As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

Wind-up radio inventor to be honoured

Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio, is to be appointed CBE for services to intellectual property in a ceremony at Windsor Castle later.

Technology: Embrace It, Fear It, Live It

You know when you’re with your friends, but you’re not really with your friends? Simply put, they’re technically with their phones.

And all you want to say is, “Hey guys! How are your phones?”

And still, there they are still scrolling through Instagram as if each post is going to be deleted within two seconds, ignoring your every word.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of it too; but I think it’s important to be aware of the fact that we allow technology to control the critical moments of what we like to call life. Let’s change perspective.

Without technology, I would not be able to keep in touch with my best friends I met in Milan whom encompass Ohio, Chicago and Toronto. I would not be able to tell them how much I wish they were here for my birthday, drinking endless craft beer or how I wish we could just pack our bags and travel to another country for merely 50 euros. I would not be able to tell my grandmother that I love her, even when she is approximately 9,000 miles too far for a hug. Most importantly, I would not be able to remind my friends and family I’m still here even though I’m not there.

Technology is a powerful tool we use to keep in touch with loved ones, but sometimes we let technology dictate our lives.

I’ve lost control many times, taking too much time reading about what’s going on in pop culture and taking too much time trying to decide which picture to post, or which filter to use.

However, as I reflect on the woman I want to be, I know that all the various times I’ve cooped up in my room constantly clicking on pop culture articles, or been on my phone rather than actually conversed with the people around me, I could have utilized that time to practice the things I’m passionate about. I could have been actually making memories with my friends and family.

From all the times I’ve let go of my phone, I continue to learn how crucial it is to experience life: to take trips to the beach, adventure in a different city, witness and experience life first-hand.

The memories I hold onto from the different stages and different places I’ve been in life may not be all captured on Facebook or Instagram, but I know I’ve been having the time of my life.

As a tech-savvy millennial, I’ve noticed how detrimental technology can be to living in the moment. Fellow millennials are attached to free Wi-Fi, rather than freedom. I think it’s time to realize how lucky some of us are to live a life of freedom and to cherish moments of bliss.

Technology is not evil. We are.

We need to not blame our laptops, our tablets, our phones; but instead, blame ourselves for lack of better control. Technology is an aid to society. We just need to know how to control it. We’re in this life to not exist but to coexist. Life is about living and learning, and we need to learn how to embrace life.

'Nearly 50,000' pro-IS Twitter feeds

There are approximately 46,000 Twitter accounts operating on behalf of Islamic State, a new US study claims.

'Big Bang Theory' Remembers Leonard Nimoy With Touching Tribute

Chuck Lorre and the cast and crew of “The Big Bang Theory” paid touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy at the end of Thursday’s episode. The show closed with a photo of the late “Star Trek” star accompanied by the caption: “The impact you had on our show and on our lives is everlasting.”

Nimoy never appeared on “The Big Bang Theory,” but he did provide his signature voice to an episode, bringing life to a Mr. Spock action figure owned by Sheldon (played by Jim Parsons).

Nimoy died on Friday at the age of 83.

7 Strategies for Solving the Chicken and Egg Problem as a Startup

Customer acquisition is a core challenge for any startup. But for platforms this is doubly true, thanks to the chicken-and-egg problem.

Unlike a traditional, linear startup, a platform doesn’t need to acquire just one group of customers. At a minimum it needs two, its consumers and its producers.

But a new platform doesn’t initially create enough value to attract new users. It’s not economical for consumers to join the platform when there are no producers, and vice versa. This is called the chicken-and-egg problem.

This problem is common to all platforms, and the key to overcoming it is to subsidize value to your early users. As we explained in a previous post, there are three main ways for platforms to subsidize value. These are

· Monetary Subsidies,

· Product Features

· User Sequencing.

Monetary subsidies include decisions about pricing as well as things like loyalty programs and referral fees. For product features, many platforms create special functionality for key users in order to increase loyalty and usage among particularly valuable user groups. Both of these types of subsidies are guided by decisions on user sequencing, which involves deliberate prioritizing the acquisition of certain users groups that others will want to interact with.

Combining these ways of subsidizing value allow a platform to offer enough value to early users to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem and reach the point where positive network effects to kick in and drive future growth.

