• World

    News From Around the World
  • Tech

    The Latest in the Tech Sphere
  • Arts

    Fresh and Original Artforms
  • 1984

    Who Has Their Eyes On Us?
  • Science

    Breakthroughs on the Frontier of Human Knowledge
  • Sex

    The Relationships Between Men, Women, and All Stops Inbetween
  • Biz

    How Markets Move, and How They Move You
  • Español

    News With a Spanish Flavour

5 Key Words of Advice from the World’s Most Famous Customer Service Representative #biz

Dos Equis may lay claim to The Most Interesting Man in the World, but it’s another brand that boasts the world’s most interesting and famous customer service representative: Virgin Group Founder, Richard Branson.

While the billionaire son of a barrister and flight attendant could easily take a break from the business spotlight, he chooses to continually shine it toward what he believes is a key differentiator for all brands including his own, and that’s customer service. In Forbes, Entrepreneur magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and on his own blog and Twitter (when Richard Branson tweets, it’s him, not an assistant or a PR firm), Branson consistently credits customer service as a key to his companies’ and other companies’ success. And if Sir Richard Branson is willing to dress up as a female flight attendant and serve drinks in front of the cameras (even if it was the result a bet), you better believe he is willing to do whatever it takes to promote his brand’s service.

Here are five key words of advice for any customer-focused organization from The World’s Most Famous Customer Service Representative:

Read more: 5 Key Words of Advice from the World’s Most Famous Customer Service Representative #biz

Thorium Powered Car Could Run 100 Years On Just 8 Grams of Fuel #energy

It’s become increasingly clear that our modern day propulsion systems aren’t really needed anymore. New technologies are waiting to be unleashed, technologies that are much more efficient and harmonious with the planet. When it comes to efficiency, thorium seems to be one at the top of the list.

As far as fuelling a car goes, it could run for 100 years on just 8 grams of fuel. A company called Laser Power Systems has been working on creating an emissions free turbine/electric generator powered by nuclear thorium lasers. Charles Stevens, CEO and chairman of the Connecticut-based company claims that one gram of thorium yields the energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline. The energy is harnessed by heating the thorium with an external source, which then becomes so dense that its molecules emit heat.

Read more: Thorium Powered Car Could Run 100 Years On Just 8 Grams of Fuel #energy

Watch This Video & You’ll Never Eat McDonald’s French Fries Again

Michael Pollan is an author, activist, journalist and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He mainly focuses on the industrial food chain with regards to his research. He emphasizes how cooking is one of the simplest and most important steps people can take to improve their family’s health, build communities, help fix our broken food system and perhaps most importantly, break our growing dependence on corporations. Michael Pollan is a food activist and you can find out more about him and his work by clicking here.

Read more: Watch This Video & You’ll Never Eat McDonald’s French Fries Again

Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine #jews

World leaders and Jewish groups condemned a leaflet handed out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in which Jews were told to "register" with the pro-Russian militants who have taken over a government office in an attempt to make Ukraine part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website, and Ukraine's Donbass news agency.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the language of the leaflets "is beyond unacceptable" and condemned whomever is responsible.

"In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable — it's grotesque," he said. "And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities — from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of — there is no place for that."

Read more: Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine #jews

EBOLA is back

As of April 14th the virus had infected 168 people in Guinea, in west Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). At least 108 have died. In neighbouring Liberia, six are known to have had the disease, with more cases suspected. Nearly 400 remain under observation. Airports are taking travellers' temperatures and Senegal's border with Guinea was closed. With a mortality rate of up to 90%, ebola is terrifying. Is it possible to contain an outbreak?

Humans have no immunity against the disease, which is thought to be native to bats. The virus is transferred in bodily fluids, most commonly blood. Once inside a host it incubates for between two days and three weeks before causing flu-like symptoms. With little to stop it, ebola attacks the whole body at once, triggering a cascade of immune responses that lead to haemorrhage, organ failure and often death. The virus was discovered in 1976 when two strains hit Sudan and what was then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), infecting a total of 602 people and killing 431. The worst single outbreak hit Uganda in 2000, infecting more than 400 people, half of whom died. But until now the virus had never been seen as far west as Guinea or Liberia. Health-workers in Guinea did not recognize the disease at first. 

Read more: EBOLA is back

Bill Clinton on Passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez #rip

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. From the time I read One Hundred Years of Solitude more than 40 years ago, I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty.

He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical. I was honored to be his friend and to know his great heart and brilliant mind for more than 20 years.

Read more: Bill Clinton on Passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez #rip

Entering The Friendship Zone #lawofattraction

Years ago researchers conducted a study in which they followed the friendships in a single two-story apartment building. People tended to be friends with the neighbors on their respective floors, although those on the ground floor near the mailboxes and the stairway had friends on both floors. Friendship was least likely between someone on the first floor and someone on the second. As the study suggests, friends are often those who cross paths with regularity; our friends tend to be coworkers, classmates, and people we run into at the gym.

