Mixed Media

You May Soon Be Able to Calculate How Many Calories Are in Your Food Porn

| Wed Jun. 3, 2015 11:00 AM EDT

Are you the kind of person who relishes publishing over-saturated photos of your dinner onto Instagram? If so, a new project, reportedly being developed by Google, may soon provide you with yet another interactive activity with your food—other than simply eating it. 

The Guardian reports the prospective project, coined "Im2Calories," aims to help users calculate the caloric makeup of food photos. Using an artificial-intelligence technology that would "analyze the depth of pixels in an image" it would then figure out "the size and shape" of our meals by subjecting that analysis to various algorithms. After all that? Voila! That caloric content of those perfectly manicured entrees. 

It's not perfect. Developers say that initially the technology may only be able to correctly measure the calories in a photo 30 percent of the time. But in a recent presentation, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said that success rate is good enough to attract enough curious users to improve it over time.

Although a spokesperson for Google said the tool is still only in research mode, its potential creation could certainly help people keep tabs on their calorie intake. But is this really effective for losing weight? Research suggests such knowledge does little to impact a person's food choices.

This might not matter much to Instagram's crowded food wing, reflected in popular accounts such as You Did Not Eat That and You Wish You Ate This, which is likely to gobble up the calorie counting tool. Just look at the overnight success of Microsoft's age guessing app. And after all, there is only so much satisfaction the number of likes a perfectly manicured food post can provide a person.

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Amid Corruption Scandal

| Tue Jun. 2, 2015 1:13 PM EDT

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday that he will step down after 17 years at the head of soccer's international governing body, in the wake of a corruption probe that has rattled the sport. In a press conference, Blatter called for a special election to find his replacement, just days after he was elected to a fifth term.

Here's an excerpt of Blatter's resignation letter

I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football. I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organization. That election is over but FIFA’s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul. While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA. Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election.

This Is How Miserably the TSA Is Failing at Airport Security

| Tue Jun. 2, 2015 10:15 AM EDT

An undercover investigation lead by the Department of Homeland Security uncovered devastating holes in the Transportation Security Administration's security procedures, with investigators able to smuggle fake explosives and banned weapons 67 out of 70 times at some of the country's busiest airports.

"In one case, agents failed to detect a fake explosive taped to an agent's back, even after performing a pat down that was prompted after the agent set off the magnetometer alarm," ABC News reports.

The alarming 95 percent failure rate, during an investigation that spanned a decade, has lead to the reassignment of the agency's chief Melvin Carraway.

"The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. "We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure, and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."

Following the internal investigation, Johnson also ordered for more routine undercover investigations and mandatory retraining for all TSA officials.

The full Homeland Security report is slated to be released later this summer.

Tracy Morgan Gives Emotional First Interview Since Fatal Car Crash

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 3:33 PM EDT

On Monday, Tracy Morgan sat down with Matt Lauer for his first interview since the devastating six-car accident that left him in critical condition and killed one of his friends, James McNair, nearly one year ago.

"I can't believe I'm here," Morgan said "Just seeing the tragedy that happened—it just touches me."

When speaking about the loss of McNair, Morgan started to cry. "He was a loving man and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It’s just hard for me to see that he's gone. That's it." 

The accident involved a truck driven by a Walmart employee and set off a long legal battle that was settled just last month.

"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal," Morgan said. "I'm happy that Walmart stepped up to the plate. They took full responsibility."

Here Is Caitlyn Jenner's Stunning Vanity Fair Cover

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 12:41 PM EDT

Caitlyn Jenner, the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fame, made her public debut on the cover of Vanity Fair on Monday. The beautiful portrait was shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz:



During a sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer back in April, the former Olympian opened up about her transition into becoming a woman. "My whole life has been getting me ready for this," Jenner said. 

"Caitlyn doesn't have any secrets. As soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I'm free," she said in an exclusive new video for the magazine. 

The cover hits newsstands on June 9.


Watch John Oliver Issue a Scathing Takedown of FIFA's "Swiss Demon" President

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 9:36 AM EDT

One very prominent name was missing among the several high-ranking FIFA officials indicted on corruption and bribery charges last week. That person, of course, was FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who as John Oliver described on the latest "Last Week Tonight," has "left a trail of devastation" under his watch as the organization's president.

"No decision Blatter has overseen is more questionable than the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar, because not only will the conditions be terrible to play in, but the number of migrant workers that have died in Qatar since the cup was announced has been staggering," Oliver said.

Despite the new charges and Blatter's scandal-ridden reputation, he was actually reelected as president for a fifth term on Friday.

