Before You Upgrade Your iPhone, Watch This Video

Good News – The Huffington Post
Before You Upgrade Your iPhone, Watch This Video
Before you take the plunge of upgrading your iPhone to the new 5S or 5C released by Apple this month, you should see how the new phones stack up against the older models. While Apple’s new top-line phone certainly is faster, is that little bit of extra speed worth the few hundred dollars that an upgrade would cost?

YouTube user EverythingApplePro conducted a battery of tests on all seven generations of iPhone. Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 5S came out on top in most of them — it turned on faster and uploaded websites nearly instantaneously. (Surprisingly, the 3GS, 3G and 2G all shut down more quickly than the newer models.) Apple boasts that the iPhone 5S is the first 64-bit smartphone in the world, making its performance comparable to that of a desktop computer.

While the video is a nice illustration of Moore’s Law and the advances that Apple and other smartphone makers have made in the past half decade, you might be surprised to find that the speed differences between the last two iterations of the iPhone are not as noticeable as you might have thought. As the video shows, last year’s iPhone 5 clocked in start-up and web-browsing times just barely under those for the 5S.

“I learned that the amount of processing power is greater, of course, as the generation goes on,” the video maker explains. “But it’s marginally less noticeable the higher you go. So if you have a 5, I wouldn’t really recommend upgrading to a 5S just based on the fact that you want an extra little bit of power.”

For some potential buyers, those extra few milliseconds make all the difference in the world, so an upgrade is worth it. Others will be able to tolerate slightly slower load times — at least until next year’s model comes out. But one thing is true for everyone: Any potential iPhone buyer should watch this video and learn exactly how much extra speed they would get from a 5S and 5C before making a purchase.


The War on Blight
There may not be bombs, but nevertheless, a full blown war wages on everyday in our city’s public spaces. Graffiti, garbage, defecation, urine and general apathy are the weapons of the invading enemy. For decades, our only methods of defense have been chain link fences, barbed wire, warning signs, security gates and surveillance cameras. The battle has resulted in a city of fortresses. Though grim, the situation is something most of us have simply grown accustomed to. We travel through the war zones near freeway exits and on the outskirts of “up-and-coming areas” in our vehicular bubbles, ignoring all the ugliness we see out the corners of our eyes.

Now for the good news! I’m here to report on a “new” arsenal, providing great hope for the future of our fallen battlefields. Plants, paint, brooms, hoses and good old fashioned elbow grease are proving extremely effective weapons in what was previously one of the most disgusting and terrifying alleyways in all of Los Angeles. In fact, as I write this, I’m flipping through before photos and finding myself in utter disbelief of how drastically the space has changed since I became involved in it’s revitalization a little over two years ago.





So, how exactly does a space like this go from blighted to beautiful? Well, based on my experiences here in EaCa Alley (the alley East of Cahuenga between Selma and Hollywood) the answer is pure blood, sweat and tears with a heavy helping of passion and a side of blind optimism. The original revitalization project was initiated by a relatively small group of people who saw an opportunity to transform Hollywood’s many blighted alleyways into a series of “pedestrian promenades.” This coalition of landlords and city representatives took it upon themselves to transform EaCa Alley into an action-packed urban corridor filled with outdoor dining, nightlife and special events. After extensive drainage and sewage repairs, thousands of new permeable pavers, consolidation of dumpsters to nearby parking lots and some creative permitting, the “pedestrian friendly” EaCa Alley we know today was born.

Unfortunately, pretty pavement and permits just weren’t enough to draw people into the alley, let alone make them care about it and want to see the model replicated in other parts of the city. A lack of foot traffic and community interest in the newly developed space meant EaCa Alley was in great jeopardy of quickly falling back into disrepair. When it came down to it, there was really no reason for anyone to walk down the alley. Luckily, a local company by the name of Urban Nature (which I happen to own) stepped in to save the day by keeping the beautification process moving in the right direction. As a fabricator of customizable luxury planters (or “plant pots,” even though I cringe at this terminology) Urban Nature needed a way to showcase its products for all the world to see. Trade shows, advertising and paying astronomical rent for a showroom all just felt like flushing money down the toilet. So, I made the radical decision to risk it all by spending our entire year’s marketing budget on making EaCa Alley a permanent showcase for the product line. Translation: planters mounted to walls, ledges, ceilings and other places that no sane person would ever think to grow plants.

I expected this bold move would generate press. I also expected to capture pretty photos to put on our new website. And, of course, I hope to inspire people to use our planters in their own projects. However, what I didn’t anticipate was that my spending on the alley would become an addiction. Yes, I literally could not stop myself from dumping more and more money into the alley without any rational return on my investment. My artistic spirit was overshadowing my business savvy, leading me to question whether my decision to put all eggs in this basket was a good one. Then one day, I caught myself in an argument with a tenant making use of the alley. The tenant had previously agreed to match our spending dollar-for-dollar to create something really amazing in their establishment’s section of EaCa Alley. After going way over budget on their interior build out, this particular establishment couldn’t or wouldn’t pay their bill. As the words “This isn’t a charity.. I’m trying to run a business here,” came out of my mouth, a light bulb went on in my head. Yes, this absolutely was a very worthy charitable cause in and of itself, and it should probably be run as such.