But what do these methods look like in action? Based on our experience working with countless platform startups and our extensive research into successful platforms, we’ve uncovered seven essential strategies that combine these ways to subsidize value to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem and help your platform reach scale.

These strategies are not all mutually exclusive, so you use any one of them on its own or you can use several at the same time, depending on your platform’s resources and goals. All of these strategies involve user-sequencing decisions, so we’ve sorted them by whether they primarily involve using monetary subsidies, product features or both.

Monetary Subsidies

1. Enter with Significant Pre-Investment

Significant upfront investment in your platform can signal to your producers that it’s safe for them to join your ecosystem.

This strategy is especially common for development platforms, where developers incur considerable upfront costs to join a platform and high switching costs if they decide to leave. For the platform, making a big up front investment signals that you aren’t going anywhere and makes these producers more comfortable making a long-term investment.

A great example of this strategy is Microsoft’s launch of the original Xbox. Microsoft made a big deal about its commitment to spend $500M promoting the platform, thereby signaling that the company was fully committed to its platform for the long haul. This was one way Microsoft attracted third-party game developers, who would then feel more comfortable developing games for the Xbox early on.

2. Build a Cooperative Strategy

Back in 2007, Google was in a precarious position. The company owned desktop search, but the mobile Internet was starting to take off. With the iPhone’s runaway early success, Google was worried that mobile would become Apple’s walled garden. Luckily, it wasn’t alone. Handset manufacturers and telecoms not named AT&T shared the same fear. So Google created the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), a group dedicated to advancing Google’s Android operating system.

In essence, Google used a cooperative strategy. Rather than trying to build a network all on its own, Google tapped into the existing sales channels of the companies in the OHA to spread Android to consumers. With Android enjoying more than 80 percent worldwide market share for mobile OS’s and having more than 1.3M apps on its Play Store, the strategy worked out pretty well.

Product Features

3. Act as a Producer

Why bother getting two users groups at the same time when you can only focus on one? That’s the idea at the heart of this strategy, where the platform acts as the producer to attract an initial group of consumers. It then uses its existing consumer base to attract its producers.

In essence, this strategy means you start out as a traditional linear business and then open up your ecosystem as you start to scale.

The iPhone is a classic example. When it first came out, Apple didn’t allow third-party apps. Once Apple had attracted a large group of consumers, it opened the App Store to enormous success.

Another example is Amazon, which started out fulfilling all customer orders on its own. However, as Amazon grew, the company opened up the Amazon Marketplace platform. Third parties on the marketplace sold over 2 billion items on Amazon last year, a new record. They now make up 40 percent of the site’s annual sales.

4. Use an Evolution Strategy

Rather than trying to create a network from scratch, why not use one that’s already there? An Evolution Strategy taps into an existing large network in order to attract a subset of its users. In order to attract these users away from the existing network, your platform needs to provide incremental value compared to the existing solution. In essence, you’ve recognized that you’re creating the next evolution of an existing network, and you’re appealing to a portion of its existing network to help seed yours.

Airbnb used this strategy to help grow its ecosystem early on. The company tapped into Craigslist’s large network by offering an improved experience for finding short-term rentals. It then used features like its infamous (and now defunct) “Publish on Craigslist” button to make it easy for its hosts to publish their Airbnb listings on Craigslist. But anyone responding to the listings would still reach the host through Airbnb. Airbnb apparently also simply spammed Craigslist posters to get more hosts.

Don’t think you can get away with repeating this same Craigslist trick now, though. Craigslist was quick to ban Airbnb’s tactic once it discovered what was going on, and it has since banned any similar activity on its site, including a potential fine of up to $25,000 a day. Unlike with a Cooperative Strategy, the existing network you’re siphoning users from isn’t likely to take kindly to your activities.

Monetary Subsidies & Product Features

5. Create a Single- or Double-Sided Marquee Strategy

High-value users will help you attract other users who want to interact with them. Their participation on your platform brings extra value to your ecosystem, so many platforms will make specific efforts to subsidize the participation of these high-value users.

When Uber launched in Seattle, it subsidized town car participation by paying drivers even when they weren’t transporting customers. This subsidy brought high-value producers into the ecosystem, which in turn attracted paying customers.

Dating websites are another classic example. Their populations tend to skew heavily male, so they often let women join for free. Other dating platforms, like Coffee Meets Bagel, go even further, deliberately designing the experience to appeal to women with the knowledge that if women join, men will too.

