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Mashable is a leading source for news, information & resources for the Connected Generation. Mashable reports on the importance of digital innovation and how it empowers and inspires people around the world. Mashable's 25 million monthly unique visitors and 10 million social media followers have become one of the most engaged online news communities. Founded in 2005, Mashable is headquartered in New York City with an office in San Francisco.
Updated: 19 min 48 sec ago

Gift Card 101: Your 10 biggest questions, answered

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 6:04am

'Tis the season of gift card giving.

These little plastic cards are often seen as the lazy person's go-to gift, but that doesn't stop us from buying themIn the past year, 77% of American consumers have given a gift card, and 90% have received at least one.

See also: 20 Incredible 3D-Printed Gifts

Whether you plan on giving a gift card or end up receiving one this holiday season, you'll probably run into a few etiquette questions, like, "How can I give a gift card without looking impersonal?" or "Is it okay to re-gift gift cards?" Don't worry, you're not the only one wondering what the rules are. Read more...

More about Holidays, Gifts, Features, Home, and Presents

Nanopatch is the vaccine delivery system for people who fear needles

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 5:29am

An Australian company is developing a piece of nanotechnology, which could see the end of the painful vaccination jab.

The next-generation vaccine delivery system, created by Vaxxas, is called the Nanopatch and is the size of an adult thumbnail. It uses thousands of vaccine-coated pins that perforate into the skin

See also: NASA animations show a year in carbon dioxide emissions

"The Nanopatch is simply a much, much better way to deliver vaccine. It has the potential to be more efficient and more effective immunologically, while also being better for vaccine producers, better for health-workers, and better for patients," Vaxxas CEO David Hoey told Mashable. Read more...

More about Australia, Dev Design, Us World, Nanopatch, and Vaccination

Gun sales surge ahead of grand jury's Ferguson decision

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 4:36am

Some suburban St. Louis gun dealers have been doing brisk business, particularly among first-time buyers, as residents await a grand jury's decision on whether to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.

See also: Waiting for the grand jury: The Ferguson case laid out

Metro Shooting Supplies, in an area near the city's main airport, reports selling two to three times more weapons than usual in recent weeks — an average of 30 to 50 guns each day — while the jury prepares to conclude its three-month review of the case that sparked looting and weeks of sometimes-violent protests in August. Read more...

More about Us World, Us, Ferguson, Michael Brown, and Darren Wilson

Marry the Internet with an 18-karat gold #hashtag ring

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 3:55am

If you like social media, you should probably put a hashtag ring on it.

For the small price of $825, Bloomingdale's is now allowing you to do just that. The upscale department store is selling an 18-karat gold hashtag ring made by New York-based designer Khai Khai.

Image: Bloomingdales

See also: Acer's Selfie Hat Takes Wearables to Scary Place

Those anxious to jump on the "trending topic" can pick up the ring at the 59th Street and Lexington Avenue Bloomingdale's, currently the only New York location with available stock.

Don't fret: When you tell your landlord you spent all of your rent money on a wearable hashtag, they will definitely understand. Read more...

More about Fashion, Pics, Weird, Watercooler, and Travel Leisure

Sorry, Travis, but I'm boycotting Uber

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 2:20am

It pains me to have to delete the Uber app; in fact, I've been procrastinating on pulling the trigger all day. I've grown loyal to the service over the last couple of years, and you can see just how pro-Uber I was in this anti-taxi opinion piece from earlier this year.

Like many a user, I've been mesmerized by its efficiency. I've loved watching the swift, real-time approach of my rides on the app's map; I've been thrilled at the seamlessness of the tip-free transaction — so much so that I never even thought of downloading its very similar rival, Lyft, until now.

But delete Uber I shall. Uber has not only shown a callous disregard for press freedom by suggesting it could dig dirt on the private lives of journalists critical of it, it's insulted my intelligence in its response. The company has been coming on like a frat house version of Orwell's Big Brother; that much we knew already Read more...

More about Business, Startups, and Apps Software

London photo exhibit highlights what it means to have a decent toilet

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 2:00am

LONDON — It’s not a topic that’s often discussed when we look at inequality in the world, but a new exhibition that opens this week seeks to highlight the importance of having access to a decent toilet no matter where you live.

