Whatever You Do, Don’t Try To Outrun This Stampede Of Hungry Lambs

Seven little lambs wearing colorful coats were recently filmed kicking up dust as they hoofed it to get their breakfast at an animal sanctuary in Tasmania.

“The Breakfast stampede……..whatever you do don’t get in their way,” FreeHearts Animal Sanctuary posted to Facebook with the adorable video Thursday.

The babies frantically race toward the person holding the camera in anticipation of milk but find only four bottles readily available.

“Only enough room for four!” a woman is heard telling them as she tries to wrestle them off one another with a laugh. “Where are your bottles?”

Once three more bottles appear, all seven tails are seen happily spinning around like pinwheels as they feast on their morning milk.

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According to the sanctuary’s Facebook page, they currently care for more than 80 animals, including cats, chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep and cows.

“We will provide these animals with a loving permanent home where they are free to live in peace and as nature intended,” their page reads. “We rescue and transport injured and orphaned wildlife to a dedicated wildlife carer where the animal will be rehabilitated and re-released wherever possible.”

To see more photos of adorable baby sheep — even a pair wearing diapers — check out the sanctuary’s Facebook page.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/05/15/stampede-of-hungry-lambs_n_9984290.html

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Macklemore joins Obama to discuss opioid epidemic

Washington (CNN)Award-winning hip-hop artist Macklemore joined President Barack Obama in his weekly address to talk about opioid abuse in the U.S.

“Addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley, it often starts in a medicine cabinet,” Obama said in the video, which was posted Saturday morning.
In the video, the President discusses the steps his administration has made to try and curb the country’s opioid abuse epidemic, including working with local law enforcement and citing a provision in Obamacare that requires health care coverage include treatment.
Obama also called on Congress to increase funding for drug treatment.
Macklemore described the problem as personal, explaining that he battled addiction and lost a friend who overdosed on pain relievers. Macklemore said he is now looking to help others facing similar challenges.
“If I hadn’t gotten the help I needed when I needed, I definitely would not be here today,” Macklemore said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says opioids — including prescription pain relievers and heroin — were responsible for 28,000 fatal overdoses in 2014. The CDC has classified the problem as an epidemic.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/14/politics/president-obama-macklemore-opioids/index.html

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The struggle against Internet overload is real

Since the dawn of civilization, roughly 12,000 B.C., to 2003 A.D., only 5 exabytes (5,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) of data has been created. Now, with the rise of the Internets influence in our daily lives, we produce this amount of data every two days.

We live in a world where so much data is being created, and where most people are connected to this constant stream of data via their phone and/or computer that not only does it become all consuming, but also almost unavoidable. Frankly, when people are looking for an escape from the Internet, they usually search the Internet for answers.

And while the Internet remains a value-neutral enterprise, the speed of its expansion should be the greatest cause of concern for the average person. The sheer speed and natural invasiveness of the Internet makes it nearly inescapable. Human beings on average spend more than 8 hours (490 minutes to be exact) a day on the Internet. That is more than the amount of recommended sleep and more than half of our waking day, and it is expected that we will spend even more time in the coming years. As we consume more, we naturally feel a yearning desire to escape more. But we are also increasingly less equipped to do so because of our growing dependence on the Internet.

The philosopher Alain de Botton describes the paralyzing expanses of the Internet as overwhelming and asphyxiating.

Frankly, when people are looking for an escape from the Internet, they usually search the Internet for answers.

Author and journalist Nicholas Carr reminds, warns and encourages us that our brains are elastic and can easily adapt to its surroundings, yet adaptivity does not necessarily mean positive changes. The brain is also a value-neutral enterprise. It can adapt to become more forgetful and have a shorter attention span, if the information it receives inclines it to act that way. There is no inherent moral compass in your brain that makes it naturally more predisposed to organize itself in a positive manner. It merely seeks to find the most efficient method for addressing the tasks it confronts. If that task is digesting large sums of information from your computer and/or phone, your brain will allocate more resources here and less resources towards analyzing and remembering the information, or towards interacting with the rest of the world.

In Carrs book, The Shallows: How The Internet Is Changing Our Brains, he writes: Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

The constant bombardment of new data is making it harder to take that deep dive into a long story, and as a result people are becoming less contemplative and analytical. The focus has shifted towards increasing the brains ability to consume so to keep up with the unceasing rapidity of data production on the Web. A persons fear of being left behind because he failed to consume enough data may start to outweigh the need to understand exactly why you are consuming this data in the first place.

Every minute of the day, Facebook users share 2.5 million pieces of content, Twitter users tweet 300,000 times, YouTube users upload 72 hours of video, and 200 million emails are sent.

It is easy to get lost within this sea of data, but the modern Internet-based ocean is more like a galaxial sized body of water that is ever-expanding and most of its contents are unknown.