Facebook also used this strategy to great effect by gating access to its network and opening up to Ivy League schools first. It then used the prestige of the Ivy League to help market to other schools. Other college students wanted to join the social network that all the Ivy League kids were talking about.

6. Target a User Group to Fill Both Sides

The idea behind this strategy is similar to #3: try to make a two-sided market one sided. The goal here is to find a user group that can fill both your consumer and your producer roles. That way, you no longer need to worry about attracting and balancing two separate user groups early on.

This was the recipe for success for handmade goods platform Etsy. Etsy’s early research indicated that the people most likely to buy handmade goods were the people that also sold them. So the company decided to focus on this user group to fill out both sides of its marketplace before expanding to other audiences.

The strategy worked pretty well, as Etsy is set to IPO soon.

7. Provide Single-User Utility (1 & 2)

Last but certainty not least is providing single-user utility. This is a “come for the tool, stay for the network” approach, where you attract one side of your multi-sided platform by offering that user group value even if the other side never shows up.

Many platforms that went this route were initially apps that provide their users with essential functionality even if the network never materializes. Early Instagram is a great example, as it provided its users with a way to take photos and make them look good long before it evolved into a full-fledged social networking platform.

Restaurant booking platform OpenTable used a similar strategy in order to get restaurants on board. The company realized that even the top restaurants in San Francisco didn’t have back-end reservation systems. They were still using pen and paper to track reservations. So OpenTable built a software application to handle electronic booking and targeted the top 20 in San Francisco, offering to help these restaurants set the system up.

After these restaurants were on board, other restaurants became interested. And with this core group of restaurants on board, OpenTable was able to successfully open its platform to allow for consumers to book restaurant reservations online.

Of course, a less subtle way to provide single-user utility is simply to find a way to pay your users. Doing this can help remove any initial uncertainty a user might have about your platforms value, because whether or not the other users show up, they’ll still get value from participating. But be careful, because these direct monetary subsidies can be hard to sustain long term. And once they go away, your users might too.


So those are the seven key strategies for getting your platform off the ground. While early customer acquisition is especially tough for platforms, creative use of these strategies should help you overcome the chicken-and-egg problem and attract your first users. After that, it’s time to start building your network effects to rev your long-term growth engine.

At Applico we help CEO’s build disruptive tech companies. For more information on startup traction and other platform-related topics please visit our platform innovation page.

How 'Dumb Phones' Can Help Stop The Spread Of Ebola

A basic cell phone may not be able to snap the best selfies, but it can be a vital tool in preventing the spread of deadly viruses.

In Ebola-stricken West Africa — a region where a lack of resources makes spreading information more challenging — UNICEF is helping young people stay safe through its U-Report initiative.

The free social tool, accessible through any cell phone that can make calls and send texts, lets users voice opinions on issues affecting their community. Launched in May 2011 in Uganda, U-Report has been used to spread information on various topics, like education, sanitation, youth unemployment and HIV/AIDS. But more recently it’s been utilized in the fight against Ebola in Liberia.

After a user downloads U-Report on their mobile device, UNICEF sends them a weekly poll asking for their opinion on a given issue, the organization said in a statement. Because users report their age, gender and location upon signing up, the aid organization can analyze their responses to better understand how Ebola and other issues are being perceived by community members of different demographics.

Support UNICEF’s efforts to combat Ebola through the fundraising widget below.

Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise

Users can view how polls were answered by fellow participants, and the information-sharing can benefit those who may lack knowledge on a specific topic.

“[If] you ask a question, ‘How do you feel about Ebola?’, ‘Do you believe that Ebola is real?’ If [others] believe that Ebola is real, they will reply,” U-Report user Jessica said of how the tool is helping her community. “So those who are still doubting that Ebola is not real, or not in West Point, [or] Ebola is not in Monrovia, they should clear that notion from their head.”

One poll question posted on U-Report’s website, for example, asked respondents, “Where should a child who lost parents because of Ebola stay?” Users could choose from “A) Relatives home B) Foster family C) Orphanage, D) Alone” as possible answers. “Relatives home” was the answer chosen by 55 percent of users.