"To truly kill a snake, you must cut off its head, or in this case its asshole," Oliver explained. Without Blatter's indictment, the host says no truly significant reforms can be made for the world's favorite sport.

Watch Oliver make a plea to both U.S. officials and FIFA's long list of powerful sponsors to remove Blatter as president, once and for all:

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 2, 2015: Blatter has resigned. Oliver has sent the "one perfect tweet" of this news cycle.

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Country-Folk Artist Eilen Jewell Sings About Love and Dusty Roads

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

Eilen Jewell
Sundown Over Ghost Town
Signature Sounds


A cabaret artist masquerading as a country-folk performer, Idaho's Eilen Jewell sings with an unhurried elegance that evokes late-night intimacies and dusty roads with equal skill. (A Billie Holiday tribute album wouldn't be inappropriate.) Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, Sundown Over Ghost Town feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you've known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home. Paced by guitarist Jerry Miller and steel guitarist Jake Hoffman, Jewell's underrated band gracefully mixes breezy rockers and luminous ballads without straining for effect. Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.

Literally the Only Good FIFA News You’ll Hear This Week

| Fri May 29, 2015 4:18 PM EDT
Alex Morgan, right, hugs her teammates during a Women's World Cup qualifier.

Electronic Arts, the gaming company that makes the popular FIFA video game franchise, is bringing women to the virtual pitch, adding 12 women's national teams to FIFA 16 this September.  

From the Wall Street Journal:

EA announced Thursday that a dozen women's international soccer teams will be included in the coming FIFA 16 game scheduled for release in September. EA didn't say in its announcement why it took so long to mend the gender gap or whether the petition played a role. In an email, EA said it had been considering adding women for years and that it had made the necessary advancements to more accurately represent how the characters run and sprint, for example. The game's motion capturing tracked four members of the U.S. Women's National Team: Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe.

EA's decision came three years after an online petition called for inclusion—and right before this year's Women's World Cup starts next week in Canada. (It also came a day before Sepp Blatter won his fifth term as FIFA president, with the governing body embroiled in the ongoing corruption crisis.)

Last fall, a group of women's soccer stars, including US forward Abby Wambach, filed a gender discrimination lawsuit claim against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association over the organization's decision to play this year's World Cup games on artificial turf, even though the men's games are played on grass. The group later withdrew the suit. And in an interview with Time, star US forward Alex Morgan, who will be featured in the new game, said that Blatter didn't recognize her at the 2012 FIFA Player of the Year event—even though she'd just been named one of the three best women's players in the world.

This Girl's Yearbook Quote Has the Most Amazing Feminist Message

| Fri May 29, 2015 9:14 AM EDT

Before leaving high school, Caitlyn Cannon, a 17-year-old who just graduated from Oak Hills High School in California, gifted her senior class with an amazing yearbook quote that nails feminism and sticks up for LGBT rights—all in just one line:

Her powerful message has since gone viral. Cannon, who describes herself as both "feminist" and "really gay" on Twitter, told the Huffington Post, "I was tired of seeing the same old quotes from popular books and movies and authors, and I wanted to call attention to a problem that women face. I've never really been ashamed to say that I am gay, so the LGBT aspect was simply who I am."

The future is looking so bright.

Watch Sepp Blatter Lash Out Against FIFA's Critics in 2013

| Thu May 28, 2015 9:54 PM EDT

In October 2013, at the Oxford Union, FIFA president Sepp Blatter took aim at critics who viewed soccer's international governing body as "a faceless machine printing money at the expense of the beautiful game." (He also mocked Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo for how much he spends on his hair.) Blatter told the crowd:

There are those who will tell you that football is just a heartless, money-spinning game or just a pointless kick about on the grass. There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist. There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich, where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak. They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat as my terrible sidekicks scour the earth to force countries to host the World Cup and to hand over all of their money. You might laugh. It is strange how fantasy so easily becomes confused with fact. And it feels almost absurd to have to say this. But that is not who we are. Not FIFA. Not me.

(You can watch the whole speech below—It's very long! He talks very slowly!—but the key bits are in the video up top.) 

These words resonate now, as Blatter sets his sights on a fifth term at the head of the organization amid pressure and criticism following a series of corruption-related charges on senior FIFA officials that have roiled the sport.

But remember that "Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich" Blatter was talking about? Well, Swiss photographer Luca Zanier snapped a photo of FIFA executive committee's boardroom in Zurich, and it looks villain-esque. John Oliver even likened it to the war room in Dr. Strangelove.


Here is Blatter's full speech, courtesy of the Oxford Union: