Uber Eats invades restaurants with Dine-In option

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Tired of cleaning up after take-out or getting hangry waiting at your table in restaurants? Well Uber Eats is barging into the dine-in business. A new option in some cities lets you order your food ahead of time, go to the restaurant, and then sit down inside to eat, a tipster from competing dine-in app Allset tells us. We tested it, and Uber Eats Dine-In even waives the standard Uber delivery and service fees.

Adding Dine-In lets Uber Eats insert itself into more food transactions, expand to restaurants that care about presentation and don’t do delivery, and avoid paying drivers while earning low-overhead revenue. Uber’s Dine-In option is now available in some cities including Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego where it could save diners time and fees while helping restaurants fill empty tables and waiters earn tips.

UberEats Dine In Option

Uber confirmed the existence of the Dine-In option, telling me “We’re always thinking about new ways to enhance the Eats experience.” They also verified there are no delivery or service fees, and restaurants get 100% of tips left in-app buy users. However, we found some items were silently marked up from restaurants’ listed prices in both Uber Eats Delivery and Dine-In options, which could help it make some money directly from these purchases. We also discovered this buried Uber Help Center FAQ with more details.

Uber has been rapidly experimenting with Uber Eats, trying discounted specials, Uber Eats Pool where you pay less for slower delivery, and $9.99 unlimited delivery subscriptions. It’s steadily becoming an omnivore.

How Uber Dine-In Works

Dine-in appears next to the Delivery and Pick-Up options across the top of the Uber Eats app in select cities. You can choose to go eat “ASAP” or in some cases schedule when you want to arrive and sit down. You’ll be shown how long the food will take to prep, distance to the restaurant, your price, and the restaurant’s rating. You’ll then be notified as the order is prepared and approaches readiness. Then you just deliver yourself to the restaurant and add a tip in-app or on the table.

Uber Eats should obviously make it easy for you to hail an Uber with the restaurant as the pre-set destination. An Uber spokesperson called that a good idea but not something it’s doing yet. Back in 2016, Uber tried a merchant-sponsored rides option where you’d get a rebate on your travel if you spent money at a given store. You could imagine restaurants that want to show off their ambiance giving customers some money back if they come across town to eat there.

Uber Dine In

The new feature could spell trouble for other dine-in apps like Allset that’s been in the business for four years. Users might also opt for Uber Eats Dine-In over restaurant reservation apps like OpenTable and Resy. Why waste time waiting to order and for your food to be cooked when you could just show up as it comes out of the oven?

“I think that more delivery players will be tapping into dine-in space. It’s all about convenience and time saving. But it’s going to be very difficult for them, given their focus on delivery” AllsetCEO Stas Matviyenko said of Uber becoming a competitor. He believes dedicated apps for different modes of dining will succeed. But Uber Eats’ ubiquity and its one-stop-shop model for all your dining needs could make it stickier than a dine-in only app you use less frequently.

UberEatsheader

With Dine-In, Uber could aid restaurants that are empty at the start or end of their open hours. Last year we reported that Uber Eats was giving restaurants prominence in a Featured section of the app to drive up demand if they offered discounts to customers. Similarly, Uber could let restaurants entice more Dine-In customers especially when foot-traffic was slow by providing discounts on food or subsidized Uber transportation. Better to knock a dollar or two off an entree if it means filling the restaurant at 5:30 or 9:30pm.

And now that Uber Eats does delivery, take-out, and dine-in, it’d make perfect sense to offer traditional restaurant reservations through the app as well. That would pit it directly against OpenTable, Resy, and Yelp. Instead of trying to own a single use case that might only appeal to certain demographics in certain situations, Uber Eats’ strategy is crystallizing: be the app you open whenever you’re hungry.

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Dalai Lama Apologizes For Being Horny

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Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty Images

The Dalai Lama proved this week that you can’t spell ‘Enlightened One’ without the letter L.

The 83-year-old exiled spiritual leader of Tibeten Buddhism made international headlines after he let his ‘old man’ show to BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan.

Doubling down on comments he made in 2015,  the former Nobel Prize winner claimed that his successor CAN be female *hold your applause* if and only if she’s a sexy little minx.

“If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive.” If not, “people, I think prefer, not see her, that face.”

What hope do we have for the future if the universal arbiter of morality says that if you’re ugly, he doesn’t want to see your fucking face?

In any event, the Dalai Lama released a “clarification” message from his office on Tuesday apologizing for his remarks.

“In responding to a question about whether his own reincarnation could be a woman, and suggesting that if she were she should be attractive, His Holiness genuinely meant no [offense],” the statement read. “He is deeply sorry that people have been hurt by what he said and offers his sincere apologies.”

While he explained further that in Buddhism outward and inward beauty matter, the office of the Dalai Lama explains, “His Holiness consistently emphasizes the need for people to connect with each other on a deeper human level, rather than getting caught up in preconceptions based on superficial appearances.” [via Fox]

The statement appeared to suggest that the Dalai Lama was joking when he made the comments, which is about as realistic as the Dalai Lama trying to convince us that someone hacked his account.