The exhibition My Toilet: Global stories from women and girls, which coincides with World Toilet Day on Wednesday, reflects on the dignity afforded by private access to a toilet. It quite literally depicts women with their toilets, which range from large, expensive bathrooms to holes dug in the ground.

See also: 11 Ingenious Solar Projects Impacting the Developing World Read more...

More about Women, Gender, Toilet, Us World, and World

These British beer innovators are driving the craft beer scene forward

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 2:00am

LONDON — It's no secret that craft beer is having a moment in the UK. From Aberdeen's Brewdog to the Craft Beer Co. in Brighton, the number of people brewing, selling, buying and supping interesting brews is growing every week.

Majestic have just reported a 165% increase in sales year-on-year as consumers run screaming from the mass-produced gassy lagers to something more interesting.

See also: The Delicious Health Benefits of Beer

“Craft beers bridge the gap between wine and beer," their chief executive Steve Lewis told the Evening Standard this week. "People want something special and more interesting so we are moving away from sales of mass-produced beers,” he added. Read more...

More about Uk, Beer, London, World, and Lifestyle

Bill Cosby Netflix special nixed after Janice Dickinson accusations

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 1:53am

Netflix said it is "postponing" the release of its Bill Cosby stand-up special on Tuesday night, just hours after Entertainment Tonight aired its interview with model and TV host Janice Dickinson, who became the latest woman to publicly accuse Cosby of sexual assault.

Dickinson said Cosby attacked her 32 years ago in California after meeting him for dinner. The streaming network promptly reversed course, days after affirming it would air "Bill Cosby 77" Nov. 27 as planned.

SEE ALSO: Bill Cosby's lawyer issues statement on rape allegations

That leaves NBC's sitcom — which the network will have to pay a contractual ransom to jettison — alone in the hotseat as Cosby's only major pending project. Cosby already ditched appearances on Queen Latifah and David Letterman, and only grimly shook his head when asked about the ever-expanding allegations during an interview with NPR. Read more...

More about Netflix, Television, Bill Cosby, Media, and Entertainment

Chris Hemsworth named People's Sexiest Man Alive

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 1:30am

Australians have completed their domination of Hollywood: Chris Hemsworth has been named Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine.

The 31-year-old Thor actor takes the crown from the 2013 Sexiest Man Adam Levine — with many lounge chair critics no doubt happy about that news.

See also: Unlimited 'Interstellar' ticket offer is just brilliant marketing

Chris Hemsworth in 2005.

Image: Getty Images

In 2004, the bright-eyed Hemsworth got his start on Australian soap, Home and Away. By 2009, he was headed for the bright lights of Hollywood to try and make it big. With his rugged good looks and down-to-earth attitude, the boy from Melbourne became a superstar Read more...

More about People, Australia, Sexiest Man Alive, Thor, and Entertainment

Snowstorm traps women's basketball team in bus for 26 hours

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:43am
Update - 9:20 a.m. ET

Around 4 a.m. ET, the team was finally rescued after 26 hours on board the bus. By 5:45 a.m. the team was headed back to campus.

On our way back to campus now! pic.twitter.com/urg4bYAhiD

— NiagaraWBB (@NiagaraWBB) November 19, 2014

Original story:

The Niagara University women's basketball team has been trapped for more than 24 hours on a highway as a heavy snowstorm pummels New York state

The team isn't alone. More than 100 vehicles have been stranded along a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York, due to white-out conditions.

As the hours tick by, team members gather in prayer Read more...

More about Us World and Us

Artist plans to wear Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for 28 days straight

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:26am

A U.K-based artist plans to spend a month in a room wearing virtual reality headset Oculus Rift.

In those 28 days, Mark Farid will have a few handlers and remain in a confined setting that includes only a bed and bathroom area. His living space will be on display in London to an audience, like an art gallery. He will never remove the headset for the duration of the exhibition

See also: 5 Roadblocks to Virtual Reality Becoming Mainstream

"I'll wear it constantly," Farid told Mashable. "I'll shower with it on. I'll go to the toilet. Eat."

This concept might seem claustrophobic, but the theory is that he won't feel like he's there. The headset will be simulating a reality for Farid, and he thinks that, in time, it will appear authentic to him and learn habits (like the times he eats or showers) from the virtual world. It's an experiment to see if our identities are part of who we are or if they're something that is learned. Read more...

