Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Today’s Top Stories: Mark Zuckerberg’s Hoodie, Sony’s Powerful LTE Smartphones”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Today’s Top Stories: Mark Zuckerberg’s Hoodie, Sony’s Powerful LTE Smartphones”

Today’s Top Stories: Mark Zuckerberg’s Hoodie, Sony’s Powerful LTE Smartphones

Posted: 09 May 2012 03:25 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Hoodie a “Mark of Immaturity”

Mark Zuckerberg went to a meeting in New York on Monday with potential investors wearing a hoodie, and analyst Michael Pachter thinks it’s a mark of immaturity. "I think that he has to realize he's bringing investors in as a new constituency right now, and I think he's got to show them the respect that they deserve because he's asking them for their money," Pachter said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

Sony Unveils Two LTE Smartphones for the Japanese Market

Sony has unveiled two powerful LTE smartphones to be launched in Japan this summer: The Xperia GX and the Xperia SX. The first smartphone sports a dual core, 1.5GHz CPU, a 13-megapixel camera and a 4.6-inch screen, which makes it one of the most powerful devices in Sony’s lineup.

The Xperia SX is much smaller, with an 8-megapixel camera and a 3.7-inch screen. The device weighs only 95 grams, and Sony claims it’s the lightest LTE device in the world right now. Both devices will launch with Android 4.0.

Twitter Debunks Hacking Claims

Reacting to the claims that 55,000 Twitter accounts have been hacked with users’ credentials posted online, Twitter said those claims are largely false. Those accounts are mostly duplicates, Twitter claims, or contain the username and password information for suspended spam accounts.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: features, first to know series, mark zuckerberg, mashable, sony, Xperia GX, Xperia SX

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VGo Is A Robot That Goes To School Or Work For You [PICS]

Posted: 09 May 2012 02:16 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS — Soon your child may go to school with a robot. Meet VGo, a robotic telepresence being used in schools, healthcare, and business for videoconferencing from afar.

Running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, VGo is already being used in a variety of situations -– including schools. Students who can’t attend school due to an illness of handicap can instead virtually attend classes via VGo.

Unlike other telepresence system where the camera is stationary, VGo is a robot on wheels allowing a student to adjust where the camera is pointed, talk to their teacher and classmates, and even hit the road for their next class. Since VGo is connected over LTE, it can maintain connectivity throughout an entire school building, without requiring the school to offer Wi-Fi throughout the every building and every classroom.

Getting online every morning rather than on the school bus, VGo not only lets a student attend class but also lets him or her do things like interact with friends in the hall or experience demonstrations that might happen outside of a traditional classroom.

Vgo can last for a full school day without needing to be recharged, and when it comes time to plug in the robot can be docked remotely by pressing a dock button on the interface.

Outside of the classroom, VGo can also be used to allow doctors to remotely travel across the country to check on a patient, or visit a lab. Businesses can also use VGo to have executives virtually attend meetings, tour facilities, and manage virtual teams.

We had a chance to check out VGo in person at CTIA in New Orleans. Check out the gallery below for some shots of VGo in action and let us know what you think about the robot in the comments.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: CTIA 2012, LTE, Robot, verizon, VGo

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Google Doodle Honors Archaeologist Howard Carter

Posted: 09 May 2012 01:43 AM PDT

google doodle howard carter

Today’s (barely recognizable) Google Doodle is filled with motifs from ancient Egypt in honor of archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter, best known for discovering the tomb of 14th-century BC pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Carter was born on May 9, 1874 in London, to a family of artists. When he was seventeen he assisted Percy Newberry in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan, starting a career path which in 1899 led him to become the first chief inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service (EAS).

Carter was employed by Lord Carnarvon to supervise his excavations from 1907, and after many years of searching (interrupted by the first world war), in November 1922 Carter’s excavation group found the Tutankhamun’s tomb, one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever.

Carter died of a natural cause (cancer) in 1939, which largely refuted the widely publicized idea that anyone who enters Tutankhamun’s tomb would be placed under a curse.

The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, google doodle, Howard Carter

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AT&T Says Facebook is ‘Major Force’ in Mobile Business

Posted: 08 May 2012 09:07 PM PDT

NEW ORLEANS – Speaking during a keynote session at CTIA Wireless on Tuesday, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said Facebook is good for his company’s business.

"I think that social networking is going to be a major force in this industry for years to come," says Vega. "I think it helps people communicate. That’s what we do."

T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm agreed, adding that Facebook’s social networking app was his company’s "number one app right now" and has customers "picking up their phone 150 times a day."

When asked if Facebook was worth the same as Verizon, Verizon CEO Dan Mead said "our market value is very solid," and that he would leave commenting on Facebook to the experts.

The CEOs of all four major carriers participated in a keynote session at CTIA entitled "Beyond LTE – Carrier Innovations." Each CEO was given the opportunity to talk on a topic of their choice. Mead spoke on the need for spectrum.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said “it has never been more important for the industry to gain the public’s trust, " adding that even cable and oil companies currently rate higher with consumers than mobile carriers.

Hunn talked about the need for intelligent unlimited data plans, while Vega showed off some of AT&T’s plans for home automation. He demonstrated how your smartphone can lock your doors, let you know what your kids are doing at home, and monitor energy use.

What effect do you think social networking has on mobile carriers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Facebook, T-Mobile, verizon

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Paralyzed Woman in Bionic Suit Runs Marathon

Posted: 08 May 2012 08:52 PM PDT

It is tough to complete a marathon even if you aren’t paralyzed. But what if you had a bionic suit on your side? That changes everything, as a 32-year-old English woman just proved.

It may have taken 16 days, but Claire Lomas did finish the London Marathon this week. She became the first person in world history to accomplish complete a full marathon using a bionic suit.

But the married mom won’t appear in the race’s official results or be able to receive a medal — because she didn’t complete the race on the same day it started, The Telegraph reports.

Lomas was paralyzed from the chest down after a horse riding accident in 2007, according to The Telegraph. Her quest to complete the marathon was part of an awareness and fundraising push that has so far generated more than $125,000 for research into paralysis treatment.

So how exactly was a woman paralyzed from the chest down able to finish a 26.2-mile race? Enter the ReWalk (see photo), a bionic suit invented by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer. The suit functions as an exoskeleton of sorts and allows paraplegics to stand, walk and even climb stairs.

SEE ALSO: How a British Marathoner's Death Inspired Over $825,000 in Online Donations

Wearers strap the suit to their legs and waist, use crutches for balance and don a four-pound backpack battery that powers the ReWalk. Buttons on the suit’s wrist straps allow the wearer to indicate whether they plan to stand, walk or climb stairs. Then motion sensors and an in-suit computer system combine to detect movements and weight shifts.

The weight shift are used to indicate what the wearer is trying to do, and tiny motors in the exoskeleton-like device move the wearer’s lower limbs as needed. (The suit was demonstrated in action in a 2010 episode of Glee.)

