Check out our innovative home and kitchen tools to make cooking and beverages more enjoyable

Style Switcher

Predefined Colors

Move Over Cats, Adorable Dogs Have Taken Over The Sinks

Read more:

Read More

Visitors are paying it forward at this adorable science and culture museum.

When a grandmother couldn’t afford to pay the entrance fees at Roberson Museum and Science Center for her and her grandson, the museum leadership team got creative.  

All photos courtesy of Roberson Museum and Science Center.

Instead of turning the woman and her grandson away, a staff member found an older coupon to get her in for free. But the museum didn’t stop there. The executive director, Michael Grasso, decided to make accessibility for all a program called “Pay it Forward.”

The Roberson Museum and Science Center serves the Binghamton, New York, community by providing events, exhibits, and educational programming in art, history, and science education.

“I have the opportunity to come into a cultural institution and just sort of enjoy the day,” said Grasso. “That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t even realize is an option for them. As nominal as the fee may be for many of us, it can really be a barrier to people. And I don’t think that should stop people from coming in and learning something on their own if they would like to. I think that’s awesome.”  

Michael Grasso is the museum’s executive director.

Pay it forward programs have been showing up in lots of places — museums is just one of the latest.

Restaurants, coffee shops, and other places that serve large and diverse crowds have started creating space for or implementing similar programs in their own way. Citizens have also started to do pay it forward movements on their own.  

The growing humanitarian act is awesome, but still has a ways to go in the art world, particularly in museums.

“Museums aren’t ivory towers, they are places where everyone should feel welcome to learn and explore,” said Natalie Shoemaker, museum marketing and events coordinator at Roberson.

Museums play a valuable role in making art, science, and history accessible for communities around the world.

One of the few public spaces that can serve any age, gender, race, or other demographic, museums play a special role in making art and culture from around the world available in communities across the country. Unfortunately, this concept has sometimes been more surface-level. Museums have been criticized for not being accessible to all communities and demographics, and instead, catering to the wealthy and privileged.  

To break down the social barriers that impede folks from enjoying museums, Roberson’s Pay It Forward program went into effect this year.

Here’s how it works: Visitors can purchase a pre-paid admission option or choose to pay it forward by purchasing an admission for someone else who may not be able to afford it. Visitors are able to grab an admissions pass from the museum’s Pay it Forward wall and bring it to the front desk — no questions asked.  

“Some organizations save lives, and we improve lives,” said Grasso. “We help to improve lives for our friends and neighbors and community members when we make places like museums and other cultural institutions accessible for many different groups. It’s a program that’s easily replicable in other museums.”    

Since the program started, the museum has already seen more visitors from various demographics.

Grasso hopes that the museum outreach will extend beyond where it is now too. Now, the museum is thinking about reaching out to organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of America, Young Adult Borough Centers, and veterans’ groups to attract diverse audiences — particularly those that are underrepresented — to the museum space without having to worry about ticket prices.

“It’s heartwarming,” said Grasso. “People had said that they loved the program. The intent of the program is really to bring more people in, and we’re doing that.”    

Read more:

Read More

Husband guilty of parachute murder attempt

Image caption Victoria Cilliers almost died in the parachute jump

An Army sergeant has been found guilty of trying to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute.

Victoria Cilliers, 41, survived the 4,000ft (1,220m) fall at Netheravon airfield in Wiltshire in April 2015.

Emile Cilliers was plagued with debt and needed his wife’s life insurance money to start a new life with his lover, Winchester Crown Court heard.

He was also convicted of trying to kill his wife by causing a gas leak at the family home.

The 38-year-old had denied two counts of attempted murder.

Mrs Cilliers, a highly-experienced parachuting instructor, suffered near-fatal injuries when both her main and reserve parachutes failed when she took part in a jump at the Army Parachute Association.

The trial heard that Cilliers, of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps and an experienced parachute packer, tampered with equipment he knew his wife was going to use.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Cilliers tampered with his wife’s parachute before the jump
Image copyright PA
Image caption The jump took place at Netheravon airfield in Wiltshire in April 2015

Lines to the main canopy were twisted and essential parts were missing from the reserve.

The court heard the equipment had never failed in this manner anywhere in the world.

Mrs Cillier’s survival was described as a “near-miracle”, with it put down to the soft soil of the ploughed field where she landed.

Her light weight was also attributed as a factor in helping to minimise her injuries.

Just days earlier, Cilliers had caused a gas leak at their home in Amesbury, Wiltshire, by loosening a gas valve fitting in a kitchen cupboard.

Jurors heard Cilliers was £22,000 in debt and believed he was set to get a £120,000 life insurance payout in the event of his wife’s accidental death.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionProsecution barrister Hannah Squire said Cilliers was “cold and calculating”

He needed the money to pay off bills and start a new life with his lover, Stefanie Goller.

Cilliers was planning a new life with Ms Goller while also sleeping with his ex-wife Carly Cilliers, and arranging unprotected sex sessions with prostitutes.

The extent of his money problems was also revealed in messages sent between the married couple in December 2014 as their relationship began to break down.

Det Insp Paul Franklin, of Wiltshire Police, said Cilliers had shown “nothing but contempt” for his family.

‘Heavy burden’

“On two separate occasions he made serious attempts to murder Victoria – one of these also endangered the lives of his two young children,” he said.

