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'Lord of the Rings' litter box lets your cat poop in Middle-earth - CNET

Hollywood prop maker Tim Baker and team build an amazing Hobbit-hole litter box and Tower of Sauron cat scratching post for a super fan and his kitties.

A son gave his parents an envelope for Christmas that left them in tears

This simple present changed his parents' lives.

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1
We spent Christmas at the Alamo Drafthouse's screening of The Interview

Once inside the theater, we are greeted with an array of little American flags and even more news cameras. The place is in a tizzy. Reporters awkwardly push their cameras in the faces of people in their seats, waiting for the movie. Conveniently, the bright lights from the cameras help illuminate the drink menu a little better. I opt for a Bloody Mary in lieu of their drink special, the "Supreme Leader Rita", because it's only 1 p.m., and I have class. I quickly become distracted by Seth Rogen and James Franco's "Bound 2" parody, which is quickly followed by a series of North Korean anti-United States biological warfare children's cartoons.

2
LG Headquarters Just Got Raided After Some Employees Allegedly Banged Up Some Samsung Washing Machines

REUTERS/Vincent West SEOUL (Reuters) - Prosecutors raided the headquarters of LG Electronics on Friday as part of a probe into whether the South Korean company had damaged the washing machines of rival Samsung Electronics at retail stores in Germany, LG said.

3
Microsoft Apps Hub | Digital Trends

Upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1With the number of apps on Windows Phone Store reaching well into the six figures, there’s no shortage of content to run on your Windows Phone. You won’t have to suffer through any Pandora-less subway rides…

4
Viewers Worldwide Are Torrenting ‘The Interview’ Despite U.S.-Only Release

Yesterday, Sony made “The Interview” available online through Google Play, YouTube Movies, and Xbox Video. Unfortunately, the film was restricted to the U.S. only, so viewers in other countries either had to celebrate Christmas with a Yule Log video or run off to a torrent site.

5
Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are having problems on Christmas Day

Reports have been flowing in on Twitter today that Xbox Live and PlayStation Network — the online services connecting Microsoft's and Sony's game consoles — are experiencing outages. Occasional downtime is par for the course for both, but Christmas Day is a particularly bad time, just as hundreds of thousands of PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones are unwrapped and set up.

6
The best games for your new Android phone or tablet

Android gets a bad rap for not having as many good games as iOS, and while it’s true that the platform hasn’t yet closed the gap, there are still plenty of great games to be had. But if you just want our favorites for this year — from a zenlike strategy game to monster-punch madness — we’ve collected them all right here.

7
Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

December 2014 American technology companies want the government to make immigration easier because they say they can't find enough programmers in the US. Anti-immigration people say that instead of letting foreigners take these jobs, we should train more Americans to be programmers. Who's right? The technology companies are right. What the anti-immigration people don't understand is that there is a huge variation in ability between competent programmers and exceptional ones, and while you can train people to be competent, you can't train them to be exceptional. Exceptional programmers have an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training. [1] The US has less than 5% of the world's population. Which means if the qualities that make someone a great programmer are evenly distributed, 95% of great programmers are born outside the US. The anti-immigration people have to invent some explanation to account for all the effort technology companies have expended trying to make immigration easier. So they claim it's because they want to drive down salaries.

8
1,400 Free Ebooks and Movies For Your Kindle or iPad

If you got a new ereader or tablet for Christmas—or if you have an old one that needs an infusion—Amazon and Apple would be happy to sell you ebooks and movies to fill it. Or you could just load up on these free goodies instead.

9
MIT unifies Web development in a single, speedy new language

“In Ur/Web, everything is based on transactions, where a single client request is handled by what looks like an uninterrupted execution of a single function,” Chlipala said. “The language implementation has optimizations in it to support running many requests in parallel, on real servers. But the programmer can pretend everything is a transaction and think in a simpler concurrency model.”

