God is Disappointed in You

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I recently started to re-read God is Disappointed in You, which I read for the first time a couple of years ago. It’s an amazing piece of work. Here’s my original review:

I’m not religious, and I have not read the Old Testament or the New Testament (I did read R. Crumb’s graphic novel of the Book of Genesis and enjoyed it). I’ve tried to read the King James version a few times, but I got bored and stopped very early on. Recently, Top Shelf sent me a copy of God is Disappointed in You, a new version of the Bible written in contemporary, casual language. It’s bound in textured fake leather like a regular bible, with gold edged pages and a ribbon bookmark. It has illustrations by New Yorker and Too Much Coffee Man cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, which piqued my interest. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. The author, Mark Russell, was able to make the stories come alive by telling them as if they happened today, using language that a smart, funny, middle-school student might use to recount the story of an epic playground fight.

I don’t know if people who take the Bible seriously will be offended by this book, but I suspect many of them will not. It is not a sarcastic put down of the Bible, but a fresh interpretation. I compared some of the stories in God is Disappointed in You with the stories in other traditional Bibles and Russell is not exaggerating or misrepresenting the content of the earlier versions. I asked my friend, a pastor and author who is a serious Bible scholar, what he thought of God is Disappointed in You, and said it was fantastic.

The Bible is an incredibly weird book, and I thank Mark Russell for rewriting it in a way that made it understandable and interesting to me.

Celebrity cosmetic surgery, secret hookups, and a baby black market, all in this week’s tabloids

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Did Tom Cruise buy babies on the black market? Did Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have a secret Bahamas getaway? Has Queen Elizabeth refused to bless Prince Harry’s wedding?

When have the tabloids ever been wrong?

It’s yet another week of fact-challenged stories in the dubious tabloids and celebrity magazines.

Barbra Streisand has allegedly undergone $360,000-worth of cosmetic surgery to rebuild her face and “save her crumbling marriage” so that she is now “totally unrecognizable,” reports the ‘Globe.’ The mag unhelpfully includes a photo of the new-look Streisand who is unmistakably recognizable as the famed diva.

Also allegedly rebuilding her face is “plastic surgery junkie” Melanie Griffith, who in a “desperate bid to live to 100” has returned to the ACQUA Klinik in Germany to receive stem cell treatments, reports the ’National Enquirer.’ But even if the treatments succeed in making the actress look younger, they aren’t intended to prolong life – that’s pure tabloid fantasy – they’re supposed to make her appear younger.

‘Us’ magazine devotes its cover and four inside pages to Affleck and Garner’s “Secret Bahamas Reunion!” So secret was their rendezvous that it’s also pictured extensively in the ‘Enquirer’ (“Ben & Jen’s Hookup in Paradise!”), which touts the story as an ‘Enquirer Exclusive.’ From the photos it’s plain that they’re not hiding from the paparazzi. No secrets to hide here.

Did Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other celebrities adopt babies in “Scientology’s baby black market’ as the ‘Enquirer’ claims? Its breaking news about events 20 years ago claims that the stars adopted children through an unlicensed broker – but buried deep within the “ten-month investigation” report is an admission that the adoptions were ultimately handled by an attorney “to be done correctly” – completely undercutting the story. No black market, and nothing illegal.

Has the Queen refused to give her blessing to Prince Harry’s wedding to American actress Meghan Markle, as the ‘Globe’ claims? It seems unlikely, since the couple are not even engaged yet. The ‘Globe’ explains that “the divorced TV actress ‘isn’t a good fit’ with the royal family.” But since Prince Charles divorced and remarried divorcée Camilla Parker Bowles, surely Markle’s status as a divorcée is hardly an impediment?

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ mag to tell us that Victoria Justice wore it best (do you really “wear” a clutch purse – and can one really be judged for carrying it best? Did Lauren Cohan really carry her clutch bag the worst? Sad), that La La Anthony totally hates mustard, former Bachelorette contestant Ashley Iaconetti (really scraping the bottom of the celebrity barrel here) carries almonds, mascara and a sewing kit in her Forever 21 tote, and that the stars are just like us: they ride bikes, make phone calls, and use umbrellas when it rains. Wow. I always thought celebrities walked everywhere, sent telegrams, and got wet when it rained.

Bringing us truly important news we can use, ‘Us’ mag also brings us “Hollywood’s Hottest Hunks!” while ‘People’ magazine offers “Gorgeous Celebrity Weddings” and devotes its cover to John F Kennedy’s Jr’s wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy: “Her Untold Story.” It’s a tale that might have been more interesting when she died, rather than 18 years later when it just feels dated.