“His selfish motives were simple – he believed that by killing Victoria his financial problems would be solved, his army career would continue with no danger of Victoria trying to damage it, and he could continue his illicit affair with his girlfriend.

“He has failed to accept any responsibility for his actions which reinforces our view that he is a cold, calculating and callous man whose only duty of care is to himself.”

Mr Justice Sweeney said he would be seeking a report from the probation service to establish the “dangerousness” of the defendant.

“The burden now falls on me on what to do as far as this defendant is concerned, that too is a heavy burden,” he said.

A date for sentencing has not yet been set.

The jury also convicted him of a third count of damaging a gas fitting recklessly endangering life.

Related Topics

Read more:

Read More

DIY disaster ends as Homebase sold for 1

Image copyright Newscast

The Australian owner of Homebase has sold the DIY chain for £1, ending its disastrous foray into the UK.

Wesfarmers paid £340m for the retailer two years ago, but losses and other costs will bring its total bill to about £1bn.

The chain is being bought by restructuring specialist Hilco, which rescued music chain HMV in 2013.

The 24 stores that had been converted to the Bunnings brand will revert to the Homebase name.

Richard Lim, of consultancy Retail Economics, said the Wesfarmers takeover had been an “unbelievable disaster” due to “woeful management decisions, clumsy execution and a misguided perception of the UK market”.

He expected the restructuring would result in store closures and more job losses on the High Street. Homebase has about 250 stores and 11,500 workers.

Dave Gill, national officer at shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw, said: “Staff in Homebase stores are extremely worried for the future after company’s ownership changes hands yet again.

“Clearly the sale for just one pound is very disturbing. I am in touch with the company and we are seeking urgent meetings to secure jobs.”

Analysis: Emma Simpson, BBC business correspondent

This must go down as one of the most disastrous retail acquisitions ever – a textbook example of how not to do it.

The Australian firm thought they could show the Brits how to do DIY. So confident, they immediately sacked Homebase’s senior management team. That was a huge mistake.

They then began to strip out the soft furnishings that were popular at Homebase. Instead, Bunnings opted for no frills DIY sheds.

But it failed to understand the UK market and the losses soon started to mount. Deteriorating economic conditions certainly didn’t help.

The few stores that were trading as Bunnings will convert back to the Homebase brand as this company makes an ignominious retreat. The new owners will need to act fast to stem the losses across the Homebase business, which will inevitably mean store closures and job losses ahead.

‘Very competitive’

Wesfarmers has admitted making a number of “self-induced” blunders, such as underestimating winter demand for a range of items from heaters to cleaning and storage, and dropping popular kitchen and bathroom ranges.

Rob Scott, chief executive of Wesfarmers, said the UK market proved to be “very competitive”, with “quite challenging” retail conditions.

Asked whether investors could trust Australia’s biggest retail group with future acquisitions, he said he hoped the disposal “demonstrates the capability of our team to act decisively”.

Wesfarmers expects the disposal to cost up to £230m. It will be entitled to 20% of any future sale of the business.

Homebase chief Damian McGloughlin, who will stay on as part of the management buyout funded by Hilco, “marks an exciting new chapter” for the retailer.

“With Hilco’s support we have the commitment of an experienced partner, substantial additional capital, stability for the business and the opportunity to reinvigorate a brand that has been a mainstay of UK retail for over 40 years,” he said.

Hilco was given a “Turnaround of the Decade” award last year for its revival of HMV.

Image caption Paul Gainford is a Bunnings fan

The view from the shop floor

By Kevin Peachey, personal finance reporter

The newly branded Bunnings store in Penge, south-east London, opened its doors with some fanfare in March – including an appearance by Peppa Pig.

But now that Bunnings has failed to bring home the bacon for Wesfarmers, the store will become a Homebase once more.

Shoppers at the store seem bemused. Carpenter Paul Gainford said: “I’m a bit gutted that it is going back to Homebase. It has got everything here – things that you can’t get elsewhere.”

Other shoppers agreed that some ranges, such as tools and plants, had improved since the switchover. Ultimately, they were keen for the store to stay open in some form under the new ownership.

“There is not much choice around here so it is important that places like this remain,” said Wayne Obee, who was buying plants and compost for his garden.

Retired banker Neil Rank, 60, was concerned about the impact on workers: “There seems to be more staff here now it is a Bunnings. But whenever costs are cut, it is staff costs that they look at first.”

Read more:

Read More

Barnes & Noble teeters in a post-text world

Barnes & Noble, that once proud anchor to many a suburban mall, is waning. It is not failing all at once, dropping like the savaged corpse of Toys “R” Us, but it also clear that its cultural moment has passed and only drastic measures can save it from joining Waldenbooks and Borders in the great, paper-smelling ark of our book-buying memory. I’m thinking about this because David Leonhardt at The New York Times calls for B&N to be saved. I doubt it can be.

First, there is the sheer weight of real estate and the inexorable slide away from print. B&N is no longer a place to buy books. It is a toy store with a bathroom and a cafe (and now a restaurant?), a spot where you’re more likely to find Han Solo bobbleheads than a Star Wars novel. The old joy of visiting a bookstore and finding a few magical books to drag home is fast being replicated by smaller bookstores where curation and provenance are still important while B&N pulls more and more titles. To wit:

But does all of this matter? Will the written word — what you’re reading right now — survive the next century? Is there any value in a book when VR and AR and other interfaces can recreate what amounts to the implicit value of writing? Why save B&N if writing is doomed?