Fast forward to September 2013 and voila! We’ve made our charity status official by receiving our fiscal sponsorship through a national arts organization called Fractured Atlas. This allows us to enjoy many of the benefits of an IRS-approved, nonprofit organization. In short, we’re now able to issue tax write-offs for donations, apply for grants and more! As I continue to battle the blight that’s overcome our public spaces, I’m filled with hope and optimism at the community’s enthusiastic response to the work we’ve accomplished thus far. I promise to keep you posted as we continue to improve EaCa Alley and start to branch out into other areas of the city in great need of our help. Our goal is to create the world’s first planter-based botanical garden as a way to make this concrete jungle we call home a more beautiful and livable place for everyone. Anyone else out there ready to join our army?

ScienceDaily: Dieting and Weight Control News
Obesity influences school success
A study shows that children who are extremely overweight achieve lower math grades and attend German upper secondary school less frequently than their peers. For the first time, it has been proven that obesity, regardless of the student’s social background, influences school performance. Previously, it was only known that people with lower education had a tendency to suffer from weight issues.

Green – The Huffington Post
What’s Open And Closed In Washington, D.C. During A Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON — If the federal government shuts down at midnight, it’s not just federal workers who will feel the effects. Tourists visiting Washington, D.C. will also have to cope with closed doors at many major museums and monuments.

The cutest casualty may be the Smithsonian National Zoo’s panda cam, which stars its five-week-old female cub; the zoo confirmed on Twitter that all of its cams “have not been deemed essential.”

What is considered essential during a shutdown? The New York Times explains:

The Hope Diamond, all 45.5 carats of it, will remain securely guarded here at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The Japanese giant salamanders of the National Zoo need not worry if the HVAC systems keeping their habitat just right break down — a maintenance crew will be on call.

In a blog for HuffPost DC, tour guide Canden Schwantes focuses on the bright side of a shutdown: “Think of this as a way to see the lesser known side of D.C. and sites that are often, sadly, skipped over. Some of the best places in D.C. are the smaller, historic house museums.”

Here’s a quick look at what’s closed in Washington during a shutdown — and directly below, a full slate of museums, venues and historic sites keeping their doors open.

Here’s what’s open:

Canada’s Medical Marijuana System Overhaul Starts Tuesday
Canada is kicking off a $1.3 billion medical marijuana initiative on Tuesday that it hopes will serve nearly half a million residents by 2024, The Canadian Press reported Sunday.

The new system, known as the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, will “provide access to quality-controlled marihuana for medical purposes, produced under secure and sanitary conditions, to those Canadians who need it,” said the government’s health agency, Health Canada, which announced the plans in June.

It will be a huge change for medicinal weed in Canada.

Until now, medical pot has been produced only by individual growers, who are not allowed to supply more than two people each. Starting this April, those small-time growers will have their licenses nullified, and large, privately owned weed farms (including a former Hershey factory in Ontario) will replace them.

Under the new regulations, Canadian residents can have a doctor fill out and sign what looks like a pretty simple form, after which they can receive pot to treat medical conditions for a one-year period.

Once the system is up and running, the price of the ganja could fall to as low as $3 per gram, said senior Health Canada official Sophie Galarneau, according to The Canadian Press. But the weed will start at $7.60 a gram, the news agency notes, which is more expensive than the $5 per gram it currently sells for.

Advanced technology will likely provide prospective pot buyers with several options under the new system. Saskatoon-based Prairie Plant Systems, which won the first contracts to mass produce medical marijuana in Canada, will reportedly grow weed with three different levels of THC so customers can choose what strength they prefer, depending on their ailment. (Prairie Plant also sold medicinal weed under Canada’s old system.)

But the new regulations have their critics. The Vancouver-based pro-legalization magazine Cannabis Culture has lambasted the government for poor marketing on its new program and has called into question the quality and safety of Prairie Plant’s marijuana.

A Culture of Impunity — for Whom?
Conversations at the Clinton Global Initiative tend towards the congratulatory — the set piece events around which CGI revolves are the announcement of a major new partnership “commitment” between a philanthropy or business and a development charity, accompanied by progress reports on, typically, the most successful partnerships from previous years. Fireworks are rare.

So former President Clinton was visibly startled at this year’s opening plenary. Clinton had asked African mobile phone mogul Mo Ibrahim, sitting next to Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, “What can technology companies do for Africa?” Ibrahim fired back, “Well, pay their taxes for a start.” Global anti-poverty activist Bono then piled on, calling out CGI sponsors Exxon and Chevron to use their influence to reverse the campaign by the American Petroleum Institute (which they effectively control) against the foreign investment transparency rules embedded in Dodd-Frank. These rules required U.S. resource extraction companies to disclose the terms of their energy, timber or mining concessions overseas, shining a spotlight on kleptocrats who siphon off huge parts of the payments. Bono argued that until API intervened, the U.S. was playing a major positive role in combating corruption in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but that the API lawsuit had undone enormously beneficial rules. “We know corruption is killing more kids than TB, AIDS, and malaria put together. There is a vaccine and it’s called transparency,” said Bono.