“His Holiness, a monk now in his mid-80s, has a keen sense of the contradictions between the materialistic, globalized world he encounters on his travels and the complex, more esoteric ideas about reincarnation that are at the heart of Tibetan Buddhist tradition. However, it sometimes happens that off the cuff remarks, which might be amusing in one cultural context, lose their humour in translation when brought into another.”

The moral of the story is that if you disallow spiritual leaders to get laid, in any religion, bad things come of it. Thank you for attending my TED Talk.

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NASA picks a dozen science and tech projects to bring to the surface of the Moon

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With the Artemis mission scheduled to put boots on lunar regolith as soon as 2024, NASA has a lot of launching to do — and you can be sure none of those launches will go to waste. The agency just announced 12 new science and technology projects to send to the Moon’s surface, including a new rover.

The 12 projects are being sent up as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which is — as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has emphasized strongly — part of an intentional increase in reliance on private companies. If a company already has a component or rover or craft ready to go and meeting a program’s requirements, why should NASA build it from scratch at great cost?

In this case the selected projects cover a wide range of origins and intentions. Some are repurposed or spare parts from other missions, like the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment. LuSEE is related to the Park Solar Probe’s STEREO/Waves instrument and pieces from MAVEN, re-engineered to make observations and measurements on the moon.

moonrangerOthers are quite new. Astrobotic, which was also recently awarded an $80 million contract to develop its Peregrine lunar lander, will now also be putting together a rover, which it calls MoonRanger (no relation to the NES game). This little bot will autonomously traverse the landscape within half a mile or so of its base and map it in 3D.

The new funding from NASA amounts to $5.6M, which isn’t a lot to develop a lunar rover from scratch — no doubt it’s using its own funds and working with its partner, Carnegie Mellon University, to make sure the rover isn’t a bargain bin device. With veteran rover engineer Red Whittaker on board, it should be a good one.

“MoonRanger offers a means to accomplish far-ranging science of significance, and will exhibit an enabling capability on missions to the Moon for NASA and the commercial sector. The autonomy techniques demonstrated by MoonRanger will enable new kinds exploration missions that will ultimately herald in a new era on the Moon,” said Whittaker in an Astrobotic news release.

The distance to the lunar surface isn’t so far that controlling a rover directly from the surface is nearly impossible, like on Mars, but if it can go from here to there without someone in Houston twiddling a joystick, why shouldn’t it?

To be clear, this is different from the upcoming CubeRover project and others that are floating around in Astrobotic and Whittaker’s figurative orbits.

“MoonRanger is a 13 kg microwave sized rover with advanced autonomous capabilities,” Astrobotic’s Mike Provenzano told me. “The CubeRover is a 2 kg shoebox sized rover developed for light payloads and geared for affordable science and exploration activities.”

While both have flight contracts, CubeRover is scheduled to go up on the first Peregrine mission in 2021, while MoonRanger is TBD.

Another NASA selection is the Planetary Science Institute’s Heimdall, a new camera system that will point downward during the lander’s descent and collect super-high-resolution imagery of the regolith before, during, and after landing.

heimdall

“The camera system will return the highest resolution images of the undisturbed lunar surface yet obtained, which is important for understanding regolith properties. We will be able to essentially video the landing in high resolution for the first time, so we can understand how the plume behaves – how far it spreads, how long particles are lofted. This information is crucial for the safety of future landings,” said the project’s R. Aileen Yingst in a PSI release.

The regolith is naturally the subject of much curiosity, since if we’re to establish a semi-permanent presence on the Moon we’ll have to deal with it one way or another. So Projects like Honeybee’s PlanetVac, which can suck up and test materials right at landing, or the Regolith Adherence Characterization, which will see how the stuff sticks to various materials, will be invaluable.

RadSatg Deployed w Crop

RadSat-G deployed from the ISS for its year-long mission to test radiation tolerance on its computer systems.

Several projects are continuations of existing projects that are great fits for lunar missions. For example, the lunar surface is constantly being bombarded with all kinds of radiation, since the Moon lacks any kind of atmosphere. That’s not a problem for machinery like wheels or even solar cells, but for computers radiation can be highly destructive. So Brock LaMere’s work in radiation-tolerant computers will be highly relevant to landers, rovers, and payloads.

LaMere’s work has already been tested in space via the Nanoracks facility aboard the International Space Station, and the new NASA funding will allow it to be tested on the lunar surface. If we’re going to be sending computers up there that people’s lives will depend on, we better be completely sure they aren’t going to crash because of a random EM flux.

The rest of the projects are characterized here, with varying degrees of detail. No doubt we’ll learn more soon as the funding disbursed by NASA over the next year or so helps flesh them out.

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This animation was made from 1,012 individually light painted long exposures

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This animation was made from 1,012 individually light painted long exposures

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Shooting stop motion animations or even timelapse can be difficult enough without adding something as already complex as light painting into the mix. Light painting just on its own can be something of a challenge when you’re trying to draw something for the camera over the course of a long exposure.

