It's possible that the anniversary doesn't mean anything to you.
Beep beep beep beep beep.
But I find that a little hard to believe.
Beeep beep beep beep beep beep boop.
Maybe you just need a little something to jog your memory.
(dunhdunh dunhdunhdunh dunhdunhdunh dunhdunhdunh dunhdunhdunh dunhdunhdunh dunhdunhdunh dunhdunhdunh)
Beep beep beep beep beep. Beeep beep beep beep beep beep. Beep beep beep beep beep. Beeep beep beep beep beep beep boop.
Beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep. Beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep. Beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep. Beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep beepbeep beepbeepbeepbeep.
Of course you remember "Sandstorm." But why?
The track barely broke the Hot 100 when it was released in 1999, and more than any other genre, dance music moves quickly and ruthlessly, untethered to hits of the past. Producers get new equipment; tempos speed up and slow down; a big single pulls some new sound from the aether and suddenly everything that came before it sounds hopelessly gaudy. The culture moves on, and as new stuff comes out, old stuff—even great old stuff—gets left behind. That's how most dance music works, anyway. "Sandstorm" is emphatically not most dance music.
Today, against all odds, an unrepentantly goofy seven-minute-long trance anthem by a Finnish producer with no other hits to his name might be more popular than it was when it came out a decade and a half ago. Someone tweets about "Sandstorm" every few minutes; its title is a fixture of Reddit threads and YouTube comment sections; it can be heard regularly at parties, bars, and sporting events; and it's been listened to upwards of 16 million times on Spotify—5 million more than Cher's "Believe," Billboard's most popular single the year it was released. How the hell did that happen?
"I don't find it offensive, if you mean the memes and such," Darude, whose real name is Ville Virtanen, told me via email recently. He's 39 years old, living back in Finland after a few years in the U.S., working on a new album and running EnMass Music, the indie EDM label he co-founded with a friend. "It's weird, (and it's of course my gigantic artistic ego talking now) but there aren't that many people who can say the same about their track—you know, in that it is being played constantly at clubs and sporting events still, popping out here and there online all the time. It's not bad for a track that was made 15 years ago and by the sounds and style was definitely not an obvious top 40 hit to begin with and was not made to be one."
The "memes and such" Virtanen is talking about, of course, have a lot to do with his best-known composition's enduring popularity. More than a piece of music, "Sandstorm" is an an emblem. Uncharitably, it is the punchline to a joke. For some people, "Sandstorm" is a microcosm of some perceived silliness of electronic music; for others, it is the sweaty soundtrack to dance parties of yesteryear. It is the sound of the gym, the sound of the internet, the music a non-techno-listener might hear if you told him to close his eyes and imagine listening to techno. Never mind that a real techno fan would laugh at "Sandstorm" being labeled as such.
Still, Virtanen is good-natured: "I'm happy people are talking about it, even if some are cracking jokes or dissing it," he told me. "That's the thing about art: it can divide people's opinions, but in the end, if you have thick enough skin, you realize that even the negative talks are just that, people are talking about it. The run I've had because of what that track started has multiple times been worth all the trolls who try to get a reaction."
What about "Sandstorm" lent itself to this particular kind of immortalization? Plenty of other songs have had their prior identities similarly washed away: Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll Part 2" is impossible to hear without thinking about "Na, na, hey/You suck!"—and about Glitter's history of child sex abuse, but that's another matter—and the clap-heavy rhythm tracks of Queen's "We Will Rock You" and The Cars' "Let's Go" probably hold more cultural cachet, at least among sports fans, than the recordings from which they came. Outside the stadium, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" is a parody of white southern masculinity and a song title to be drunkenly shouted before it is an actual song, and Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" is forever about Rickrolling, not its former status as a worldwide hit.
One thing that nearly all of these songs have in common is a kind of compositional bluntness, and none more than "Sandstorm." They reveal themselves fully as soon as they begin, then wield their simple hooks like bludgeons, over and over, until the listener submits. "Sandstorm"'s trademark synthesizer line—usually onomatopoeticized with a series of beeps, though Darude renders the sound as "der der" in writing—is so firmly lodged in the brains of anyone who's ever heard it that an text version was once posted to Pandora under "lyrics."
Darude wrote the career-defining riff almost by accident. In the late '90s, he was clubbing regularly, absorbing the sounds of a host of local Finnish DJs. After a night out, he told me, he usually ran home, fired up his computer and began working, "frantically inspired" by the hard house and trance music that were popular at the time. Once, while attempting to reverse-engineer a particular favorite track to figure out what made it tick—he won't say what song it was—he realized he was on to something.
"I actually had the 'der der der' lead sound and melody sitting on my computer for a year or two before I made the whole track," he said. "I was writing down notes of where the bass line, drum this, drum that, other instruments, etc, started and ended—how the arrangement was—and I was also trying to figure out how the different sounds in that track had been made...One of the bridge part sounds that I sort of imitated, but didn't get that close at the time, was what I made up my own rhythmic pattern and melody with and that's the 'Sandstorm' lead melody."