More about Virtual Reality, Kickstarter, Tech, Gadgets, and Lifestyle

Two singers gone, one saved by tweets: 'The Voice' narrows to top ten

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:03am

This week on The Voice begins and we're still reeling from the loss of great singers like Mia Pfirrman and Elyjuh Rene. All we can hope is that the singers whom the coaches saved last week will live up to expectations

Since we're one week into live eliminations, we are introduced to the all-powerful instant save. Now, the coaches are there simply to coach. They can voice their opinions, but they no longer can vote on anything. America holds all the power.

Let's look at how each team performed this week — who stood out, who flubbed and who went home

Team Pharrell

Best performer: Sugar Joans
Thank goodness for you, Sugar Joans. When Pharrell chose to save you over Elyjuh, we were unsure for a bit. That choice was a tough one. But after this week's performance, we're sure he made the right decision. Sugar killed it onstage this week with "Take Me to the River" by Al Green. Not only is Sugar immensely talented, but she's humble offstage and extremely confident onstage. Regardless of whether Sugar hits all the right notes, her voice is so spectacular that it frankly doesn't matter Read more...

More about Reality Tv, The Voice, Entertainment, Music, and Tv

8 reasons why you should leave work on time today

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:52pm
It's Go Home On Time day

If you aren't going to do it today, you never will. The initiative by The Australia Institute, a local think tank, is in its sixth year and encourages the 11.6 million Australian workers to think about the extra time they put in for The Man

How will you manage such a highly problematic task? The Institute have released some pointers to make it easier and even implement it regularly.

• Decide a time you will go home before you head off to work.
• Identify early any tasks that might prevent you from going home on time and speak with a manager about expectations.
• Take a lunch break to clear the head as it can boost productivity.
• Plan activities for after work, such as meeting a friend at the gym or taking the kids to the park.
• Make a commitment to go home on time once a week or once a month, to make it part of a routine. Read more...

More about Us World, Work Play, and Australia

Frida, a chihuahua-mix, became the mayor of San Francisco for a day

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:27pm

The city of San Francisco has gone to the dogs.

A chihuahua-mix named Frida rose to power as mayor of San Francisco on Tuesday with a platform calling for more protection of animal rights and mandatory belly rubs. Her one-day term was made possible by a $5,000 bid from her owner, Dean Clark, at a gala fundraiser for the city's Animal Care and Control Department.

See also: Baby and dog battle for most adorable jumper

The four-legged city official spent her mayorship touring City Hall and other city landmarks before attending a Board of Supervisors meeting at 2 p.m. local time, where her human counterpart, Mayor Ed Lee, paid respects to her in his opening remarks and Supervisor Scott Wiener read her a commendation for service. She rounded out her term with a press conference on the steps of City Hall where she was presented with a retirement package consisting of play toys, a doggy bed and a gift basket. Read more...

More about Cute Animals, Watercooler, Chihuahua, San Francisco Mayor, and Frida

Nielsen to hack Netflix, other streaming viewership with audio recognition

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:46pm

Nielsen will begin tracking viewership of streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon Prime beginning in December, dragging the secretive companies' ratings out into the open by using its home-based meters to listen in on TV audio, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Netflix and its streaming rivals have never self-reported viewership, and despite reaching nearly half of American homes this year, were never tracked by Nielsen. Well, Nielsen figured it out — and without their consent.

SEE ALSO: SEE ALSO: Netflix announces it is launching in Australia next year

Nielsen, which still pulls much of its data from boxes connected to the TVs of several thousand "Nielsen families" across the nation, will use Shazam-like audio recognition via those boxes to track streams, the WSJ reported — at least those that come through television sets. It seems views on mobile devices will remain in the abstract for now, but the news still foretells a powerful shift in the battle for ad revenue between over-the-top and traditional cable and broadcasting companies. Read more...

More about Amazon, Netflix, Streaming, Tv, and Hulu

'Dunkslaps' art series mashes NBA stars with pop culture iconography

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:17pm

Not that Lebron James needed an ego boost...