And while the size, scope and ever expanding nature of the Internet may make it seem overwhelming, the value-neutrality of the Internet, and our brains, can actually chart a sensible path or equilibrium through the chaos. Value-neutrality means that it is not inherently positive or negative. It is what you make of it and what you make it into. There is no inherent benefit towards reading 10 articles instead of reading one article.

For example, This.cm, a new social media startup, only allows its users to post one item a day. It provides a decluttered and organically curated iteration of the Internet, and many of the posts emphasize long-form storytelling. This.cm also produces an email newsletter that presents the top five posts of the dayan additional decluttering.

Arguably, you could describe them as the anti-Facebook, but not the anti-Internet. It just focuses of the quiet, secluded, solitudinous segment of cyberspace that encourages devoting yourself to one thing at a time and not being afraid to turn off your computer every now and then.

Taking a break from the constant bombardment of data is a necessary step to prevent our brains from becoming adapted primarily to cyberspace instead of the physical world.

The sense of being overwhelmed by the frenetic, regenerative and ever-expanding interconnected web of cyber data is actually a welcomed breath ofor gasping forfresh air to stave off drowning within the galaxial sea of the Internet. Taking a break from the constant bombardment of data is a necessary step to prevent our brains from becoming adapted primarily to cyberspace instead of the physical world.

Sure, the anxiety of falling behind and missing something may consume you as you focus on reading a book, taking a walk, or simply staring into space, but that anxiety only stems from a false assumption that you could actually keep up with something that is far greater than most people had imagined.

The Internet is unavoidable and it plays a vital role in our day-to-day, but we have more control than we probably imagined over how we choose to let the Internet govern our lives.

Barrett Holmes Pitner is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and columnist who focuses mostly on race, culture, and politics, but also loves to dabble in sports, entertainment and business. His work has appeared in The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, National Journal, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @BarrettPitner or visit his website barrettholmespitner.com.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/internet-overload-the-struggle-against-is-real/

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21 ways to live a longer, fuller life

When we’re young, we all believe we’re going to live forever. But as we age, most of us realize that’s not the case. What’s more, it becomes clear that the choices we make can have an impact on how long we live. While there are no guarantees or methods that can tell you how many calendars you’ll buy (despite what actuaries say), there are many simple benchmarks that can help predict if you’ll live longer than most. Here are 21 of the most important reasons why you’ll probably live longer than your peerstry not to rub it in.

You got married

Congratulations! We may be a little late on the wedding gift, but we figure that just the fact that you got hitched is reward enough since you’ll be living longer as a result. A 2013 study by Duke University Medical Center published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine revealed that being married reduces the risk of premature death in midlife. The study looked at 4,802 people and those that were married through their middle decade were less likely to have an untimely demise. Researchers surmised that the act of having a partner to lean on and work with through any challenges faced in midlife make that era of life much easier to deal with.

You don’t stress

In a 2015 study, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco discovered that women who are under chronic stress have lower levels of klotho, a hormone that promotes brain and body health and regulates the aging process. Researchers believe low levels of klotho may be linked to an increased risk of accelerated disease development. Additionally, a 2012 study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that risk of heart attack and stroke increase 20% when a person suffers from chronic stress.
Your best bet to ward off high levels of the hormone is to try to lower your stress levels. If simple, do-it-yourself techniques like meditation or yoga aren’t helping, you should consult your doctor.

You look young

Ever have one of those days that you just know you look good? How about a lot of them? Research published in the British Medical Journal discovered that looking young as you age directly correlates with living longer. The 2009 study looked at 1,826 twins and found that the twin who looked older died earlier than their younger-looking counterpart. If the disparity in their appearance was large, the older-looking twin was even more likely to die earlier than if the difference was smaller. What does this mean for you? Looking young and healthy is a great determining factor to living a longer life, so make efforts to look and feel healthy and, ultimately, you’ll live longer as a result.

You’re not alone

You may take your friends and family for granted sometimes, but the truth is they’re a big reason you’re going to live a long, healthy life. Researchers at Brigham Young University discovered that social isolation and loneliness can be as life threatening as obesity. The study, published in 2015 in Perspectives on Psychological Science, indicates that feelings of being alone impact on people of all ages and can be a precursor to premature deatheven in individuals under 65. The study authors believed that their findings ultimately prove that more positive psychology means better overall healthemotionally and physically.

You’ve traded white bread for whole grains

Wheat, barley, ryewhole grains like these deliver essential nutrients that have life-lengthening benefits. Among those nutrients are polyphenols. A 2013 study sponsored in part by the United States National Institute on Aging and published in the Journal of Nutrition found that older adults who had the highest concentrations of polyphenols in their urine (and thus the diets richest in these micronutrients) had a 30% reduced mortality compared to those with less. Additionally, a 2015 study with more than 360,000 participants and published in BMC Medicine revealed that higher consumption of whole grains was associated with a lower risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and other causes.