Those beginnings as a sketch on another composition are audible in "Sandstorm" itself. For all its repetition, the track's stuttering central motif is not so much a melody as a dotted line dancing on the edges of melody-shaped negative space. Darude's signature synth sound—crispy and laser-sharp, with all of its middle frequencies scooped out—adds to the effect, just as hollow and mechanical as the music it plays. "It's been crazy to hear all the bootlegs, covers and remixes where people have tried to recreate the sound," he said of the "der der" tone, which he crafted using an 8-bit sample and a distortion plugin in the software Cubase. "But nobody's really nailed it so far."
"Sandstorm"'s road to memehood may also have something to do with the environment into which it was released. In the late '90s and early 2000s, "electronica" felt perpetually on the cusp of breaking through to the pop mainstream, but despite high hopes from fans, dread from conservative music listeners, and a lot of bloviating in the press, it remained a largely niche phenomenon in the U.S. By 2004, Eminem rapped about how "nobody listens to techno" on a massive hit and it sounded like a simple statement of fact, not one of his trademark provocations. (The immediately preceding line, which refers to Moby as a "baldheaded fag," is a helpful reminder that this era's dance music hatred came with a helping of old-fashioned homophobia, just like it did in the disco era.)
This seemingly ridiculous, overhyped music that no one actually listened to found its perfect token in "Sandstorm." Other dance artists of the same era had bigger U.S. success—Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" was a top 40 single, and Moby's album Play went double platinum—but none of Darude's peers on the charts were quite so blatantly electronic. Those musicians used samples, vocalists, and live instrumentation; "Sandstorm," with its relentless kick drum and bulletproof sheen, gave you no such familiar sounds to latch onto. "Sandstorm" sounded like it came from the unfeeling brain of a supercomputer, and it was supposed to sound that way. It was the kind of song that, as a serious, music-obsessed kid in 2001, you imagined frivolous people in bad sunglasses listening to at nightclubs in Berlin.
Fifteen years later, after the full-scale absorption of EDM into American pop music, the need for a dance-music scapegoat isn't as apparent, but we've kept "Sandstorm" around anyway. Maybe, in its garishness, it provides a reassuring contrast: next to Darude's dated production, a sugary megahit like Aviici's "Levels" sounds tasteful, almost austere. Give "Sandstorm" a quick makeover, however—slow its insistent 140 beats per minute tempo down to a lurching 70 or 80, add some ticking Lex Luger hi-hats and a short vocal hook—and it starts sounding less like a decaying monument to past excesses than it does like "Turn Down For What." Maybe we kept "Sandstorm" around for so long because we knew that at some point, we'd finally catch up to it.
A reworked version of "Sandstorm" released this year approximates what I'm talking about. "Sandstorm MLG Trap Remix," which has accrued nearly 200,000 plays since Finnish producer MajorLeagueWobs uploaded it to Soundcloud in July, does Darude's original in the bass-heavy, Atlanta rap-indebted sound that should be familiar to anyone who's been out dancing in the past two years or so. More than just give "Sandstorm" the Diplo treatment, however, MajorLeagueWobs turns it into a creature of seething, stupefying id: air horns announce the song's arrival and don't stop bleating until it's over; snares roll; sirens blare; miraculously, "Damn son, where'd you find this?" gets used as a melodic instrument. "DAMN WUBS!" screams one Soundcloud comment. "#MLGYOLO$W4GMONEYNIPPLETITS" hashtags another. "Represents the gaming internet," a third writes quietly, unaware of the ALL CAPS mandate.
The remix—and especially that last comment—gets to the heart of the latest development in "Sandstorm"'s saga. Darude's track has nearly always been a meme in the classical sense of the word, but in recent years, it's picked up the Imgur definition as well. In 2010, an eerily-lit video of a guy playing the song on a toy trumpet at a dorm-room talent show was uploaded to YouTube and promptly shot up Reddit, kicking off the internet's newfound "Sandstorm" obsession. Last year, the Pandora "lyrics" began making the rounds, and an inexplicably popular video of a gamer playing League of Legends while listening to "Sandstorm" turned it into an anthem for the livestreaming community on Twitch. An inside joke among gamers—any time someone asks what song is playing, reply with "Darude Sandstorm," no matter the song—gradually spread to the wider internet, and now it's impossible to browse YouTube comments without running across Darude.
MajorLeagueWobs, the remixer, clearly has a keen sense of what makes "Sandstorm" so funny, but like any effective parodist, he comes from a place of real admiration. "It's such a legendary track that you just can't help but jam to it. The melody is so simple, but it's so catchy that you just can't forget it. I still remember it from my childhood. For me, as a Finnish guy, Sandstorm has been one of my favorite electronic songs of all time because it brought Finland on the map of electronic music," he told me via email. "The people who listened to that track when it came out are about 20-30 years old now and I remember listening to it a lot when I was a child. Hence I think the nostalgia made it a sudden meme. People started to play it everywhere and it just exploded again. Just like 15 years ago."