Indulge me for a moment and then argue in comments. I’m positing that B&N’s failure is indicative of a move towards a post-text society, that AI and new media will redefine how we consume the world and the fact that we see more videos than text on our Facebook feed – ostensibly the world’s social nervous system – is indicative of this change.

First, some thoughts on writing versus film. In his book of essays, Distrust That Particular Flavor, William Gibson writes about the complexity and education and experience needed to consume various forms of media:

The book has been largely unchanged for centuries. Working in language expressed as a system of marks on a surface, I can induce extremely complex experiences, but only in an audience elaborately educated to experience this. This platform still possesses certain inherent advantages. I can, for instance, render interiority of character with an ease and specificity denied to a screenwriter.

But my audience must be literate, must know what prose fiction is and understand how one accesses it. This requires a complexly cultural education, and a certain socioeconomic basis. Not everyone is afforded the luxury of such an education.

But I remember being taken to my first film, either a Disney animation or a Disney nature documentary (I can’t recall which I saw first), and being overwhelmed by the steep yet almost instantaneous learning curve: In that hour, I learned to watch film.

This is a deeply important idea. First, we must appreciate that writing and film offer various value adds beyond linear storytelling. In the book, the writer can explore the inner space of the character, giving you an imagined world in which people are thinking, not just acting. Film — also a linear medium — offers a visual representation of a story and thoughts are inferred by dint of their humanity. We know a character’s inner life thanks to the emotion we infer from their face and body.

This is why, to a degree, the CGI human was so hard to make. Thanks to books, comics, and film we, as humans, were used to giving animals and enchanted things agency. Steamboat Willie mostly thought like us, we imagined, even though he was a mouse with big round ears. Fast-forward to the dawn of CGI humans — think Sid from Toy Story and his grotesque face — and then fly even further into the future Leia looking out over a space battle and mumbling “Hope” and you see the scope of achievement in CGI humans as well as the deep problems with representing humans digitally. A CGI car named Lightning McQueen acts and thinks like us while a CGI Leia looks slightly off. We cannot associate agency with fake humans, and that’s a problem.

Thus we needed books to give us that inner look, that frisson of discovery that we are missing in real life.

But soon — and we can argue that films like Infinity War prove this — there will be no uncanny valley. We will be unable to tell if a human on screen or in VR is real or fake and this allows for an interesting set of possibilities.

First, with VR and other tricks, we could see through a character’s eyes and even hear her thoughts. This interiority, as Gibson writes, is no longer found in the realm of text and is instead an added attraction to an already rich medium. Imagine hopping from character to character, the reactions and thoughts coming hot and heavy as they move through the action. Maybe the story isn’t linear. Maybe we make it up as we go along. Imagine the remix, the rebuild, the restructuring.

Gibson again:

This spreading, melting, flowing together of what once were distinct and separate media, that’s where I imagine we’re headed. Any linear narrative film, for instance, can serve as the armature for what we would think of as a virtual reality, but which Johnny X, eight-year-old end-point consumer, up the line, thinks of as how he looks at stuff. If he discovers, say, Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, he might idly pause to allow his avatar a freestyle Hong Kong kick-fest with the German guards in the prison camp. Just because he can. Because he’s always been able to. He doesn’t think about these things. He probably doesn’t fully understand that that hasn’t always been possible.

In this case B&N and the bookstore don’t need to exist at all. We get the depth of books with the vitality of film melded with the immersion of gaming. What about artisanal book lovers, you argue, they’ll keep things alive because they love the feel of books.

When that feel — the scent, the heft, the old book smell — can be simulated do we need to visit a bookstore? When Amazon and Netflix spend millions to explore new media and are sure to branch out into more immersive forms do you need to immerse yourself in To The Lighthouse? Do we really need the education we once had to gain in order to read a book?

We know that Amazon doesn’t care about books. They used books as a starting point to taking over e-commerce and, while the Kindle is the best system for e-books in existence, it is an afterthought compared to the rest of the business. In short, the champions of text barely support it.

Ultimately what I posit here depends on a number of changes coming all at once. We must all agree to fall headfirst into some share hallucination the replaces all other media. We must feel that that world is real enough for us to abandon our books.

It’s up to book lovers, then, to decide what they want. They have to support and pay for novels, non-fiction, and news. They have to visit small booksellers and keep demand for books alive. And they have to make it possible to exist as a writer. “Publishers are focusing on big-name writers. The number of professional authors has declined. The disappearance of Borders deprived dozens of communities of their only physical bookstore and led to a drop in book sales that looks permanent,” writes Leonhardt and he’s right. There is no upside for text slingers.

In the end perhaps we can’t save B&N. Maybe we let it collapse into a heap like so many before it. Or maybe we fight for a medium that is quickly losing cachet. Maybe we fight for books and ensure that just because the big guys on the block can’t make a bookstore work the rest of us don’t care. Maybe we tell the world that we just want to read.

I shudder to think what will happen if we don’t.

