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This Is the Smart Home of the Future

Don’t worry: Technology may come and go, but some things never change. In the not-so-distant future, cars will drive themselves and men may become obsolete (sorry, guys), but home will always be home. It’ll just be a heck of a lot smarter.

Juicero​​​​​.
Photographer: Evan Ortiz/Bloomberg

Granted, some tech is better than other tech. No one needs a Wi-Fi-connected juice press that doesn’t actually juice anything. Gadgets that offer real utility—like a smart oven or open source furniture—stand a better chance of becoming ubiquitous. If you’re skeptical, think of it this way: In-home refrigeration was the crazy, newfangled invention of 1913. Now, few among us can imagine living without it.

What will the home of the future look like? We took stock of the most exciting tech-forward home products on the market. It’s only a matter of time until at least some of these come standard in every American home.

 

The High-Tech Living Room

Apple’s HomePod.
Source: Apple

Thirty-nine million Americans now have a smart speaker in their homes—that’s 1 in 6 people—and all signs indicate this figure will only creep higher with time. In the living room of the future, smart speakers will be a central feature, with newer models connected to every element in your home, from the lightbulbs to the lock on your front door to the thermostat. They will become so essential you won’t think twice about plunking down $400 for one.

Watching TV and movies will be a wildly different experience. Why devote precious square footage in your living room to a giant screen when you could have one that effortlessly rolls up away and out of sight, like the one LG Display debuted at this year’s CES? Or you may choose not to have a TV at all and opt instead for a superhigh-resolution short-throw projector that turns any white wall into your own personal movie theater. Sony’s new $30,000 model would fit the bill, assuming the price tag comes down.

Open source furniture from Tom Dixon via Ikea.
Source: Modsy

In the coming years, it’ll be much easier to design your living space. Apps and online platforms such as Modsy and Hutch will use virtual and augmented reality to help you visualize how a couch or chair will look in your home. You’ll have lots of options: Modular, open source furniture will dominate interior design trends, taking the lead from Ikea’s Tom Dixon-designed Delaktig couch, which has more than 97 different configurations. Choose wisely, because you’ll be spending more time on the couch than ever: Facebook Inc.’s forthcoming living-room-geared video chat device will reportedly use smart camera technology to make people on both ends feel like they’re sitting in the same room.

Also, expect your living room to be even more of a central hub than it already is. Deliveries will arrive here instead of on your front porch, thanks to Amazon.com’s new Prime service, which will let verified delivery persons carry goods right into your home.

And don’t for a minute think ultramodern gadgetry is only for the younger set: Homes for the elderly will be outfitted with internet-connected gear that allows adult children to monitor their aging parents.

Smart Cooking in the Kitchen

The June intelligent oven.
Photographer: Evan Sung/Bloomberg

Ultimately, the goal of kitchen technology won’t be to do the cooking for you. It’ll just make you a better cook. Smart ovens such as those from June will be outfitted with cameras and digital thermometers, helping you monitor your food as it bakes. And instead of just hoping the “medium-hot” setting on your gas range is hot enough, smart skillets will take guessing out of the equation by sizzling food at a precise temperature, which you’ll set on a connected app.

Smart refrigerators will help reduce waste by letting you know when the carrots in your fridge are about to go bad, and offer up several recipes for them to boot. The smart fridge from LG will even send cooking instructions to your smart oven. Meanwhile, 3D food printers will help you create intricately shaped pasta, and smart-technology-equipped ice cream makers will automatically sense the hardness of the mixture within and keep it ready until it’s sundae time.

Tech Enters the Bedroom

Eight Sleep’s smart mattress.
Source: Eight Sleep

The latest wave of home-focused technology is about making everyday life better and easier, and that begins with a good night’s sleep. Sleep trackers such as Eight’s smart mattress and smartphone apps Sleep Time and Sleep Cycle will use sensors to measure your sleep metrics, while smart alarm clocks like Amazon’s mini Echo will help you begin your day on the right foot with time, weather, and news.

Need a gentler wake-up? The smart aromatherapy alarm clocks from Nox Aroma will sense when you’ve reached your sleep cycle’s lightest point and release a wake-up scent of your choice.

Once you’re up and moving, it’s time to get dressed: Your closet will be filled with clothes you don’t just wear. They will actually interact with you, tracking health markers and habits. Among them: MadeWithGlove’s still-in-development smart gloves, which promise to detect skin temperature and provide heat accordingly. Your clothes might even change shape or color based on your feelings, as will the Sensoree mood sweater, now available for preorder.

And if you want a new wardrobe, you won’t have to even leave the house to find the best-fitting clothes: Amazon’s patented mirror will let you virtually try on outfits from the comfort of your own bedroom.