It’s not quite that simple, however. While the ReWalk site doesn’t publish pricing information, a number of reports have a new suit topping $65,000. Check out the video below for a demonstration of how the ReWalk works.

What are some other amazing examples you’ve seen of technology opening up new possibilities for the disabled? Let us know in the comments.

More About: sports, Tech

Need IT Help? Startup Offers Tech Answers On Demand

Posted: 08 May 2012 07:59 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: AnswerQi

Quick Pitch: AnswerQi provides on-demand tech help.

Genius Idea: A TaskRabbit for technology problems.

Maybe you need your Goolgle calendar to sync with your Outlook account, or you’re trying to to send edited photos from your iPad to your Mac. Or maybe you just want help getting set up on a new device.

At some point, no matter who you are, you’re likely to meet a technology problem that stumps you — and that you can’t Google.

A startup called AnswerQi thinks there’s potential in online human-based tech help. “There’s an idiosyncratic nature to people and their tech problems,” AnswerQi co-founder Glenn Nano says.

“‘I’m running Snow Leopord with Microsoft 2008 and have this problem’ might be different solution than ‘I’m running Leopard with Microsoft 2010 and have [the same problem].’”

AnswerQi aims to be a TaskRabbit or Zaarly for tech help. Users submit their questions on the site, and consultants (well, just Nano and his co-founder Jamie Forrest for the time being) answer questions within their knowledge base by email.

An upcoming option will also allow users to chat with a consultant instantly. Eventually, Nano hopes that the site will allow technology students and professional consultants to make money on the side.

AnswerQi charges $5 to $30 per question, depending on difficulty, or a subscription fee of $49 for five answers per month. Searching past questions and answers, however, is free.

The startup launched its first version just two weeks ago, so the archive of answers is sparse. The ones that do exist, however, look like personalized blog posts, complete with screenshots.

Ultimately, Nano hopes to carve out a support niche on the Web — somewhere between tech companies’ own technical support sites, tech forums and the wealth of blog posts about whatever tech problem phrases people tend to search for.

“There's a specificity to this kind of problem,” Nano says. “It’s just a question of being able to optimize for time and the quality of information.”

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: AnswerQi, bizspark

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14 Incredible 3D Printing Creations

Posted: 08 May 2012 07:42 PM PDT

1. Nanolet Watch

Keep your Nano nearby with this snug wrist case. Price: $22.71

Click here to view this gallery.

3D printing has been boggling minds the world over for years now, but recently the technology has become even more accessible.

An object is printed in three dimensions from a digital file by layering solid materials in specific patterns. Companies like Shapeways are helping to make 3D printing consumer-friendly, putting not only the printers but the printed items themselves into the hands of everyday people.

Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen invited Mashable to curate some of our favorite 3D-printed items from its online shop. So, take a look through the above gallery for some of our favorite gadgets, accessories and art.

SEE ALSO: Stunning 3D-Printed Guitars Will Blow You Away [PICS]

What would you 3D-print, given the chance? Let us know what you think about the technology in the comments below.

More About: 3d printing, design, features, shapeways, Tech

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Toyota’s Latest Vehicle: An All-Electric SUV [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 May 2012 07:22 PM PDT

In the market for a new SUV and live in California?

Toyota announced the launch of an all-electric SUV at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles on Monday. It’s basically the RAV-4 in appearance, but runs on battery power with a six-hour charge time and a 100-mile driving distance.

“It’s all about blending the best of two worlds,” Toyota Motor Sales Executive Bob Carter told “The all-new RAV4 EV marries the efficiency of an EV with the versatility of a small SUV — in fact, it is the only all-electric SUV on the market.”

This actually isn’t the first RAV-4 EV the Prius maker has put on the market. The company released a RAV-4 EV from 1997-2003, but now the EV market seems primed for more vehicles and Toyota’s latest version takes electric to a new level.

This latest EV can reach a top speed of 100 m.p.h. and will be priced at $49,800. Toyota aims to sell around 2,600 of them during the next three years. The car will be for sale this summer in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

Carter also told that the vehicle will target a niche sector of the population who are interested in green technology.

“It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance,” Carter said.

Who you buy this RAV-4 EV? Which EVs currently on the market would you be interested in purchasing? Tell us in the comments.

More About: electric vehicles, green tech, Toyota

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Bloopers to Wins: Animated GIFs Perfect for Any Social Media Moment

Posted: 08 May 2012 06:46 PM PDT

What Should We Call Social Media

When someone tells you they don't have a Facebook, then you realize they are serious.

Click here to view this gallery.

A What Should We Call Me spin-off Tumblr has arrived.

While the original gives you ways to respond to common occurrences anywhere, this one tells you how to respond to common social media faux paus in similarly rediculous ways. It’s called What Should We Call Social Media.

The spinoff was created by three women who work in social media — Arielle Calderon, Sarah Howard, and Chelsea Crawford, who find the GIFs they use via Tumblr searches.

“The bottom line is that we wanted people to laugh and relate,” they told Mashable. “And we think we succeeded.”

More About: funny, tumblr, viral

Many Social TV Companies ‘Will Disappear Over the Next Year’

Posted: 08 May 2012 06:22 PM PDT

The evolution of social TV for consumers, content producers and advertisers continues to move at a breakneck pace.

Several second-screen-experience insiders recently gathered at Mashable Connect in Orlando to weigh in on those shifting dynamics in the television industry.

With their cautious eyes set on the future, panelists Randy Shiozaki, co-founder of social technology company TVplus, Miguel Monteverde, VP of digital at media company Discovery Communications, and Scott Rosenberg, CEO of social TV startup Umami, shared their insights on stage with Mashable entertainment editor Christina Warren.

“It is hard making great television — it may be harder to make compelling, synchronous experiences for viewers,” says Monteverde. Along with the other panelists, he suggests networks and shows need to conceive social components just as early as they produce scripts and scenes.

Single destination apps for all shows, such as GetGlue and Miso, as well as secondary apps for specific networks are all competing for viewers’ attention during the shows’ original airings and repeat showings.

"There’s a lot of noise in the social TV space. A lot. Many of these companies will disappear over the next year as leaders emerge in the space and capital dries up for these guys…This is a defining year for social TV.”

“There’s a lot of noise in the social TV space. A lot,” Shiozaki told Mashable offstage. “Many of these companies will disappear over the next year as leaders emerge in the space and capital dries up for these guys. The innovative ones will get acquired…This is a defining year for social TV.”

This Darwinistic environment will eventually clear up confusion on what role networks, cable multisystem operators (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, etc.), smart TVs, production companies and others will play in the space, Shiozaki predicts.

Too many apps with social TV features are disguised as second-screen experiences, adds Rosenberg, but pressure from consumers and advertisers will be what spurs innovation and simplicity.

SEE ALSO: 20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week [CHART]

Advertisers are just as fascinated by social TV initiatives as consumers are with the experiences. Big brands have found success latching onto social media-minded shows, such as The Voice, which features Sprint heavily on-air, online and in-app. But big partnerships like that aren’t easy to sell.