You know the value of a short run

Even if you have never trained for a marathon and don’t exactly live in the gym, you may outlive the folks that do just because you jog. The ideal amount of running a person should strive for when it comes to living a long life is 60 to 144 minutes weekly, split into three jogs, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The 12-year study tracked 1,098 healthy people and found that making this simple commitment was more effective than running for lengthier, more intense periods. “People overestimate how much time they need to devote to physical fitness in order to live a long, healthy life,” says Michael Seril, a National Strength and Conditioning Association and American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer based in Whittier, Calif.

You are a social butterfly

If a Netflix binge sounds more appealing than a night out, you won’t like this one. Researchers at the University of Cambridge discovered that your social life is a great indicator of how long you’ll live. The 2010 meta-analysis published in PloS One indicates that social isolation is a detriment to our health. In fact, people who have a healthy social life are 50% more likely to outlive the local hermit. For a little perspective, these findings mean that social isolation is comparable with other mortality risk factors like smoking and alcoholism, and exceed the risks associated with obesity and physical inactivity.

You aren’t apple-shaped

Having a big belly can almost double your mortality riskeven if your body mass index falls within the “healthy” range, according to a 2008 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, which looked at more than 350,000 people in Europe, found that having greater than a 47.2-inch waist for men and a 39.4-inch waist for women doubled the risk of premature death compared with people who had smaller waists.

You have a sense of a higher purpose

This may sound like a trick question, but do you feel like your life has meaning? Think carefullyyour answer might dictate how long you live. According to research published in Lancet, people who believe their lives have more purpose live longer than those who don’t feel a clear sense of meaning in life. The study looked at nearly 9,000 people and ranked them according to four categories on a range of personal wellbeing from highest to lowest. The results were intriguing: People who felt they had more meaningful lives outlived their peers who did not. People in the lowest category in the study had a 29% mortality rate in an eight-year span while those with the highest sense of purpose had only a 9% mortality rate. If you figure you’re not in that latter category, bring some meaning into your life: Volunteer, get a pet, start a project, or find that special something that makes feel like you’re making a difference.

You’re a conscientious person

People who’ve lived to 100 tend to have the same personality traits in common: They’re conscientious, extraverted, and open, according to a 2006 study published in the journal Age. Researchers speculate that conscientious people are more self-disciplined when it comes to diet and exercise and less likely to smoke and drink. Meanwhile, an extraverted personality is associated with optimism, which translates to lower stress levels.

Your grandparents lived until they were very old

How long did your grandparents live? Chances are that if they lived well into their golden years, you have a very good chance of living long too. According to a 2010 study published in the journal Science and updated later in PloS One, healthy aging can be based on two important factors: Genetics and environment. The original study looked at 1,055 centenarians (people who lived past 100 years) and 1,267 controls and found that they could predict long life with almost 60 to 85% accuracy. How? Apparently genetic markers and variants help dictate longevity in spite of environmental factors. While the study does not say if these genes can be passed down, it does lend some credence to the idea that if your grandparents lived a long life, it may be in your blood to do so as well.

You aren’t obese

Obese people who have a BMI of 35 or higher have a 29% increased risk of death over normal-weight individuals, according to a 2013 review of more than 100 studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This report also made headlines for a shocking revelation: people who are overweight (but not obese) may live longer than normal-weight individuals. Still, this news doesn’t give you permission to pack on extra pounds. Being overweight still increases your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

You drink alcohol (but just a little bit)

Averaging more than one alcoholic drink a day for women and two for men increases risk of cancer, liver disease, and heart diseasebut having just a little bit of booze each day may actually extend your life. One Dutch study found that having slightly less than one daily serving of wine, beer, or spirits was associated with a 36% lower risk of all causes of death and a 34% lower risk of cardiovascular death. Similarly, a Spanish study of 15,500 men and nearly 26,000 women found that long-term moderate drinking decreased risk of heart disease, especially in men.

You get the right amount of sleep

According to research from the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine and the American Cancer Society, it seems the sweet spot for sleepand living a longer life as a resultis to get about seven hours of shut eye every night. The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, looked at 1.1 million adults between 30 and 102 years old over a six-year period and found that people who slept for eight hours or more each night or less than four hours died earlier than those that slept somewhere in between. Shockingly, even people who slept only five hours each night on average lived longer than the folks who snoozed for eight or more. The best survival rates found in the study were for subjects who averaged seven hours each night. The lesson: Get yourself up to seven hours and you’ll be your best every morningand have a lot more mornings to look forward to in the process.

You eat fish

A seafood-rich diet supplies you with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which might help lengthen your life. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at more than 2,600 adults and those who had the highest omega-3 blood levels reduced their overall risk of death by 27%, and even had a 35% lesser chance of dying from heart-related issues. “Aim to eat about 7 ounces of fish on a weekly basis for greater overall health,” suggests Chicago-based dietitian Jenny Westerkamp, RD.

