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21st Century Fox Withdraws Bid to Buy Time Warner

21st Century Fox Withdraws Bid to Buy Time Warner

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Following a bid to purchase media corporation Time Warner Inc., 21st Century Fox announced Tuesday that it will withdraw its proposal to acquire the company. The Board also authorized a $6 billion share repurchase program, with the process of buying back an additional $6 billion of Class A Common Stock expected to be completed in the next year. “This significant return of capital underscores the Company’s ongoing commitment to disciplined capital allocation and returning value to shareholders in a meaningful way,” Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

“We viewed a combination with Time Warner as a unique opportunity to bring together two great companies, each with celebrated content and brands.  Our proposal had significant strategic merit and compelling financial rationale and our approach had always been friendly.  However, Time Warner management and its Board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling.  Additionally, the reaction in our share price since our proposal was made undervalues our stock and makes the transaction unattractive to Fox shareholders.  These factors, coupled with our commitment to be both disciplined in our approach to the combination and focused on delivering value for the Fox shareholders, has led us to withdraw our offer.”

On 21st Century Fox’s decision, Murdoch adds that the group’s future “has never been brighter.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Stocks Slide with International Tensions

Stocks Slide with International Tensions

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Markets tumbled Tuesday with the rise of international tensions, linked to China’s economy and the growing strain between Ukraine and Russia. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 140 points to end the day at 16,429.47. The Nasdaq Composite fell 31 points at 4,352.84, and the S&P 500 finished down 19 at 1,920.21.  Target lowered its forecast for the company’s second quarter as a result of an increase in discounts offered following the retailer’s data breach. Meanwhile, CVS Caremark’s earnings jumped 11 percent, exceeding experts’ expectations. After a plan to buy Time Warner Inc., 21st Century Fox withdrew its bid to purchase the media corporation.
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British Airways Suspends Flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone

British Airways Suspends Flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone

British Airways(NEW YORK) — British Airways has halted flights to and from two West African countries in the middle of the Ebola outbreak.”We have temporarily suspended our flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 August 2014 due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries,” the carrier said in a statement Tuesday.The death toll from the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone has climbed to 887, the World Health Organization said Monday. In all, 1,603 people have been infected.British Airways said it will continue to review the route over the next few weeks.Any customers who purchased tickets before the suspension will be able to get a full refund or reschedule their flights to a later date.
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Four Money Skills Every College-Bound Kid Should Know

Four Money Skills Every College-Bound Kid Should Know

Hemera/ThinkstockBy Elisabeth Leamy(NEW YORK) — This list was reverse-engineered by people who know. It comes from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the umbrella group that includes Consumer Credit Counseling Service, the in-the-trenches non-profit that helps people pick up the pieces when they screw up their finances in colossal fashion.“Whether it’s off to work or off to college, parents put a lot of time and money into preparing their child to leave home, but often neglect the basic life skills associated with personal finance,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “With just a few weeks until young adult children will head out the door, the time is now for a crash course in personal finance.”Here are the four key areas of money knowledge NFCC has found people leaving home for the first time desperately need.1. BudgetingParents and college students should work together to create a realistic monthly budget. Students should then track their spending at college on paper, with a smartphone app or a budgeting website. The method isn’t important, but knowing how the money is being spent is.2. BankingPeople don’t write as many checks as they used to, but it’s still important to record all different types of withdrawals in a check register, whether paper or electronic. Embarrassing confession: when I opened my first bank account, I carefully recorded all checks I wrote, but neglected to record ATM withdrawals and then started bouncing checks. Doh!3. CreditWhen I was in college, banks gave out credit cards faster than frats gave out beer. Today, young adults under age 21 cannot obtain a credit card unless they can prove they have the ability to pay or they have a co-signer. Still, many college grads manage to rack up credit card debt and struggle to pay it off. Instead, teach your kids to use small amounts of credit and pay it off in full and they will develop solid credit scores that help them get jobs, rent apartments and buy cars when they graduate.4. Identity TheftWe all need to be on guard about identity theft and college students even more so. The identity thief may not be a stranger, but the tech-savvy neighbor in the dorm room down the hall. Password-protect computers and phones, since they contain financial information and be careful what you post on social media.One final note to students and parents: financial organization counts. Whether you use an accordion file or a high-tech tool, it’s essential that you stay on top of your bills and due dates. Paying even a small bill late will subject you to late fees in the short term and tank your credit score in the long term. You don’t want to have a “financial hangover” that lasts long after you graduate from college.
Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.Elisabeth Leamy is a 20-year consumer advocate for programs including Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. She is the author of Save BIG and The Savvy Consumer. Elisabeth is also a professional speaker, delivering talks nationwide on saving money, media relations, and career success.
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How SpaceX Is Changing the ‘Destiny’ of Brownsville, Texas