Should you desire a different version of "Sandstorm" than the one you're used to, the internet has you thoroughly covered: there are floppy disc drives playing "Sandstorm" in precise eight-part polyphony (535,231 views), a tattooed guy using the track as a backdrop for Yngwie Malmsteen-style metal guitar shredding (538,904), a rendition of the track played on thousands of Minecraft note blocks (81,103), a rousing accordion "Sandstorm" cover (154,737), another Minecraft version (988,200), and a version of the song played on a 10-hour loop (1,948,476).
In 2007, Darude released Label This!, his most recent album, but you wouldn't know it looking at Spotify's charts. A list of his ten most popular tracks contains no less than six different versions of "Sandstorm," and the remaining four spots go to a Flock of Seagulls cover and three other songs from his debut. Ville Virtanen is admirably unperturbed: "Look, if someone comes to the club in 2014 only because of 'Sandstorm', it doesn't matter to me, they came anyway! I get to update their idea of what I do now and I think often the jump in the vibe is not THAT far from what they (think they) know, as I still make and play energetic, simple, beautiful, melodic, emotional dance music."
"The one thing I struggle with is that because of my past there are some expectations, so I'd have to sound like 'Darude,' but at the same time current, unique and fresh, which is easier said than done," he added. " I do think that unless you purely expect to hear 'der der der' all thru the album (in which case you're 14 years late!), you'll be able to find some great earworms and sing-a-longs, some club bangers and some emotional and trancey numbers as well."
"In the Darkness" a Label This! single, is a floating, gossamer piece of trance music of the kind AraabMuzik spun into such magic on Electronic Dream. Like "Sandstorm," it's tightly composed, easy to dance to, and has a soaring, undeniable hook. Also like "Sandstorm," its appeal depends almost entirely on your tolerance for kitsch or willingness to suspend disbelief about the last 15 years of dance music. "In the Darkness" is like "Sandstorm" without the patina of nostalgia. It sounds great, but it would have sounded even better in 1999.
After promising to revamp its online harassment policies, Twitter gets hit with its first major controversy.
The post Twitter Under Pressure To Ban Conservative Blogger Who Posted UVA Rape Victim’s Name appeared first on ThinkProgress.
Looking gaunt and pale, Jobs spoke softly during the deposition he gave six months before his death in October 2011. But he gave a firm defense of Apple's software, which blocked music from services that competed with Apple's iTunes store.
"We were very scared" of the prospect that hackers could break Apple's security system, Jobs said, because that might jeopardize Apple's contracts with music recording companies that didn't want their songs to be pirated. "We would get nasty emails from the labels," he added.
The video wasn't released Friday following its viewing in court.
But Jobs didn't seem cowed by the record labels in an email, read by an attorney for the plaintiffs, in which the Apple CEO demanded that a record company executive publicly apologize for praising rival RealNetworks for producing software that would make songs from the RealNetworks store play on Apple's iPods.
Dressed in his trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, Jobs appeared impatient at times and swiveled in his chair during the session, which was recorded at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California. He said he didn't remember why he was upset with the recording executive. But he acknowledged that he had proposed language for an Apple press release that condemned RealNetworks as a "hacker."
"We are stunned that Real has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions" under federal law, the release said.
While denying responsibility for an attack last week that disrupted Sony's computer system and spewed confidential information onto the Internet, an unidentified spokesman for the North's powerful National Defense Commission acknowledged that it "might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers" of the North's call for the world to turn out in a "just struggle" against U.S. imperialism.
"We do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack, nor (do) we feel the need to know about it," the statement carried in state media said. "But what we clearly know is that the Sony Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of" North Korea.
North Korea has built a cult of personality around the Kim family, which has ruled for three generations, and sees any outside criticism or mockery of its leader as an attack on its sovereignty. It recently opened fire on anti-Pyongyang propaganda balloons that North Korean defectors in the South were floating across the border into the North.
The Sony movie in question, "The Interview," is a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, and its plot concerns an attempt on the life of leader Kim Jong Un.
Pyongyang is not amused.
The statement said the North's enemies, the United States and South Korea, had "groundlessly linked the hacking attack with" Pyongyang, but the denial also included a threat.
The song and YouTube video, “ Stand With Hillary,” continues to make waves around the world and across social media while garnering widespread attention from the mainstream and international press . - - Launched by the Stand With Hillary PAC, the video supports Hillary Clinton's much-anticipated run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. - - Initial goals for the media campaign were surpassed quickly. Within two days of launch, SWH2016.com received more than 50,000 visits, wi...
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Exablox was co-founded by a video-making, rock-climbing CEO intent on killing RAID. El Reg got a closer look at Exablox by attending a press tour at its HQ last week and looking deeper into its object storage-based filer.…