Read more:

Read More

Man Turns Old Farm Shed Into $1.3 Million Luxury Home, And The Result Will Impress You

Have you ever dreamed of living in a shed? No? Well, after seeing this barn you just might change your mind.

A developer called Rob Lond-Caulk renovated an agricultural building, named The Old Grain Store, in Norfolk, UK and turned it into a luxurious home, worth over 1.3 million dollars.

The Old Grain Store is a stylish, contemporary home with many exemplary features. It has four bedrooms, three reception rooms, a media room, sun terrace and many more fancy extras!

Rob Lond-Caulk took an old piece of coal and turned it into a true diamond.

Recently, developer Rob Lond-Caulk challenged himself to renovate this run-down barn in Norfolk, UK

Sounds crazy? Here’s the result

The newly renovated building is now called ‘The Old Grain Store’

Now it has a stylish, contemporary look with many exemplary features

It features fully equipped modern kitchen

Spacious living areas

5 bathrooms

The house has two storeys

There are 4 light and spacious bedrooms

Here’s the view from the balcony

Would you like to live in a place like this?


Read more:

Read More

Are Air Fryers Worth It?

A few months back, I went to a kitchen appliance trade show and was surprised by the large number of manufacturers coming out with air fryers. "Enjoy great tasting fried food"[sic] reads the cover recipe booklet for Philip's new Airfryer XXL, a lovely sounding idea. With their focus on faux fried flavor, an aversion to fat, and an emphasis on convenience in the marketing from almost every manufacturer, the rise of air fryers felt like the second coming of the George Foreman Grill.

Honestly, though, I was suspicious. Wasn't air frying more of a tweaked version of baking than a luxurious, crisp-making wallow in hot oil?

I called in one of Philips new XXL models, which is both large and a good representative of the best of the industry's offerings.

It arrived in the morning and, lacking other options in my fridge and pantry, I made baked potatoes for my wife Elisabeth and myself. Pulling the air fryer out of the box, three things became immediately apparent. First, these things take up a lot of counter space—pretty much the footprint of a five-gallon bucket, and two-thirds the height. (Other brands might be smaller but not that much.) Second, the fan that that runs whenever it's on is loud, effectively sucking the conversation or ambient music right up into the ether. The third thing was how ridiculously tiny the cooking basket is; at nine inches by nine inches by two and three-quarter inches high, two large potatoes effectively maxed out its capacity.

The spuds were good but that was more of a sour cream, cheddar, and chives thing than an air fryer thing. Clearly, more testing was in order.

Heat Wave

What is it that makes air fryers unique? The answer might be, "Nothing, really." Air fryers are convection ovens in a bucket, meaning that like a regular oven, they have a heating element and like a slightly fancier oven with a convection feature, they have a fan that circulates the hot air, keeping the temperature consistent throughout the cooking area. Thanks to faster-than-a-normal-oven heat transfer capabilities from that rapidly circulating air, convection ovens can shorten the cooking time of some foods, potentially giving them a crispier exterior that brand-conscious marketeers seem to consider to be similar to fried food.

An air fryer would be flattened in a mano-a-mano with a real Fryalator and its big tub of hot oil.

Let's be clear, though: an air fryer would be flattened in a mano-a-mano with a real Fryalator and its big tub of hot oil. Few of us deep fry at home, though, as it involves that huge amount of hot oil which you have to deal with after dinner. So does air frying bring us close enough to the ideal to take the plunge?

I'd been back and forth with a Philips representative, asking for suggestions on what to cook that really put the machine's skills to the fore, and was flummoxed when they suggested frozen french fries.

"Hell," I thought. "I'll bite."

I went to the store and there they were, same brand and everything. I split up the bag, and started one batch in the air fryer, and another in my oven with the convection off, then made a follow-up batch using the convection setting. The air fryer fries were nicely browned and crisp, but a bit hollowed out, seemingly at the expense of some pleasant creaminess inside. The no-convection oven batch was more leathery on the outside, creamy within, and noticeably less browned. The convection oven version landed squarely between the two.

While all three specimens were reminiscent of special treats mom would make for my sister and me when we were kids and she didn't want to cook, they were in no way as good as real French fries. If a perfect paper cone full of Belgian fries eaten on a Brussels sidewalk is a 10 and excellent fries at your favorite bar are a seven, then the oven fries were a two, the convection oven version was a two point five and the air fryer a three. With a bit of tweaking, like preheating the sheet pan for the oven version, I guessed I could bring each of those home-cooked numbers up a point, but none of the fries I'd made were terribly compelling.

For the Birds

Another recommended recipe was a whole chicken like the one found on the cover of the XXL's recipe booklet. Having now used the machine, I had some serious geometry questions, most significantly how to cram a whole bird into the air fryer's basket.

The booklet sneakily recommended cooking a three-pounder, but I sensed trouble. Birds that small aren't easy to find at Safeway. Elisabeth checked at the grocery store near my house and after flipping through a bin of chickens, she couldn't find one smaller than 3.5 pounds. Considering it's an organic market and those birds tend to be smaller than the typical Oven Stuffer Roaster, this was disconcerting.

I called my butcher, who said theirs are almost always larger than three pounds, but that they'd root around for me.

"We found a runt!" she said, holding the tiny fowl aloft when I walked into the shop. It weighed 2.75 pounds. I bought that one along with a 3.25 pounder, planning to roast them both for friends.