How SpaceX Is Changing the ‘Destiny’ of Brownsville, Texas

SpaceX(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) — Brownsville, a border town on the southernmost tip of Texas, will soon be more than just a portal between the United States and Mexico — it will be a gateway to space.Elon Musk’s SpaceX will build a commercial site for orbital rocket launches at the state-owned Boca Chica Beach, an area nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Grande River, which separates the United States and Mexico.”In addition to creating hundreds of high-tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the South Texas area,” Musk, 43, said in a statement.Despite its white sand beaches, rich Texas history and subtropical climate, Brownsville has a reputation of being a sleepy border town that is usually only mentioned in national headlines when it comes to immigration issues and border violence.Town officials know that Musk’s announcement means those days are over.”Our children’s future just took a huge step forward, and our community is well on its way to becoming a vibrant and thriving community,” Brownsville Commissioner Rose Gowen said.Commissioner Jessica Tetreau-Kalifa said “Brownsville’s destiny has changed.”Musk, a billionaire futurist who made his fortune from PayPal and electric automaker Tesla, is expected to pump an $85 million capital investment into the project and create more than 300 high-tech jobs.It’s a much-needed boost for the town of 180,000 where half the residents are employed in the government, education and health sectors, according to the Brownsville Economic Development Council.The median household income in Brownsville is $31,605, which could spike with the creation of more science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs.
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Meet the Tiny Company Behind the Experimental Antibodies for Ebola

Meet the Tiny Company Behind the Experimental Antibodies for Ebola

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — The companies manufacturing an experimental drug treating two American Ebola patients aren’t among the largest multinational pharmaceuticals in the world. In fact, leading the effort is a small nine-employee firm in San Diego.Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., founded in 2003, says on its website that it develops, “novel pharmaceuticals for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, focusing on unmet needs in global health and biodefense.”Mapp’s commercialization arm is LeafBio Inc., which has no employees and just two owners, Mapp President Larry Zeitlin tells ABC News.Mapp, along with LeafBio and Defyrus Inc. in Toronto, Canada, collaborated to create the trademarked ZMapp.The three firms say in a statement that ZMapp has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans, but was first identified as a drug candidate in January 2014.”As such, very little of the drug is currently available,” the three companies said in a statement Monday. “Any decision to use an experimental drug in a patient would be a decision made by the treating physician under the regulatory guidelines of the FDA. Mapp and its partners are cooperating with appropriate government agencies to increase production as quickly as possible.”Defyrus could not be reached for comment.According to USASpending.gov, Mapp has received nearly $7.5 million from the U.S. government in the form of eight federal grants since 2005, which is included in the more than $40 million it has received from the federal government overall.Traditional vaccines are very complicated to make and only a handful of the big players participate, according to Damien Conover, a pharmaceutical industry analyst with Morningstar who does not cover the three companies.”Vaccines tend not to have the pricing power of other drugs, so there is little commercial benefit,” he said. “Any new procedure that could bring down the cost or develop [a vaccine] more quickly would be very helpful.”According to Mapp’s website, its Ebola drug is a “cocktail” of monoclonal antibodies, which had been used in monkey studies.“When administered one hour after infection, all animals survived,” a 2012 company statement reads. “Two-thirds of the animals were protected even when the treatment, known as MB-003, was administered 48 hours after infection.”The death toll of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone climbed to 887, according to the World Health Organization. In all, 1,603 people have been infected.
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Kale Takes Over Food Industry