You lift weights

Go ahead and flex those muscles! Lifting weights strengthens your body with lean muscle mass, which not only helps you look better, but also live longer. In a University of California, Los Angeles study of 3,659 adults, people who had the most lean muscle mass were the least likely to die prematurely. “Working out doesn’t stop when you get older,” Seril says. “Staying in shape is a lifelong commitment and retaining muscle mass as you age will keep you alive a lot longer than people who skip the gym as they age.”

You had a child later in life

Maybe you were a late bloomer, or maybe love hit you a little later in life than you had planned. If you gave birth to a child after the age of 33, chances are you’ll live longer than your friends who had their last child by age 29. A 2014 study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society looked at 551 families and found that women who gave birth later in life lived longer. In fact, women who gave birth after age 40 were four times more likely to outlive those who delivered a decade earlier.

You took care of those cataracts

According to research published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, taking care of your peepers reduces your risk of mortality by a whopping 40%. Head researcher of the study, Jie Jin Wang, PhD, believes that the link between living longer and cataract surgery is likely attributed to better mobility, improved physical and emotional well-being, overall optimism, and greater confidence living after besting visual impairment.

Your dad was a little older

If your dad was the oldest on the block, you should call him up and thank him for waiting so long to bring you into the world. Having an older father is a good indicator that you’ll outlive your peers, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. What does this really mean for you? If your dad reproduced when he was older, that means his life and environment were more favorable than his ancestors, which is a good precursor to your ability to live longer. Why? Simply put: If his life was better, yours will very likely be even better than his!

You never smoked

One of the main reasons you’ll be outliving most of your best friends is simple: You don’t smoke. According to the CDC, people who never got into the habit of smoking live about 10 years longer than their tobacco-loving counterparts. But if you did partake in some puffing when you were younger, you’ll still outlive the diehard, never-quit smokers if you ditched the habit before you hit your midlife crisis. Why? Because your risk of dying of smoke-related disease decreases by 90% just by quitting before age 40, according to findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

You’re spiritual

Measuring the power of prayer has long been a point of contention for many in the scientific community. But in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Religion & Health, researchers looked at more than 92,000 women, including smokers, drinkers, and women who exercised (and those who didn’t). Regardless of unhealthy or healthy habits, the study found that people who attended one religious service each week were less likely to be depressed than those who did not. Since depression can impact longevity, such attendance might help. And a 1998 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that elderly community residents who regularly attended church services lived longer than those who did not partake.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/08/health/live-long-life-tips/index.html

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Air pollution rising at an ‘alarming rate’ in world’s cities

Outdoor pollution has risen 8% in five years with fast-growing cities in the developing world worst affected, WHO data shows

Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

3,000 cities on WHO report

While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels.

Bar chart of cities by region

According to the new WHO database, levels of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) are highest in India, which has 16 of the worlds 30 most polluted cities.

China, which has been plagued by air pollution, has improved its air quality since 2011 and now has only five cities in the top 30. Nine other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, have one city each in the worst 30.

China and India PM 2.5

For the larger, but slightly less dangerous PM10 particles, India has eight cities in the worlds top 30. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan each have two cities in the top 10. The true figure for the growth in global air pollution is likely to be worse because only a handful of African cities monitor their levels.

Africa and Asia PM 10

The most polluted city in the world, according to the WHO data, is Onitsha, a fast-growing port and transit city in south-eastern Nigeria that recorded levels of nearly 600 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10s – around 20 times the WHO recommended level.

Air pollution levels were generally much lower for cities in developed countries with Sydney, New York and London registering 17, 16 and 22 micrograms per cubic metre for PM10s respectively. However, the data only includes measurements for particulates and does not include forms of air pollution such as NO2 and ozone.

We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. Its dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with terrible future costs to society, said Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva.

The cost for countries is enormous. Air pollution affects economies and peoples quality of life. It leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying, she said.

The new data, drawn from city and academic records, shows a rapid deterioration in air quality as low-income cities grow unchecked and populations become unable to escape clouds of smog and soot from transport, industry, construction sites, farming and wood-burning in homes.

Outdoor air pollution causes more than 3m deaths a year – more than malaria and HIV/Aids – and is now the biggest single killer in the world. The toll is expected to double as urban populations increase and car numbers approach 2bn by 2050.

Air pollutants such as sulphates, nitrates and black carbon penetrate deep into the lungs and into the cardiovascular system, posing the greatest risks to human health, says the UN.

As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them. When dirty air blankets our cities the most vulnerable urban populations – the youngest, oldest and poorest – are the most impacted, said Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general.

Encouragingly, there is evidence from the WHO data that many cities are addressing air pollution. More than half of the monitored cities in high-income countries and more than one-third of those in low- and middle-income countries reduced their air pollution levels by more than 5% in five years. Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, has banned large diesel cars from going into the city centre.