Yes, Even in the Bathroom

Moen’s smart shower system can be operated with Amazon’s Alexa.
Source: Moen

In the future, spa-like experiences at home will be the norm. No need to draw your own bath—your digital assistant can do that for you with smart shower systems like those from U by Moen. High-tech tubs such as those from Toto will induce relaxed brain waves, while nose-geared gadgets like Olfinity will let you program and control your own aromatherapy session from your iPhone while you soak.

Sound far-fetched? Remember a decade ago, few of us could have imagined being so attached to our smartphones, let alone ordering groceries off the internet or barking commands at a digital assistant. With time, even the strangest things can become normal.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-16/this-is-the-smart-home-of-the-future

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    Teaching robots to understand their world through basic motor skills

    Robots are great at doing what they’re told. But sometimes inputting that information into a system is a far more complex process than the task we’re asking them to execute. That’s part of the reason they’re best suited for simple/repetitive jobs.

    A team of researchers at Brown University and MIT is working to develop a system in which robots can plan tasks by developing abstract concepts of real-world objects and ideas based on motor skills. With this system, the robots can perform complex tasks without getting bogged down in the minutia required to complete them.

    The researchers programmed a two-armed robot (Anathema Device or “Ana”) to manipulate objects in a room — opening and closing a cupboard and a cooler, flipping on a light switch and picking upa bottle. While performing the tasks, the robot was taking in its surroundings and processing information through algorithms developed by the researchers.

    According to the team, the robot was able to learn abstract concepts about the object and the environment. Ana was able to determine that doors need to be closed before they can be opened.

    “She learned that the light inside the cupboard was so bright that it whited out her sensors,” the researchers wrote in a release announcing their findings. “So in order to manipulate the bottle inside the cupboard, the light had to be off. She also learned that in order to turn the light off, the cupboard door needed to be closed, because the open door blocked her access to the switch.”

    Once processed, the robot associates a symbol with one of these abstract concepts. It’s a sort of common language developed between the robot and human that doesn’t require complex coding to execute. This kind of adaptive quality means the robots could become far more capable of performing a greater variety of tasks in more diverse environments by choosing the actions they need to perform in a given scenario.

    “If we want intelligent robots, we can’t write a program for everything we might want them to do,” George Konidaris, a Brown University assistant professor who led the study told TechCrunch. “We have to be able to give them goals and have them generate behavior on their own.”

    Of course, asking every robot to learn this way is equally inefficient, but the researchers believe they can develop a common language and create skills that could be download to new hardware.

    “I think what will happen in the future is there will be skills libraries, and you can download those,” explains Konidaris. “You can say, ‘I want the skill library for working in the kitchen,’ and that will come with the skill library for doing things in the kitchen.”

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/10/teaching-robots-to-understand-their-world-through-basic-motor-skills/

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    Trumps Environment Pick: Fossil Fuels Ended Slavery, CO2 Is Good for You

    One of the most embarrassing political flops of 2017 was Donald Trumps nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, a longtime fossil-fuel advocate, to direct the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Her confirmation hearing was a disaster, captured for posterity on YouTube. While she made it out of committee on party lines, the full Senate declined to consider her nomination as part of a bipartisan deal.

    Now, shes back.

    To the surprise of Hill-watchers, White has been re-nominated, setting up a showdown with Democrats and Republicans alike. (Per Senate rules, nominees not confirmed at the end of the year must be re-submitted.) One observer called her the most endangered of President Trumps environmental nominees.

    Why?

    Were all used to the fox guarding the henhouse phenomenon in this administration: a longtime opponent of public schools heading the Education Department, a man who made his name suing the Environmental Protection Agency now heading it, and on down the line. So its not surprising that White has spent her career taking money from ExxonMobil and the Koch network and spouting nonsense about how fossil fuels ended slavery, emit plant nutrients, and, of course, do not contribute to global climate disruption.

    What was surprising was how awfully she performed at that hearing.

    First, it was revealed that many of her written answers to the committee were apparently cut and pasted, word for word, from the answers submitted by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and his assistant Bill Wehrum.

    Then came the hearing itself.

    At one point, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked White to estimate how much of the excess heat from climate change is stored in the oceansa detailed question for you or me, but pretty standard for a climate-policy person. White said she didnt know, but said there were many opinions and no right answer. Thats the fossil-fuel industrys refrain, of course.

    Whitehouse asked if there was a serious scientific opinion that its below 50 percent. White said yes. Whitehouse said, Wow.

    The actual answer is 90 percent, and there is no dispute about that.

    Then Sen. Whitehouse asked if White agreed that water expands as it heats, a principle that can be proven on any kitchen stovetop. White said, I do not have any kind of expertise or even much laymans study of the ocean dynamics.

    Of course, water does expand as it heats, which is why hundreds of millions of people will likely have to flee coastal areas in the next few decades.

