What 2,000 calories looks like

The New York Times:

The nation’s largest restaurant chains have made a big deal in recent years about introducing smaller portion sizes. McDonald’s eliminated the Supersize menu, while T.G.I. Fridays and others have introduced small-plate items. Yet the restaurants have also been doing something else, with less fanfare: continuing to add dishes so rich that a single meal often contains a full day’s worth of calories.

Here, we show you what roughly 2,000 calories looks like at some large chains.

I’ve been using the MyFitnessPal app to track my daily meals and trying to stay under 2,000 calories. Terrifying to realize so many of these meals I ate when I was younger have that many calories in a single meal.

Bugs Bunny at 75: watch the first-ever “What’s up, Doc?” moment

TIME:

The usual gestation period for a rabbit is a month. But Bugs Bunny, the iconic cartoon character who turns 75 on Monday, took a lot longer to come to life.

Here’s how the world’s favorite cartoon rabbit came to be. Animator Chuck Jones gave credit to Tex Avery for the character, but Warner Bros. had made several rabbit cartoons in the studio’s earlier years. There were cutesy rabbits and wacky rabbits, but those rabbits aren’t Bugs.

The video in the story is the first official appearance of the iconic rabbit. It’s remarkable how it still stands up today. As a kid, Bugs was my favorite of all of the Warner Bros. cartoons.

The only six stocks that matter

The Wall Street Journal:

Six firms— Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc.—now account for more than half of the $664 billion in value added this year to the Nasdaq Composite Index, according to data compiled by brokerage firm JonesTrading.

The concentrated gains are spurring concerns that soft trading in much of the market could presage a pullback in the indexes. Many investors see echoes of prior market tops—including the 2007 peak and the late 1990s frenzy—when fewer and fewer stocks lifted the broader market. The S&P 500 is up 1% this year while the Nasdaq has gained 7.4%.

Other indicators are also flashing yellow. In the Nasdaq, falling stocks have outnumbered rising stocks this year, sending the “advance-decline line” into negative territory, a phenomenon that has come before market downturns in the past, investors and analysts said.

That kind of concentration is always worrying and certainly may be cause for the skittishness of Apple’s stock recently. As always, if the link doesn’t work, do a Google search on the headline. The WSJ lets Google post stories outside of its paywall.

Ian McKellen’s scrambled eggs on toast

Sir Ian McKellen:

“Live from Chateau Marmont in Hollywood,” I scramble up the best eggs in the world for my Facebook followers, to celebrate the success of my new film “Mr. Holmes”.

It’s good to see that Sir Ian cooks like mom(s) did – with no idea of how much of any ingredient to put in. Just go by feel and expereince and it comes out perfectly. I’ll definitely be trying this method next time I make scrambled eggs.

How one photographer captured a piercing gaze that shook the world

NPR:

“I noticed this one little girl with these incredible eyes and I instantly knew that this was really the only picture I wanted to take,” he says.

She would become the subject of McCurry’s iconic photograph “The Afghan Girl” — one of National Geographic’s most popular covers.

It is one of the most incredible portraits to ever appear in National Geographic and the back story is fascinating.

Apple Watch to be sold at Best Buy

The Wall Street Journal:

One month after Apple Inc. started selling Apple Watch at its own stores, the company said it will bring the device to Best Buy stores in August.

Apple said its smartwatch will be available at more than 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S., expanding to over 300 outlets before the holiday shopping season. Best Buy will be the first major U.S. retailer beside Apple to sell the device.

This is a sign Apple wants to get the Watch in front of even more customers and that they have caught up on demand. It’s also in preparation for the upcoming holiday season when Apple expects the Watch to be a huge seller for Christmas.

Things I learned driving a supercar for the first time

The Verge:

This is about what it’s like to drive a supercar for the very first time, and to do it in the unforgiving streets and avenues of New York. Here’s what I learned.

Just blocks away from picking it up, I ran the 650S at full speed over a seemingly shallow divot in the atrocious pavement that I didn’t see — I’m not sure I could’ve seen it from my vantage point. The entire car shuddered with a smack that woke me more effectively than the La Colombe coffee I’d just finished. It echoed in my brain for the next several hours. I can still hear it. No one wants to hear that sound; it’s the sound of sadness.

It’s a funny story about getting to drive a vehicle 99.9% of us will never own. His description of the streets and paranoia of driving in New York City definitely ring true for me. While I’ve never ridden a supercar in The Big Apple, I have ridden a motorcycle many times and, with their relatively unforgiving suspension, bikes can be a real challenge in Manhattan.