“The advertisers are really interested in this stuff, but it’s complicated,” Shiozaki says. And conceptualizing social ideas before a show airs to attract advertisers early can be dangerous. “You don’t know if shows will get sold, and right now there’s no way to monetize it.

“Traditional production companies typically cede the digital rights to the network they are selling to. So even if they want to do some very integrated second screen, where will the money come from?”

The panelists also discussed the need for easy-to-use tool sets, which companies would use to create second-screen content quickly, and avoid starting from the ground-up. Think Final Cut Pro.

TVplus offers that simplicity for networks to produce and script second-screen experiences, says Shiozaki.

Monteverde doesn’t view those experiences as second-screen, opting to call them his “first screen.”

How do you interact with TV using social tools and second screens? How would you like to see the industry change and improve in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Exhibitor Hall

Click here to view this gallery.

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More About: Entertainment, mashable connect, mobile apps, second screen, social tv, TV

Twitter Debunks Reports of 55,000 Hacked Accounts

Posted: 08 May 2012 05:57 PM PDT

Hackers claiming to be affiliated with the hacktivist group Anonymous claimed this week to have accessed and published the details of about 55,000 Twitter accounts.

But Twitter said Tuesday those claims are largely bogus, and that the group mostly posted duplicate information or username and password information for suspended spam accounts.

An anonymous Pastebin user posted five extremely long pages of alleged Twitter usernames and passwords to the text storage site on Monday. (Here are pages one, two, three, four and five.) The hacking news aggregator reported the supposed breach on Tuesday, beginning to fuel speculation around the web of a massive successful attack on Twitter’s servers. Airdemon said celebrity accounts were among those compromised, and also claimed to have information from a “Twitter insider” confirming the attack.

Responding to a Mashable comment request Tuesday afternoon, however, a Twitter representative debunked the notion of a hugely successful breach but said the company is still investigating the situation.

The list of accounts posted to Pastebin contains more than 20,000 duplicates and information for many spam accounts that have already been suspended, a spokesperson told Mashable in an email. Furthermore, Twitter says, many of the usernames and passwords do not in fact appear to linked to one another, rendering them essentially useless.

Twitter has sent out password resets to accounts that may have been affected and encourages other concerned users to visit the network’s Help Center to change their passwords and review security settings.

Do you believe Twitter that hackers’ claims to have leaked credentials for 55,000 accounts are overblown, or do you worry your security was compromised? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, sodafish

More About: anonymous, hackers, hacking, Twitter

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Facebook: Social Reader Usage May Be Down, But Engagement Is Up

Posted: 08 May 2012 05:10 PM PDT

The media, forever a navel-gazing industry, worked itself into a fever earlier this week after evidence emerged that usage of Facebook’s social reader apps is declining.

In an article designed to further dramatize The Washington Post‘s recent tension between its editorial and financial divisions, Jeff Bercovici at Forbes pulled up a chart from AppData illustrating a falloff in the number of monthly average users of the Washington Post Social Reader app.

John Hermann at Buzzfeed quickly pointed out that usage of social reader apps was down for many news publications, not just The Washington Post.

Why the dropoff? Herrman blames the apps themselves, which he calls annoying. He writes:

“Social Readers always seemed a little too share-y, even for Facebook; they felt more like the kind of cold, descriptive, invisible and yet mandatory services we’re used to seeing from Google rather than genuinely new and useful tools for spreading information. And they feel, I don’t know, kind of broken right now? My brain already associates those little blocks of auto-fed stories with second-class content. I mean, I know my friends didn’t really mean to show to it to me. Why would I click? And god, why would I sign up for the thing that seems to have tricked its way into my timeline? It’s an app that broadcasts Internet illiteracy for everyone to see.”

I see his point — but Facebook doesn’t. A spokesperson tells me that although the number of people using social reader apps has fallen at some publications, engagement levels are up as the company introduces new tools and adjusts its algorithms to display more relevant content to users.

“We’re trying to get the right content in front of people, to up the signal to noise ratio,” the spokesperson explained.

The Facebook representative added that although some apps have seen “short-term traffic swings,” which is typical in the ongoing development of any online product, Facebook is committed to the long-term evolution of these apps “to create a good social news experience.”

User numbers are also up for The Huffington Post‘s, MTV’s and ESPN’s apps, the spokesperson noted.

Social reader apps were first introduced in September. Through the apps, which are built on Facebook’s Open Graph, publications like The Washington Post and The Guardian are able to serve users a mix of content based on the information they’ve shared with Facebook, including their interests, "likes" and stories that are trending among their friends. Those stories are displayed in the apps and make frequent appearances in the Newsfeed.

The numbers may be up for debate, but there was some surprising consensus among media critics — like Herrman, above — about the poor user experience offered by social reader apps. We’re curious: Do you use any of these apps? What do you like or dislike about them?

Front page thumbnail courtesy of iStockphoto, -Oxford-

More About: Facebook, Media, Social Reader

Tweets From the Beard of Steve Jobs’ Favorite Adman Become a Book

Posted: 08 May 2012 04:37 PM PDT

Since 2009, ad industry execs in the know have figured out where to find pearls of wisdom on creativity, how to deal with clients and, of course, life itself.

Lee Clow’s Beard.

The legendary TBWA\Chiat\Day adman behind Apple’s “1984″ TV spot doesn’t have a Twitter account, but since 2009, a Dallas-based copywriter has been penning bits of wisdom under the handle “Lee Clow’s Beard.” The account has close to 26,000 followers.

Now, it’s also the subject of a book. LeeClowsBeard, a lavishly illustrated hardcover compendium of some of the best tweets over the years, will hit Amazon at the price of $24.95. (Sorry, there’s no Kindle version.)

The book is credited to the Twitter account, but the agency plans to reveal the copywriter’s identity next week, a TBWA rep says. The unnamed writer doesn’t work for the agency and hadn’t met Clow before he started tweeting. “He was deciding between [Clow's] beard and [Goodby Silverstein and Partners co-founder Jeff] Goodby’s ponytail,” the rep says. “The beard won out.” Rob Schwartz, the chief creative officer for TBWA, tracked the writer down and introduced him to Clow, who came up with the idea for the book.

Clow, a close friend of Steve Jobs’s, headed up Apple’s account both in the Mac days and when Jobs returned in 1997. (Jobs called him “the best guy in advertising” in Walter Isaacson’s bio Steve Jobs.) However, Clow is clearly taking a hands-off (or “beard-on”) approach to social media. “He understands the technology,” says the rep, “but he doesn’t see the point.”

Some tweets from the book:


Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Advertising, apple, steve jobs, Twitter

This Is Crazy: Harvard Athletes Perform ‘Call Me Maybe’ [VIDEO]

Posted: 08 May 2012 04:06 PM PDT

Harvard University pitcher Conner Hulse threw the Internet a curve ball this week by uploading a video of his teammates lip-synching and dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen’s viral hit “Call Me Maybe.”

