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Ice Crushes Car in Winsted

Posted by Rattana_S On April - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(NBC Connecticut) A sheet of ice smashed Amanda Hubbard’s car. As upset as she is, the Winsted, Conn. woman said she’s grateful because it could have been much worse.

On Wednesday morning, a huge sheet of ice came off the roof of the building that houses her apartment and landed right on the car she just finished paying off.

Hubbard heard the ice sliding from her roof. By the time she ran to her window, the damage was done — the roof was crushed. The hood is badly dented, and the ice is still there.

“I kinda freaked out a little bit,” she said. “I won’t lie.”

She’s only had the title since last week.

As Hubbard meets with insurance agents, she said she’s grateful because children live in her building and no one was hurt.

“This could have been my child. This could have been my handicapped sister. This could have been the two children that are upstairs,” she said.

She’s also grateful that no one was in the car when the ice came crashing down.

Hubbard said she reached out to NBC Connecticut in the hopes that what happened to her does not happen to someone else.

By sharing her story, she hopes that landlords and homeowners will take precautions before it’s too late.

Hubbard is by no means the only person something like this has happened to. There have been several cases of falling ice around the country.

Before the Super Bowl in 2011, a man was badly injured when ice and snow fell from the roof of Cowboys Stadium in Texas.

Just last month, ice fell from a skyscraper in lower Manhattan, causing authorities to shut down a two-mile area.

In December, also in Texas, heavy sheets of ice fell from roofs and smashed vehicles.

(CNN) — Gmail doesn’t cost any money to use, but it’s not free.

Google’s popular online e-mail service, which turns 10 Tuesday, may not charge for its Gmail accounts. But the company is still collecting payment in the form of massive amounts of personal information about the people who use it.

With an estimated 500-plus million users, Gmail has grown to dominate the Web-mail world. It has also repeatedly found itself in hot water over privacy. Gmail is facing multiple privacy lawsuits in the United States and Europe, some accusing the company of illegal wiretapping for scanning the content of e-mails.

Google reported $16.86 billion in revenues for the last quarter of 2013 alone. One way it makes money from Gmail is by automatically scanning and indexing messages and using the data it mines to show relevant ads to its users.

Users in the U.S.Users in the U.S.

“The basic premise of Gmail is, we’ll give you a robust e-mail service and in exchange we want to display ads alongside our e-mail and we’re scanning your e-mail to decide what ads are most relevant,” said Eric Goldman, a professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Scanning and ads

Gmail looks for keywords that identify topics of discussion based on things such as frequency and context, then matches the e-mail up with related ads. A conversation thread about meeting up at a spinning class, for example, might trigger an ad for a weight-loss product.

Data gathered through e-mail scanning can also be used to create user profiles for future ad targeting.

What many consumers don’t consider is that companies such as Google can create a comprehensive profile of each user based on information from different products such as search, maps, e-mail and Google+, its social network.

“Nothing in life is free, and as a result it is important for people to understand what value they bring to a free service of any kind,” saidBehnam Dayanim, a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings LLP in Washington.

When people send and receive messages using a free e-mail service, they are sharing details about their interests, who their connections are and what their finances look like. That information might seem mundane on the surface, but when extracted and organized, it’s incredibly valuable to marketers and advertisers.

All the major e-mail providers, including Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo, benefit one way or another from offering a free service. The provider might serve up general or targeted ads, generate a user base for marketing other services, or just use the e-mail service to build brand recognition.

And while Gmail may have popularized it, targeted ads based on user data has become the primary business model for many tech companies. It’s how social media companies such as Facebook and search engines such as Bing make money as well as a huge number of apps that scrape contact and location information from users. It’s also led to a number of similar privacy lawsuits against other companies, including LinkedIn, Yahoo and Facebook.

Any company that collects personal information has to advise its customers what it is doing with their information and comply with any relevant privacy laws, Dayanim said. These are usually laid out in the lengthy terms and conditions and privacy policies that customers barely skim before hitting “agree.”

However, many of the details about how exactly Google’s program works have been kept confidential. And critics say the service doesn’t adequately disclose what it is doing with customers’ information.

Legal action

When Gmail made its debut in 2004, it was upfront about the fact that it would show contextual ads targeted to match the topic of e-mail threads. People still lined up to be accepted as early beta users of the service because it was slickly designed, included ample amounts of storage, and was excellent at filtering out spam. And it didn’t cost anything to sign up.

One problem is that not all the people affected have agreed to Google’s privacy policy. One group of plaintiffs in a recent class-action lawsuit were non-Gmail users who sent messages to Gmail accounts. Google responded that non-Gmail customers had no expectations of privacy when sending e-mails to people who did use the service.

Google has defended its e-mail scanning program by pointing out that it’s automated and handled by computers picking out keywords. Google’s employees aren’t personally reading through e-mails for the latest lovers’ spat.

Google also says the scans are necessary to cut down on malicious e-mails and spam, and for features such as Priority Inbox and the tabbed view that filters e-mails into different categories.

A federal judge dealt a blow to the case this month, ruling it couldn’t proceed as a class-action lawsuit because the different groups weren’t cohesive enough. A class-action lawsuit could have cost Google trillions of dollars in damages.

A changing landscape

When Gmail debuted in 2004, the rules for collecting user information were looser. But the privacy landscape has changed drastically over the past 10 years.

Several U.S. states have passed laws that restrict the use of personal information, the Federal Trade Commission has been more active pursuing privacy violations, and the industry has adopted best practices about what’s acceptable.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the federal law with the biggest impact on how and when companies can share data with third parties. The Electronics Communication Privacy Act is a dusty piece of legislation passed in 1986, long before the era of cloud-based e-mail. Many legislators and technology companies (including Google) have lobbied to have the law updated to reflect the times.

Meanwhile, consumers must increasingly weigh the value of using a free e-mail service such as Gmail against their personal privacy.

Sheep Herded Into Louvre By Protesting Farmers

Posted by Rattana_S On March - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

French farmers stage a demonstration at the world-famous museum against industrial reforms they say put their livelihoods at risk.

Art lovers in Paris were left startled when a dozen sheep suddenly stormed into the Louvre museum.

Museum staff were left baffled and irritated as the sheep ran through the museum’s glass pyramid entrance as surprised tourists took pictures.

The animals were herded into the exhibition hall by farmers protesting against industrial reforms to France’s Common Agricultural Policy, which they say is putting their jobs at risk.

Issues French farmers have been concerned about include higher fertiliser taxes and anti-pollution laws which would prevent them using their tractors on certain days.

Laurent Pinatel, spokesperson for the Farmers’ Confederation said: “What we have today is the agricultural ministry which are trying to impose policy which excludes farmers.

“So we’re here to say we don’t belong to a museum and that our place is in the countryside. That’s where we want to develop, create jobs and produce quality produce.”

The Louvre is one of the world’s most famous museums and holds some 7,500 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michelangelo Carrivaggio’s The Fortune Teller.

This Picture Of Coldplay In 1999 Is Truly Hilarious

Posted by Rattana_S On March - 27 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Coldplay now (hot):

Coldplay then (basic awkward puffy “teens”):

In conclusion, time + age is a GOOD thing. Puffiness is curable. And never give up on your dreams.

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