An aerial view of a hot air balloon festival

Mashable:

This is the largest summertime hot air balloon festival in North America. The balloons fly twice each day for three days, compared to the nine days of ballooning in Albuquerque’s famous Balloon Fiesta which includes more than 600 balloons.

Up in the air, it was absolutely silent. Like the quietest thing I’ve ever heard (granted I live in New York, so perhaps it was more just that I appreciated such silence). Intermittent, and rather startling blasts from the propane burner kept us floating through the air. The wind wasn’t strong so we moved slowly, over houses, backyards and crowds that gathered to watch. The people waved up at us: the balloon pilots were praised like celebrities in this rural New Jersey town.

I tell all my beginner photography students – if there’s a balloon festival near you, go. You’re guaranteed to get great photos because hot air balloons are huge, colorful and only fly during the Golden Hour. No matter what kind of camera you have, you won’t be disappointed by the images you capture.

World’s strangest-looking airplane? A closer look at the Airbus ‘Beluga’

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USAToday:

The airplane is one that turns heads.

Aviation enthusiasts instinctively know it is the “Beluga,” a nickname stemming from the aircraft’s uncanny resemblance to the whale of the same name.

But nearly all who see it tend to agree that regardless of its name, it’s one of the world’s strangest-looking aircraft.

I have a fascination and appreciation for the magic of flight and those crafts that are able to achieve it but this thing? Sorry. It’s one butt ugly airplane.

Apple Music, App Store and other services are down again for some users

Apple:

All Store Services – Some users are affected. Users are experiencing a problem with the services listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available.

For those of you/us who are having issues accessing Apple Music and other services today, rest assured, it’s not on your end. Apple has been having frequent problems with Apple Music since last week. This is a good page to bookmark and check when your Apple cloud-based services aren’t working as expected.

Apple’s Q3 2015 financial results conference call

Apple:

Listen to streaming audio from the conference call.

Live streaming audio requires iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch® running iOS 4.2 or above, a Mac® running OS X 10.6.8 or above or a PC running Windows 7 and QuickTime 7 or later. Safari or Internet Explorer also required.

This is the quarterly call where Apple talks about just how many metric buttloads of money they have made in the past three months, the ridiculous number of iPhones and Macs they’ve sold but not a word on how many Apple Watches they have put on wrists around the world.

While the conference call is restricted to analysts (some of whom will ask really stupid questions), you can be a fly on the wall and listen in to the audio, starting at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT).

“Reboot the Suit”: Bring back Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum:

For the Smithsonian’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign, we are proud to announce plans to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit in time for this milestone anniversary. We want to preserve Armstrong’s spacesuit – and the story it tells of its incredible journey – down to the particles of lunar dust that cling to its surface. Just like the Apollo program, we will accomplish this in collaboration of thousands of people across the country and around the world. And that’s where you come in.

I’m a vocal critic of Kickstarter in general but this is for a great cause and a relative pittance. Some smart company or billionaire should just step up and cover the costs of the suit’s restoration and dispaly.

The camera behind the new Pluto photos

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The Atlantic:

I talked to Lisa Hardaway, an engineer at Ball Aerospace in Colorado who led technical development of the one called “Ralph.” Ralph captures visible and some infrared light. When you see Pluto looking tan- and sepia-toned in the new, high-resolution photos, you’re looking at data captured by Ralph.

​Since it captures visible light, Ralph is in many ways comparable to the camera found in a phone or fancy DSLR. In conventional camera terms, it’s a 75mm lens at f/8.7. But it was far harder to build than a normal camera.

Hilarious that these incredible images we are getting from New Horizons are from a “Ralph”. An “Omar” or a “Brad” I could understand.

What stand-alone GPS devices do that smartphones can’t

New York Times:

Free smartphone navigation apps from Apple and Google offer turn-by-turn driving, walking and biking directions. And many new cars have the option of built-in navigation systems. So is there any longer a reason to buy a stand-alone GPS unit?

While smartphone navigation apps have some advantages, including limiting the number of devices one needs to buy and carry around, they also have some negatives.

I’m still a huge fan of stand-alone GPS devices for the reasons stated here and many others. I’ve tried almost every iPhone navigation app and I still come back to my Garmin or TomTom GPS on my motorcycle. If you’re just going around town, the phone may do the trick but, if you are travelling and/or wanting to “customize” your trip, a dedicated GPS is the way to go.

New close-up images of Pluto

NASA:

New close-up images of a region near Pluto’s equator reveal a giant surprise: a range of youthful mountains rising as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

NASA’s Twitter account and web page are starting to post some amazing photos after New Horizon’s fly-by of the planet.