Packed into a van during a road trip, the baseball players take turns silently reciting the catchy tune and then join forces in a not-so-elaborate synchronized dance. Meanwhile in the background, outfielder Jack Colton naps. “Yes he was actually sleeping the whole time,” Hulse wrote in the YouTube description.

The action climaxes at the video 2:25 mark when red-faced catcher Jon Smart gives the most emotional performance, offering his best “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy” wink.

The clip has attracted 190,000 YouTube views in about two days. Jepsen’s original video has 52 million views while her second video (featuring a celebrity cameos from Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale) has 38 million.

SEE ALSO: Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know' Cracks YouTube's All-Time Top 30

The above video also stars Harvard athletes Steven Dill, Andrew Ferreira, Kyle Larrow, Joey Novak, Jeff Reynolds and Marcus Way.

If you haven’t seen Jepsen’s videos yet, check them out below. The first one has a plot twist at the very end.

More About: Entertainment, humor, Music, music videos, parody, pop culture

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Advocacy groups asks ‘Why Kardashians?’ on Twitter

Posted: 08 May 2012 03:35 PM PDT

President Barack Obama’s joke at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner — “Why am I telling knock-knock jokes to Kim Kardashian? What is she famous for, anyway?” — had many people laughing. Now, a social activist group is using the attention to stir a more serious conversation about media, politics and the treatment of women.

Using the hashtag #WhyKardashians, is holding a Twitter debate and conversation about the objectification of women in American media and culture. It’s part of the group’s “call-to-action campaign,” to empower women and girls to challenge limiting media labels to realize their potential.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO and founder of and director of the movie behind the campaign, told Mashable that the White House Correspondents’ dinner was just one catalyst for the idea, along with the prominence of celebrity culture in general.

While both President Obama and dinner host Jimmy Kimmel cracked jokes at the expense of these two celebrities, what people saw on television still informed their understanding of the dinner, Newsom said.

“I received emails from people watching the event and noticed that all the news people were talking about the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan, and not the serious news minds and politicos that actually attended the ceremony,” she said.

That’s what prompted Newsom to call for the Twitter party #WhyKardashians. In the Miss Representation weekly action alert, she stated:

“Coupled with the recent news that the Kardashian family’s reality TV show has been renewed for another three years, I am especially worried about the message the media is sending my daughter, my son and their generation. Who are their role models? Why are we rewarding reality TV’s exploitation of women’s bodies? Are looks, for women, more important than their brains or their talents? Is hyper-sexualization and self-objectification now a legitimate path to success in America?”

The film Miss Representation explores these questions, as well as the political economy of mainstream media, which is largely funded by advertising and influenced by ratings.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is an annual event traditionally attended by senior government officials and press corps. In recent years, many celebrities have also attended. Both Kardashian and Lohan were invited as guests by Greta Van Susteren of Fox News.

SEE ALSO: Tech Celebs Abound at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner [PICS]

The celebrity-infused nature of the event was mocked by others as well, including Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, who said that we need to “rethink” the nature of the event and its celebrity focus.

The #WhyKardashians conversation, Newsom hopes, will address some of these questions.

“Look, even the President of the United States was mocking Kim Kardashian, and good for him!" says Newsom. "Hopefully, as a result of our Twitter feed party, we can get the media to celebrate the women who are actually leading change.”

The #WhyKardashians Twitter party, hosted by the Miss Respresentation campaign @representpledge, will take place today at 4 p.m. PST.

Do you think the media focuses too much on celebrities at the expense of bigger issues? Or is it just giving the audience what they want? Sound off in the comments.

For more about the MissRepresentation campaign, check out the trailer below:

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

More About: Media, Twitter, White House correspondents dinner

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Spotify Who? Pandora Surges Past 150 Million Registered Users

Posted: 08 May 2012 03:16 PM PDT

Pandora now has more than 150 million registered users, the company announced on Tuesday.

Even as the online radio company faces increased competition from music streaming services like Rdio and Spotify, its numbers of both registered and active users have increased 50% since the beginning of the 2012 financial year.

About 52 million users are active, and together they streamed 1.06 billion hours of music last month — an 87% increase over this time last year.

Much of this growth can be attributed to mobile use, Pandora President and CEO Joe Kennedy said while speaking onstage at the International CTIA Wireless conference Tuesday.

Pandora users listened to 70% of the music they streamed from Pandrora in April on mobile devices, he said. Two-thirds of registered users have visited the site on a mobile device.

Increased mobile use of Pandora has not, however, made it profitable. The company reported a 99% year-over-year increase in revenue and a $16-million loss for fiscal year 2012.

Do you think Pandora will continue to grow in popularity, or will streaming services like Spotify and Rdio take users away? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, flattop341

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Follow Tuesday’s Primary Elections on Social Media

Posted: 08 May 2012 02:59 PM PDT

It’s primary day in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, and politicians, journalists and voters are all over Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media posting about the elections.

Mitt Romney has all but locked up the Republican presidential nomination with the exit of former rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. But the show must go on — voters are still headed to the polls in Tuesday night’s three primary states.

Election watchers are also paying close attention to state-level races across the country Tuesday evening: Indiana voters are poised to vote out Sen. Dick Lugar, the third most senior member of the Senate. Up in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker faces a recall election. And in North Carolina, voters are deciding on Amendment 1, which would constitutionally define marriage as taking place between a man and a woman.

During all of this, candidates will be taking to social media to influence voters in the battle for public office. Journalists are covering the elections with services such as Facebook, YouTube and Tout. Voters, meanwhile, are posting about their favorite candidates.

As Tuesday night’s primaries and other elections unfold, we’ll be sharing the best examples of social media’s use in politics. Follow Mashable to learn how politicians, journalists, media outlets and citizens are using social media during Tuesday’s elections. We'll be updating this continually:

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Politics, US

How to Optimize Your Headlines for Google and Humans

Posted: 08 May 2012 02:10 PM PDT

Jonathan Rick is a director at Levick Strategic Communications. He contributes to Levick's Bulletproof Blog. Follow him @jrick.

Why do search engines always rank certain websites so highly? Sure, their content might be great, but their search engine optimization is definitely awesome. Indeed, for many sites, the search-engine spiders that crawl the web deliver a third or more of their traffic.

So crafting key parts of a page, like a headline, is critical. Perhaps the most famous example comes from the Huffington Post, which in February reeled in readers with the ingenious bait: "What Time Is the Super Bowl?"

In protest, writers for publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Atlantic each took turns slugging the SEO punching bag. The headlines describe their complaint: "Gene Weingarten Column Mentions Lady Gaga.” "This Boring Headline Is Written for Google." "Google Doesn't Laugh: Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO."

In other words, algorithms don't appreciate wit, irony, humor, or style. As reporter Steve Lohr put it, they're "numbingly literal-minded." Yes, it is one of the definitive 21st century truisms that in addition to writing for eternity, or for one's mother, today's writer must also write for Google.