Questions are asked in ways that make sense to users in order to encourage participation and accuracy. UNICEF gathers young people before developing new reports in order to word questions in a way that will resonate with users.

The responses are also benefiting governing bodies that help those in need. U-Report results are publicized each month and made available for media outlets and national leaders, and the data can help better humanitarian assistance.

“A ministry of health could use U-report information to understand if service delivery issues regarding malaria drugs are being perceptibly addressed in the court of community opinion,” UNICEF said in a statement.

More than 550,000 young people in 12 countries are using the social tool, UNICEF told The Huffington Post, with about 424,000 users in Nigeria and Uganda alone. The organization said users in both countries utilized U-Report to learn about signs, prevention and treatment of Ebola when the virus began spreading last year.

UNICEF aims to have the tool available in about 20 countries with more than 1 million young people by the end of this year.

The spread of Ebola has slowed dramatically in recent months. On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Liberia released its last Ebola patient from medical care after experiencing a week free of new infections, BBC News reported.

Still, the virus caused devastation there, as well as in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Nearly 10,000 people have died, and West Africa has taken the brunt of the epidemic. While Guinea and Sierra Leone have also seen significant progress curbing infection rates, WHO said there were 132 new cases in the two countries in the week ending March 1.

“We look at the three countries as really a single country,” Gregory Hartl, a spokesperson for WHO, told BBC News. “So while it’s good news that Liberia itself has no new cases, the populations are so mobile in that region that there could easily be re-importations of cases. We have to get down to zero in all three countries before we can consider this thing beaten.”

To take action on pressing health issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

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Arkansas Law Could Force Workers to Friend Their Boss

Arkansas Old State House

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill on February 23rd that could require people who work for schools, religious organizations, summer camps and other youth-serving organizations and businesses to “friend” their employer so that the employer has access to social media posts meant for personal friends.

The stated purpose of House Bill 1087 is to protect children by allowing employers in youth serving organizations to see if an employee or potential employee is posting creepy or inappropriate content or discussing things that may be inappropriate or even dangerous to young people.

While well meaning, the bill, which is scheduled for a Senate committee vote on Wednesday, opens up a Pandora’s box that not only violates the privacy of employees but also adds security and even safety risks to both adults and teens who work for these organizations and businesses.

It’s actually an amendment to a privacy bill that went into effect in 2013. The original law prohibited employers from requiring workers or applicants to turn over their social media usernames or passwords or to “add an employee, supervisor or administrator to the list or contacts associated with his or her social media account.” The new legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 90 to 1, deletes the part about social media contacts for people who work for religious organizations or “an entity responsible for the care and supervision of minors, including schools, daycares, summer camps, and other similar programs.”

In a TV interview, the bill’s author, Representative Nate Bell, stated “we want to move the line back so if an employee is making slanderous statements about their employer in social media, that the employer has the right to know that.”

There are two problems with this statement. First, the bill applies to private postings, not ways that people might “slander” their employer in public. If something is posted publicly then there is no need for such a bill. Employers (and everyone else) already have the right to view what people post publicly. But if it’s about an employer being added to a person’s contact or friends list, it would be analogous to insisting that the employer be able to listen in on private conversations between friends.

What’s more, Bell’s explanation about protecting employers from slander has nothing to do with the bill’s stated purpose of protecting children.

As a child safety advocate — I’m CEO of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and on the board of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) — I fully understand the need to protect children from online and offline abuse. But there are ways to accomplish this without risking the privacy, safety and security of people who work for youth-serving organizations. NCMEC, for example, recommends background checks for any employee or volunteer who might have access to children.

Affects privacy and safety of minors

It’s very common for teens to work for organizations and businesses that serve young people and this bill would apply to minors as well. If the bill were passed, an employer could require a teen to provide an adult employee or supervisor access to his or her social media account that could result inappropriate contact between the adult and the teens and — at the very least — give the adult access to private information that that teen shares with friends. It would also give the employer access to photos of the teens and his or her friends as well as posts from the teen’s friends, jeopardizing the privacy and safety of teens that don’t even work for the organization.

Wrong message

The law also sends the wrong message to teens and others who use social media about being smart about who you share with. ConnectSafely.org and most other Internet safety groups advise teens and adults to be very careful about who you “friend.” In our Parents’ Guides to various social networking services we suggest youth take advantage of each service’s privacy settings to restrict who can access their content and we definitely don’t encourage anyone to share content based on threats or intimidation, which this bill encourages by allowing an employer to insist on access as a condition of employment. No one should have to share content with a person just to avoid being fired.