Apple Pay has gone live in the UK with support from eight banks and 250,000 retail outlets

Apple UK:

Apple Pay has officially launched in the UK. Users will be able to useApple Pay at more than 250,000 retailers with support from eight banks UK banks. The service is currently supported with credit and debit cards from American Express, Visa, Mastercard, First Direct, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, and Ulster Bank.

Good news for our friends in the UK but the downside is purchases will be limited to a £20 cap that will expand to only £30 in September. So no buying big ticket items just yet. The £20 will just cover two pints of lager and a packet of crisps.

Toronto road rage incident caught on camera, in front of officer

CBC:

A CBC News crew was interviewing an Ontario police officer as a road-rage incident was happening right behind them.

CBC’s Neil Herland was speaking with OPP Const. Graham Williamson about a fatal collision on Black Creek Drive in Toronto on a nearby overpass, but shouting interrupted the interview, which was quickly captured by CBC camerawoman Tyna Poulin.

“Hey! Get back in the car,” Williamson yelled.

Less “road rage” and more, “road slightly peeved off”. No punches thrown, no gun fire, no horns honking – yeah, so Canadian.

Apple doubters in a feeding frenzy

Observatory:

Sometimes I wonder if people understand how organizations like Slice work. They make money by selling their services to client companies, and they attract new business by sending out press releases that become “news.” The more shocking the story, the more PR they get — and, in theory, the more new clients they can reel in.

In this case, Slice got exactly what it hoped for. Its name was attached to one of the biggest stories of the week. But, in the absence of any numbers from Apple, just how believable is the story?

As someone who is forced to read this stuff for a living, watching this particular feeding frenzy is simultaneously frustrating and unsurprising. While the general public’s lack of critical thinking when it comes to the media is slightly understandable, when the media itself is guilty of the inability to look at press releases and see them for what they actually are – simple promotion – it’s particularly aggravating. We can’t expect the consumer to think critically when the media refuses to do so.

Berkeley Breathed returning to “Bloom County” for first time in 25 years

Comic Book Resources:

After 25 years, Berkeley Breathed is returning to his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip, “Bloom County.” Breathed announced the new incarnation of the politically-minded strip via a post on Facebook that featured him working on a new comic with the words “Bloom County 2015″ at the top.

“Bloom County” originally ran from December 1980 until 1989, just two years after he won the Pulitzer. The characters, such as Bill the Cat, Opus the Penguin, Hodge-Podge the Rabbit, Milo Bloom, and Cutter John, lived on in the Sunday-only strip “Outland” from 1989 to 1995, as well as “Opus” from 2003 to 2008.

Along with “The Far Side” and “Calvin and Hobbes”, “Bloom County” was always one of my favorite comic strips. For those of you who know me, you’ll know how excited I am to have Opus back. Thanks to my friend Sly for the link and Donald Trump for the inspiration.

If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not likely a profitable phone

ZDNet:

While some smartphone makers chase market share, Apple is pulling away when it comes to profits: For every dollar of operating profit in the smartphone market, Apple is nabbing $0.92, leaving the others fighting for scraps.

That estimate comes from Canaccord Genuity as noted by the Wall Street Journal over the weekend.

Considering that Apple’s iPhone sales globally account for roughly 20 percent of all smartphones sold, the situation for its competitors will only get worse.

Android users and vendors can and do brag about market share. I’m sure Apple is very happy with profit share and wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’re going to reach Pluto for the first time in history tomorrow — here’s how to watch

Business Insider:

If everything goes according to plan, a NASA spacecraft, called New Horizons, will fly by Pluto at 7:49 am ET. New Horizons is the first spacecraft in history to ever visit Pluto, and it’s been a long time coming after 9 years in space.

NASA will stream live countdown coverage of the event starting at 7:30 am, followed by a briefing on the mission from 8:00 to 9:00 am ET.

It’s more than a little mind boggling to think that something we flung into space nine years ago is now about to send us pictures of the tiny little planet.

On negative App Store reviews during Betas of iOS and OS X

Macstories:

Earlier this week, Apple released the first public betas of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, and, knowing that would be the case, I cautioned MacStories readers against leaving negative reviews on the App Store for third-party apps that developers can’t update with new features and fixes yet.

Unfortunately, since yesterday I’ve already seen tweets from the developers of two excellent iOS apps – Screens and Day One – post screenshots of negative reviews they’ve received by users who are unsurprisingly running into problems when using their apps on the iOS 9 beta.

