Monthly Archives: February 2015

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New York Man Ticketed for Driving in Carpool Lane with Wooden Friend 

When Officer Jonathan Abrams pulled over a Long Island man for speeding in the HOV lane Friday morning, he ran into a slight problem: He asked both men in the car for ID, but one of them, being several pieces of wood stuck together, had none.

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Create Better Ice Breakers By Knowing Your Audience and Objectives

When you are put in a group of strangers, ice breaker activities are a great way to start working together. Instead of just picking an activity at random, look at the goals of the group and design activities that focus on those.

Mind Tools reviews the basics of why you should use ice breakers:

If you are bringing together like-minded people, the "ice" may simply reflect the fact that people have not yet met.

If you are bringing together people of different grades and levels in your organization for an open discussion, the "ice" may come from the difference in status between participants.

If you are bringing together people of different backgrounds, cultures and outlooks for work within your community, then the "ice" may come from people’s perceptions of each other

Once you figure out what the ice is, then you need to pick an activity that matches your needs. They suggest considering the comfort level of the participants and how these activities will create a common purpose. Look for shared experiences that focus on what makes participants similar instead of pointing out the differences. Check out the link for the best ice breakers for each situation.

Ice Breakers Easing Group Contribution | Mind Tools

Design firm wants this round wooden phone to be your family heirloom

See that wooden round thing above? That’s a smartphone — a real, working smartphone with a high-res screen and a camera, and not just a concept that will never come to life. Just imagining how to take calls on it without a headset or how to access w…

Stolen NASCAR Race Car Found In Suburban Atlanta

Good news for Travis Kvapil! According to WXYZ, the Team Xtreme race car Kvapil was supposed to race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was found early today by the side of the road northwest of Atlanta in Gwinnett County, Georgia, twenty miles from where it was found.

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Ask a Hospital for Financial Aid If You Can’t Pay the Bill

Ask a Hospital for Financial Aid If You Can’t Pay the Bill

Hospital bills, even with insurance, can devastate your budget. While you might be able to negotiate your bill, also check into your hospital’s financial aid program to reduce your payments.

Each facility has different rules and guidelines to qualify. Those rules are indexed by the federal poverty level. Some places will also factor in other expenses like your prescriptions or other medical bills. They’ll also make you fill out some paperwork, but if you can’t pay your bills, these programs lower your medical debt.

The business office won’t always volunteer this information. Search for a "financial aid," "financial assistance" or "charity care" and the name of the hospital to find more info.

How to Get Financial Aid for Hospital Bills | One Smart Dollar

Photo by Chris Yarzab.

F-35 Can’t Carry Its Most Versatile Weapon Until At Least 2022

The short takeoff and vertical landing capable F-35B, which has handicapped the entire Joint Strike Fighter design since its inception , has another major problem, it can’t fit a full load of Small Diameter Bomb IIs in its weapons bay. What’s worse is that even though the USMC will declare the F-35B operational this year, it won’t be until 2022 that the problem will hopefully be fixed.

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Try a Computer “Desktop Zero” To Stay Focused on Your Work

Try a Computer “Desktop Zero” To Stay Focused on Your Work

Let’s face it: some of us have messy desktops. If you can’t focus, try a "Desktop Zero" approach to stay productive.

We covered how separate logins can keep you productive, but all those icons and windows distract our focus. James Zhang at Wistia gives two simple rules for Desktop Zero:

  1. "Remove everything from your Desktop and Dock.
  2. Only open applications that you’ll use in the next 15 minutes."

Desktop Zero is like Inbox Zero: it keeps away the clutter. If you use a PC, a program like Fences can help you clear your desktop with a double-click (and then get those icons back later). Mac users can use this automator script. You don’t have to keep your computer like this—just use it as a productivity booster when you need it.

Desktop Zero | Wistia

Photo by Jean-Baptiste LABRUNE.

Huawei teases its luxury Android Wear watch through awkward videos

Huawei apparently just can’t wait to show some of the wearable tech it has in store this year. While the company isn’t supposed to reveal its Mobile World Congress plans until a press event on March 1st, it has already posted both videos and airport …

50,000 Uber driver names, license plate numbers exposed in a data breach

On Friday Uber posted a notice saying that the company had discovered that one of its databases had a point of entry for unauthorized users. On further investigation it found that “a one-time unauthorized access to an Uber database by a third party had occurred on May 13, 2014.” That database reportedly contained driver names and license plates.

“Our investigation determined the unauthorized access impacted approximately 50,000 drivers across multiple states, which is a small percentage of current and former Uber driver partners,” the note by Katherine Tassi, Uber’s Managing Counsel of Data Privacy, stated. The company added that it has not received any reports of identity misuse, although it’s unclear whether divers have reported anything since learning about the breach.

Uber said it was alerting affected drivers and will offer them a free one-year membership to an identity-monitoring service. Tassi said that Uber had filed a “John Doe” lawsuit in order to “gather information that may lead to confirmation of the identity of the third party.”

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Extreme weather events in our future climate

“When an extreme weather event happens, the public wants to know—is this climate change?” That statement by Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s Michael Wehner provided a good background for the session on climate change and unusual weather events that happened at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The fact is, scientists aren’t well equipped to answer that question—at least not in a way the public’s likely to find satisfying.

Instead, Wehner said, science is on solid ground when it examines weather events in terms of probabilities: is the risk of a given event higher? Will the magnitude of a given type of event change?

Wehner went through some historic events and examined how climate change shifted these probabilities. For example, events similar to Europe’s 2003 heat wave (which saw 70,000 deaths) are already twice as likely to occur given the amount we’ve warmed over pre-industrial conditions. If we allow the globe to warm by 2°C over preindustrial levels, that probability goes up to 154 times. “By the end of the century,” Wehner said, “when we’re likely to see 4°C warming, this event will likely seem cold.”

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