That, however, doesn’t mean your headlines have to be stale. You can pen pun-based headlines all day long and maintain your journalistic integrity. Consider these examples from leading news organizations. As with most things in life, the media have adopted tactics that range from bad to the best.


Don’t write the same headline for both the article and the page. The difference is that an article title is what you show your readers, and a page title is what you show search engines. (With a good plug-in, like Page Title for Drupal or WordPress SEO for WordPress, you can rig most content management systems to separate the two.)

In the examples below, keywords pertaining to the subject of each article are, well, nowhere. Google doesn't know if the Time article involves a beach called "Force One" or presidential vacations. Likewise, does "Hacked" mean a hacked Gmail password or the Stuxnet virus? And it's unclear if "The Woman Who Knew Too Much" refers to Alice Stewart, who wrote a landmark biography by that name, or the former chairwoman of the congressional oversight panel monitoring the Troubled Assets Relief Program.


  • Article Title: “Beach Force One”
  • Page Title: Beach Force One
  • The Atlantic

  • Article Title: “Hacked!”
  • Page Title: Hacked!
  • Vanity Fair

  • Article Title: “The Woman Who Knew Too Much”
  • Page Title: The Woman Who Knew Too Much


A better approach employs a single title that blends creativity with SEO punch. The idea is to craft headlines that are both self-explanatory and catchy. The compromise here allows both creativity (integrity) and technology (impact). It kills two birds with one keystroke.


  • Article Title: “15 Case Studies to Get Your Client on Board With Social Media”
  • Page Title: 15 Case Studies to Get Your Client on Board With Social Media
  • Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Article Title: “Scott Forstall, the Sorcerer's Apprentice at Apple”
  • Page Title: Scott Forstall, the Sorcerer's Apprentice at Apple
  • Gawker

  • Article Title: “What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs”
  • Page Title: What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs


Headline writing crystallizes the writer's dilemma. To a writer, a headline is a one-shot first impression that stops a mouse-moving, page-scrolling, attention-deprived user in his pixels and makes him wonder, "What is this?" The way to do this is with a two-title approach. True, the two-title technique means extra work. But absent sheer dumb luck, only extra work can deliver the eyeballs your content deserves. And considering the dramatic difference between the number of clicks generated by the first result Google returns vs. the second, the third, and the fourth, you owe it to yourself to play every angle in this ever-changing race to the top.

    The New Yorker

  • Article Title: “Changing Times”
  • Page Title: Jill Abramson, New York Times' First Woman Executive Editor
  • The Wall Street Journal

  • Article Title: “White House Party Crashers Cause a Hangover”
  • Page Title: Obama Asks for Review After Michaele and Tareq Salahi Crash White House State Dinner
  • Slate

  • Article Title: “Deliverance”
  • Page Title: U.S. Postal Service: Will It Survive?


For those looking to wring every drop of SEO juice out of every article, there's a fourth arrow in your quiver: the meta description. It is from here that Google often pulls the two-line "snippet" displayed for each webpage.

Why bother with a meta description? Simple: according to the SEO uber-site,, a description induces more clicks. At the same time, SEOmoz offers a caveat: While a description makes sense for an article that targets a few heavily searched terms, if you're going after long-tail traffic, "it can sometimes be wiser" to forgo the description and let Google work its will. (If a description is missing, Google will create one, scraping the article for pertinent content.)

Yet SEOmoz's qualifications aren't written in stone. "In some cases," search engines will "overrule the meta description" altogether." But here too, it's not always wise to bank on that possibility. Here's how some of the best leverage this option.

    New York Magazine

  • Article Title: “What's Eating the NYPD?”
  • Page Title: Why the NYPD Is Turning on Ray Kelly
  • Meta Description: Ray Kelly has built the best police force in the country. Now it is turning on him.

  • Newsweek

  • Article Title: “Citizen Cain”
  • Page Title: Herman Cain's Unlikely Republican Rise
  • Meta Description: Meet the rising GOP star who is confounding the pundits and much of black America.
  • The New York Times Magazine

  • Article Title: “When Is a Flip Not a Flop?”
  • Page Title: The Fate of the Republicans Who Supported Gay Marriage
  • Meta Description: The four Republicans who broke with their party on New York's gay-marriage law were supposedly marked for electoral death.But that's not exactly how it is working out.

SEO is an ever-evolving and much-debated field. It's full of qualifications and judgment calls, backed by correlation studies and launched by conjecture. Those convoluted meta descriptions notwithstanding, start with the above best practices. With this foundation, you'll be able to pull off one of the web's hardest acts: you'll be able to make Google laugh.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pressureUA

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Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari Bring Online Comedy Specials to Television

Posted: 08 May 2012 01:30 PM PDT

Note: This video contains language that may be NSFW.

Louis C.K. may have led the new path for comedians, but Aziz Ansari is following not too far behind him — both comedians will bring edited versions of their one-hour stand-up comedy specials to television.

C.K. recently announced that he will premiere a 42-minute cut-down version of his special on television on the FX Network. It will air Saturday, May 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Ansari, who’s also known for his role on Parks and Recreation, will premiere his stand-up comedy special Dangerously Delicious on Comedy Central, airing Sunday, May 20 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

The one-hour special originally debuted on his website, where it was available for download DRM-free for $5. Comedy Central will air a cut-down, censored version.

SEE ALSO: Aziz Ansari: Turning Fans Into Customers, One Tweet at a Time

As an online entrepreneur, Ansari relied heavily on social media sites like Twitter and Reddit to promote the special when it came out in March.

The cable networks are already promoting on-air for the events, and preview clips of Ansari’s special will be featured on Comedy Central’s Stand-Up website leading up to the television premiere.

Many comedians feel that Louis C.K. has revolutionized the industry, and this could prove whether transitioning to television is next step in this business model.

More comedians are beginning to adopt the concept, including big names like Jim Gaffigan. Former SNL castmember Jim Breuer says the concept is brilliant and he’s considering it for his upcoming comedy special in July.

“Thanks to people like Louis C.K., my options have blown out the window,” says Breuer. “I may go digital, but who knows?”

Will you be tuning into C.K. and Ansari’s specials? What do you think about this transition from digital to traditional television? Let us know in the comments.

More About: aziz ansari, comedy, Comedy Central, humor, Twitter

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Twitter Stands Up to Court Order for Occupier’s Data

Posted: 08 May 2012 01:18 PM PDT

Twitter, which has a history of complying with court requests for users’ data, appears to be drawing a line in the sand.

The company filed a motion in a New York State court on Monday to quash a court order that would force it to hand over data pertaining to a user involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to a blog post from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Malcom Harris, the user in question, is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan for disorderly conduct during the Occupy movement’s march across the Brooklyn Bridge last year. The prosecution is asking Twitter for Harris’s email address and all his tweets over a three-month period.