People posting negative reviews on the Apple Store because apps broke while they were running a beta fundamentally misunderstand what the point of a public beta is.

Adobe is patching a hole the Hacking Team used to exploit Flash

Techcrunch:

Many companies have best practices and the Hacking Team, the “computer security experts” who sold hacking tools to various federal and state agencies around the world, are no exception. Their database of information includes a number of interesting hacking tips, including mention of a 0-day, unpatched hole in Adobe Flash that the company is currently closing.

It’s long past time that Adobe should do the right thing and stop developing Flash and web site creators should stop using it.

The best read-it-later service

The Sweet Setup:

In the read-it-later space, the two dominant players have long been Instapaper and Pocket. Each app has its own strengths and weaknesses, and Pocket has some features that could make it the ideal app for some use cases, but Instapaper is our favorite app for actually reading the best writing on the web … later.

I was an original user of Instapaper but switched to Pocket (when it was still named Read It Later). After reading this article, I’m going to at least give Instapaper another shot.

Find your “Pluto Time”

NASA:

If you go outside at (a particular) time on a clear day, the world around you will be as bright as the surface of Pluto at noon.

It’s always Pluto Time somewhere, and NASA wants to see your view. New Horizons will become the first spacecraft to have a close encounter with Pluto. After the historic flyby on July 14, 2015, we’ll combine as many submitted images as we can into a mosaic image of Pluto and its moons.

Here in Chilliwack, BC, my “Pluto Time” is tonight at 9:20 PM PDT. I’ll definitely be outside taking a picture for NASA.

How to watch The Tour De France

Digg:

This Saturday, July 4, The Tour de France starts. And you should watch it.

Granted, out of all the sports, professional cycling is, by far, the most impenetrable to outsiders. There are so many questions: Why do they all ride together in a group? Why doesn’t just one guy jump ahead and leave everyone behind? If there’s only one winner, why are there teams? What’s with the different jersey colors? Aren’t all of these guys on steroids? All understandable!

But read this humble primer to cycling’s most prestigious — and most grueling — race, and we promise that you will relish waking up at 8 am to watch a bunch of men in spandex ride bikes through the French countryside.

I love this race. The spectacle, the scenery, the drama, the controversies, all add up to a month of great viewing. I wouldn’t ride a bicycle if you paid me and the sport is, like boxing and The World Cup, tarnished (almost) beyond redemption but I’ll still watch every second of it.

An inside look at America’s weirdest Independence Day tradition

Politico:

“The hot-dog contest is a physical manifestation of the concept of freedom,” said George Shea, the mastermind behind the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. “The contest has come to represent the spirit of July 4th itself. That is why people go to the event. It is kind of a pilgrimage to the center of July 4th and the center of freedom.”

More than 30,000 fans of the absurd will pack the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues to watch the annual feeding frenzy—the Super Bowl of eating contests.

I love America but I don’t understand the fascination with competitive eating in general and certainly not with this particular event. It’s actually been broadcast on ESPN. If this is the “spirit of July 4th”, I fear for that spirit.

70% of drivers engage in smartphone activities while behind the wheel

AT&T:

When you see the driver next to you looking at their phone, it’s no longer safe to assume they’re texting. New research1 from AT&T* shows nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net. And surprisingly, 1-in-10 video chat.

7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent. But other smartphone activity use behind the wheel is now common. Among social platforms, Facebook tops the list, with more than a quarter of those polled using the app while driving.

As a motorcyclist, this survey is not only disturbing but, sadly, not surprising. There’s not a day goes by I don’t see someone more focused on their phone than on their driving. There’s also generally not a day that goes by where I don’t have to take some kind of evasive action to avoid an accident with a distracted driver. Please, as AT&T is campaigning, “It Can Wait”.

Between Kickstarter’s frauds and phenoms live long-delayed projects

Ars Technica:

By this point, fairy-tales about successful funding and horror stories of projects that end in abject failure or corruption have led most of us to recognize the volatility of any Kickstarter project. But lost between these two extremes is a long, sometimes confusing road that is invisible, and sometimes even inaccessible, to the mildly interested passersby. In today’s Kickstarter Web storefronts, projects appear so singular to their backers that any unplanned activity can seem more erratic and suspicious than it actually is. In most cases, though, delays are normal.

This underreported grey area between funded and shipped (or sailed) isn’t necessarily something to loathe. Rather, it highlights many of the reasons crowdfunding is worth protecting—even if some of the practice’s worst contradictory forces are at play.

I’ve backed several Kickstarter projects over the last few years and have been universally disappointed for various reasons, not the least of which is failure to ship. I won’t be doing any more.