Kale Takes Over Food Industry

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — California’s Salinas Valley is known as the “salad bowl of the world,” because most of our vegetables are grown there.But one leafy green is quickly taking up more and more of the area’s valuable soil — kale, planted as far as the eye can see.What used to be used as a garnish on salad bars has now climbed into our bowls. Culinary shows extol the virtues of kale and health-conscious celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow are hailing the leafy green have helped spawn a kale economy. Now there are kale smoothies, kale chips, kale martinis, even kale nail polish.Mentions of kale on American restaurant menus over the last two years are up 233 percent, according Technomic, a food industry tracking firm. Whole Foods now sells more than 22,000 bunches of kale per day in its stores.In turn, farmers and distributors have had to keep up with the exponential demand, devoting more land than ever to grow this fashionable foliage.Church Brothers Produce, a produce grower and shipper, has a 10-acre ranch in the valley that grows roughly 80,000 pounds of kale. Ernst Van Eaghan, vice president of marketing and product development for Church Brothers, said they are planting six times the amount of kale now that they planted three years ago, and can’t seem to harvest it fast enough.“That’s how much people like it,” said Eaghan.Aside from its growing celebrity status, kale’s biggest marketing ploy is that it’s really good for you. Kale has the maximum amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals possible for a single food, along with Swiss chard, watercress and collard greens, according to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) Scoring System, which rates foods based on nutrient content.As the leafy green has grown in popularity, it’s snuck its way from the produce section into the healthy snack foods.Kale chips and flavored dehydrated kale are destined to make Brad Gruno a millionaire. Gruno, founder and CEO of Brad’s Raw Foods, is riding the kale wave. The Pipersville, Pennsylvania-based company will pull in an estimated $20 million this year, with 70 percent of that from the vegetable products.Four years ago, long before seemingly everyone knew about kale’s magical secrets, Gruno was selling bags of his kale chips at a farmer’s market in Bucks County.“I remember the boxes I would carry them in. These old flower boxes,” Gruno said. “I’d give it away all the time. Just give it away. ‘Taste it, taste it.’ Just saying that same story over and over again about what it is.”When people kept buying his chips for $7 a bag, he knew he had a winner.“I got into this industry when the whole economy took a downturn,” he said. “People thought I was crazy and then look what happened to my business.”Gruno is now using 40,000 pounds of kale a week, and is planning to release chocolate kale later this year.
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‘ManServants’ Startup Answer to Ladies’ Beck and Call