Ibrahim agreed, saying, “Look, there are countries in Africa where the Finance Minister doesn’t know how much money the oil companies are paying to drill. We all know what’s that’s about and who is getting the money.”

Clinton, with a gentle assist from IMF President Christine Lagarde, tried to deflect the spotlight from its focus on the corporate sector, arguing that cooperative action by corporations and governments was needed, but as Bono pointed out, when the US Congress did its bit with Dodd-Frank, big oil simply went to court to undo it.

This wasn’t the only opportunity last week to watch how what human rights activists call “the culture of impunity,” typically associated with vicious dictators like Liberia’s Charles Taylor, is extended globally, often with virtually no debate, to the world’s richest corporations. The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives decided that, in addition to holding the good faith and credit of the US government hostage to the repeal of Obamacare, they would also hand out a fistful of get out of jail free cards. The House bill suspends clean water standards for the coal companies and utilities that have dumped coal ash along America’s rivers, safety rules for the Canadian sponsors of the Keystone XCEL pipeline, and environmental reviews for oil and gas companies operating on public lands. All of these wealthy players would, in the Republican play-book, be exempted from environmental regulation and enforcement — a proposal given an ironic twist by the reality that if the federal government does shut down, the national parks will be closed to visitors, but oil and gas extraction will continue — there just won’t be as much oversight to make sure it is done properly.

There is an underlying cultural lunacy to this kind of special favoritism: We cheerfully allow domineering corporations, which are not in fact living human beings, the kind of bailout that outrages us when we reward flesh-and-blood tyrants with the same privilege — impunity for the damages they cause to others.

Such lunacy, Paul Krugman argued intriguingly on Saturday, is intrinsically associated with fantastic inequality. The outsized financial rewards of our richest plutocrats, he suggests, has made them sociopaths, creating a sense that they are entitled not only to riches but to popular adulation and a status above the law. What they really have come to expect, he maintains, is not free markets, but the aristocratic privileges of the ancient regime. Krugman doesn’t connect this attitude of plutocratic narcissism to the corporate structures which generate the inequality — but if you look at the self-confidence with which companies from Apple to Exxon duck their taxes, pay-off government leaders, and insist on being allowed to destroy public property and common resources without consequence, the two phenomena resonate eerily.

Real live kleptocrats, sometimes, don’t get away scot free. This week Charles Taylor’s 50-year sentence for human rights abuses was confirmed by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which rejected his defense that he didn’t personally direct the atrocities — the same defense corporate CEOs normally use.

No multinational corporation has ever faced anything like that level of accountability — even though it was timber and diamond companies that funded Taylor’s rule of terror while looting both Liberia and Sierra Leone. It took UN sanctions against the illegal timber trade in Liberia to eventually bring him to justice. Taylor went to jail for life. Timber and mining companies just had to find another country to rape.

So far corporate criminality lacks a serious forum holding its masterminds accountable. Even simple transparency or modest regulations are too much for API and the oil industry. And the idea of paying taxes where he made his money was more that Steve Jobs could accept — after all, other companies were ducking, so it became his duty to do so. In that simple, but utterly everyday logic, the sociopathy of today’s corporate culture comes through.

A veteran leader in the environmental movement, Carl Pope spent the last 18 years of his career at the Sierra Club as CEO and chairman. He’s now the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, looking for the underlying economics that link sustainability and economic development. Mr. Pope is co-author — along with Paul Rauber —of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress, which the New York Review of Books called “a splendidly fierce book.”

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
HIV Inmate Segregation To End In Alabama
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A federal judge has approved a settlement to end the segregation of HIV-positive inmates in Alabama prisons.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued an opinion Monday saying the agreement isn’t perfect but can take effect. Female inmates with HIV already are living with other prisoners at the state’s lone women’s prison, and male inmates will be integrated into the general prison population next year.

Thompson sided with prisoners in December and ordered the Department of Corrections to quit making HIV-positive inmates live in housing areas away from other prisoners. Thompson held two hearings last week on the resulting settlement.

The American Civil Liberties Union represents inmates who sued to end the practice. Thompson approved $1.3 million in legal fees and expenses that will have to be paid by the state.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
26 Songs To Cheer You Up This Instant
Crummy day? Tune in.

Music is a powerful tool: Studies have shown a good beat can ease anxiety, lower stress and even boost heart health.

Over on reddit, users are sharing their go-to songs for cheering up. Below, find a compilation of our favorites, then click here to get some more ideas.

What songs help your grey cloud dissipate? Tell us in the comments below.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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