I preheated the air fryer and my oven, prepped the birds and immediately ran into trouble. I had to cram the tiny chicken into the air fryer basket, and as soon as I closed the door, I could smell something burning. I'd clearly exceeded the height limit for this ride, and now dinner was running late. I fished the slightly singed chicken out, set it on a cutting board and—getting a little desperate since people were on the way over—did what must have looked like man-on-chicken chest compressions in an attempt to break the backbone, or at least flatten the thing out a bit before performing some innovative re-trussing. Surprisingly, it worked.

Taking a bite, the meat was surprisingly juicy, but the crust was horrible, with a peculiar texture that, while sloughing around between my teeth, reminded me of shale.

In my relatively tiny oven, I perched the larger bird on a bunch of vegetables: onion quarters, whole carrots, and fennel. Below that, I used the free space to roast another tray of veggies. When I pulled the oven chicken out, I put the veggies in the roasting pan up by the broiler for a quick bit of extra browning.

It all made for a lovely meal, particularly once I could turn off the air fryer and hear our guests. The air fryer chicken was tiny but tasty with crispy skin, perhaps even superior to the oven-roasted bird. That said, its advantage over the oven chicken might just be because it finished earlier, and I wanted to get food on the table.

From there, I tried another recipe in the Philips recipe booklet: shrimp on lemongrass skewers with sweet potato fries. The idea is that you're supposed to cook it all in batches, a detail that subtly pops up on the very last line of the recipe. My estimate is that you'd have to do the fries in (at least) two batches, followed by the shrimp in two, turning it into 60 minutes of cooking time. Compare that to cooking the fries in the oven (there wasn't much difference in taste in the fries between the three methods), then blasting the shrimp under the broiler. Don't get me wrong, the results of all three methods for the shrimp were excellent, but the oven and broiler gave me more options and slightly superior results, and, thanks to the relatively luxurious amount of space in my oven, I could cook much more food in about half the time.

The air fryer hail Mary was buttermilk fried chicken. If I could pull it off, I thought, it'd be pretty fantastic. The recipe starts out right, marinating chicken thighs in buttermilk for hours before dredging them in flour, and dropping them into the air fryer.

Oh, friends! It was so sad! I could only cook four thighs at a time, despite the recipe's idea that you could fit six. (Where do they find these miniature chickens? Why not call for a broiler or a squab?) Two people would need to wait an hour of "fry" time to get more than two pieces each—often a necessity with good fried chicken. When done, the exterior was blotchy and scaly, and vaguely, but not really, fried-looking. Taking a bite, the meat was surprisingly juicy, but the crust was horrible, with a peculiar texture that, while sloughing around between my teeth, reminded me of shale.

It also recalled a bender I went on while researching a story about chicken wings in Buffalo. There, at a bar called Kelly's Korner, a very large man named T.C. railed against the heretical idea of ranch dressing being served alongside his flats and drumettes.

"If someone ever gives you ranch dressing," he exclaimed before downing a shot of Jameson's, "you throw that shit against the wall!"

Nothing flew against the wall in my test kitchen, but attempting fried chicken in an air fryer was miserably unworthy of reproduction.

Sorry, Please Fry Again

So here's the deal: you don't need one of these things. They're loud, even the big ones have a surprisingly small capacity, they don't do anything significantly better than an oven and you probably have an oven anyway. They'd also require bumping your toaster and coffeemaker onto a storage shelf.

Instead, if you're into the air-frying idea, save the potentially significant amount of money you'd spend on one (high-end models can cost $400 or more) and upgrade to a convection feature the next time your real oven croaks.

The marketing materials for the scores of companies that make these hot-air blowers will tell you that they are a great way to cook that cuts down on fat. But good lord, fried is fried, and "air fried" is not that. Better to eat well most of the time then go to your favorite fried chicken place on your birthday, or do it up at home with a couple of liters of canola oil and a Dutch oven. The rare dose of perfection is far better than the consistent drip of mediocrity.

Food writer Joe Ray (@joe_diner) is a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of The Year, a restaurant critic, and author of "Sea and Smoke" with chef Blaine Wetzel.

Read more:

Read More

What You Need To Know About The Special Election In Arizona

Tuesday is Election Day in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, where Democrats have mounted a serious bid to flip a GOP-held House seat in a district Donald Trump won by 21 percentage points.

Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a health care advocate and physician, is battling Republican Debbie Lesko, a conservative former state senator, for a seat representing an area that encompasses a swath of Phoenix’s western and northern suburbs.

Although national Republican operatives privately profess their confidence in a Lesko victory, the party brass is investing heavily in the race to guard against another embarrassing defeat. Three national GOP arms ― the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican National Committee, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ― have together spent more than $1.2 million on Lesko’s behalf. 

In addition, President Donald Trump recorded a robocall for Lesko, and several Republican leaders have traveled to the district to campaign and raise money for her.

The GOP would suffer a blow to morale from even a narrow win in the solidly Republican seat, which explains why national GOP leaders are not taking any chances, according to Gina Woodall, an Arizona State University politics expert.

“If this very safe Republican seat flips, then anything goes at the state level and at the federal level in November,” Woodall said. “Republicans have a tremendous amount to lose in Arizona.”

Hiral for Congress
Democrat Hiral Tipernini has mounted a competitive bid for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, but pundits consider a win for her unlikely.