    For good measure, White also contradicted the EPAs new policy that its scientists may not attend conferences on climate-change science, and contradicted her own published statement that the IPCCs highly politicized and speculative science [is] increasingly contradicted by empirical evidence, saying at the hearing that the intergovernmental panel of climate-change scientists is a very good source.

    Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement, In the 17 years I have been in the Senate, I have never sat through a hearing as excruciating as Ms. Whites.

    Nor was the hearing a one-time flub. Heres a 2015 video in which, tripping over her words, White praises the really beneficial impacts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Satellites already show a greening of the earth, in part from very small amount of carbon dioxide involved with using fossil fuels.

    There is absolutely no basis in fact for that claim.

    Also in 2015, White wrote a piece for TownHall.com exclaiming that:

    No matter how many times, [sic] the President, EPA, and press rant about dirty carbon pollution, there is no pollution about carbon itself! As a dictionary will tell you, carbon is the chemical basis of all life. Our flesh, blood, and bones are built of carbon. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the gas of life on this planet, an essential nutrient for plant growth on which human life depends. How craftily our government has masked these fundamental realities and the environmental benefits of fossil fuels!

    Crafty indeed. Of course, White is here conflating the carbon-heavy pollution from coal (particulate matter, i.e. soot and dust), which is responsible for 3 million deaths annually, with carbon dioxide, which indeed is an essential nutrient but has hit concentration levels in the atmosphere not seen for 125,000 years.

    The only question is whether White is knowingly deceiving people in such statements, or whether she is indeed so ignorant or brainwashed that she believes this sort of thing. Is she a dupe or a knave? Im not sure.

    White is also a conspiracy theorist. Her opinion on climate change isnt just that its not so bad (a position at odds with 99.5 percent of actual climate scientists) but that the whole thing is, as Trump once said, a hoax. In that same Townhall piece, White wrote:

    As the evidence for unprecedented warming temperatures, extreme weather events, declining Arctic ice, and rising sea levels wanes, the entrenched warmists grasp for familiar tags such as pollution or environmental protection to sanitize their grand schemes to decarbonize human societies.

    Note the combination of lies and myths here. First, there is (and was in 2015) abundant evidence for every one of the items White mentions: the unprecedented warming of the climate, extreme weather events, declining Arctic ice, and rising sea levels.

    Second, theres the conspiracy-mongering: grand schemes to decarbonize human societies. White has made this claim many times: that the entire climate-science field, all around the world, is actually a cabal to undermine fossil fuels.

    Why would they want to do so? Leftist totalitarianism. In a 2014 blog post, she wrote, referring to MSNBCs Chris Hayes, Sometimes a single voice throws in hard relief the delusion, misanthropy, and unabashedly totalitarian policy of the Left. These characteristics are particularly embedded in the Left's secular religion: Apocalyptic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    That was also the piece in which White wrote that There is, in fact, a historical connection between the abolition of slavery and humanitys first widespread use of energy from fossil fuels.

    (Her point is that industrialization and urbanization were enabled by the use of coal and oil. In fact, the Industrial Revolution increased demand for slave-labor-produced raw materials, making slavery more lucrative. Also, you know, the abolition of slavery may have had other causes as well.)

    Whites rsum certainly makes her appear to be bright and qualified. Her current title is distinguished senior fellow in residence and director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). Previously, she chaired the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under Gov. Rick Perry.

    But look closer. TPPF is part of the State Policy Network, a system of conservative think tanks that are funded by Koch-backed dark-money groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund, as well as the Koch-backed Claude R. Lambe and Charles G. Koch foundations, and ExxonMobil.

    Like many such think tanks, the TPPF is fake. The only thinking that goes on is of thoughts that Big Oil pays for.

    When White ran the TCEQ, she voted to build a new coal plant near Dallas, despite opposition from officials in 24 cities and counties; falsified data to help polluters get around water regulations; and, according to a 2003 Texas state audit, did not consistently ensure violators are held accountable for pollution.

    This is how one makes a career as a lackey for the fossil-fuel industry: First they pay for your fake job, then they get you into a position of power where you implement their policies.You can coast through for decades without anyone calling your bluff.

    But the Senate just might: Just two Republican defections would doom Whites candidacy. Eyes are focused, as usual, on Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has a strong environmental record and who voted against confirming Pruitt, as well as senators from agricultural states that stand to lose if White is confirmed.

    Of course, the Senate has confirmed Trumps anti-environmental picks beforebut then, none of them were quite as willfully ignorant as Kathleen White.

    Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/kathleen-hartnett-white-trumps-environment-pick-fossil-fuels-ended-slavery-co2-is-good-for-you

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    Rising number of EU nationals leaving UK

    Image copyright Getty Images

    The number of EU citizens leaving the UK is at its highest level for a decade with 130,000 emigrating in the year to September, figures show.