Disclosure: Larry Magid is CEO of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit organization that receives contributions from some social media companies.

Samsung: We're 'Just Friends'

It was Samsung Sunday. My hands were sweaty and my heart was pounding in anticipation of the company’s big announcement of the “new, innovative” Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Then, all of a sudden, everything collapsed. It was like being on a bad date, where hopes were high, but reality rears its ugly head. Samsung had betrayed me!

Admittedly, they announced many significant improvements:

A faster processor

A 16 megapixel camera (five megapixels if you’re into selfies)

A metal case “that won’t bend”

A curved screen for the more expensive Edge

Built-in wireless charging technology

A higher resolution screen than Apple’s iPhone 6

Etc., etc., etc.

Then came the shocking truth: Samsung was eliminating the two features that made me favor them over Apple since the first iPhone was born. The company was – - – shockingly – - – dumping its historical support of interchangeable batteries and micro SD cards.

I will no longer be able to sneer at iPhone users when their batteries die, proclaiming that I didn’t need to go to an Apple Store to get my battery replaced. Gone are the days when I can show off additional storage capacity, not limiting me to the miniscule gigabytes that came with the phone.

Samsung says they’ve done this because their new battery is more efficient than those used in their older models, and the boosting of the phone’s storage capacity to 128 gigabytes made my favorite features obsolete.

You’ve hurt me to the quick Samsung.

Can we still be “friends?” Probably, but I need a while to get over being dumped at the altar.

Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email or through his website.

VIDEO: The 'Google' of real things?

Camfind is an app which lets users take snaps of physical objects and find out more about them.

Comcast Subscribers Are Not Happy HBO Go Doesn't Work On Their Playstations

Sony Playstation 4 owners rejoiced earlier this week when HBO Go, the popular streaming service from the premium TV network behind “Game of Thrones,” finally became available as an app on their game consoles.

At last, Playstation 4 owners who subscribed to HBO — or knew someone who did — would be able to binge-watch “True Detective” and “Girls.”

But when some Playstation owners went to use the app, they found themselves out of luck.

That’s because Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S., does not offer authentication for HBO Go on the Playstation 4, Gizmodo reported Thursday. Subscribers to other major TV providers, including AT&T, Charter, Cox, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, can sign up without issue.

Comcast customers are not happy about it. Many have taken to Twitter to voice their complaints, and a petition has even emerged on Change.org asking the cable giant to “Support HBO Go on Sony Playstation 4.”

“I’m a little frustrated,” Rob Stevens, a 39-year-old Comcast subscriber who lives in Mill Creek, Washington, told The Huffington Post. “Obviously when I’m paying for a service I want to be able to get it on any device. Having the service locked to a specific device seems like backward thinking to me.”

HBO Go is a so-called “authenticated app.” Unlike Netflix or Hulu Plus, which you can subscribe to directly through those companies, HBO Go is only available to those who subscribe to HBO through a TV provider. (HBO has announced that it’s working on a standalone app to be released this year.)

The news comes as Comcast — which already owns NBC Universal — is poised to get even bigger. It’s currently in the process of a $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable, though the deal still has to be approved by regulators.

Comcast, which regularly ranks among companies with the least satisfied customers, has been slow to authenticate services on other products in the past. Comcast subscribers still can’t watch HBO Go on Playstation 3, even though the app has been out for more a year, and they also can’t watch on Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and Fire TV streaming devices. And Comcast subscribers only became able to watch HBO Go on Roku devices in December, even though the app had been on Roku for three years.

Comcast declined to comment, but a spokesperson pointed out that Comcast video subscribers who also subscribe to HBO can access the network’s programming through other devices, like their set-top boxes and Xfinity apps, and streaming products such as Apple TV and Roku.

Sony also declined to comment.

“It is HBO’s ongoing goal to provide our acclaimed programming to subscribers whenever and wherever they want it,” an HBO spokesperson wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “The launch of HBO GO on PS4 continues to accomplish that and we are hopeful that all of our distributors will ultimately choose to support the service on the PS4 platform.”