Proving that rap stars are people too, Sean Combs, at home with his six children, tells ‘People’: “I’m the luckiest man alive,” and the mag explains why Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have hired a surrogate to have their third child: “Kim was told she couldn’t carry another baby – that it would be too dangerous,” says an unnamed source. Maybe she keeps dropping them? Maybe she can’t even carry a clutch bag? Enquiring minds want to know.

In other up-to-the-minute news, the ‘National Examiner’ bring us the ‘Bizarre Secrets of ‘Men in Black,’” which will be great if they ever invent a time machine and take us back to 1997 when this article will appear more like breaking news.
Failing to find any evidence of aliens, Bigfoot, Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster this week, the ‘Examiner’ tells us that the “mystical crane will bring you luck, love, prosperity and vitality.” But you don’t have to catch your own bird to have all that luck and the sort of long life that sends Melanie
Griffith scurrying to mysterious German Kliniks – you simply have to “clip & save” the photo of an origami paper crane that the ‘Examiner’ has helpfully included in its article. “For a boost in prosperity, place the crane image just inside your front door,” advises the mag. Or put the image in your wallet to attract love, in a sunny window for healing energy, or in a bowl of fruit “to smooth family discord.” That’s news you can use.

Onwards and downwards . . .

You can now design custom Snapchat geofilters from your phone

See the original posting on The Verge

As of today, you can design your own Snap geofilters from right inside the app.

The ability to create custom geofilters has been available since last year, but until now, the only way to design them was with an image-editing software or Snapchat’s web tool. Now, simply enter the app’s settings and tap on “On-Demand Geofilters” to access the new mobile creative studio, which offers themes like “wedding” and “graduation” that can be personalized with text, Bitmoji, and stickers.

Once complete, select the geographic location where you would like the filter to appear, and when — from as short as an hour to as long as 90 days. The price for each custom filter starts at $5.99, and it takes about one business day for Snap to approve it.


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Google Photos’ new sharing features are starting to roll out

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Google is now starting to roll out the major new sharing features announced for Google Photos last month.

The update adds a dedicated “sharing” tab to the bottom of the app and several different ways to share photos. For one, the app will now suggest photos for you to share and who you might want to share them with. The feature is largely based around facial recognition: if Google realizes you regularly share photos of a specific person with a specific email address, it will offer to send them any new pictures.

Photos’ sharing tab will also display a feed of all the pictures and albums that have been shared with you, so it’ll get a bit easier to look through shared photos, too.

But the…

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LG’s new 77-inch OLED wallpaper TV is now available for the price of a new car

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LG’s wallpaper-thin W series of 4K OLED TVs wowed us at CES with their almost impossibly slim design. And while the “cheaper” — to say that this is a relative term is a bit of an understatement — $7,999 65-inch model has been available for a while, if you’ve been holding out for the flagship 77-inch model, then I’ve got good news: it can finally be yours for the low, low price of $19,999.

The W series uses a bit of trickery for pulling off its 0.2-inch thick design: the guts of the TV, including HDMI inputs and general hardware, are stowed away inside an attached Dolby Atmos soundbar below the TV. For what it’s worth (design aside), you’re still getting a fantastic TV. The W series supports all four main HDR standards…

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Intercom lands former Intuit exec Karen Peacock as its new COO

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Karen Peacock, COO at Intercom Intercom, a business messaging tool that enables companies to communicate directly with customers in an online context, announced today that it has hired former Intuit SVP Karen Peacock as company COO.
She joined the company May 30th, but they are making the news public for the first time today.
Peacock comes with an impressive resume that starts with a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford. Read More

Mysterious stealth gaming startup Wonder announces $14 million in funding

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Ah, another day, another stealth mobile gaming startup getting funded by Shakira. LA-based Wonder announced today that it has closed a Series A round of funding. The startup is building what it claims to be a new breed of “VR-ready” gaming hardware in secret, but seems to have been gesturing loudly about just how secret it is. Read More

Zume Pizza adds extra automation as it rolls out to new cities

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 Zume Pizza has its eyes set on disrupting legacy pizza players like Pizza Hut and Domino’s by improving on both speed and quality with the help of robots. Over the last two years, founder Julia Collins has been steadily adding new machines to her pizza assembly line to maximize consistency without resorting to cheats that sacrifice the pizza itself. Today the company is announcing… Read More

Friday Hack Chat: Climate Change

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This Friday, we’re talking climate change. Is it possible to remove carbon from the atmosphere before most cities are underwater? What role can hackers play in alleviating climate change? It’s all going down this Friday on the Hack Chat on Hackaday.io

We’ve invited [Tito Jankowski] and [Matthew Eshed] to talk about climate change this Friday over on hackaday.io. [Tito] and [Matthew] are the founders of Impossible Labs, and they’re looking for ways to find, test, and build technology that will remove carbon from Earth’s atmosphere. Their goal is to remove 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide by 2050. Will …read more

Apple Music’s latest personalized playlist is perfect for chill Sundays

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Apple Music already has a pair of personalized playlists in My New Music Mix and My Favorites Mix, and now it’s launching a third to help you chill out in these trying times. Its latest personalized playlist, aptly titled My Chill Mix, will give you 25 tracks of chill vibes based on your listening habits, which is updated every Sunday.