    But far more EU nationals (220,000) moved to the UK in the same period, the Office for National Statistics found.

    It means net EU migration – the difference between arrivals and departures – was 90,000, the lowest for five years.

    The ONS said Brexit could be a factor in people’s decisions to move.

    Nicola White, head of international migration statistics at the ONS, said migration was complicated and could be influenced by lots of different reasons.

    The figures also show that more British people are emigrating than are returning to live in the UK.

    Of those EU nationals arriving in the UK, fewer were coming for “work-related reasons”, in particular to “look for work”.

    ‘More students’

    By contrast, immigration from countries outside the European Union is going up which means the UK population is continuing to grow at a similar level to early 2014.

    Some 285,000 non-EU citizens arrived in the UK in the 12-month period to September, and 80,000 departed.

    This gives a net increase of 205,000, the highest for six years.

    BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said this was largely driven by more people coming to study in the UK and an uncharacteristic dip in the previous year’s figures that may have been corrected.

    He also speculated whether firms were starting to struggle to recruit or retain people from the EU, forcing them to look outside the EU.

    Overall, net migration is estimated to have fallen by 29,000 to 244,000 in the same period.

    This includes 73,000 British people coming back to the UK and 125,000 Britons leaving.

    The overall net migration figure is still well short of the government’s target to reduce net migration to below 100,000, a pledge made in the 2010, 2015 and 2017 Tory manifestos.

    Analysis: A shift away from Britain’s shores

    By home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw

    What explanation could there be for the decline in EU migration other than Brexit? In the two years before the June 2016 referendum, the number of EU nationals arriving in Britain was stable at about 240,000 to 280,000.

    But every quarter since then has recorded falls, from 284,000 to 220,000.

    At the same time, the number of EU leavers, which hadn’t risen higher than 100,000 since 2010, began to rise, from 95,000 to 130,000.

    Whether it’s a feeling that EU citizens aren’t wanted in the UK, uncertainty about their future or the growing relative strength of other EU economies, there has been a notable shift away from Britain’s shores.

    Nevertheless, overall net migration remains at historically high levels, well above the government’s controversial target, with a rise in migration from outside Europe.

    Caroline Nokes, immigration minister, said the latest figures demonstrated that the UK was still attracting the “brightest and best people” to come to work and study and described the increase in the number of overseas students as a “huge positive”.

    “We are a country that is open for business,” she added.

    “We want to have great relations with our European neighbours going forward but at the same time we need to have a sustainable migration system,” she said.

    Asked whether falling numbers would adversely affect some sectors, in particular the NHS, Ms Nokes said the independent migration advisory committee was due to report its findings on EU patterns to the government in September so decisions could be made based on evidence.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionBBC head of statistics Robert Cuffe explains how the data is collected and what it means

    You might also be interested in:

    Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said net migration was still double the government’s target and accused the Home Office of turning away qualified doctors despite a recruitment shortage in the NHS.

    “This deficit hurts us all and highlights the immigration mess the government has created,” she said.

    The ONS figures also show that in 2017, the UK granted asylum, alternative forms of protection or resettlement to almost 15,000 people, 40% of whom were under 18.

    Separate figures from the Home Office showed more than 10,500 people have been granted refuge in the UK after fleeing the conflict in Syria, under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme.

    Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who is in Lebanon near the Syrian border, said the government was considering extending its commitment to rehome 20,000 people by 2020.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media caption“The UK has given us everything… but we miss our country”

    Other figures from the Home Office show there were 141,302 applications made for British citizenship in 2017, an increase of 8% on the previous year.

    This was 39% lower than the peak of 232,262 in 2013.

    There is evidence that more EU citizens, who have settled in the UK, are applying for citizenship, with applications more than doubling from 15,460 in 2016 to 38,528 in 2017.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43154308

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    15 Unusual Homemade Pizza Recipes That’ll Take You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

    Pizza. It’s one of America’s favorite foods, and the possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to what ingredients you can top it with.

    Many prefer classic toppings such as pepperoni, mushrooms, sausages, or just plain old cheese, but why limit yourself when there are so many other tasty and unique options? If you’re ready to get a little more adventurous with your food, check out these 15 unusual — but no less delicious — homemade pizza recipes.

    1. Sweeten things up a bit with this strawberry, basil, and balsamic pizza

    2. …or this barbecue chicken apple pizza.