The fact that the contest has been competitive is a promising sign for Democrats. The state party, which has set up a field office and dedicated staffers to Tipirneni’s bid, is using the race as an opportunity to generate excitement and infrastructure for upcoming midterm opportunities.

Democrats have a serious shot in November of flipping the state Senate, where the GOP has a four-seat edge. The party plans to target at least six GOP-held state Senate seats, and has fielded promising candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat as well, including Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

The 8th District special election has “already done some magic” for local Democrats, said Ann Teeters Johnson, a retiree from Sun City West. “Because there is a primary and an election again so soon, I think it would carry over.”

The demographics of Arizona’s 8th fundamentally favor Republicans. Over 84 percent of residents are white, and nearly 22 percent are aged 65 or older ― both groups that generally lean Republican. 

Prior to his resignation in December, Rep. Trent Franks (R) routinely won re-election by more than 30 percentage points. (Franks resigned in December after allegedly offering a female aide $5 million to serve as a surrogate mother for him and his wife.)

Democratic Energy That’s A ‘Little Different’

A number of forces have converged to give Democrats a fighting chance in the district, nestled in a section of Maricopa County known as the West Valley.

Chief among them are energized Democratic voters, and grassroots groups that have sprouted since the 2016 election.  

Ann Teeters Johnson, who has used the Democratic National Committee’s digital programs to make calls and text messages for Tipirneni, joined Rogue Democratic Women, a 100-person group that organized a Democratic candidate forum during the primary. Tipirneni’s bid has unleashed Democratic pride that has wowed Johnson, who likens the Republican stronghold to hostile territory.

Johnson shows her partisan colors with a bumper sticker that says, “Had Enough? Vote Democratic.” On a number of occasions in recent weeks, people have left notes on her windshield to share their agreement with the sticker’s message.

“I’ve been in Democratic politics a long time and it is a little different,” Johnson said. “I haven’t seen something like this.”

The struggle to increase Arizona teachers’ pay and funding for the state’s schools has only heightened the excitement for Tipirneni’s bid. Tens of thousands of teachers, students, parents and other supporters wore red during a school walkout on April 11, protesting low pay and school budget cuts.

The movement, which they christened #RedforEd, got the attention of Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican up for re-election in November. Ducey vowed to give teachers a 20-percent raise by 2020, and restore education funding. Nonetheless, teachers skeptical that the money would not be cut from other essential services plan a statewide strike on Thursday.

Tipirneni, an ardent supporter of #RedforEd and public-school parent, has found an appealing foil in Lesko, who championed a costly private-school voucher bill. The legislation aroused opposition from many of the same suburban women now attracted to Tipirneni’s bid. While Lesko helped shepherd the bill into law, grassroots resistance to the measure has won voters the opportunity to decide its fate on the November ballot.

Spinning The Outcome

Tipirneni, who has focused her campaign on kitchen-table issues like health care, education and retirement, has proven a prodigious fundraiser. As of the beginning of the month, she had raised nearly $180,000 more than Lesko.  

But the national cavalry for Lesko, which has more than closed the individual candidates’ fundraising gap, has not been matched by Democratic cash. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps elect Democrats to the House, has spent nothing toward Tipirneni’s bid. 

The outside GOP money appears to be having an impact. One public poll that showed Tipirneni leading by 1 percentage point two weeks ago, more recently found Lesko with a 6-point lead.

Election watchers pessimistic about Tipirneni’s chances of an upset also point to the makeup of voters who have already cast their ballots in the state’s capacious early voting program. Arizonans have been able to vote in person and by mail since March 28, and the types of voters who have already submitted ballots bode well for Lesko.  

Of more than 154,000 ballots already cast, 49 percent of voters were registered Republicans, compared with 28 percent Democrats and 23 percent independents. The median age of the people who have already voted is 67. 

National Republicans are already casting a Lesko win as a referendum on progressive health care policies. Tipirneni advocates allowing Americans of all ages to buy into Medicare, as well as offering Medicaid beneficiaries the opportunity to purchase private coverage. But Lesko and national Republicans have dubbed her a proponent of single-payer health care in which the federal government would be the sole insurer for all Americans.

“Hiral Tipirneni will be the first of many single-payer supporters to suffer defeat this year,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jesse Hunt. 

Progressives hope to argue that Tipirneni kept the race close because she ran strongly as a champion of affordable health care, and defender of Social Security and Medicare. Tipirneni has vowed to protect the social insurance programs and denounced the budget-busting GOP tax cuts for creating a political impetus to cut them.

Ady Barkan, an ALS-stricken progressive activist whose “Be A Hero” initiative targets Republicans who voted for, or back the tax cuts, traveled to the district to campaign on Tipirneni’s behalf. While in Arizona, Barkan, who will need Medicare as his body deteriorates, asked Lesko to respond to the stated intentions of several Republican leaders, including House Speaker Ryan and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, to seek major cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Barkan features a key moment in the exchange in a one-minute ad ― one of two starring Barkan that the progressive Working Families Party has spent $100,000 to air in the district. In the snippet, Lesko tells Barkan, who will be on Medicare, she is “not familiar” with GOP plans to cut social programs.

The video cuts to a Washington Post article from December: “Ryan says Republicans to target welfare, Medicare, Medicaid spending in 2018.”