But for photographer Darren Pearson, it’s no bother at all. He excels at creating light painting animations, and we’ve featured him a couple of times before. She Lights the Night slipped by us when it was posted to YouTube a few months ago, but now we’ve seen it and we’re sharing it with you because it’s awesome. It was created using 1,012 individually light painted long exposures.

1,012 individual shots played back over around 2 minutes equates to about 8-10 frames per second, which seems to work very well for this kind of animation. You’re not looking for smooth 24 or 60fps motion like you are with video, and when you’re hand painting each individual frame, you’re not going to get it, either.

Light painting has a unique and variable quality to it that there’s no way you’re going to be able to easily create smooth motion from frame to frame without some kind of computerised motion control system. To be able to get the kind of repeatability shown in the above video takes a lot of time, effort and practice.

He doesn’t mention exactly what gear he used, but in a previous video, Darren did share how he makes his light painted skeletons for these types of animations.

With each frame potentially taking up to 2 minutes to create, that means this whole animation might’ve actually taken upwards of 33 hours to shoot. It might’ve taken a little less, as some short clips are repeated, but that’s only the footage that was kept. Who knows how much ended up being thrown away.

Very cool. What’s better than a light painted dancing skeleton?

You can check out more of Darren’s work over on his website.

[via Geekologie]

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Is Photography Becoming too Easy?

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The post Is Photography Becoming too Easy? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Is Photography Becoming too Easy

The autofocus on the Sony A9 is amazing! Set it to eye AF, point in direction of the subject and let it do the rest. It’s almost too easy.

Everyone is a Photographer these days. It has never been easier or cheaper to create good quality photographs. People sincerely believe that the camera is what takes these amazing images. I am sure you have heard this as many times as I have; “You take beautiful photos, you must have a great camera.”

With the technology we see now though, I sometimes wonder, do they have a point?

We now have cameras in mobile phones, that not long ago professional photographers, paying thousands for their cameras would have dreamed of being able to use. Look at the ‘shot on iPhone’ campaign, and look at Instagram daily. People can take amazing photographs, with a couple of clicks and minimal effort.

Has modern technology democratized photography, or does it mean photography has become easy?

Technology continues to make things easier. But that didn’t start with digital!

Technology has always pushed to make things simpler. Be that the TV remote control or the digital camera. The digital camera was simply the technology industry’s answer to the market forces. Consumers wanted a camera that could take endless photographs. Businesses, noting this need, used the emerging technology to answer their customer cries. Thus, creating digital cameras and changing the face of photography forever.

Let’s get this out of the way early. There was no comparison between shooting digital and shooting film. After the first generations with their inevitable teething problems and huge price tag,  photography became incredibly easy with digital. Instant feedback told you whether you had the shot or not. You were not limited by 24 or 36 exposures (or less if you shot medium format). Lastly, after the initial outlay, photography became much cheaper as there were simply no processing bills.

Depending on whom you ask, the digital evolution is either the moment someone got into photography or the beginning of the decline. However, let’s think back a little. If you had shot wet plates, imagine how easy those punks using 35mm film had it.

Imagine when autofocus cameras meant you no longer needed the skill of manual focus? Well, that is just ridiculous! Imagine a flash that didn’t need the incredibly dangerous use of flash powder for goodness sakes. The ability to refocus after the photo is in its infancy, but I can see it being a mainstay of every camera in less than ten years.

Technology helps make life better for humans. The most common way to make things better is often making things easier. In the modern world, we adapt quickly and then quickly rely on the new tech we use. It becomes part of our lives and frees up vital brain space. Every photography innovation, from the first camera onwards, has been about making it easier to preserve a moment in time.

Remember when we only had 18 megapixels, or 12, or six! How did we manage with only nine autofocus points rather than focus points over the entire sensor? Focus points that you don’t really need to use because the camera finds the eyes of humans (or animals), locks on, and all you need to do is decide which eye you want in focus.

I mean imagine how photojournalists in the ’80s would react to a modern digital camera? Moving even further back, imagine telling painters in the 1500s that one day there would be a box that captured the image of the person in minute detail and all you needed to do was to allow light into a box?

I remember the first 0.5MP digital camera I ever used. It was like magic. You could see the photograph instantly, and you never needed to pay for the processing. I was hooked instantly. Even though I had a crappy job, I saved hard for a digital point and shoot and began capturing photos again. I occasionally shot on an SLR camera, but could rarely afford to buy film and process it. I even took a night school class to get access to a darkroom and shot everything in black and white.

The Pentax 3-Megapixel camera I had been saving for months to own, changed my world. The quality wasn’t as good. I had no control over the shutter speed or aperture, but I could take photos. Hundreds of them. All the time. It was life-changing. I had moved more into film making, but this digital camera brought me back. I got hooked again. If it were not for that 0.5 Megapixel camera I got to use in my job, I would probably not even be writing this.