    3. Go all out with prosciutto, caramelized onions, mushrooms, Gorgonzola, and an egg to top your pie.

    4. Combine your favorite comfort foods in this Naan cheeseburger pizza.

    5. Twenty minutes is all you’ll need to put together and bake this buffalo chicken flatbread pizza.

    6. This chicken pizza has bacon-basil pesto AND bacon as a topping. Need I say more?

    7. If you like sweet and spicy pulled pork sandwiches, you’ll want to dive right into this barbecue pizza.

    8. Use tortillas instead of dough for a lighter Caprese pizza.

    9. Make taco pizza your new go-to Tuesday dinner.

    10. This cauliflower pizza with Greek yogurt pesto is perfect for health nuts and vegetarians alike!

    11. Celebrate the Eagles’ Super Bowl win with some mouthwatering Philly cheesesteak pizza.

    13. Love Hawaiian pizza? Add avocado and a drizzle of ranch to complement the flavors.

    14. Have pizza for breakfast with bacon, eggs, and potatoes on top.

    15. Enjoy your Margherita pizza in bite-sized phyllo shells.

    Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/unusual-pizza-recipes/

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    Husband takes ‘dudeoir’ photos to cheer up wife diagnosed with cancer

    When it comes to Valentine’s Day, most husbands choose to go the traditional route — chocolates, flowers, maybe some jewelry, a sappy greeting card.

    But not Tyler Arnet.

    The stay-at-home dad decided to do something extra special for his wife this year after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

    Armed with a pair of boxer briefs, some flour and a Christopher Walken pillow, Arnet managed to come up with the perfect way to cheer up the missus: a “dudeoir” photoshoot.

    “I needed to do something to help her out, to make her feel good,” Arnet explained.

    “She’s been very stressed out and I knew she’d find [the pictures] hilarious,” he told The Post.

    Arnet, who is currently living in Vancouver, Washington, arranged to take the steamy shots after spotting a local photographer’s Facebook ad.

    Arnet, who is currently living in Vancouver, Washington, arranged to take the steamy shots after spotting a local photographer’s Facebook ad.  (Stephanie Arnet Facebook)

    He surprised his wife, Stephanie, with a photo spread on Feb. 9 — right before she went into surgery.

    “He showed them to me about an hour before I went in,” Stephanie recalled. “He was like, ‘I got something to show you.’ When I saw [the pics}, I died laughing. It definitely wasn’t anything I was expecting.”

    Sporting a sultry-but-chic look, Arnet, 28, took dozens of pics for the “dudeoir” shoot with photographer Jill Steenson, of Lillian Lane Photography.

    He can be seen posing in front of a fireplace, on a kitchen counter-top and with the Walken pillow — which is positioned oh-so-perfectly.

    “While we were in [Steenson’s] living room, in front of fireplace I just so happened to see the pillow and my exact words were, ‘Is that a Christopher Walken pillow?’” Arnet remembered. “I asked if we could use it, and she said, ‘absolutely.’”

    Describing his modeling skills, Arnet said: “I didn’t want to be funny, I wanted to be fierce.”

    “[Steenson] and [her husband] kept telling me, ‘You’re magnificent! You’re beautiful!’” he told The Post.

    “I was definitely in the zone. There was nothing stopping me. At one point I straight up said, ‘Watch out, Tyra Banks — I’m coming.’”

    Once Stephanie got the pics, she asked Arnet if she could post some to Facebook, and he happily obliged.

    “He’s never been the type to care,” she said. “And I mean, we’re just two regular people. We get maybe 20 likes apiece, at most. So I didn’t expect it to go viral or anything.”

    Within the first 10 minutes, Stephanie received more than 100 shares.

    Sporting a sultry-but-chic look, Arnet, 28, took dozens of pics for the “dudeoir” shoot with photographer Jill Steenson, of Lillian Lane Photography.  (Stephanie Arnet Facebook)

    “Now we’re at more than 45,000,” she said Tuesday.

    Hundreds of Facebook users have reached out and commented on the “dudeoir” photos, with many applauding Tyler for his bravery and eyeopening show of support following Stephanie’s cancer diagnosis.

    “So many people have been reaching out, not just because of the pics, but because of why he took them,” Stephanie said, noting how it’s “brought laughter back into their lives.”

    “I had one lady reach out whose husband was diagnosed recently with a stage 4 illness, and he rarely smiles and laughs,” the 30-year-old explained. “She said they haven’t stopped laughing. So, we’ve really been enjoying the positivity it’s bringing.”

    The photos have also helped Stephanie stay positive, as well.

    “To be a mother of three and an Army vet — deployed to Afghanistan — who did all this stuff, and then to find out you have cancer, was tough,” Arnet said.

    Stephanie got her cancer diagnosis back in November after paying a visit to an optometrist.

    “I walked into the Optometry clinic due to vision issues in my right eye, and walked out having been told I have a very rare form of cancer called Ocular Melanoma,” she wrote on Facebook at the time. “This type of cancer is only diagnosed to an average of 2,000 people a year, and is so rare in fact, that there are only about 10 doctors who specialize in its treatment.”