Lesko “didn’t even know that her agenda would rip health care away from people like me,” Barkan concludes.

Read more:

Read More

These Are The 10 Professions With The Most Psychopaths

Psychopaths are difficult to spot most of the time. They’re not the “Jack the Ripper” caricatures you see in films or read about in books. Often, psychopaths appear normal, which makes them hard to identify.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, someone with a psychopathic personality type is defined as having an inflated, grandiose sense of themselves, and a knack for manipulating other people. But a diagnosis is rarely simple.

One thing psychopaths tend to have in common is the careers they go for. For example, you’re likely to find a lot of them in leadership positions because of their ruthlessness, charisma, and fearlessness. They’re very good at making snap decisions, but not so good at the empathetic professions like nursing or therapy.

Kevin Dutton, a British psychologist and writer, specializes in the study of psychopathy. In his book “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success,” he made a list of the types of jobs that attract the most psychopaths.

“Functional psychopaths,” as Dutton calls them, “use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society.” In other words, psychopaths often live as normal people with a few traits that make them different.

Scroll down to see what the top 10 career choices for psychopaths are, ranked in ascending order by popularity.

10. Civil servant


Being a civil servant is the 10th most popular career choice for psychopaths, according to Dutton. In fact, in 2014, UK Government officials considered recruiting psychopaths specifically “to keep order,” because they are “very good in crises” and have “no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical.”

9. Chef

Most psychopaths have no interest in harming others, so don’t worry about the fact chefs have access to open flames and knives during their workday. Psychopaths thrive in chaos where other people may fail, which could be one reason they work so well in a hectic kitchen.

8. Clergyperson

In a blog post for Psychology Today, FBI veteran Joe Navarro explains some of the reasons psychopathic people may go for a career in the Clergy. Among them are the fact religious organizations may provide a means for people to exploit others, while also giving legitimacy to their actions. Also, it is easy to make alliances, which can give manipulative people the upper hand in gaining access to sensitive information.

7. Police officer

Psychopaths don’t necessarily have ulterior motives. One of their traits is being very cool-headed under stress. Police officers have a highly intense and dangerous job, so it’s a huge benefit if you are calm in a crisis. This could be a reason law enforcement is a popular career choice for psychopaths.

6. Journalist

Dutton lists some of the traits of psychopaths as charm, focus, mindfulness, ruthlessness, and action — which are all advantageous in journalism, especially when you have strict deadlines and you have to get answers from sources.

5. Surgeon

One study, published in the journal The Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, sought to find out whether surgeons really were likely to be psychopaths. Results showed that consultants at teaching hospitals scored higher on a scale of psychopathic personality than district general hospital consultants, who scored higher than the general population. Possible reasons the authors give in their discussion is that “stress immunity is the overriding personality trait of doctors,” and the fact surgeons have to make quick, difficult decisions every day.

4. Salesperson


A psychopathic person who works in sales probably shows traits such as shameless self-promotion, stealing other people’s contacts, a relentless desire to earn the most money, and an inability to be a team player. Depending on how your organization works, this could either be your worst nightmare, or the dream sales candidate.

3. Media person in TV or radio

Some psychopaths also exhibit narcissism, which is arguably useful in a job that requires a lot of public focus. The popularity of this career choice for psychopaths could also be because being a TV anchor or radio personality also requires you to be calm in the face of pressure.

2. Lawyer

In “Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight,” author M. E. Thomas, a self-proclaimed sociopath, claims being a sociopath helped her be a better attorney. In a blog post for Psychology Today, attorney Ruth Lee Johnson says that although psychopathic traits like self-confidence, cold-heartedness, and deceitful charm may be handy for lawyers, it’s simplistic to say these traits alone are enough. In the right context, though, they could make someone very formidable.

  1. 1. CEO

  2. Psychopaths have something called a “resilience to chaos.” This doesn’t just mean they keep a cool head under stress — they also sometimes create havoc for everyone else, because it makes them look good when everyone around them is struggling. Some psychopaths may use this method to climb the career ladder all the way to the top. Others aren’t necessarily as manipulative and reach the top through their skills alone.


  3. Read the original article on Business Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2018.

    Read next on Business Insider: How to tell if you’re Facebook friends with a psychopath

Read more:

Read More

Tomb Raiders’ Tunnels Lead To “Extraordinary” Discovery In Pompeii

For the very first time, archaeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient horse cast in the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii.

The discovery, described by Pompeii site director Massimo Osanna as “extraordinary”, was made on May 10, in a long-lost tomb in the Civita Giuliana area, north of the walls of the archaeological site of Pompeii. Alongside the tomb, archaeologists stumbled across an exceptionally well-preserved suburban villa containing a bunch of artifacts, such as a wooden bed, wine amphorae, and other kitchen utensils. They even discovered the grave of a man buried after the fatal eruption, suggesting people continued to live around the ruins of the town even after the catastrophe.

Pompeii, of course, is the world-famous Roman town that was decimated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. At least 10,000 perished in a downpour of volcanic ash and pumice from the volcano, making it one of the deadliest eruptions in human history. 