Is Photography Becoming too Easy - Lancaster bomber coming inn to land

The right place, the right time, but only a phone and no DSLR. Yet I still get an image like this.

Does gear make you a better Photographer?

We are photographers, and we love to lust over gear. The newest this, the better that. Camera companies spend millions trying to persuade us that we need new gear. Will the latest Sony with the mind-blowing eye autofocus really make your photos better? No. Will it make them easier? Undoubtedly, yes.

But, thanks to another wonderful technological invention – the internet – many of us spend more time talking about megapixels than actually using them.

We are as guilty as the influencers who “don’t even use a real camera” because we are the opposite. Instead, we sit pixel peeping the corner sharpness at four million percent and then badmouth how a manufacturer could release such a piece of crap.

A phone camera can take the most breathtaking image, worthy of an art gallery. Conversely, a multi-megapixel medium format camera with the best lens can take a snapshot.

Is Photography Becoming too Easy 3

50 years ago this photo was shot on a modified film camera. Gear does not matter as much as you think. Image courtesy of NASA.

Digital makes it easy, but so much harder to stand out

Estimates suggest that over one trillion photographs were taken in 2018 (if you want to see the zeros, one trillion is 1,000,000,000,000). Ninety-five million photos get uploaded to Instagram every day. Add to that the three hundred hours of footage uploaded to YouTube every minute and the number of photographs and videos we are producing is simply staggering. Now whilst you cannot deny that digital made this possible, digital has also made it much harder to stand out.

Camera manufacturers are great at making people believe that they are artists – that everyone has an amazing movie. In the same way that everyone has a great novel, song, or painting inside of them begging to get out. In reality, that isn’t the truth. Photography (to me at least) is art. And art is, for better or worst, elitist.

Some people are not great artists and some are not great songwriters. And many people are not great photographers.

The problem is, with so much poor and average stuff out there, how do you get to see the good stuff? In some cases, you don’t. There are photographers out there, who are taking photographs that are simply some of the best ever taken. However, we will never see them. There are filmmakers out there creating short films that should see them breaking down the doors of Hollywood, but they don’t. Instead, our feeds are filled up with yet more cat memes and average photos we have seen thousands of times before.

We are drowning in content.

It is to the point where photography seems to be a popularity contest, rather than about artistry.

Look at how Canon treated Yvette Roman because she didn’t have 50,000 followers or more on YouTube. Let that sink in. A photographer whose style they loved for a job, who they agreed to hire, was replaced simply due to her lack of numbers. That shows you how companies want to hire photographers who can use their social channels to add to the marketing campaign.

We live in the influencer age, where amazing photographers are turned down for jobs due to not having followers. On the flip side of that, someone who only uses their phone for photography can be given thousands for merely showing that they use a particular piece of gear. They travel the world for free simply because they are popular on Instagram.

This system makes perfect sense when looked at from a marketing perspective. However, these platforms are where most of us spend our time and where we discover new content. Therefore, algorithms now control the amount of photography we get exposed to.

An algorithm doesn’t care about quality; it cares about metrics. The aim is to find popular content and put it out there for more people to find. Does this mean that photography is being reduced to likes? In many ways, yes, but it also shows the power of a story.

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My 6-year-old took this photo. Sharp, well exposed and decent color. Not even a DSLR, just a compact.

A camera does not know how to tell a story yet

We live in an age where you can throw your work out for all the world to see. The level of photography has never been higher. I can give my six-year-old a camera, and he can take sharp, well-exposed photos, telling the stories of his lego figures. But a camera, in fact, no technology, can yet create an image that tells a story.

A great photograph always tells a story. It makes us want to know more about the moment. It allows us to create our own story based on what we see in the image and our world view. The story I see in a photograph will be different from yours. In fact, you may hate a photograph I love and vice versa.

This is simply not possible with even the greatest camera. There is no Ai that will pick the perfect moment for you to click the shutter button. Yes, cameras may do 20 frames per second or more, but even then, you cannot continually record every second of the day. You need to find the angle, frame your subject in the way that tells your story and then press the shutter. Really, the technical aspect (no matter how much the camera companies persuade us otherwise) is not where the photograph is made. It is not in the corner sharpness – many great photos are not sharp. It is the story you tell.

The story is what you need to learn. Telling a story is hard. It has always been hard, and technology is nowhere near being able to do it for us.

You make the decisions before you press the shutter. You use the light, the subject, and find the angle. Then you open a box and let in some light for a little bit. It has always been the same. It’s just that technology over the years has made it easier to let the light in the box and get the image sharp if that is important to you.

Is Photography Becoming too Easy - Guitarist playing solo

No matter what the camera, knowing the moment to press the shutter is still a skill that is not computer controlled, yet.

The future

I am sure you all saw it? It finally happened – a couple hired a robot to shoot their wedding! Yes, I know it is just a photo-booth style alternative for now, but it does hint to the future. Are we going to be used to weddings where drones automatically take photographs that are better than a human can capture? Photographs that can then be instantly customized by the bride and groom at the touch of a button (or voice command)? Will this mean that people will become obsolete in many photography fields? Will they only need a device; a robot?