‘ManServants’ Startup Answer to Ladies’ Beck and Call

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — The phone rang only once before he picked up.”Hello. This is Jeeves.”Jeeves is an employee of “ManServants,” a startup based in San Francisco that allows customers — women or men — to describe what type of fantasy-driven man should, “wait on you hand and foot,” including his dress code, name and whether you prefer “James Bond” or “Middle-Earth.”Jeeves isn’t his real name, but it was given to him based on a client’s request. The proceeding conversation was laden with the phrase, “as you wish,” and a polite British accent that was presumably fake. He was made available to talk to ABC News by ManServants, which first asked the reporter what his name should be.When asked what Jeeves did in his previous life, he said ManServants’ backgrounds and identities are kept a secret.”We really are here for the ladies so we don’t have a back-story,” he said, adding that many of the ManServants come from the service industry, including bartenders and VIP table hosts. “We are ready and equipped to answer the beck and call of the ladies and give them the time of their lives.””I’ve always been a ladies’ man. What I mean by that is chivalry. I’m willing to lay my coat down for a lady,” Jeeves said. And he said he’s based in San Francisco.ManServants is the brainchild of advertising creatives, or copywriters, Josephine Wai Lin, 31, and Dalal Khajah, 25. In a two-minute video on the company’s website (that begins with a bachelorette party gone wrong), an actress states: “Ladies, if you hate your friend and yourself, get her a stripper. If you love her, get her a ManServant.”What does Jeeves do when a woman attempts to cross the company’s strict boundaries against sexual activity?”I will say, not to toot my own horn, we pick some good-looking gentlemen. Some of the ladies are forward, but what we do is let them down easy with a compliment or two,” Jeeves said. “It’s the gentlemanly thing to do.”The company says it vets the part-time ManServants with background checks and interviews. They are all trained with the ManServant code of conduct listed on the company website that includes no nudity, according to Khajah.”ManServants are her subjects, not objects. We’re telling women to come up with their own idea of what’s sexy. And women are responding in droves,” Khajah tells ABC News.The two founders say they have employed about 20 ManServants for “beta testing” with family and friends, but they are ready to cast additional men.Jeeves said he and the other ManServants have been testing before the company officially launches in September in San Francisco, with hopes to expand to Los Angeles and New York in the future. Last weekend, he said he and another ManServant were working at a bachelorette party in Napa, serving drinks, taking photos of the ladies and lighting their cigarettes.”We hired a chef as well to cater the event. It costs a little bit extra. We are still working out the pricing. The takeaway is that every event is different. We recommend two or more ManServants, which is better for chemistry,” he said, referring to event hiring.Overall, Jeeves said it’s a great gig.”You’re appreciated by a diverse group of women, and you are there for their service and their wishes,” he said, including hiring a ManServant to hang frames around your house or be your pseudo-bodyguard around town.How did the idea for ManServants develop? Khajah said one day her advertising project manager came to work with a mock proposal for a ManServant for her bachelorette party.”She was terrified her friends would get her a stripper and how awkward it would be,” Khajah said. “That’s when we realized strippers were just a hand-me-down fantasy from men and that it was time to give the world what women really wanted: ManServants.”That project manager, Christina Nickas, 32, was one of ManServants’ recent beta testers. Nickas said she hired three ManServants to cater to her and 14 of her closest friends on a vineyard in Healdsburg, California. She named them Claude, Kingsley and Westley.”I received a compliment and flower every hour, and even though I was a bit too tipsy to remember to reapply sunscreen, ManServants saved me from getting any burns by consistently reapplying without ever being asked,” she said. “The best thing about them was that we had everything we could ever want before we knew we wanted it. I personally selected every detail about their performance, which means that Westley, Kingsley and Claude will never exist for anyone else but me and my friends. That’s really special.”The company, which is bootstrapping without external funding for now, has filed its business paperwork with the IRS and the city of San Francisco about a month ago, Lin said.Lin said the company’s closest competitors are other “men for hire” type companies like Rent A Gent or Butlers in the Buff.Rent A Gent, launched in December 2013 in New York City, offers two specific services to women: to “rent a date” or “rent a stripper.” Rent A Gent told ABC News it now employs about 60 “gents” in 12 cities and is in the process of hiring another 20 after their independent contractor agreements are finalized. Rent A Gent charges about $200 an hour.Khajah said ManServants is different than Rent A Gent because it doesn’t offer men for dates and it doesn’t offer a portfolio of men on their website.“It’s about the woman and what she wants,” Khajah said.ManServants’ pricing will become public when the company launches in the fall, she said.Jamie Miles, editor of TheKnot.com, said there is a growing demand for original bachelorette and bridal party services.”I think it’s great people are getting more creative and offering these services, so a bridal party has an alternative to the stripper, which might fit some personalities more than others,” she said.Miles said she has seen some bachelorette organizers plan alternatives that include pole-dancing classes, nude-model drawing, and destination bridal showers.
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Gas Prices Down to Average $3.52 Per Gallon

Gas Prices Down to Average $3.52 Per Gallon

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Gas prices nationwide dropped two cents in the past week to $3.52 per gallon for regular unleaded, 12 cents cheaper than 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Drivers along the Gulf Coast can score the cheapest gas at $3.31 per gallon, while motorists in California pay the most at $3.95. Prices may continue to fall, experts say, as long as tropical storms and hurricanes don’t threaten oil production facilities. Gregg Laskoski of Gas Buddy credits high output from U.S. refineries in July. “The good news is here because of the exceptional performance we saw from refineries during the month of July,” Laskoski says. “The output of refineries was really at record levels.”
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Stocks Kick Off Week with Gains

Stocks Kick Off Week with Gains

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street started the week with gains, as all three major market indices rose Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 76 points, finishing at 16569.28; the Nasdaq Composite was up 31 at 4383.89; and the S&P ended the day at 1938.98, up 14 points. Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway reported a second quarter profit of $6.4 billion, while investors received another boost from a bailout package announced by Portuguese officials for struggling financial institution Banco Espirito Santo. General Motors received a subpoena from the Justice Department calling for documents related to subprime auto loans, the company says. The feds are said to be considering a civil lawsuit linked to the loans generally made to borrowers with questionable credit histories.
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P.F. Chang’s Looking into Data Breach at 33 Restaurant Locations