My list had some hits (Beyoncé, Solange, Jhene Aiko) and definitely a few misses (Immature, B2K), but overall it was a good playlist for the first try. We’ll see how Apple Music refines the list week by week — the true test of any personalized playlist.

My Chill Mix is currently only available for a small group of users, but will be rolling out throughout the summer, according to TechCrunch….

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We compared hardware specs for every iPhone ever made

See the original posting on The Verge

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a look back at how the hardware in Apple’s iconic smartphone has changed and evolved over time?

We’ve gone back and tabulated the specs on all 10 generations of iPhones (plus a couple of spinoffs) for your viewing pleasure. Obviously, the modern iPhone 7 and 7 Plus win out across the board when it comes to almost any metric, but this is less of a competition and more a retrospective — one that highlights what’s become one of the key components of Apple’s success.

The fact of the matter is that none of the iPhone models have ever been the best smartphone when it comes to pure hardware. And even looking at raw numbers, it’s oftentimes hard…

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Apple gets too much and too little credit for the iPhone

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In the binary world of online communications, companies like Apple and Google are either valorized for their highly influential products and actions or vilified for the same reasons. Take the iPhone, which turns 10 years old this week, as the most obvious and polarizing example. You can either think of it as Apple’s revolutionary gadget that redefined an industry and most of our lives, or you can deem it to be the overhyped foam atop the more democratic and important Google Android wave. I think there’s truth to both perspectives, but more interesting to me are the nuances and shades of gray in between the extremes.

Apps, apps, apps

For a great many people, the iPhone has served as the physical conduit of a revelatory technological…

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Snapchat now lets you create custom geofilters right in the app

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Snapchat introduced a way to create custom geofilters back in February of last year, and now it’s making the feature easier to use. U.S. Snapchat users can now create and submit custom filters directly in the app, rather than having to go to the studio website to make their custom filter.
The mobile creative studio is now located in settings, under a menu item called “On-Demand… Read More

Watch Microsoft Accelerator’s Tel Aviv demo day right here

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 TechCrunch is pleased to offer Microsoft Accelerator’s Tel Aviv demo day event today at 6:30 p.m. local time, 8:30 a.m. PST. The Microsoft Accelerator is an immersive three- to six-month program aimed at helping entrepreneurs get through the challenges of building a company, finding customers and scaling to global markets. There are seven accelerators located around the world, from… Read More

Waymo’s self-driving van hits the desert to see if it can stand the heat

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Testing self-driving cars in California is like playing a video game on the “easy” setting, because it’s nice all the time and basically temperate year-round. Autonomous vehicles face significant challenges when it comes to more extreme weather conditions, which are a standard part of certifying any current cars for legal road-ready status. Waymo, Alphabet’s… Read More

Blue Apron significantly lowers its valuation with slashed IPO pricing

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Blue Apron — the next big consumer IPO for 2016 — isn’t looking as good as it was just a few weeks ago. The company said in an updated filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would cut its IPO price range target to between $10 and $11 per share, down from between $15 and $17 per share. Normally these price ranges move around, but this is a pretty… Read More

Fly Across the Water on a 3D-Printed Electric Hydrofoil

See the original posting on Hackaday

Paddleboards, which are surfboard-like watercraft designed to by stood upon and paddled around calm waters, are a common sight these days. So imagine the surprise on the faces of beachgoers when what looks like a paddleboard suddenly but silently lurches forward and rises up off the surface, lifting the rider on a flight over the water.

That may or may not be [pacificmeister]’s goal with his DIY 3D-printed electric hydrofoil, but it’s likely the result. Currently at part 12 of his YouTube playlist in which he completes the first successful lift-off, [pacificmeister] has been on this project for quite a …read more

iOS 11 on an iPad still won’t replace your laptop

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Apple introduced some major changes to the iPad with its iOS 11 beta earlier this week. While you can use the iPad just as you’ve always been able to, there are some additional multitasking changes that really make the iPad Pro more of a laptop contender. Apple has created a dock that acts more like something you’d find on macOS, and refined its side-by-side apps interface so it’s even more similar to Windows 8. These changes make the iPad a lot more useful, but also a lot more confusing than its ever been before.

Let’s start with the dock

The new dock extends the amount of apps you can pin to the bottom of the iOS home screen, but it also acts as the main way to control what apps can float or be used side-by-side. It replaces the old…

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