Measures taken by cities include reducing industrial smokestack emissions, increasing the use of renewable power sources like solar and wind, and prioritising rapid transit, walking and cycling networks in cities. Many cities are also committed to reducing reducing car traffic and diesel vehicles in particular.

The UNs third outdoor air pollution database suggests the cleanest cities in the world are generally small, wealthy and situated far from industrial centres. Muonio in Finland, a town above the Arctic circle, has the worlds purest recorded urban air, recording just 2 micrograms per cubic metre of PM2.5 pollution and 4 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10s. It is closely followed by Norman Wells in Canada, Campisbalos in Spain and Converse County, Wyoming in the US.

Search database

Of 52 UK towns and cities included in the UN database, Port Talbot in south Wales, a hub for the UK steel industry, is the most polluted, ahead of London, Glasgow, Southampton and Leeds. The cleanest UK city in the WHO list is Inverness, followed by Bournemouth, Newcastle and Sunderland.

The most polluted city in Australia, according to the data, is Geraldton, a major seaport on the west coast, north of Perth. The most polluted city in the United States is the inland city of Visalia-Porterville in California.

More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organisation limits. While all regions of the world are affected, populations in low-income cities are the most impacted; 98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. However, in high income countries, that percentage decreases to 56%, said the WHO.

It is crucial for city and national governments to make urban air quality a health and development priority, said Dr Carlos Dora, co-ordinator of the WHOs Interventions for Healthy Environment programme. When air quality improves, health costs from air pollution related diseases shrink, worker productivity expands and life expectancy grows. Reducing air pollution also brings an added climate bonus, which can become a part of countries commitments to the climate treaty.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/12/air-pollution-rising-at-an-alarming-rate-in-worlds-cities

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The Majestic Power Of Ocean Waves By Luke Shadbolt (10 Pics)

Australian photographer Luke Shadbolt has captured the ominous power of waves in his latest series, “Maelstrom.” Partially inspired by the volatile El Nino season of 2016, Shadbolt hasn’t revealed where these photos were taken, adding to the universality of the shots. He explains the series in the following way on his site:

“Maelstrom documents the duality of nature; creation and destruction in a single act. It is an exploration of the balance of light and dark inherent in nature, both on a physical and sociological level. In this new body of work, an astounding array of environmental factors align in a sudden, fleeting, chaotic event, to produce an oceanic force that is unmatchable in its primal ferocity.”

Those of you interested in buying prints should check out the Michael Reid art shot link below.

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/wave-photography-maelstrom-luke-shadbolt/

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Cherry Blossoms Paint A Lake Purple Making Tokyo Look Like A Fairytale

Tokyo-based photographer Danilo Dungo uses drones to take stunning pictures of Japanese cherry blossoms. Every spring, he goes to the Inokashira Park to admire the blossoms, and while regular photography capture the park’s beauty, the drones reveal something else altogether.

When seen from a great height, the lake Inokashira Park lake appears to be entirely covered in blossoms! Resembling pollen in a river stream, the blossoms turn the lake a surreal pink, a view unseen by most before the drone age. Be sure to check out Dungo’s other photographs at the National Geographic link below!

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/sakura-cherry-blossom-drone-photography-danilo-dungo-japan/

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The inside story of Uber and Lyft’s failure in Austin

This story is part of a series of features,The Future of Ride-Hailing. The project is intended to show how the taxicab industry, with varying degrees of success, is pushing back against the existential threat posed by the rise of ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber.

Its election day in Austin, Texas, and the campaign that funneled more than $8 million to secure the future of Uber and Lyft in the city didnt bother to throw an official party to watch results.

An afternoon text from Ridesharing Works for Austin Deputy Outreach Director Huey Rey Fischer reads like resigned contempt for the process. Im tired of the pettiness of the politics in this town. Its a real turnoff for young people, he writes.

Ridesharing Works is the political action committee funded by ride-hailing leaders Uber and Lyft. In the past few weeks, its sent no less than 14 mailers to my South Austin address about Proposition 1, to pair with text messages and near-daily phone calls. Ive even been offered a free ride to my polling location.


The ballot measure the PAC is jostling for has a confusing history with dense language. Its a 60-word question:

Shall the City Code be amended to repeal City Ordinance No. 20151217-075 relating to Transportation Network Companies; and replace with an ordinance that would repeal and prohibit required fingerprinting, repeal the requirement to identify the vehicle with a distinctive emblem, repeal the prohibition against loading and unloading passengers in a travel lane, and require other regulations for Transportation Network Companies?

The gist is that a yes vote allows the ride-hailing apps to continue operating without three tiers of municipal regulation. A no endorses the ordinance the city passed in December, requiring, among other things, fingerprint-based background checks on all drivers.