    The Army recruiter praised her husband for his support in recent months, saying: “He’s really the best.”

    “Good luck to anyone who tries to top him,” she said of his Valentine’s Day gift.

    Arnett added, “Hopefully my wife doesn’t ever forget this.”

    This article originally appeared on the New York Post.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2018/02/14/husband-takes-dudeoir-photos-to-cheer-up-wife-diagnosed-with-cancer.html

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    Alibaba Leads $300 Million Funding for India’s Top Online Grocer

    Alibaba Group Holding Ltd led a $300 million investment into India’s biggest online grocer Bigbasket, signaling that the region’s segment is firing up.

    Hari Menon, Bigbasket’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said the investment values the company at $950 million — just $50 million under the $1 billion valuation that would have earned it tech unicorn status.

    “We wanted a strategic investor and saw Alibaba as the best fit,” Menon said in an interview.

    He said existing investors Abraaj Group and Bessemer Venture Partners participated in the latest round.

    India’s retail market is worth over $900 billion and grocery shopping accounts for about $600 billion of that, Menon said. Bigbasket’s rivals include India’s leading online retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt, as well as the SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Grofers.

    The company will deploy the funds into building farmer networks, warehouses and delivery infrastructure with a goal to penetrate deeper into the more than two dozen cities it currently operates in, Menon said.

    The Bangalore-based startup, founded in December 2011 by Menon and four other entrepreneurs, sells everything from fresh leafy greens to kitchen mops, spice mixes and savory Indian tea-time snacks.

    Bigbasket has attracted interest from a wide swath of companies and held initial investment discussions with global retailers Amazon.com Inc. and rival Walmart Inc. before the Chinese e-commerce giant arrived on the scene.

    Grocery is a challenging e-commerce segment worldwide and Bigbasket, owned by Innovative Retail Concepts Pvt, operates in a country where expansion is hampered by rudimentary logistics and a shortage of refrigerated trucks and warehouses.

    Growth will require capital expenditures, and Amazon got local government approval last year to invest $500 million into food retailing. Several high-profile grocery startups — such as PepperTap and LocalBanya — have collapsed in the past couple of years in India.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-01/alibaba-leads-300-million-funding-for-india-s-top-online-grocer

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      Immigrants Group Sues Trump for Ending Refugee Program

      Haitian and Salvadoran refugees sued President Donald Trump, claiming his administration’s decision to end protections that allowed them to stay in the U.S. was "tainted by racial animus."

      The lawsuit, filed in Boston federal court, seeks to block the administration from ending the Temporary Protected Status program that allowed thousands of people from countries experiencing a humanitarian or environmental crisis to live legally in the U.S.

      While prior administrations have extended the protection for Haitian and Salvadoran immigrants, the Trump administration acted with "invidious discrimination" and racial bias, violating Constitutional rights to equal protection under the law, the plaintiffs said.


      "President Trump has made no secret of his racist views," said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, which filed the lawsuit. "The administration’s decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador and Haiti manifests these discriminatory views."

      Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the office doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

      TPS has been in place for Salvadorans since the country was struck by a series of devastating earthquakes in 2001. Haitians won the protection after a 2010 earthquake.

      In January, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the administration was ending the program for Salvadoran immigrants, giving them until Sept. 9, 2019 to leave or be deported. The Trump administration months earlier terminated protection for Haitians with a July 22, 2019, deadline.

      TPS Children

      According to the group, there are 242,900 Salvadorans and 93,500 Haitians living in the U.S. under the program. The Salvadorans have 192,700 children who were born in the U.S., while the Haitians have 27,000 children who are U.S. citizens, according to the complaint.

      Nielsen has used "flawed analysis" in concluding that both countries have now "stabilized," according to the lawsuit, which says the administration ignores how the people have established themselves in the U.S. “These individuals have homes, jobs and families.”

      The plaintiffs include Juan Carlos Vidal, a Salvadoran from Revere, Massachusetts, who worked his way from a kitchen assistant to owning four restaurants in the Boston area after getting the protection in 2001.

      The suit cites comments Trump made, including his assertion that African immigrants who have seen America would never "go back to their huts" and cited Trump saying policies should encourage immigration from countries like Norway. The complaint is the second to accuse the administration of racial bias after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sued in January.

      "The animus directed toward Latino and Black immigrants is a clear and unfortunate thread running through President Trump’s statements — and is actualized by his Administration’s policies, such as the ones challenged by this lawsuit," the group said.

      A separate lawsuit filed Thursday in Brooklyn federal court challenges what the practice of depriving certain TPS holders from becoming lawful permanent residents.

      The government is violating the Administrative Procedures Act, a statute which governs the way in which federal agencies propose and establish regulations, by refusing to recognize that TPS holders have been been deemed lawfully "inspected and admitted" into the country, according to the complaint.