Twitter, however, countered that the court would need a search warrant to get that information. It pointed to a recent Supreme Court decision which found that attaching a GPS device is considered a search under the Fourth Amendment, which prevents unreasonable searches and seizures.

“If the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement applies merely to surveillance of one's location in public areas for 28 days, it also applies to the District Attorney's effort to force Twitter to produce over three months worth of a citizen's substantive communications, regardless of whether the government alleges those communications are public or private,” wrote Twitter in its motion.

Twitter also suggested that Harris owns his own tweets and could therefore file a motion to quash on his own, despite the prosecution’s assertion of the opposite.

The ACLU is calling Twitter’s move a “big deal.”

“If Internet users cannot protect their own constitutional rights, the only hope is that Internet companies do so,” wrote Aden Fine, senior staff attorney at the ACLU. “That is why it is so important to encourage those companies that we all increasingly rely on to do what they can to protect their customers' free speech and privacy rights.”

Harris, who tweets under the handle @BigMeanInternet, welcomed the news becoming public.

He also expressed gratitude toward Twitter for defending his personal information.

“Twitter’s Terms of Service make absolutely clear that its users own their content,” a spokesperson from Twitter told Mashable. “Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users.”

SEE ALSO: Have You Occupied Wall Street? NYC Wants Your Twitter Data

Earlier this year, Twitter gave the Boston Police Department one users’ data. Another user subpoenaed by law enforcement, Jeff Rae, told Mashable that he would be filing his own motion last March.

Rae called Twitter’s recent decision “excellent.”

“I think that this goes to show that Twitter realizes what allowing the state to subpoena accounts can do to their credibility to social and political movements,” Rae told Mashable via email. “Twitter has one of the better user policies out there (they actually notify their users of subpoenas), and to see them standing up to fight subpoenas like this is promising.”

Do you think Twitter should stand up to court orders such as these? Sound off in the comments below.

Twitter’s Motion to Quash

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, SimmiSimons

More About: Occupy Wall Street, Social Media, Twitter, US

Watch What Happens Live: Behind the Scenes of Bravo’s Most Social Show

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:53 PM PDT

Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live studio is not your typical live studio audience setup. Visitors walk through an open floor plan office, where staffers are hard at work, to arrive at the pint-sized studio. There is enough room for about three chairs on its living room-styled stage.

There’s a bar too, where a bartender not only mixes drinks for host Andy Cohen, Bravo’s executive VP of talent and development, and his celebrity guests, but also for the 15-plus audience members snuggled into the tiny space.

In essence, Watch What Happens Live wants viewers to feel like as if they are a part of the show itself. It’s this mantra that runs through every aspect of the show’s operations, from sending in questions via Twitter in real time to encouraging home viewers to play drinking games along with the guests. Every night is a party and you’re invited.

That said, it’s no surprise that Watch What Happens Live is the most socially interactive show on the most socially engaged network on TV.

“Bravo’s audience is the most engaged group on cable right now,” Cohen told Mashable. “They don’t just watch TV on the couch — they use their iPads and mobile devices to participate in real time. In a way, it’s like the audience is playing along.”

To bring the show to life, a team of two to three staffers scour Watch What Happens Live’s Facebook and Twitter pages for engaging comments and questions. They keep track of the most interesting conversations in a basic Google Doc. The staffers are research producers by day, social media managers by night.

Watch What Happens Live - 600

Watch What Happens Live - 600

During each commercial break, the team prints out two sets of questions — one for each guest — and attaches them to cards, which Cohen holds in his hands for the remainder of the show. Before the show goes back on the air, he reads each suggestion and circles the questions he wants to ask.

Watch What Happens Live - 600

A team member also mans the phone lines and connects callers to Cohen. Although people can also text in their questions and comments, Twitter is by far the most popular way to interact with the host and guests. This adds a personal touch to the show, and often creates for the most dynamic and memorable moments.

For example, Twitter user @RBR37 once sent a tweet to the show to inform Cohen that his guest, actress and model China Chow, was wearing what appeared to be RBR37′s mother’s old dress from 1991. Cohen asked Chow if she had bought it at a specific vintage store in New York City, and the actress confirmed she was indeed wearing the same dress.

After the show, @RBR37 sent a picture of her mother wearing it at her Bat Mitzvah more than 20 years ago. Check out the video below for the full scene.

“I love stories like this,” said Cohen. “The home audience brings such a different spin to the show, and takes it to another level. It’s always unpredictable, and people can interact with the guests in unprecedented ways.”

Taking questions in real time from Twitter also requires guests to respond on their feet. For example, actress Kathleen Turner was on the show recently, where she was asked about being compared to legend Elizabeth Taylor. She responded with a monologue about why she was the stronger actress.

SEE ALSO: How Oprah is Revolutionizing Social TV in Real-Time

“Live TV is pure entertainment, and it’s questions like that which come from home viewers that make the show even better,” said Cohen. “Not only do I have to stand guard, but so do the guests.”

Bravo is also experimenting with adding social additions to its other shows, including The Housewives series, which features a pop-up video-inspired concept with home viewer tweets.

“We just want to continue to make the network and our shows as fun as possible, and there’s no better way to do so than getting our fans and viewers as involved as possible,” said Cohen.

What do you think of Watch What Happens Live‘s use of social media to interact with its home audience in real time? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of

More About: bravo, Entertainment, Facebook, features, Mobile, Social Media, trending, TV, Twitter

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MySpace Faces 20 Years of Gov’t Scrutiny for Privacy Violations

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:42 PM PDT

Should MySpace last the next 20 years, it’ll have at least one close observer: the federal government.

MySpace’s privacy practices will be kept under close watch by a third-party observer for two decades as part of a settlement related to an investigation of the company’s advertising sales strategy, the FTC announced Tuesday.

The agreement also prevents MySpace from making “future privacy misrepresentations” and requires it to make significant changes to its privacy policy. MySpace will also have to turn over internal documents and other information about its privacy practices for the next five years.

The FTC first targeted MySpace on the belief that the company was selling information about its users to advertising clients, which violates the website’s terms of use.

MySpace, which had 30 million users in December of last year, issues each user a unique “Friend ID” after asking for personal information including age, gender, full name and other information that’s included in a user profile. The website’s privacy policy said that it wouldn’t share users’ information, or, if it did share information, it would first seek the approval of the user in question.

According to the FTC’s charge, MySpace violated those terms by providing advertisers with the Friend ID number of users looking at certain pages on the site. That, says the FTC, could give advertisers access to users’ personal information and the ability to link each user to Internet activity happening off of MySpace.

On that basis, the FTC charged MySpace with violating U.S. federal privacy law.

The FTC also alleged that MySpace ran afoul of a U.S.-European Union treaty that allows companies to legally transmit data between the two international bodies.

MySpace is a nine-year-old company which began running in 2003. It was purchased by News Corp. for $580 million in July of 2005, then sold to Specific Media and actor/musician Justin Timberlake in 2011 for approximately $35 million.