Uber and Lyft pivoted on message several times with hopes of landing one that resonated. They settled on a bottom line: Both companies promised to cease operations in the state capital if Prop. 1 failed, a decision that would result in a lot of loss of jobs, opportunities, and convenience.

Now hope is beginning to dwindle for them. East-side bar Lustre Pearl is hosting about 30 Lyft drivers at an unofficial campaign gathering. Some huddle around a phone thats livestreaming the results from NPR affiliate KUT: More than 55 percent of the public just voted no.

Come Monday morning, Lyft and Uber will be gone. A few drivers at the watering hole talk about staying off the roads tonightlet the city deal with what it just did, they say.

Depending on which faction of Austinites you side with, what voters did either set back the citys technology sector and reputation for innovation while creating a public transportation crisis, or a plucky, vocal group of liberals stood up to corporate bullying.

Conservative Austin City Council member Don Zimmermantonight wearing white pants, a white shirt, black tie, and a gentlemanly straw hatis livid.

You pass all these rotten, useless ordinances against people and rules against peoplenow they cant afford to do business, and they leave, Zimmerman tells my Daily Dot colleague. Were the city of over-regulation controlled by the nanny council. We dont have a city council, we have a nanny council.

A Lyft driver Ive recently met texts me his mixed feelings about the contentious, precedent-establishing electionone that often felt like a vote for the future of the ride-hailing industry.

The amount of txts i have been getting from uber trying to solicit my vote is shameless On their behalf. On the other hand i dont really feel like it is good legislation on behalf of the city council.

Back at Lustre Pearl, a millennial-aged Lyft employee addresses his companys flock of crestfallen contract laborers: You guys are one of the most incredible Lyft communities of drivers Ive ever met, he says, introducing campaign organizer Nicole Redler. You bet your ass this is going to be her first project is making sure that it gets back here ASAP.

Redler thanks those gathered and is overcome with tears. Her cause could not have been helped by the fact that Ridesharing Works didnt begin its campaign until April 3 with an optimism-tinged party at smoked meat haven, La Barbecue.

Drivers from surrounding suburbsLakeway, Round Rock, Cedar Parkask about geo-fencing outside of city limits. Maybe they can keep working in the suburbs.

I dont have that answer, the Lyft employee says. Is that what you guys want?

We want to drive.

Clear eyes, young hearts

A week before the May 7 election, Huey Rey Fischer was feeling good. The deputy outreach director for Ridesharing Works for Austin is in turbo mode, scrambling about campus to secure endorsements from student government.

Were in Caff Medici, a college coffeeshop. Fischer is thin, wears dark-framed glasses, and was drinking a mineral water to curb his sweating. Hes a recent graduate of the University of Texas, using this window between law school to dive into a campaign he claims to deeply believe in.

Fischer identifies as a progressive Democrat, and in March lost a race for state representative. Hes the openly gay son of a once-undocumented woman from Mexico, and hes worked on more than 12 campaigns across Texas and as a legislative aide focused on environmental policies, according to his website. Hes not your usual Uber spokesman, then: that pro-business, Silicon Valley type who speaks in TED talk superlatives.

Theyve called me a sellout. Theyve called me neoliberal scum. Theyve called me a corporate shill spokesperson, Fischer said.

In December, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance requiring transportation network companies (TNCs) to conduct fingerprint-based background checks on drivers. Despite measures aimed to negotiate, facilitate, and incentivize this process, like Mayor Steve Adlers Thumbs Up! program, Ridesharing Works petitioned more than 65,000 citizens to overturn the law. The Austin city clerk certified the petition, and it forced the Prop. 1 election.

Fischer thought it would take making it a generational issue to win.

Both sides havent been very honest, Fischer said. Yeah, Uber has been heavy-handed in its tactics, thats lousy. But putting all of the politics aside I care about how this will directly impact the quality of life for young people and students. The older folks in this community who are voting against Uber because they hate Uber but theyve never used Uber or Lyft before because they dont need Uber and Lyft, theyll carry on fine. But Im going to see DWIs increase again. Im going to see my friends putting themselves in riskier situations, and thats just unacceptable.

Fischer proudly points to the fact that when he debated former Council Member Laura Morrison in mid-April, she copped to never using Uber or Lyft: Yet she spent three years arguing about it.

He says Austin City Council often ignores student interests and points to noise ordinances near campus or last years clash over stealth dorms. Hes upset that these rulings are passed down without student input. We end up getting screwed over in the process and thats not fair, Fischer said.

Its something we depend on. Its something we trust, he says about ride-hailing. We understand what its like to just get into a car with a stranger because we trust that they went through a background check. Its a service that were just comfortable with just like young people are comfortable using Tinder to go on dates.

To help hammer home the message, Friday Night Lights actor Taylor Kitsch was brought to campus as a paid spokesman. Kitsch posed for photos with students during early voting in front of a vote for prop 1 backdrop.