There are many ways to watch HBO Go — on computers, tablets, smartphones and streaming devices like Roku and Amazon — but people love streaming on their game consoles, because they’re already hooked up to their TVs and they’re easy to navigate.

“Why would it work on Android and Xbox and Roku and my computer?” said Eugene Schaffmeir, a 27-year-old IT specialist from Bethel, Connecticut, noting that he is frustrated he hasn’t heard anything from Comcast or Sony.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever have HBO Go through my Playstation because they haven’t said either way,” he said. “They aren’t acknowledging that this is even a thing.”

#LeanInTogether And Getty Images Team Up To Show What Fatherhood Actually Looks Like

Stock photos used to illustrate online articles are meant to reflect everyday life. Ironically, they rarely do. Getty Images and LeanIn.Org have a plan to change that.

With the launch of #LeanInTogether — a campaign that encourages men to help women in the fight for gender equality — Getty Images and LeanIn.Org have partnered to bring realistic stock photos of men to online editors, and therefore readers.

The Huffington Post spoke with Sheryl Sandberg about the impact diverse photos could have, and what she hopes the series will achieve. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” she said. “So having men see active pictures of themselves and other men as fathers, as people supporting people at work — I think it’s inspiring.”

Instead of endless photos of white guys in suits — or any other ridiculous and cliche portrayals we so often see in stock photos — the #LeanInTogether shows a different side of fatherhood and masculinity.

“I think people want to do the right thing, they want to portray women the right way, they want to portray men the right way but we often don’t know how,” Sandberg said. “Getty is saying here is a portrayal of women and men that Lean In supports and that we support. And similarly, men are saying here’s a portrayal of what I believe as a man and that this is good for men.”

Here are a few of our favorite stock images from the “Lean In Together” collection:

VIDEO: Revolutionary urinal 'makes energy'

A toilet that could revolutionise sanitation facilities in refugee camps has been developed by a group of researchers at the University of the West of England.

Mars Once Had A Vast Ocean Covering One-Fifth Of Its Surface, New Research Suggests

Scientists have long known there was once water on Mars, but just how much?

New research suggests that the Red Planet was way wetter than scientists thought. In fact, it seems that large portions of the Martian surface were flooded under a vast ocean–and that seems to have increased the odds that Mars was once habitable.

The research, an analysis of chemical “signatures” in the Martian atmosphere, indicates that some 4.2 billion years ago a body of water bigger than the Arctic Ocean covered nearly one-fifth of the planet’s surface. This ocean likely contained a whopping 5 million cubic miles of water, with a maximum depth of one mile.

“Ten years ago, the story of water on Mars was an occasional flood of rocky debris every 100m years that then switched off again,” John Bridges, a Leicester University planetary scientist who works on NASA’s Curiosity rover mission, told The Guardian. “We now know it’s more continuous. There were long-standing bodies of water: lakes, deltas and perhaps even seas. It seems to me that we have excellent evidence that Mars was once habitable, though whether it was ever inhabited is not clear.”

For the research, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland analyzed observations of the atmosphere above Mars’ north and south poles made over the course of six years by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in northern Chile and the W.M. Keck Observatory and NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii.

The scientists compared the atmospheric concentrations of “normal” water (H2O) to “heavy water” (HDO), in which one hydrogen atom is replaced with an atom of the isotope deuterium. They discovered that the concentration of deuterium over the polar ice caps is now much higher than is seen in Earth’s oceans.

The finding suggests ancient Mars must have lost an ocean’s-worth of normal water, as the normal water would have evaporated into space while the heavy water would have been trapped in the planet’s water cycle. The scientists estimate that the total volume of water on the planet was once roughly 6.5 times greater than the amount of water found in the polar ice caps today.

“With Mars losing that much water, the planet was very likely wet for a longer period of time than was previously thought, suggesting it might have been habitable for longer,” Michael Mumma, a senior scientist at Goddard and a co-author of a paper describing the research, said in a written statement.

The paper was published online March 5 in the journal Science.

Celebrities Take To Social Media To Show Support For #LeanInTogether

Since the launch of Sheryl Sandberg’s #LeanInTogether initiative, the campaign has amassed quite the celebrity following.

In partnership with the NBA and WNBA, #LeanInTogether encourages men to help women in the fight for gender equality and emphasizes the economic and social benefits both genders can gain from equality. Everyone from entertainers to athletes and politicians have spread awareness for the campaign on social media.