      In the New York suit, which seeks class-action or group status, the plaintiffs asked the judge to declare ending TPS is unlawful.

      The Massachusetts case is Centro Presente v. Trump, 18-cv-10340, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

      The New York case is Moreno v. Nielsen, 18-cv-1135, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

        Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-22/immigrants-group-sees-trump-as-racist-in-ending-refugee-program

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        The First Woman to Draw Wonder Woman

        In her new memoir, Last Girl Standing, groundbreaking cartoonist Trina Robbins tells stories about her brushes with fame that include making clothes for Mama Cass and Donovan, hanging out with the Byrds, sleeping with Jim Morrison, and appearing in the Joni Mitchell song Ladies of the Canyon: Trina wears her wampum beads and her coats a secondhand one, trimmed in antique luxury.

        She also writes about growing up in Brooklyn, with a family she describes as functional rather than dysfunctional. Her father had Parkinsons and couldnt work, so her mother supported the family of four by working as a second-grade teacher. They didnt have tons of money, Robbins said, but her parents made sure she and her sister felt loved.

        They were always so supportive, she said in an interview with The Daily Beast. They loved me and were good to me and I loved them.

        In the book, she tells the story of walking with her father from their house in South Ozone Park to the newly opened Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy) to watch the planes land and take off and singing all the way home. Asked about that, she excitedly says she still remembers what they sang and breaks into Dream A Little Dream of Me.

        Stars shining bright above you

        Night breezes seem to whisper I love you

        Birds singing in the sycamore trees

        Dream a little dream of me.

        On the day we spoke, Robbins sat in a caf across the street from her house in San Francisco, having a bagel and coffee. She had just gotten back from a Comic Convention in Argentina, where, she said, she had a wonderful time.

        I got so much love, the 79-year-old artist said. I never hugged more people.

        Wearing a blue sweater and blue nail polish, Robbins seemed outgoing and chatty. In the book she describes being so shy as a child that she would wait until the bell was about to ring before going in the schoolyard, so she wouldnt have to spend any time outside with the other children with no one to talk to. So what changed? What gave her the gumption that allowed her to start going into the offices of Mad magazine unannounced, to wear miniskirts, and to hang out with famous people?

        I have no idea, she said.

        A graphic artist from the get go, Robbins even in childhood loved cartoons, along with science fiction and fantasy books such as Lord of the Rings. She also dreamed of living in Paris, wearing a beret, and making art. Her goal was to be a bohemian.

        This is going to sound really shallow, but I loved the way the women looked, she said. They had long hair and wore a lot of eye makeup and they didnt look like the women in the nylons and high heels.

        The reality of her accomplishment was hardly less astonishing. She published her first comics in the East Village Other in 1966. Then she went on to be published by Marvel, DC, and Kitchen Sink Press. She produced the first all-womens comic book in 1970, It Aint Me, Babe, and co-founded the anthology series Wommins Comix, which ran for 20 years. And in the 80s, she was the first woman to draw Wonder Woman.

        She recently worked on a project that meant a lot to herpublishing the 1938 book that her father wrote in Yiddish about growing up in Belarus and Brooklyn.

        But first, she endured some hard times. In a period that she says is too painful to write about, she had her confidence destroyed by bad boyfriends and ended up in Los Angeles in the early 60s, where someone told her she should pose nude for mens magazines and become a movie star. Robbins did this until she was saved by her first and only husband, a printer who bought her a sewing machine. She designed and made clothes for herself and then started selling them at crafts fairs. She got a reputation for her work. Sonny Bono approached her about making some outfits for him and Cher, but she turned him down because she avoided zippers and tailored clothes. She did make clothes for Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas and for David Crosby and Donovanalthough they couldnt perform in the shirts she made for them, Robbins says, because the sleeves were dripping with lace that caught in their guitars.

        After a dream about her father who she wanted to see before he died, Robbins left her husband and the folk music scene of the Sunset Strip and headed back to New York, where she opened a shop selling clothes on the Lower East Side, which she called Broccoli.

        She also started getting more and more into the underground comics scene, and moved back out West, to San Francisco with her boyfriend, cartoonist Kim Deitch, in 1969.

        Robbins was excited about underground comics, but she found it hard to get attention, let alone support from many male cartoonists.

        They didnt want any girls in their boys club, she said. The wives and girlfriends would even do things like color in the art, and they would sell their stuff for them at conventions. There was nobody selling my stuff for me and I resented the hell out of it.

        She also found the misogyny in the underground comic scene increasingly disturbing. Some men, like R. Crumb, drew comics about rape and murder and thought her failure to find them funny meant she had no sense of humor.