Will my future as a photography business owner involve owning several robots? The ten-year-old version of me prays that this is true.  Alternatively, will people not need to hire anyone? Perhaps photography will be built into their daily devices? Will we become so vain that a device follows us around capturing our daily lives and then picks the best moments via an algorithm to share on social media for us? (Let’s hope not! – Editor)

What do you think? Share your comments with us below.

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The post Is Photography Becoming too Easy? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

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Want The Perks Of Marriage Without Really Being Married? Here Are Some Reasons To Consider A Domestic Partnership

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domestic partnership

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Getting married is a financial and logistical nightmare. Sure, doing a lot of emotional dancing with sparklers at an open bar looks fun on Instagram.

But the horror stories I’ve heard from friends involving the planning and jacked up prices on literally everything from the tablecloths to phallic-shaped cake as soon as someone breathes the word “wedding” is enough to make you embrace celibacy in a van down by the river. (At least for the weekend, which you’ll later explain away as a “writing retreat.”)

Thanks to Millennial student debt and stagnating salaries while the cost of everything around us rises, people are going so far as to take out wedding loans WITH UP TO A 30% INTEREST RATE.

I’m sorry, but going into deep debt over fleeting societal pressures is a dumbass move. And this is from someone who frequently, drunkenly eBay bids out of spite.

What’s more, even though Millennials are getting divorced less frequently than past generations because we’re taking longer to find partners instead of settling down with the first person that didn’t run when they saw us naked—divorce is not a fun option.

There’s the emotional trial of attempting to split up two lives, plus the financial repercussions, even with a prenup.

The latter being a former paramour’s favorite topic, as he railed against how they failed to protect your assets after the beginning of the marriage.

Clearly, we’re no longer together, and he bought a bigger boat.

So, what if you’re living with a sig other and don’t want to get married quite yet, but wouldn’t mind legally reaping the benefits of a shared lease?

Primarily, if you want your partner’s health insurance while you’re freelancing or between jobs. Enter the glory of the domestic partnership!

A domestic partnership is recognized by law, and it’ll buy you time if you’re on the fence about marriage either to your current partner, or the concept as a whole.

Domestic partnerships definitely skew towards the practical side, and it requires necessary paperwork, a quick jaunt to the county clerk’s office, proof of a cosigned lease, and a bank account with a certain amount sitting in it. (Which, if you’re living with someone, isn’t a bad idea, to begin with anyway, so you’re not constantly fighting over splitting bills.)

In New York, it costs a cool $35, the same as a marriage license, if your city or state recognizes a domestic partnership.

There are some drawbacks to a domestic partnership.

First, your location might not recognize it, so you’ll have to do some digging on your respective area.

And if you’re looking for legal rights in your relationship, you’ll have to look outside the domestic partnership for the following paperwork:

  • Living Together Agreement
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care
  • Power of Attorney for Finances
  • Hospital Visitation Authorization
  • Living Wills or Directive to Physicians
    Wills
  • Living (Revocable) Trusts
  • Legal Precautions for Partners who Parent

Plus, according to Bankrate, “Unlike insurance benefits granted to married individuals, contributions made for employees who elect to participate in the Domestic Partner benefits plan are considered taxable income by the federal government — unless those receiving benefits meet the definition of “dependent” under the Internal Revenue Code (receiving half of his/her support from the taxpayer).”

In short, you’re not going to get state or federal tax benefits.

Another thing to remember—many jurisdictions phased out domestic partnerships laws after the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry (about damn time).

Some lawmakers concluded that domestic partnerships were unnecessary, now that people are free to marry those they love.

“Ehhhhh,” you may still be saying. “I’m not sure if I want a hardcore legal document binding me to my S.O.”

Well, first of all, you should reevaluate your relationship, and domestic partnership “termination” documents only cost $27 and require one of you to show up to the county clerk’s office (at least in New York).

It’ll probably be easier than splitting up your barware or rapidly expanding succulents collection.

Domestic partnerships may not be the most romantic move, but at least you two can now visit the doctor’s office, together.

***

Order Sarah Solomon’s “Guac Is Extra But So Am I: The Reluctant Adult’s Handbook” through Amazon here, or anywhere books are sold. 

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Cockroaches Are Starting To Become Immune To Insecticides As If We Didn’t Already Have Enough To Worry About

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cockroaches becoming resistant to insecticides

Pixabay

I’ve lived in New York City for over five years and I’ll admit the adjustment period is a long and never-ending one, as there are plenty of issues I’ve had to deal with here that I never really encountered in the other places I’ve resided before—especially as far as living situations are concerned.

In the first apartment I lived in, I had to take my pants off and put one foot in the bathtub if I wanted to sit on the toilet, and while looking for a second, I had a realtor attempt to explain to me why having a shower in the kitchen is actually a good thing (“Just think of how much quicker it will be to fill up pots with water!”).