Celebrities like Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow, Warren Buffett and Dwayne Johnson have posted images and words of support for the #LeanInTogether campaign. Athletes including Chris Bosh, Stephen Curry, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have also backed the initiative with #LeanInTogether posts.

Check out some of the posts below:

My dad taught this little girl to chase her dreams & never give up. In for equality? Pass it on – #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/az47wLiHcf

— Condoleezza Rice (@CondoleezzaRice) March 5, 2015

One day she’ll grow to be a leader. CEO, a champion – equality matters. #ProudPapaBear Pass it on.. #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/7sRqQr51Zr

— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 5, 2015

My beloved father saw the power in women & fostered many to success. I’m in for equality, are you? #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/QSlmoP1bZ4

— Gwyneth Paltrow (@GwynethPaltrow) March 5, 2015

#TBT Dad thanks for leaning in by helping me become a role model for young girls #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/b4xgB24HV7

— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) March 5, 2015

When men lean in everyone wins. I’m leaning in for equality. How about you? #LeanInTogether http://t.co/bC1dNXSbUf

— DWade (@DwyaneWade) March 5, 2015

#GenderEquality is about how we lean into one another as a team. In for equality? Pass it on – #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/q1xvMeHPVO

— Marlo Thomas (@MarloThomas) March 5, 2015

In for equality? Pass it on – #LeanInTogether #HusbandsSupportTheirWives #NBASupportsWNBA
https://t.co/mzs45bg7m7 pic.twitter.com/DolxHPQ6qO

— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) March 5, 2015

Mary Rhinehart, a Berkshire CEO, is successfully running a $2.5B company in a male-dominated field #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/MNgeXvee18

— Warren Buffett (@WarrenBuffett) March 5, 2015

I lean in for my family. In for equality? Pass it on – #LeanInTogether http://t.co/sHY1vZHDTI pic.twitter.com/xcALzJCAc0

— Tyrone Muggsy Bogues (@MuggsyBogues) March 5, 2015

The best teams value the strengths of ALL! In for equality? Pass it on – #LeanInTogether. @WNBA pic.twitter.com/tWZCloFkpW

— Chiney Ogwumike (@Chiney321) March 5, 2015

I #leanin to help the women behind me. I want to be an example of what can be! #LeanInTogether pic.twitter.com/k4qp94S53K

— Cari Champion (@CariChampion) March 5, 2015

Post by Maria Sharapova.

Post by DeAndre Hopkins.

Post by Stephen Curry.

Post by EJ Manuel.

Post by Beyoncé.

When Kenny Lerer and I launched @huffingtonpost on May 9, 2005, we could never have imagined what it has become. I am deeply grateful for his insights and vision that were instrumental to what we created together. And all these years later, Kenny is one of my closest friends, who I turn to — and lean on — for his wisdom, judgment, wit, and incredible loyalty.‪ And today is his birthday! #LeanInTogether‬

A photo posted by Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) on Mar 4, 2015 at 11:47pm PST

I’m for gender equality because it should’ve never been any other way! #LeanInTogether – pass it on

A photo posted by Hugh Jackman (@thehughjackman) on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:31am PST

In for equality? Pass it on by either posting an image to social media showing why you’re for equality or an image of a man in your life who’s leaning in for equality with the hashtag #LeanInTogether.

Girl Without Speech Speaks Her Mind

photo by H.Heydemann

I saw this story in the Huffington Post recently:

“Man With ALS Tells His Wife ‘I Love You’ Out Loud For First Time In 15 Years.”

I thought, how sweet. His first words were his expression of love for his wife (and primary caregiver). I had hoped for similar sentiments from Ariela. Maybe she would say something like, “I love you, mom.”

She was around 20, when she received a new communication device, a sophisticated system that came with hundreds of short phrases, as well as an alphabet with word prediction software. She needed to select the first few letters and a choice of words would appear on the computer screen. A small speaker by her ear gave her the cues, and she used a switch on her forehead to choose the word she wanted. She was quick to use the phrases, but had yet to spell a word.

Not long after getting the device, some of her friends came for dinner. A lot of chatter and laughter filled our home that night. One friend brought a boyfriend, a good-looking guy with long hair and a goatee. He sat across the table from Ariela and smiled at her. She looked directly at him. “K” and then, “I” and then, “Kiss,” she said with her synthesized voice.