It's no surprise that bonds form between those who interact. Yet the process is more complex: Why do we wind up chatting with one person in our yoga class and not another? The answer might seem self-evident—our friend-in-the-making likes to garden, as do we, or shares our passion for NASCAR or Tex-Mex cooking. She laughs at our jokes, and we laugh at hers. In short, we have things in common.

But there's more: Self-disclosure characterizes the moment when a pair leaves the realm of buddyhood for the rarefied zone of true friendship. "Can I talk to you for a minute?" may well be the very words you say to someone who is about to become a friend.

Read more: Entering The Friendship Zone #lawofattraction

Dr. Gabor Mate: Who We Are When We Are Not Addicted #addictions

Dr. Gabor Maté is a distinguished figure in the addiction field, the author of "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts." Maté is revered for his humane medical work with inner-city drug addicts in Vancouver, centering on the Insite injection center (where users are given works to inject their own drugs) and Portland Hotel (Community Health) Society, which provides housing and lives, really, for the most downtrodden Vancouverites. Thank God there is such a service; bless Maté for his work there. (Disclosure: I visited and conducted workshops at Insite and PHS in January.)

Maté maintains a human communion with his patients. He does so by describing his own maladies -- his ADD and shopping addiction -- which he analogizes to severe drug addictions. Fair enough. It IS important to recognize our common humanity (although some think that as a successful middle-class physician Maté is stretching this connection). 

Read more: Dr. Gabor Mate: Who We Are When We Are Not Addicted #addictions

Genetically Modified Bulls: Science Breakthrough, or Horror Show?

Modern science has given us another disturbing gift in the form of “selected breeding,” the process which turned this Belgian Blue bull into a hulking mass of muscle.

But it’s not so much GMO a story about GMO feed being used to nourish these animals; they are modifying the genetics externally to the point of mutation just to satisfy our consumer needs for “high quality” beef.

“Their uninhibited muscle growth presents a lot of health hazards, calves can develop enlarged tongues and stiff legs which make it difficult for them to eat and move, leading to an early and painful death.”

Read more: Genetically Modified Bulls: Science Breakthrough, or Horror Show?

A teenager became so obsessed with taking the perfect selfie he tried to kill himself when he failed to do it. #selfie

Danny Bowman, 19, spent 10 HOURS a day taking up to 200 snaps of himself on his iPhone.

He dropped out of school, didn’t leave his house in six months, lost two stone trying to make himself look better for the camera and became aggressive with his parents when they tried to stop him.

Finally, in a drastic attempt to escape his obsession, Danny took an overdose – but was saved by his mum Penny.

Now the lad, believed to be Britain’s first selfie addict, is battling back towards a normal life after intensive hospital therapy to treat his technology addiction, OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder – an excessive anxiety about personal appearance.

Danny says: “I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realised I couldn’t I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life.”

But Danny is not some bizarre one-off case in a world where smartphone and social media obsession is spiralling upwards. The top psychiatrist at the clinic where Danny was treated revealed ­addiction to taking selfies is becoming so widespread it is now is a recognised mental illness.

“Danny’s case is particularly extreme,” said Dr David Veal who’s clinic has weaned the teen off his iPhone. “But this is a serious problem. It’s not a vanity issue. It’s a mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”

Read more: A teenager became so obsessed with taking the perfect selfie he tried to kill himself when he...

Bill Clinton Endorses Manny Pacquiao for Philippine President

Las Vegas, Nevada -
Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao had an unexpected visitor this week during his training session for his upcoming rematch with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas. The visitor? Former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton has never made secret his admiration for the Filipino boxer who also happens to be a member of the Philippine House of Representatives. Pacquiao is the incumbent elected representative of his hometown of Sarangani.

During the 30-minute visit, Clinton and Pacquiao discussed a wide range of issues, from the future of the boxing sport to the Clinton Global Initiative to Philippine politics.

At the end of the private meeting, Clinton announced that he was betting his dollar on Pacquiao and predicted that the Filipino boxer will regain the title he lost by a controversial judges’ decision to Bradley. The Pacquiao-Bradley2 match will take place April 12 at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas.

Clinton also made another surprising announcement: that he was endorsing Pacquiao’s candidacy for the 2016 Philippine presidential elections.

Read more: Bill Clinton Endorses Manny Pacquiao for Philippine President

American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially confirmed taking selfies is a mental disorder #selfie

Chicago, Illinois - The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially confirmed what many people thought all along: taking ‘selfies’ is a mental disorder.

The APA made this classification during its annual board of directors meeting in Chicago. The disorder is called selfitis, and is defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy.

Read more: American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially confirmed taking selfies is a mental...