However, nothing truly sums up the NYC experience better than my third apartment, a clichély cramped studio with a rattling radiator, a beautiful view of a brick wall, and a sofa that doubled as a massage chair whenever the subway passed by.

While this isn’t a problem unique to New York, I also had some uninvited roommates in the form of the cockroaches that routinely scuttered around the apartment.

Despite my best efforts (and the efforts of the exterminator who got to know me on a first-name basis), I was never really able to rid myself of the pests, and if a new paper is to be believed, I might have finally figured out the horrifying reason why.

According to Complex, Satan’s little helpers are apparently developing an immunity to insecticides at an alarming rate based on a study that was conducted in apartments throughout the United States over a six month period.

The scientists harnessed three different types of poison to determine their effectiveness and discovered they did almost nothing to combat infestations, with some locations even seeing a spike in the cockroach population.

Micahel Scharf, who co-authored the study, implied we’re all fucked, saying:

“We didn’t have a clue that something like that could happen this fast.

Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

I guess I’ll just stick with my preferred New York-inspired method of execution: wailing at them with a Timberland and hoping I don’t dent the wall (again).

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America’s phone-obsessed teens are always multitasking, and it’s starting to cost them

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Gen Z TECH 2x1 THUMB

  • Generation Z spends a lot of time looking at screens. In a Business Insider survey of more than 1,800 Americans between the ages of 13 and 21, more than half said that their favorite pastime includes using some form of technology, whether it’s watching Netflix or scrolling through social feeds.
  • All this screen time has enabled a culture of multitasking wherein young people are always doing at least two things at once.
  • Teens acknowledge that multitasking is often not very effective. Still, they worry about missing out.
  • Several teens who spoke with us expressed a longing for interpersonal connection that cannot be replicated through the internet.
  • At the same time, Gen Zers are finding that many opportunities have opened to them thanks to the internet and the accessibility of information.

Jess Gallo, 19, doesn’t want to be obsessed with her phone, but she can’t help herself.

"I wish we were less connected," the freshman at New Jersey’s Montclair State University said.

"If we’re going to watch a movie on the laptop, this one’s on their phone, this one’s eating, this one’s listening to music or watching a video," Gallo said. "There’s always so much going on. I get sensory overload. I’ve just got to step out of the room for a second. It’s too much."

This sentiment isn’t unique to members of her generation, the tribe of 13- to 21-year-olds known as Generation Z. Many of today’s youth are finding that technology has grown to dominate their free time.

We surveyed 1,884 people in the US between the ages of 13 and 21. The national poll was conducted January 11-14 with SurveyMonkey Audience partner Cint on behalf of Business Insider.

According to the survey, Gen Z’s favorite pastimes are dominated by screens. When asked what they do most often to blow off steam, about 26% said they watch TV or Netflix, 22.5% said they watch YouTube, 15.6% said they play video games, and nearly 9% said they go on social media. These responses handily beat out other options such as reading or doing something outdoors.

But teens know they have a tech addiction problem. And they want to break the habit.

There are more than 24 hours in a teenager’s day

While the mix of tech-based hobbies varies — some Gen Zers watch more Netflix, some play more "Fortnite" — use of online video, social media, and video games has been on the rise, according to trends in Piper Jaffray’s "Taking Stock of Teens" survey, which has been administered to 8,000 teens twice a year since 2001.

A Pew Research Center survey of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 found that about 45% said they use the internet "almost constantly." Some 44% said they go online several times a day.

But with only 24 hours in a day, how can teens be devoting more time to their screens and fit in work, school, and other responsibilities? The answer lies in an intense culture of multitasking wherein teens are almost never doing just one thing at a time.

"Teens, in this case, are using … a kind of multitasking of time allocation so that that overlap of various services almost results in there being more than 24 hours in a day on a usage basis," Mike Olson, a senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, told Business Insider.

That could mean streaming shows on a laptop while browsing Instagram or texting while having dinner. Some put Netflix on while they’re doing homework.

Nicole Jimenez, a 20-year-old sophomore at Rutgers University, said she multitasks all the time.

"A lot of people I know multitask," Jimenez said. "Especially in lectures — you can see the amount of people below you and what they’re doing on their laptop, and for the most part it’s not taking notes."

If you don’t have an iPhone, you get left behind

For teens, iPhones rule the roost. About 83% of teens surveyed by Piper Jaffray said they owned an iPhone. These teens came of age just as the iPhone effectively became a requirement instead of a luxury. The median age of Gen Z is 17, meaning they were 10 when the iPhone was just starting to become adopted by the masses.

"It’s ridiculous how strong it continues to be," Olson said.

In Business Insider’s survey, the iPhone’s dominance was less pronounced, but Apple devices still commanded a strong majority, with 46% of respondents saying they used an iOS phone or tablet to answer the questions. Some 36% used an Android-powered phone or tablet to take the survey, and 11% used a Windows desktop or laptop.

iPhone ownership is so culturally powerful that those who don’t have the devices are sometimes ostracized. "If you don’t have an iPhone it’s kind of frowned upon," Liane Lopez, an 18-year-old high-school senior in New Jersey, said.