P.F. Chang’s Looking into Data Breach at 33 Restaurant Locations

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc.(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — P.F. Chang’s China Bistro said Monday that the investigation into a security breach at 33 restaurant locations is ongoing but assured the public that the compromise “has been contained.””We have determined that the security of our card processing systems was compromised, and we have reason to believe that the intruder may have stolen some data from certain credit and debit cards that were used during the specified time frames at 33 P.F. Chang’s China Bistro branded restaurant locations in the continental United States,” the company said Monday in a written statement.
[CLICK HERE to see a list of the 33 restaurant locations currently under investigation.]
The U.S. Secret Service alerted the restaurant chain to the data breach on June 10, according to the statement, prompting P.F. Chang’s to immediately initiate an investigation including third-party forensics experts. Since June 11, the company says, credit and debit card data has been processed without compromise.Though the incident has been contained, the company says other locations or time frames for security breach could be uncovered during the ongoing investigation.  Customers are advised to check the company’s security site periodically for future updates.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

LEGO Launches Collection of Female Scientist Figurines

LEGO Launches Collection of Female Scientist Figurines

Lego(NEW YORK) — When a 7-year-old girl wrote a stern letter to Lego earlier this year to express her discontent with the Danish toy company’s offering of female figurines, she set in motion an effort to do something about it.”I want you to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures…ok!?!” Charlotte Benjamin wrote in her letter.At the time, Lego officials assured Benjamin that they were in fact considering a brand new female set. On Monday, Lego made good on its promise.The company debuted the Research Institute play set on its website Monday. Created by geophysicist Ellen Kooijman on Lego Ideas, the crowd-sourced design platform, the collection features three female scientists: an astronomer, a paleontologist and a chemist.In a blog post, Kooijman wrote: “As a female scientist I had noticed two things about the available Lego sets: a skewed male/female minifigure ratio and a rather stereotypical representation of the available female figures.”She added that she hoped her designs would “make our Lego city communities more diverse.”The collection launched Monday and is already sold out. According to the site, it will be available for purchase again later this month.
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Berkshire Earns $6.4 Billion in Second Quarter

Berkshire Earns $6.4 Billion in Second Quarter

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Berkshire Hathaway has earned $6.4 billion in profit the second quarter — that’s a rise of 41% and nearly $2 billion higher than the same time last year.  Yahoo! Finance’s Rick Newman credits Chariman and CEO Warren Buffett’s skill as a top-tier value investor.”He looks for great bargains and as he always says, he loves really well-run companies that are undervalued and he’s found them,” Newman said.
Newman also noted that Buffett’s Nebraska-based firm contains businesses across the economic spectrum.
“His firm is structured so that it basically represents the U.S. economy, or it at least represents the good parts of the U.S. economy, since Warren Buffett doesn’t really invest in dogs,” Newman said. “So what I think these earnings tell us is the slice of the U.S. economy that Warren Buffett’s company reflects is doing quite well and that’s why his earnings are up.”
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Why Are Young Adults Not Buying Lottery Tickets?

Why Are Young Adults Not Buying Lottery Tickets?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Billions of lottery tickets are sold every year, but not to young adults.
Officials say 24- to 35-year-olds participate less in state lotteries than any other age group.  
Because United States lotteries are said to lag behind other countries when it comes to technological innovation, the industry is focusing on new digital ways to play and buy tickets.
Some say the games should incorporate a social aspect so 20-somethings will want to play with their friends, while some think games should incorporate charities to appeal to more young people.
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GM Now Accepting Compensation Claims

GM Now Accepting Compensation Claims

General Motors(DETROIT) — General Motors is now accepting claims related to faulty ignitions.
Anyone who was hurt or lost a loved one in accidents caused by a faulty ignition in a GM vehicle can now submit a claim for compensation.
Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the 9/11 and BP oil spill victims funds, will evaluate the claims.
The claims, which can be filed online or by mail, must be backed up by police and medical reports, photos, and maybe the actual car.
GM has set aside $400,000,000 to compensate victims. The deadline to file is December 31.