Ariela was fortunate to have had private insurance pay for her communication device, commonly called Speech Generating Devices (SGDs). The man with ALS might have had coverage for his SGD through Medicare and/or Medicaid. However, changes in the last year are threatening this coverage. You can help. Contact your U.S. representative and ask for support for H.R. 628. Here are the details.

For more information, check out my website and follow me on Facebook.

Dads Lead The Charge In Petition To Change 'Amazon Mom' To 'Amazon Family'

Following the death of beloved dad blogger Oren Miller, many of his friends and fellow members of the dad blogging community have rallied around a cause he strongly supported — the movement to persuade Amazon to change the name of its U.S. parenting program from “Amazon Mom” to “Amazon Family.”

Writing for his site “A Blogger and a Father,” Miller often lamented the fact that the kid-centric savings program’s name reinforced the stereotype that mothers are the only capable caregivers. The gender-specific name is particularly notable given that the same program is called “Amazon Family” in other countries like Canada, France, Austria, Japan, Germany, and the U.K.

In a July 2013 post, Miller shared a Change.org petition to Jeff Bezos to officially change the name. He wrote:

“Please sign that petition. Please. It’s not about a name and it’s not about me personally being offended and it’s not about stupid emails about yoga classes. It’s about a company that looks at the U.S., then looks at England, and then decides that over there, parent equals mom or dad, while here, well, we’re not ready for that yet.”

At Miller’s funeral on Monday, his friends and fellow dad bloggers pledged to continue their late friend’s work, blogger Carter Gaddis writes for Today.

Members of the dad blogging community started posting about the issue on social media with the hashtag #AmazonFamilyUS and sharing this graphic from Chris Routly of Daddy Doctrines.

With over 5000 signatures, the Amazon name change petition is about halfway to its goal. To sign the petition and honor Oren Miller’s legacy, visit Change.org.

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Colleges Where Graduates Get The Most Bang For Their Buck

While graduates of engineering and Ivy League schools tend to make the largest amount money, graduates of public schools are more likely to have a higher annual percentage of return on investment, a new report from PayScale shows.

The Georgia Institute of Technology and Brigham Young University tie for the top spot in the salary information company’s rankings, which measured annual ROI over 20 years for students who lived on-campus without financial aid. BYU, the only private college within the list’s top 50, has a relatively low total cost — $67,300, compared to Georgia Tech’s $86,700, according to PayScale. This total cost measures four years of tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies without financial aid. Both schools have an annual ROI of 12.5 percent.

“The reason [public universities have high ROIs] is the lower cost,” Lydia Frank, director of editorial and marketing for PayScale, told The Huffington Post. “Private schools tend to have a higher price tag.”

The average tuition and fees for one year at a public four-year university for in-state students in the 2014-15 academic year is $9,139, according to College Board, compared to an average of $31,231 for four-year private colleges.

Other than BYU, public universities with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math come out on top for long-term ROI when considering the annual percentage.

“Some of these public schools that tend to be on the top are also schools that tend to specialize in STEM fields,” Frank said, noting that careers in these fields are often lucrative. “For a student who attends that school, the return they’re going to see for that investment is higher than for students at a high-cost private school and majoring in something that’s a lower-earning field.”

The 20-year annualized ROI shows the percent of total costs graduates make back in income annually for the first 20 years after graduation.

Here are the top schools for 20-year annual return on investment. These rankings reflect in-state costs, unless otherwise noted:

The Starbucks Struggle Is Real For Ariana Grande In Spot-On Parody

Starbucks has no problem whipping up an “Ariana Grande” for customers. But what would happen if the pop star headed to the counter was in need of a caffeine fix?

In a new AwesomenessTV skit, Paulina Cerrilla, known as ItsMePaulina online, takes on the role of the “Problem” singer who just wants a Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte. Jack Baran of ThatSoJack YouTube fame plays a barista who just can’t get her order right.

After they settle the difference between her name and her order, Jack finally rings her up at the counter. Her name (a rough version of it at least) is called and well, let’s just say Ariana doesn’t exactly get her drink.

So much for having one less, one less problem.

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6Tag for Windows Phone Sees Another Minor Update</a

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