Read the full settlement below:

MySpace FTC Settlement

More About: myspace, privacy, Social Media, US

Pair, the Social Network for Two, Launches an Android App

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:26 PM PDT

Pair, an app that helps couples stay in touch, no longer discriminates against cross-platform romance.

The startup launched its first Android app on Tuesday.

Like its iOS counterpart, the new app creates a private shared timeline for couples that allows them to easily swap SMS messages, photos, videos and locations.

The app takes the concept behind Path a step further. Instead of sharing personal updates within a small network, it's a way to stay constantly connected with the smallest of networks — one other person.

Since launching in March, Pair has picked up about 220,000 users, $4.2 million in funding and a lawsuit over its name.

Until now, however, only couples who both had iPhones could use the social network for two. Those with Android-toting significant others couldn’t participate, even if they had an iPhone themselves.

Pair’s iPhone and Android apps are identical, down to a feature called "thumb kiss" that vibrates when both parties touch the same spot on the screen. Couples can also co-create drawings, maintain a joint to-do list and send a "thinking of you" message that works like a more thoughtful Facebook poke.

Though some have dubbed Pair “the perfect sexting app,” co-founder Oleg Kostour says the most-common activity on the app is actually doodling.

More About: apps, dating, pair, trending

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U.S. and China Team Up to Stop Cyberattacks

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:16 PM PDT

In an unexpected announcement, the U.S. and China have announced they will be working together on matters of cybersecurity, despite many cybersecurity experts’ assessments that China is the main source of digital attacks against the U.S.

The partnership was announced after a Monday meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chinese Minister for National Defense Liang Guanglie in Washington, D.C, according to the BBC.

It’s “extremely important” for the two nations to be working together to “avoid a crisis in this area,” said Panetta.

“Because the United States and China have developed the technological capabilities in this arena, it’s extremely important that we work together to develop ways to avoid any miscalculation or misperception that could lead to a crisis in this area,” he said.

Laing refuted claims that China was the main source of cyberattacks launched against the U.S. government and American businesses and citizens, countering the assessment of many cybersecurity experts.

Panetta also refuted those claims. “I can hardly agree with the proposition that the cyberattacks directed to the United States are directly coming from China,” he said.

Reports from the U.S. government and American security firms have accused the Chinese government of sponsoring cyberattacks designed to steal high-tech intellectual property for Chinese firms.

Estimates of economic loss due to all cybercrime that hits U.S. businesses vary from $6 billion to $400 billion.

China officially denies any involvement in such attacks.

More About: china, cyberattacks, cybersecurity, US, World

Zynga Launches Its First Arcade Game: Bubble Safari

Posted: 08 May 2012 12:04 PM PDT

Zynga will launch its first game in the arcade genre on Wednesday, the social game company announced.

Bubble Safari starts with a story of an adorable monkey named Bubbles (a drop-out from the space program) who is living the good life in the jungle when his lady love and monkey friends gets captured by poachers. Bubbles sets off on a journey to find the poachers. The player’s job is to pop the right bubbles to supply Bubbles the monkey with fruit for his journey. There are many fun ways to get points — catch “on fire” to blast away bubbles or get help from hummingbird friends. Each level-up takes Bubbles one step closer to finding the poachers. Levels get increasingly challenging, with obstacles like swarms of bees and bubble spawners.

A large team led by arcade game-designing legend Mark Turmell, senior creative director at Zynga San Diego, created Bubble Safari. Turmell has 20 years in arcade game designing (his resume includes being responsible for NBA Jam and NFL Blitz). He began designing games for tangible machines in arcades, then worked on developing games for consoles and finally online arcade games. He said arcade games are perfect for the casual and social gaming space.

“It’s easy to pick-up and easy to play,” he said.

Bubble Safari is similar to a console game, he said, in that if you win a level, you can keep playing. Otherwise, players tap into their social network to ask friends for extra plays. Friends who give you extra bubbles to keep playing also get a boost themselves, making the shared bubble more powerful.

There are 65 levels in the game right now and new levels will be added on a weekly, Turmell said.

“We probably have two years of ideas to keep this game going,” he said.

What do you think about Bubble Safari? Will you play this game? Tell us in the comments.

More About: Gaming, Social Media, Zynga

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Yahoo’s Fall From Grace, By the Numbers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 08 May 2012 11:46 AM PDT

Last month, we looked at Google’s amazing growth over the last few years. This month, a sadder tale.

Yahoo, a darling of the dot-com era, has had a rough transition into the social media age. As the following infographic shows, the company’s performance has suffered particularly in the past eight years. Yahoo is still a powerhouse — after all, few can claim to control more than 1% of the Internet’s traffic — but its grip on the web is loosening. Meanwhile, the company’s management troubles — the latest is the controversy over CEO Scott Thompson’s fudged resume — continue.

Overall, the trends — outlined in this infographic from HighTable — aren’t good. Here’s hoping the company can turn things around.

More About: Google, infographics, trending, Yahoo

Visit the Pyramids of Giza With This Interactive 3D Site

Posted: 08 May 2012 11:32 AM PDT

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, you can hold off on purchasing the plane ticket. An online experience now brings Giza to you, transporting you across the world — and through time — to the land of the Pharaohs.

Dassault Systèmes created a 3D model of the Giza Necropolis, a free application available to all Internet users, which was unveiled Tuesday at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

This digital model is the only way we can see Giza in its ancient splendor, due to looting, erosion, urban sprawl and artifacts being sent across the world.

“You are visiting and discovering through a new kind of interactive story,” says Mehdi Tayoubi, VP of design and experimental strategy at Dassault Systèmes. “Each time, you can take control of the 3D expereince as a time travel tourist.”

Giza 3D, which targets academics, researchers, museums and the general public, shows how technologies can be integral to historical and art preservation.

“We’ve equipped software for a new generation of classroom,” Tayoubi told Mashable. “We have the teacher traveling through time, bringing students inside pyramids, temples and funeral ceremonies.”

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways Museums Are Reaching Digital Audiences

There are two ways you can explore Giza 3D. You can take guided tours of certain monuments by Harvard’s Peter Der Manuelian, the Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology or you can wander through the ancient temples, restored tombs, burial chambers and pyramids.

Each site is annotated, so you can read archaeologists field journals and maps, view contemporary and ancient pictures and browse some 30 objects constructed in 3D.

Giza 3D integrates 100 years of research by the Giza Archives Project, and museums and universities from around the world, in an effort lead by Professor Der Manuelian. Only 10% of Giza 3D is completed, currently including four temples and the Pyramids of Khufu and Menhaure.

The Pyramid of Khafre, the middle of the Necropolis’s three pyramids, and the Sphinx aren’t part of the experience yet.

“What is important for us is to create a community around this experience,” Tayoubi says. “You can bring kids to this virtual environment and they will understand, but if you adapt what you say it will work for an entirely different audience.”