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NY Inn Claims on Its Website to Fine Brides $500 for Negative Online Reviews

NY Inn Claims on Its Website to Fine Brides $500 for Negative Online Reviews

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(HUDSON, N.Y.) –  A small-town inn is catching big-time heat for its policy of fining brides and grooms for negative reviews their wedding guests post online.
The Union Street Guest House (USGH) in Hudson, New York, has received numerous flattering profiles in publications including Travel & Leisure, Refinery 29, and New York Magazine, many of which are prominently linked on its website’s homepage. But its vintage furnishings and bucolic setting are currently being overshadowed by the owner’s policy of fining newlyweds $500 for each negative review posted by a member of their wedding party.
“If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event,” states the USGH website on its policy for booking weddings and events. “If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review.”
The inn notes on the site that it will remove the $500 charges once a negative review is taken down from its post and that the policy only applies to wedding parties and events, not regular guests.
But the attempt at restricting travelers’ freedom of speech has prompted a backlash on Yelp and on the USGH’s Facebook page.
“If you tell the truth about your stay…you shall pay!” ranted one commenter on Yelp. “Threatening guests with fines for bad reviews…this is just a poor business practice. Why would anyone want to book a wedding or night stay here?”
On Monday USGH posted to its Facebook page that, “The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”
Followers of the page were not so quick to believe the statement, however.
“Nope, sorry, you lose the Internet,” wrote one.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure the reviews being posted on yelp are equally tongue-in-cheek and will be taken down in no time,” posted another.
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“New York Times” Runs First Full Page Ad for Marijuana

“New York Times” Runs First Full Page Ad for Marijuana

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It would have been unthinkable, even a few years ago, for a prominent advertisement for marijuana to appear in one of America’s leading newspapers. But on Sunday, The New York Times ran its first-ever full page ad for marijuana, featuring the medical uses of the drug.The ad, paid for by Leafly, features the tagline “Just Say Know.””We want to help New York patients learn about cannabis and make responsible and informed consumer choices about the product best suited for their medical conditions. Patients need a reliable, mainstream information portal about cannabis that is free of classic stoner stereotypes, and we truly believe that Leafly is the resource for them,” the company said on its website.New York is one of 23 states to have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Two others, Colorado and Washington, allow the recreational use of the drug.”We’re in full support of New York’s Compassionate Care Act,” Leafly CEO Brendan Kennedy said. “As the walls of prohibition crumble, patients need the type of reliable, mainstream information about cannabis that only Leafly provides.” “Eight out of ten Americans agree that medical cannabis should be legal for patients. Leafly is here for those patients,” he added.
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What Elon Musk Says Could Be More Dangerous Than Nuclear Weapons

What Elon Musk Says Could Be More Dangerous Than Nuclear Weapons

Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It’s not a nuclear war that Elon Musk fears the most. It’s artificial intelligence.The billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX issued a warning over the weekend that “we need to be super careful” with artificial intelligence.Musk’s comments came after reading Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom, which explores the questions of what happens when machines are more intelligent than humans and whether artificial intelligence will save or destroy humanity. The book will be released in the United States on Sept. 1.It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but when Elon Musk talks about the future, the world listens.

Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014

Musk also played film critic on Twitter over the weekend, where he raved about Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy is great. Best line is when Star-Lord says his spaceship looks like a Jackson Pollock painting under black light.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014

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Want to Find ET? Look for Air Pollution