Despite the war chest, a Democratic party leader told me that Ridesharing Works waited far too long to get into the race. A week out from the election, Fischer thought he had the student vote. To pull this off, affection for ride-hailingwhere undergrads make extra cash and get a ride to the airport from their phonesneeded to be the prevailing narrative.

Fingerprinting andfinger-pointing

At its most bare bones, Prop. 1 positions a 2014 ordinance adopted by the city against December’s move toward fingerprinting, and its pitted prominent members of the community against one another.

Former Mayor Lee Leffingwell, a paid Ridesharing Works consultant, clashed publicly with his Democratic successor, after penning a Ridesharing Works Facebook post: If it aint broke, dont fix it, it read.

Its broken, Council Member Ann Kitchen countered to the Daily Dot on the phone. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo added, Having been on the council during the time when we had that 2014 policy discussion I disagree. That was intended to be an interim ordinance.

At the time, Tovo says Uber and Lyft were operating illegally in Austin. The city pushed toward fingerprinting then, to no avail.

At every step of the way, almost every time, there was an amendment introduced. My colleagues would invite an Uber spokesperson or a Lyft spokesperson up to provide comment and if they didn’t like the provision it was pretty well doomed, Tovo said. Uber and Lyft had a very strong hand in writing the 2014 ordinance.

It was one Tovo supported, she says, because we all understood that there would be a permanent ordinance coming behind it, which is what this council adopted in 2015.

The ride-hailing supporters maintain that Lyft and Ubers background checks are fine: They require submitting a drivers license, vehicle registration, address, banking information; its a process that Fischer says goes through all 50 states, checks sex offender registries, and the terrorism watch list. Critics contend thats not enough: Background checks only go back seven years. Prosecutors from a recent California lawsuit found that Uber drivers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, for example, had prior convictions for second-degree murder, kidnapping, and assault that went unnoticed.

Up until a month ago the fingerprinting-based background check that the city uses for taxicab companies only looked at Texas, so it wasnt even fully comprehensive and they only made it national once they realized that everything was being scrutinized in this election, Fischer added.

Fischers chief gripe is about fingerprinting.

Fingerprinting is discriminatory. By only looking at arrests and not final convictions, that poses a problem to over-policed communities, Fischer says. You dont support discriminatory policies and say well tackle it down the road. You either have a solution or you find an alternative, and the alternative is the background checks from Uber.

It helps that Uber and Lyfts in-house checks make business easier. The campaign says that the added, city-forced step will mean less drivers on the road, longer wait times, and a needless bureaucratic impediment. It says this step is an inefficient deal-breaker to operating in town.

I just disagree, Tovo said. We have the DPS, FBI, our own Austin police chief who have all said fingerprint background checks are the only way to assure that the person youre running a criminal background check on is actually the right person.

Tovo says she doesnt find Ubers safety procedures to be sufficient. As for the notion of fingerprinting as targeting minority communities, she counters by noting that there is an opportunity in the process for an individual to provide follow-up information to the transportation staff and, for instance, note that a case was dismissed.

We cant prevent every violent crime from happening in this kind of vehicle for hire, certainly, Tovo said, but I think we have an obligation as a municipality to adopt the best practice safety measures.

A tense 48 hours

Election day is, of course, a loss for Uber and Lyft. The city ultimately shoots down Prop. 1 down by more than 10,000 votes. Even the local endorsements are one-sided.

Monday morning, my apps go dark as promised. Lyft at 5am local time, Uber at 8am.

Ramon Ramirez

Uber and Lyft were done no favors by recent headlines: Alleged sexual harassment from an Uber driver in Boston; consumer protection lawsuits in San Francisco; most alarmingly, an Uber driver in Michigan allegedly killed six people in March.

In Austin, a Lyft driver was arrested under suspicion of DUI just before South by Southwest in March. On May 4, Uber was hit with a class-action lawsuit over its blitz of campaign texts to voters, while Lyft was hit with a million-dollar lawsuit after a motorcyclist died on April 23 from allegedly swerving to avoid a driver unloading passengers in the wrong lane. During election week the Austin Police Department showed that Uber and Lyft havent decreased drunk driving numbers by 23 percent as claimedits actually 12 percent.

Ubers thought was that they could turn out all these different voters, these new voters who used and cared about the service, Travis County Democratic Party Communications Director Joe Deshotel told the Daily Dot. They cant really question the validity of the vote, given that they outspent us 80-to-1.

For their part, Uber and Lyft spokespersons expressed their disappointment with the results in statements emailed to the Daily Dot. From Lyft:

Unfortunately thousands of people who drive with ridesharing companies to earn much needed income will now have to find another way to make ends meet. Thousands more of our citizens and visitors from around the world will soon have one less option to get around town safely. … The benefits of ridesharing are clear: reduced drunk driving and economic opportunity. And we won’t stop fighting to bring it back.