If you don’t have an iPhone, you’re not getting added to group chats. That seems really mean, but it’s difficult to group-text people if they don’t have an iPhone.

People who don’t have an iPhone are sometimes seen as "people who want to be different," Mason O’Hanlon, a 19-year-old sophomore at Babson College, said. O’Hanlon estimated that 90% of the people he knows have iPhones.

iPhone are not cheap: The least expensive model that Apple sells is $450. And this may cause class stratification, as not having an iPhone can lead to social friction.

"If you don’t have an iPhone, you’re not getting added to group chats," Jimenez said. "That seems really mean, but it’s difficult to group-text people if they don’t have an iPhone."

Some experts blame the rise of smartphones for fueling the multitasking culture.

"The ability to participate in most of these activities, with an additional device beyond your TV or your PC, has had a huge impact on multitasking, and therefore consumption of more media or content," Olson said.

O’Hanlon agrees: "The sole reason people multitask is the accessibility of the iPhone."

Teens who spoke with Business Insider said they recognized that multitasking was not efficient. "It doesn’t really work out that well," Jimenez said. Experts say that trying to process two or more things at once may not even really be possible. "Multitasking is a myth," Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at the San Diego State University, told Business Insider.

Twenge is the author of "iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us," published in 2018. "We know from cognitive psychology that the human brain can’t actually consciously focus on more than one thing at a time," she said.

Teens fear they will miss out if they aren’t on their phones

So why do teens feel the pressure to do multiple things at once?

Teens "feel like they’re missing out on something" if they’re not, O’Hanlon said. Devices are where the community is and where the cultural conversation is happening.

"Even the kids who are using social media responsibly, or even choosing not to use it all, are impacted because then they’re still left out," Twenge said. "It’s almost an impossible choice."

Gen Zers said this phenomenon even extends to times when they are not alone, but hanging out with friends. These young people worry their peers are not really engaged in interpersonal communication, and it’s affecting their relationships.

"Something my generation struggles with is that being with people and being on the phone at the same time is a huge problem," Lopez said. "It’s a huge problem because they’re doing two things, but they’re not really engaged."

"People in our generation are the worst listeners," O’Hanlon said. "I have to repeat myself. Day to day, it can be pretty frustrating."

There’s an idea that online interaction leads to tighter interpersonal connections, as most contact among teens online happens between friends who know each other already — that all the chatting on "Fortnite" and in-group iMessage threads are fostering social connection.

But it hasn’t been borne out in psychological research. Instead, teens are trading in-person interaction for time on social media and other online venues.

"In-person, face-to-face interaction is one of the things that declined as digital-media use and electronic communication increased," Twenge said. "The shift away from face-to-face interaction and toward digital media led to less social connection, not more, at least in terms of feelings of loneliness and social isolation."

The internet has an upside

Twenge said the findings do not mean that social media is "all bad." Online platforms can be as helpful as they are harmful, and some savvy teens are finding ways to harness the internet’s power.

Amanda Steele, 19, has used social media to her advantage, building a community of 2.7 million YouTube subscribers and a place where she could be herself.

"This was a time for me where I didn’t really have friends or anyone to talk to about all things beauty and fashion," Steele told Business Insider. "Success for me was having an audience that just cared about the things I did. YouTube was just a home and escape for me. Somewhere I could truly be myself."

As much time as they spend on their screens, members of Gen Z want those outside of their generation to know they are more than that.

"There’s a strong perception that they’re just on their phone all the time, and that’s the way they like it, and that they’re not self-aware," Twenge said. "But they are. They are fully aware of the downsides of the technology-saturated world they are living in."

Teens feel disempowered to battle the glowing lure of screens as the relentless wave of technological innovation marches on.

For Gallo, this complicated relationship with technology hits close to home.

"It’s ironic because my dad’s a network engineer and works with computers and technology," Gallo said. "Sometimes I have problems with it. I feel like we have too much of a reliance on technology. And we don’t really appreciate the value of books or interpersonal communication."

Join the conversation about this story »

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A documentary on Dresden’s techno scene, now free to watch

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Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne … try Dresden. Rauschen im Tal, a documentary of the emergence of Dresden electronic music, struck a nerve and sold out theaters. And now it’s free to watch (in German, with English subtitles).

Here’s the original trailer for the film, though you get mainly disembodied male voices there:

From the producers’ description:

The noise of a city opens up only to those who are completely immersed. In the early 90s, a new sound appeared. It was an uncompromising electrical noise. Someone said, “This is techno!” At that time, a multitude of people – around this new sound – discovered a new cosmos. The city’s eclectic party life made Dresden a Techno stronghold in the East. Since then, an active music scene developed, an almost 30-year-old culture of electronic music in Saxony’s capital with more than 20 record labels and about two dozen dance clubs.

A new cosmos, indeed.