Want to Find ET? Look for Air Pollution

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After trying unsuccessfully for several decades to eavesdrop on radio signals from outer space, scientists are looking at a new way to find evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.Never mind trying to hear an alien production of I Love Lucy. Instead, look for signs of air pollution.No kidding.The theory goes like this: Like humans, an extraterrestrial would probably try to harness every source of energy on the planet to build a better life with technological advantages like automatic dish washers and smart phones. That would almost surely result in a heavily polluted atmosphere that might be detectable from Earth.The idea has been around awhile, but the discussion has centered on the typical byproducts of fossil fuel consumption — carbon dioxide and methane gas. But these can be produced by microbes, so instead of finding life elsewhere, we might just find a pile of slime.Progress, but not exactly what most of us had in mind.Researchers at Harvard College and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have suggested a way to zero in on aliens themselves. Don’t look for atmospheric chemicals that a bunch of bugs could make. Look for chemicals that could only be produced by an industrial society.One likely target would be chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the human-made compounds that were destroying the earth’s ozone and which were banned by much of the world several years ago. These compounds were primarily used for refrigeration and as solvents, and if they exist in another planet’s atmosphere, they must have been invented by an industrialized society.However, the inevitable result would be air pollution, so maybe what we are really looking for is a sign of “unintelligent life,” Harvard physicist Henry Lin, lead author of a study to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, said in a telephone interview.Lin and colleagues Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad and Abraham Loeb are serious about their proposal, although Lin agreed that it’s a long shot, and nothing on the planet today could carry out the research to see if they are on the right track. But the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launching in 2018, might be able to pull it off.The researchers contend the logical place to start would be with stars called white dwarfs, which are nearing the end of their lives. White dwarfs are in a cooling phase, and as they burn their resources they shrink, so “a white dwarf roughly the same temperature as the sun would be about the size of the Earth,” Lin said.Although many scientists believe white dwarfs probably have planets, none have been found so far. A planet about the size of the Earth, circling a white dwarf of nearly the same size, would be an ideal target for a telescope designed to analyze the chemical composition of anything in its sight, including the atmosphere of distant planets.Since both bodies are the same size, “a larger fraction of the starlight from the white dwarf gets filtered by the atmosphere” of the planet as it passes between the star and the telescope, Lin said. How the starlight is refracted by chemical compounds in the atmosphere would reveal what is in the planet’s air.So a white dwarf would produce a “much, much better signal,” greatly increasing the odds that CFCs could be found, he added.Sounds promising, but Lin readily agrees it’s no slam dunk.The transit of the planet past the dwarf would be relatively brief, so the telescope could observe a promising target only about five minutes per day. And the pollution level would have to be at least 10 times as bad as on Earth to be observable. Also, competition for time on the next generation space telescope will be fierce.But any advanced society would eventually discover the downside of pollution, and since CFCs only last in the atmosphere for a few decades, the “window of opportunity is very brief,” Lin said.The researchers point out that what we may well discover is the remnants of an industrial society that poisoned its planet, leading to its own demise. Even a cat knows better than to mess in its own house.If things got even worse, and conflicting societies on a distant planet blew themselves up, we might find space junk orbiting another star that clearly was produced by folks who didn’t see the end coming.There’s another scenario that fits neatly with all of this. Suppose the chemicals were deliberately launched into the atmosphere of a planet that was growing colder because of a cooling star? In that case, the evidence might persist for millions of years, not just a century or so, and the concentration of chemicals might be much greater.That’s not as farfetched as it sounds.For decades now, one of the nation’s leading theoretical physicists, Freeman Dyson, has promoted an idea that sounds disturbingly like the current situation on planet Earth.In 1960 Dyson speculated that any technological civilization would constantly increase its lust for more energy, and eventually the finite sources would become depleted. The only way to meet the demand would be to trap more energy from the sun.He suggested a series of orbiting structures that could capture every ray of sunlight, a vision that became known as the Dyson Sphere.It was a bold idea, and although Dyson has himself admitted he first came across the idea in a 1937 science fiction novel, others have expanded the concept to such silly lengths that last year he said he regretted the fact that his name has been linked to it.But what about a distant planet where a deadly chill is setting in, and the only way to survive is by pumping gases into the atmosphere to warm it up? Maybe what we are looking for is a real-life Dyson Sphere.
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United Launch Alliance Sends Seventh GPS Satellite into Space

United Launch Alliance Sends Seventh GPS Satellite into Space

Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — United Launch Alliance successfully launched its second rocket this week on Saturday morning, carrying the seventh GPS-enabled satellite for the U.S. Air Force.The newest satellite will join the previous six next-generation GPS satellites in a “timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes.” According to ULA, the satellites are approximately 11,000 miles above the surface of the Earth.The next ULA launch is scheduled for Aug. 13 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Saturday’s successful launch represented the second launch in four days by the partnered efforts of Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, and the third time this year that they’ve held two successful launches in one week.
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