The horse is said to be exceptionally large and strong for a horse from Ancient Rome, leading researchers to believe it was a thoroughbred. Parco Archeologico di Pompei

Thousands of years on, Pompeii has become the longest continually excavated archaeological site in the world. Its ruins have been loosely explored for 500 years, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that archaeologists truly broke ground and discovered the scale of the lost city. In 1860, Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered that you could trace the lost bodies of people by pouring cement into the hollows formed in the volcanic ash where the bodies had disintegrated. This produced a perfect cast of the body in its dying moments.

This technique has been used to find the bodies of around 1,500 people. Among them are castings of families huddling together, two people embracing as they died, and even a guy who appears to be masturbating (according to Twitter, at least).

Over the past summer, Pompeii had fallen victim to tomb raiders and grave robbers who dug tunnels to search for valuable artifacts from the villa. Although it is unclear how much they managed to steal, the exploits were enough for the local authorities to start their own dig to preserve the archaeological heritage of the Roman town. 

Parco Archeologico di Pompei

Other animals have been discovered at Pompeii using this casting technique, including dogs. However, this is the first ever unearthed horse. The horse is said to be exceptionally large and strong for a horse from Ancient Rome, leading researchers to believe it was a thoroughbred either used for racing or war. The owner, therefore, was probably exceptionally wealthy too.

You can watch part of the incredible excavation process in the video below.

Read more:

Read More

Angry White Dude’s Rant About People Speaking Spanish In NYC Goes Viral

A customer at a New York restaurant tried to chew out employees after he heard them speaking Spanish.

Instead, his fellow customers laughed at his rant, especially his threat to report the restaurant to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

A now-viral video posted to Facebook by Edward Suazo shows a very angry white man going ballistic when he overheard workers at Fresh Kitchen, a midtown eatery, speaking Spanish to customers.

In the video, the man tells an employee, “Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English… This is America.”

The employee attempted to explain that his co-workers were simply interacting with other customers.

That hardly satisfied the man, who can be seen pointing wildly around the room at everyone he said he overheard speaking Spanish.

After other customers laugh at his antics and taunt him, with one telling him he’s “fucked up,” the angry man becomes even angrier.

“My guess is, they’re not documented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of [them] kicked out of my country,” he said. “They have the balls to come here and live off of my money I pay for their welfare, I pay for their ability to be here. The least they could do, the least they could do is speak English.”

In his Facebook post, Suazo said the video was taken by his wife and her best friend as they ordered lunch at the restaurant.

He added:

“I wish I was there because clearly this peace of shit need someone to punch him in his mouth !!

“What a big man talking down to couple of women and a helpless employee. I wish someone tells me I can’t speak in my native language ! First of all they wasn’t talking to you !! Asshole !

“My country !! Haha 😆

“I love the way people are just throwing that world around lately !!

“If you love this country this much ! Why don’t you put on uniform and protect it !!”

If he was so offended because the waiter was speak in Spanish only because of a native person spoke to him in Spanish, why don’t he start waitering and he won’t have that issue and family stop getting Spanish nannies and stop getting Spanish people to farm and ………

You know where I’m getting !!”

The restaurant’s manager told The New York Daily News the ranting customer didn’t realize the woman speaking Spanish with his employee was a regular.

“They were speaking Spanish because they are friends,” the manager said. “He got mad, waiting in line for his food. He stormed out.”

The manager said the man’s rant infuriated him, but he refused to return the rancor.

“He’s a customer, so I had to stay professional and ask him to leave,” the manager said. “That’s what I did.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Suazo’s video has been viewed more than 1.3 million times.

The ranting man was quickly identified as lawyer Aaron Schlossberg thanks to the magic of internet crowdsourcing, according to black rights activist Shaun King: 

Schlossberg seems to be an equal opportunity offender based on a video from last year that showed him yelling, “You are not a Jew” at Jewish people supporting Palestinian rights, according to Fast Company.

Ironically, Schlossberg’s website is a lot more tolerant of non-English speakers than he apparently is, as one Twitter user noted.

HuffPost reached out to Schlossberg, who did not immediately respond.

Read more:

Read More

Rare Photos Of First Australasian Antarctic Expedition Taken 100 Years Ago Will Make You Shiver

More than a hundred years ago, the young Australian geologist Douglas Mawson embarked on a first Australasian Antarctic expedition. This expedition is deemed legendary for the resilience, physical endurance, loyalty and accomplishments of the crew.

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition began in 1911. The objective was to investigate, as far as possible, a stretch of essentially unknown Antarctic coast. However this mission turned out to be fatal for 2 of Mawson’s crew members. Belgrave Ninnis plummeted down a crevasse with a sledge carrying most of their supplies. Another crew member, Xavier Mertz, perished from exhaustion, starvation and possible toxicity from eating dogs’ livers. Mawson’s survival was a miracle, as he described it in his journals “Never have I come so near an end; never has anyone more miraculously escaped”.

Despite the sacrifices that were made, the 3 years spent in sub-zero temperatures and extremely harsh winds didn’t go to waste. The expedition managed to chart large segments of east Antarctic coastline and resulted in major contributions to the knowledge of the region. Furthermore, species on land and sea, previously unknown, were described for the first time. Mawson was hailed as a hero for his persistence, determination and bravery which contributed to the advancement of science.

Thanks to the photographer Frank Hurley and other crew members, we can witness this groundbreaking expedition through these astonishing photographs.

  More info: flickr

Read more:

Read More