Also nice – the music takes long breaks to just play tracks, with track IDs – plus some nice interpretive dancing. It’s ideal chill-out watching, a documentary on music that has actual music in it. (The lineup is pretty boy heavy; I’m curious to get feedback from my German neighbors on that and other elements. But it’s still a great introduction.)

This quote: “The best parties I ever played, as far as Europe is concerned, is in Dresden – because I never had to … conform myself to a certain style.” -Melvin Oliphant III. Cough, Berlin, cough. Something to consider.

The full documentary makes a nice watch for exploring the darker corners of Germany’s electronic underground. And of course, as usual, the answer to where “techno” as we now know it came from – Germany or Detroit (or Latin America, or wherever you like) is – yes. All of that. Pairing that often wild and disconnected German identity with the far-off pioneers of America’s scene (and progenitors of ‘techno’ as genre) makes that experience richer. Now as many of those Detroit legends haunt the streets of Berlin, perhaps it’s the perfect time to understand the world of Germany’s own fringe culture, and the unprecedented big bang as a nation was put back together from two pieces, against the collapse of an entire political-economic regime and the global ripples it caused. It says something about Americans that the people pushed out of our own culture were able to find new opportunities and kindred spirits on the other side of the world.

And, actually, maybe the best way to escape techno as history museum is to actually learn the history.

The film, from creators Roman Schlaack, Denis Wrobel, and Thamash Kestawitz, runs just over an hour and a half.

Enjoy!

DE:

Das Rauschen einer Stadt erschließt sich nur demjenigen der ganz eintaucht. Anfang der 90er Jahre tauchte ein neues Geräusch auf. Es war ein kompromissloses elektrisches Geräusch. Irgendjemand sagte: „Das ist Techno!“ Damals eröffnete sich für eine Vielzahl von Menschen – um diesen neuen Klang herum – ein eigener Kosmos. Der vielseitige Partyalltag ließ Dresden zu einer Techno-Hochburg im Osten avancieren. Seitdem entwickelte sich eine aktive Musikszene, eine fast 30 Jahre existierende Kultur der elektronischen Musik in der Sächsischen Hauptstadt mit über 20 Plattenlabels und gut zwei dutzend Tanzklubs.

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The OP-Z now samples, too, in Teenage Engineering software update

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The OP-Z is the aggressively minimalist, love it-or-hate-it compact synth. But now an update makes it make way more sense – with sampling available, this pint sized synth turns into the instrument it was meant to be.

Teenage Engineering have always said the OP-Z isn’t a replacement for the Teenagers’ original OP-1. Instead, it’s a … successor that comes after the OP-1, builds on the OP-1 features, and at first was available in place of the OP-1, which was initially not available and now is available but prohibitively expensive.

Okay, whatever. The OP-Z is totally a replacement for the OP-1, with some new ideas and form factor and no more screen. But that’s great, actually. To the extent the OP-Z pisses off and confuses some consumers, it does so even more than the OP-1 initially did.

And what’s the point of having a compact, candy bar-shaped synth that obviously resembles a Casio CZ-1 if it doesn’t sample?

Adding sampling to the OP-Z means you can really make it your own, mangling sounds through its grungy but expressive interface. All that minimalism may lessen the value of this device for some, but for those willing to throw themselves into the workflow, it’s liberating – the portability and lack of distraction or surface complexity propelling your musical imagination somewhere different.

Or not. Because I think the thing that’s lovely about Teenage Engineering is that their synths don’t have to please everyone – they’re willing to please some people more while pleasing other people less.

But the bottom line is, this is the update that brings the OP-Z in line with its initial promise and what the OP-1 could do. Once you learn the shortcuts and use the force, you might not even miss the display (though the iPhone/iPad app is there, at least while you memorize the layout).

Sampling also lets this double as an audio interface. I still think you’ll want the oplab module for I/O, and I wish they’d just make that standard. But if you’re willing to splurge on an idiosyncratic device, there’s nothing quite like the OP-Z.

In this update:

new sampling mode

2 channel audio interface

full OP-1 sample format support (pitch, gain, playmode, reverse)

improved stability

support importing raw samples to drum tracks

apply track gain before fx sends

don’t allow copying empty steps
restart arpeggio with TRACK + PLAY on arpeggio track
don’t trigger gate step component if track is muted
toggle headset input with SCREEN + SHIFT

send clock out if enabled even though midi out is disabled
don’t loose clock sync when switching project via pattern change
fix broken parameter spark random setting
fix force save not working on project 1
fix inverted headphone gain levels dep. on impedance

note!
this firmware adds support for the gain, play direction and playmode settings of the OP-1 sample format. in older firmwares, these settings were ignored. this might lead to your patterns sounding different if you are using custom samplepacks. the most likely culprit will be the playmode setting. the OP-1 defaults to GATE, while the OP-Z used to treat everything as RETRIG. Adjust your playmode setting on each sample to RETRIG, to get it sounding like before.
if your track levels change due to the gain setting, either adjust the track volume, or adjust the per sample gain value.

Here’s the original OP-1 sampling feature, explained:

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