Tayoubi sees these 3D experiences extending beyond locations you can visit — possibly into medicine, entertainment, or robotics — though the Dassault team is currently working on recreating the history of Paris as a 3D experience.

“This is how innovation comes: when different people in different fields come together to think differently,” he says.

Is 3D interactive modeling the future of studying history? What other landmarks would you like to see digitized? Let us know in the comments.

More About: 3D, Egypt, interactive, museum

Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker Put a Pin on Airtime’s Launch Date

Posted: 08 May 2012 11:21 AM PDT

Airtime Web Site

We’ve got two famous Seans (with two different spellings) but not a whole lot else to go on when it comes to the new social video chat platform, Airtime, Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning are launching together.

Now, however, we have a date. Airtime launches June 5 at a somewhat exclusive New York City event.

If you don’t know anything about Airtime, stop beating yourself up. No one knows anything, except for who is launching it. They’re the industry’s blue-chip product creators and investors. Sean Parker is Facebook‘s former president and a current Spotify investor.

Shawn Fanning famously launched the world’s most popular peer-to-peer song sharing service Napster (no, not Napster’s recent, though deceased, upstanding incarnation. Ask your parents or older siblings about the history of Napster, they’ll know). Parker also claims to be a co-founder of Napster.

Little is known about Airtime. There is a website, complete with a countdown clock — which we now know means “Countdown to Launch.” Parker verified last year that he was working on Airtime, but offered no details. Speculation says the service will offer real-time video chat, but in a social atmosphere.

Airtime’s site says the company is located in San Francisco, and continues, “Our small team shares a passion for using the latest video technology to bring people together. Our investors include Founders Fund, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Ashton Kutcher,, Scott Braun, and Michael Arrington.”

It’s an impressive list, which means we’ll be watching the launch closely. We’ll be there at Milk Studios to report on the June 5 event in person.

What do you think: Can Parker strike social media gold again? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Airtime, Facebook, sean parker

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Great Science Education Starts With Inspired Teachers

Posted: 08 May 2012 11:02 AM PDT

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, is president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. Each summer her organization hosts the Sally Ride Science Academy Brought to you by ExxonMobil, a teacher development program to strengthen STEM education in the United States. Follow her @SallyRideSci.

Thank you, Dr. Mommaerts. If you hadn't taken a personal interest in me in high school, who knows what career path I might have followed.

Dr. Mommaerts was the teacher most responsible for me becoming a scientist and an astronaut. She challenged me to be curious, ask questions, and think for myself. But more importantly, she helped me build self-confidence and believe that I could go on to do anything in science. Believe me, I needed some convincing!  

Each year, millions of students are encouraged and inspired by their own personal Dr. Mommaerts. As we approach the end of another school year, I'd like to take a moment and thank the hundreds of thousands of dedicated educators for their hard work, and the inspiration they bring to the classroom. They're making a difference in the lives of their students.

Many teachers are so committed to their profession that they take time during their well-earned summer breaks to enhance their skills. This summer, for example, more than 250 teachers will attend the Sally Ride Science Academy to learn new ways to get young people excited about potential careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

As part of this program, they are given the tools to train their colleagues, who help in spreading the message that quality science education is fundamental to our nation's future. It is also important to the futures of all students — not just those they think will go on to become rocket scientists. These teachers help break down the stereotypes around science and scientists that lead many students, particularly girls, to conclude science is "not for me." They also teach in a way that reminds students that science is not only rewarding, but actually fun.

These teachers are on the front lines in our battle to remain competitive in the global economy. China and other emerging countries, such as India and South Korea, have made it a priority to provide their students a good science education, because they know that STEM careers are a major key to prosperity. As a result, their children are scoring significantly higher on global standardized science and math tests than their American counterparts. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment, U.S. students rank 17th in the world in science and 25th in math. Programs to provide teacher training in STEM can help reverse this trend.

Of course, we don't need to look overseas to appreciate the importance of science and math education. The American workforce has changed dramatically in the past decade, and no other subjects are more important for students entering the workforce in the next several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Projections Program, STEM-related jobs represent eight of the ten fastest-growing occupations through 2018 (the top two are biomedical engineers and network systems/data communications analysts).

But we must start early with students. In fact, fourth through eighth grade is critical. This is the age where many students, particularly girls and minorities, begin to disengage from these subjects. They feel and internalize the influences of peer pressure, popular culture, and society's expectations. Science isn't cool, negative stereotypes persist about scientists, mathematicians and engineers, and studying hard is rarely celebrated on reality TV or in pop music. In fact, my organization targets teachers in this critical grade range for precisely these reasons.

Today, women represent less than 25% of all STEM jobs — in spite of holding nearly half of all jobs in the United States. Getting more students — girls and minorities in particular — excited about and engaged in STEM studies starts with inspirational teachers.

When I was a girl, I had a teacher who realized that I had an affinity for science. She encouraged me and challenged me to pursue that interest, helping to give me the confidence to achieve and do the hard work required to become a scientist and an astronaut. My hope is that each of the teachers trained at the Academy will create that spark in other children, helping them to dream big and then have the courage and conviction to follow those dreams.

As this week is national Teacher Appreciation Week, I ask you to join in the STEM dialogue on Facebook or Twitter (#TAW #STEM), in hopes of raising local and national awareness, encouraging more people to pursue STEM-related careers, and reminding our teachers how much we appreciate their continued commitment.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, LeggNet

More About: contributor, education, features, Science, technology, trending

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Why Web Video Doesn’t Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Posted: 08 May 2012 10:46 AM PDT

Broadcast journalism evolves with every new, emerging medium. Social media has certainly predicated one of those evolutionary steps, and opened the doors to new forms of content and distribution channels. Yet, in the end, it is value, consistency and engagement — as it always has been — that separates those who find a long-term audience from those flail in obscurity. The market for relevant and compelling content is infinite, regardless of medium.

While traditional media learns to adapt, new visionaries arise to push the boundaries and possibilities of media and design fresh business models to support it. Such is true for my next guest on Revolution. Shira Lazar is not only a good friend, she's also one of the practicing pioneers of new journalism.

SEE ALSO: Why Musicians Need More Than Viral Videos to Succeed

Over the years, she's produced and hosted a number of social programs including specials for the Grammy Awards and the Oscars, along with creating live news and talk show programs for CBS News. Lazar is now host and producer of What’s Trending, an award-winning web show that features interviews with notable guests, celebrities and business leaders, including Richard Branson, Robert Rodriguez, Forest Whitaker, Snoop Dogg, and Tony Hsieh.

Lazar continues to challenge the status quo and it's her tireless pursuit of what's next that will earn her a place on the various screens of viewers for years to come. “You have to bring value to the viewer… bring broadcast quality content, but with the authenticity and interactivity of the social web,” she says.

Watch this episode of Revolution to learn about the future of online video and why journalists must not forget the lessons of the past while forging the future.

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More About: journalism, revolutiontv, Video, web video

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