        In 1969 she read an article in the Berkeley Barb about how women werent really allowed to speak or make decisions. Robbins said it resonated with her and she became a feminist. She began volunteering for a feminist underground newspaper, It Aint Me, Babe, and went on to edit and produce an entire feminist comic book of the same name.

        Lately Robbins has turned more and more to writing, which she loves, and co-authored Women and the Comics, a series on historical female cartoonists, and Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013.

        She recently worked on a project that meant a lot to herpublishing the 1938 book A Minyen Yidn, or A Bunch of Jews (and other stuff), that her father wrote in Yiddish about growing up in Belarus and Brooklyn. Robbins has been taking Yiddish classes in San Francisco, and she found someone to translate her fathers book. Reading it, she immediately decided his short, punchy stories would make a great graphic novel, and found a different artist for each story. She is delighted with the result, thinking her father would love it as well.

        I love seeing how artists interpret the stories, she said. My father is a writer and look what I do for a living.

        Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-first-woman-to-draw-wonder-woman

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        11 times J.K. Rowling tweeted awesome advice to budding writers


        J.K. Rowling has got your back.
        Image: Samir Hussein/WireImage

        Without wanting to sound like too much of a pathetic millennial, writing can be hard work.

        It can be, OK?

        Particularly if you’re working on something long, like a novel, it’s good to have some support and encouragement every now and again.

        J.K. Rowling knows this better than most people. If you head over to the Harry Potter author’s Twitter feed, nestled among all those sweet shutdowns you’ll find plenty of helpful writing tips, as well as stories from Rowling about what it was like for her before she became a household name.

        From editing advice to firsthand experiences, here are some of the tips she’s tweeted over the years.

        1. The time she gave these awesome words of encouragement to a demotivated writer.

        2. The time she made it clear you don’t necessarily need the best equipment.

        3. This heartfelt message of encouragement.

        4. This advice to a budding writer who lacked parental support.

        5. This crucial rereading tip.

        6. The time she proved that rejection is just another rung on the ladder.

        7. And then shared two of her own rejection letters as inspiration.

        8. The time she made it clear just how far she was prepared to go to get her book published.

        9. And then explained what was driving her.

        10. The time she replied to this tweet about the importance of completing a writing project.

        11. And then rounded off a fairly epic series of tweets with this message of hope.

        Now go and finish that novel.

        Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/01/27/jk-rowling-writing-advice-tweets/

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        Everyone Else Was A Stopover But Youre The Destination


        amyjhumphries

        When I get lonely, you don’t just come to my mind because you’re already there. You’re permanently there. That’s why when I leave the bar and get into the Uber, they take me to your place. Because you save me when I’m lost on a Friday night. You are the refuge I seek when I need to settle the crazy. I need you to slow it down for me.

        Before I met you, things were bad. Really bad. Moments would pass where I’d wonder if there was ever going to be a you and now here you are. Picture perfect. Except completely imperfect and that’s why it works. You’re the best-kept secret I’ve ever had. No one knows where I go at night anymore because I don’t need them to know. I don’t need them to prematurely judge what we’re doing before I’ve even had a chance to figure it out.

        There’s nothing better than laying in your arms and listening to your heartbeat. I love the steady rise and fall of your breath. It reminds me that I too am still breathing. After everything that’s happened, you’ve managed to remind me that it’s OK to love again. You help me remember what has happened in past has happened and to leave it there. There’s no more time to waste on anything other than the now.

        And God do I love the now.

        All I think about when we’re not together is how to get to where you are now because you make everything feel alright.

        How I even met you and fell for you is so confusing to me. I was just living my life, trying to pick the pieces of it back up to repair it and there you were. And the hell if I know how I got you to stop and talk to me. I have no idea why you said hello and why you even asked me out. I don’t know at all but I really to don’t care too. Because you’re standing right here, with that lopsided grin that makes my heart melt into a puddle. You’re the person who stood out from the rest and made it impossible to resist you.

        And man did I try to resist you.

        I made up so many reasons in my head why this wouldn’t work. Why there was no way you could be as genuine of a person that you are. There was no way you were going to be this big amazing thing in my life but you are.

        There’s just something about you. Something that makes me feel brand new. Something that makes my heart stop when you say my name. Something that sends chills up my spine the second your fingertips connect with my skin. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to figure out how you’ve captivated me in such a way.

        You’ve changed the way I see things. You’ve made dancing in the kitchen more appealing than any club. You’ve made me feel beautiful when I’m just wearing sweatpants. You’ve made me feel like the funniest person when you laugh at some dumb joke I’ve made. You make me feel like it’s OK to be me and that’s the best gift anyone’s ever given to me.

        Everyone else in my life has always been a stopover but you, well you’re my destination. And I feel so ecstatically happy to be here.

        Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/alexandria-brown/2018/02/everyone-else-was-a-stopover-but-youre-the-destination/

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