At times NBA players seem like they are one cape short of being superheroes. They’re fast, they jump crazy heights and with the exception of Brian Scalabrine, most of them are built like monster trucks. In a world full of humans, NBA stars aesthetically look like modern-day titans.

Alberto Berroa Jr., or as the internet knows him, Artoflaff, took this idea of NBA stars having near mythical physical attributes and ran with it. His art series, titled Dunkslaps, is an NBA/Graffiti mashup that pairs NBA stars with classic pop culture iconography. The series was first posted online back in August and has been making waves in the Reddit art community since Read more...

More about Nba, Watercooler, and Pics

White men can't what? Here's the best dunker you've never heard of

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 8:53pm

Despite what a certain classic flick from 1992 might lead you to believe, white men can jump. Or at least, an otherwise unknown Canadian named Jordan Kilganon can

Take the completely ridiculous dunk that begins the video above, for example. It's apparently called "the Scorpion" and a new invention, according to viral basketball hit-maker Hoopmixtape, which uploaded the clip to YouTube. We've certainly never seen a dunk like this before and are still picking our jaws up off the floor

See also: A YouTube Legend Battles for His Basketball Future

We've got to get this guy into the NBA dunk contest ASAP. But the 6-foot-1 Kilganon's dunking expertise goes well beyond the so-called Scorpion. Check this one out that Hoopmixtape debuted in February — again, it's claimed to be a first and we certainly can't refute that assertion Read more...

More about Nba, Entertainment, and Sports

Uber: We will only access your data for 'legitimate business purposes'

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 8:15pm

Yes, Uber employees can access your data, but don't worry, it's only for "legitimate business purposes."

In an apparent attempt to assuage privacy concerns following top executive Emil Michael's suggestion that the company could look into the personal lives of reporters who are critical of it, the company posted an update to its privacy policy Tuesday. In it, Uber assures users their data can only be obtained for a "legitimate" purpose.

See also: Uber CEO apologizes for top exec's revenge plan, doesn't fire him

The update, posted on Uber's blog, doesn't appear to be materially different than terms outlined in previous privacy policies, though it is more explicit about how or when rider and driver data may be used. Read more...

More about Business, Tech, Uber, and Startups

Netflix announces it is launching in Australia next year

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:22pm

After months of speculation and of Australians feeling smug sneaking in the back way, U.S. subscription movie and television service Netflix has finally announced it will be coming Down Under in March 2015.

The service will also be available in New Zealand.

See also: 15 Questions We Still Have About 'Friends' 20 Years Later

In a statement emailed to Mashable, Netflix said it will launch with the Netflix-created new series Marco Polo and adult animated series BoJack Horseman as well as the DreamWorks animation series All Hail King Julien.

The subscription service will be available on all computers, devices and smart TVs and will include in its ANZ collection family thriller Bloodline, Marvel's Daredevil, the thriller series Sense8 from the creators of the Matrix and Grace and Frankie, from the creators of Friends.

Pricing for Netflix has not yet been announced. Netflix's director of corporate communications and technology, Cliff Edwards, told Mashable details would be released in the near future on "content, technical capabilities and pricing," refusing to be drawn on the likelihood of Aussies getting access to Orange is the New Black Read more...

More about Netflix, Australia, Tv, Us World, and Foxtel

Parrot’s Bebop drone is a speed demon

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 7:13pm

Parrot’s latest drone the Bebop has an, at best, misleading name. There’s nothing boppy about this pro-level drone masquerading in a kid-friendly name (and colors).

Unveiled on Tuesday in New York City, the Bebop drone is smaller, lighter and infinitely more powerful than Parrot’s AR.Drone 2.0 It does have at least one thing in common with the previous drone. Both use ad-hoc Wi-Fi connections to talk to a tablet-based control app

See also: The 19 best drone photos of 2014

Beyond that, though, Bebop is a very different animal. It's $499 ($200 more than the AR.Drone). The body only marginally resembles AR.Drone. It still has four powerful rotors, which can be partially covered by a pair of foam hulls. Its curved back is made up of, in part, a slightly larger battery, which lasts slightly less time than the AR.Drone’s. According to Parrot, you get about 11 minutes flight time per charge. Read more...

More about Parrot, Hands On, Tech, Gadgets, and Mobile