And Uber:

Disappointment does not begin to describe how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin. For the past two years, drivers and riders made ridesharing work in this great city. Were incredibly grateful. … We hope the City Council will reconsider their ordinance so we can work together to make the streets of Austin a safer place for everyone.

In the immediate aftermath of Saturdays result, alternative ride-hailing app Get Me reportedly emailed 500 prospective driversand forgot to BCC everyone, exposing drivers personal email aliases. The Dallas-based app agreed to comply with the fingerprint checks, but it doesnt appear to have the infrastructure to handle the uptick in business.

This fight wont be over anytime soon, however. As the Atlantics Citylab blog notes: Conservative state lawmakers have already signaled an interest in big-footing local government on ride-hailing regulations. State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, has vowed to craft state legislation that would overrule the Austin City Council.

Mass protests in favor of ride-hailing are on the books this month, too. Austins startup leaders and dissenting technocrats have taken to Twitter to air grievances:





Deshotel, the Travis County Democratic Party communications director, hopes both Mayor Adler and the TNCs can begin rebuilding soon after a cool-off period. Adler seems amenable to hashing it out, but he doesnt appear to be holding his breath. As he told the Daily Dot Saturday night, Frankly, I think we were innovating a little too quickly for Uber and Lyft. Theyre big companies and sometimes theyre not quite as nimble as maybe youd like, and now I think this might give us as a chance for all of us to catch up with each other.

The problem is Deshotel says that the city now feels it has a mandate for fingerprinting, when in his opinion voters mostly felt cornered by Uber and Lyft. At the end they’re just like God fuck this company, he says.

While the dust settles, the fact remains that $8 million in influence just went into a failed campaign. How did Uber and Lyft fumble at the goal-line?

By creating an astroturf campaign and not realizing that basically it takes more than algorithms to create a relationship with the voters, Deshotel said. Or perhaps, more simply: They thought they could just cut a check to the people that they needed and then harass people.

Additional reporting by Samantha Grasso.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/technology/uber-lyft-austin-future/

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Can This Interactive Map Of Emotions Bring World Peace? The Dalai Lama Thinks So

The task of healing humanity may seem too lofty a goal for some. But Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is not the kind of man who is easily deterred.

The Dalai Lama has teamed up with renowned psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman to build an “Atlas of Emotions” that aims to map out all of the feelings that a human can experience. The interactive online project, launched on Friday, is the Dalai Lama’s way of encouraging people around the globe to get more in touch with their emotions, which he believes will help bring world peace.

Atlas of Emotions
Ekman and many of his colleagues dividehuman emotions into these five continents.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader told The New York Times that when individuals become self-aware about the emotions that they’re experiencing, he believes it can have a ripple effect on society.

“We have, by nature or biologically, this destructive emotion, also constructive emotion,” the Dalai Lama said. “This innerness, people should pay more attention to, from kindergarten level up to university level. This is not just for knowledge, but in order to create a happy human being. Happy family, happy community and, finally, happy humanity.”

The project is the result of years of friendship between the Dalai Lama and Ekman. The pair first met in Dharamsala, India, in 2000, and have kept in touch ever since to talk about emotional awareness.

“The Dalai Lama paid Dr. Ekman at least $750,000 to develop the project, which began with a request several years ago,” the Times reports.

Darren Staples / Reuters
In2014, the Dalai Lama tasked his friend Dr. Paul Ekman with the job of creating amap of the mind.

For the Atlas, Ekman worked with his daughter, psychologist Dr. Eve Ekman, and the San Francisco-based data visualization firm Stamen Design. Based on a survey of leading scientists and psychologists in the field, Ekman synthesized the full range of human emotions into five broad “continents“: anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment.

If the categories sound familiar, it’s because they are the same five emotions that are anthropomorphized in the Disney-Pixar film “Inside Out.” Ekman was one of the scientists the movie’s creators consulted while putting the film together.

The online Atlas explains each of these core emotions and then goes a few steps further by linking them to different emotional states, triggers, actions and moods.

For example, users can explore how external triggers like losing a loved one, or being rejected by someone important can result in the emotion of sadness. Sadness then causes a range of emotional states, from disappointment, which is the least intense form, to anguish, which is the most intense. Sadness can also lead to certain associated actions — like feeling ashamed, protesting, and seeking comfort. A longer-lasting result of an emotion is a mood, which can cause the related emotion to be felt more frequently and intensely.

The Atlas of Emotions
According to the Atlas of Emotions, feelings of sadness can range from disappointment to anguish.

“The goal of this work is to give people more understanding of how emotions work—where emotions come from and the actions they motivate,” Ekman said in a press release about the website. “The Dalai Lama and I agree that emotions can be constructive if they support collaboration. We are a social species.”

Head over to The Atlas Of Emotions website to learn more about your own emotions and about the Dalai Lama’s project. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/05/06/dalai-lama-atlas-of-emotions_n_9874508.html

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