10
Kodak's finally making smartphones (sort of)

For a while there it looked like Kodak's moment had come and gone, but the past few months have seen the imaging icon fight back from the brink of irrelevance . Now the company's planning to push a Kodak-branded smartphone, and thankfully it's not going to sue everyone in the business along the way this time. To be clear, Kodak won't actually make its own devices -- instead, it's going to farm out most of the development work to an English company called Bullitt (you know, the people behind those uber-rugged Caterpillar phones ). Oh, and it won't look anything like the mockup you see above... we hope.

11
The Interview is YouTube's most popular video right now

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12
Kodak is launching a line of Android smartphones in 2015

Kodak has announced that it’s licensing its name to a range of mobile devices that make it easier to print and share images. The company’s first smartphone will be unveiled at CES in January followed by a "4G handset, a tablet, and a connected camera" arriving in the second half of 2015. The actual hardware will be built by  Bullitt Group , an English company that makes a range of  ultra-rugged smartphones for construction company Caterpillar and claims to create products "using the unadulterated DNA of the brands we work with."

13
The Legend of Korra: Book Four Review - IGN

But looking at Book Four, it was a bit odd -- I never really saw it as the last chapter in the series. To me, it felt more like an epilogue to Book Three (even though Book Three had ended on a huge cliffhanger). When talking about it, I described Book Four as kind of like the Appendices in Return of the King -- more of a postscript than its own thing. Here, we learned what the characters had been up to for the past three years, with a new threat emerging from the fall of Zaheer, and that all tied into the Avatar's return to prominence. In a nutshell, Book Four was all about setting things right. It was aftermath, resolution. An epilogue. At least, that's the way I saw it.

14
The Galaxy Note 4 Vs. The iPhone 6 Plus: Fight!

The winner in this small showdown is the Galaxy Note 4. Having used both I still prefer Apple – after all, Cupertino might take away my Apple-branded helicopter and pony farm if I badmouth them – but if you are looking for a huge phone with a great screen, the Note 4 is well worth a look. I think, in the end, you need to assess why you’re looking for a bigger phone. I’ve found that the 6 Plus acts as a sort of iPad Micro and, since I love iOS, I enjoy using everything I understand and love in a smaller size. That said, the Galaxy Note 4 is great for folks who would like to take notes using their phone, folks who might not be able to handle a bigger screen but still prefer one, and folks who are looking for anything but iPhone. I’m happy to recommend the Galaxy Note 4 and it is still a solid contender in the phablet space.

15
How to use a Fitbit with Apple Health

From there, it’s straightforward. First, sync the Fitbit app with your Fitbit tracker to get your data into the system. Then, open up Sync Solver. It will prompt you to import the data from your Fitbit app by logging in, and it will automatically sync it with the Apple Health app.

16
What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

Do the worst first is a saying I'd heard before. I agree with the exercise or meditation as a starter. I use "mindful" exercise. As I bike , I practice mindfulness with every rotation of my feet. I use the same principal with weights and floor exercises--total focus on the workout and my "place" in it. Following, I do my "Writer's Commute." As a work -at-home writer, I don't have to fight traffic but I use that time to get the busy work out of the way. I thank new Twitter followers and post a positive message for the day; I deal with my fortunately short list need-to-do emails; I pass quickly through my FB author site with a few responses; I read 3 informative blogs (like this one) and comment. By then my first cup of coffee is finished, my brain is free of temptation to hit the social media and I'm read to work. This two part start to my morning works well for me. I published two books this year already among other things.

17
Why we need to slow down our lives

Some people, if they can afford it, try to acquire a place in the country or a second home; I’ve always thought it easier to make a second house in the week — especially if, like most of us, you lack the funds for expensive real estate. These days, in the age of movement and connection, space, as Marx had it in another context, has been annihilated by time; we feel as though we can make contact with almost anywhere at any moment. But as fast as geography is coming under our control, the clock is exerting more and more tyranny over us. And the more we can contact others, the more, it sometimes seems, we lose contact with ourselves. When I left New York City for the backstreets of Japan, I figured I’d be growing poorer in terms of money, amusements, social life, and obvious prospects, but I’d be richer in what I prize most: days and hours.

18
Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model.

Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she's tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.

19
How to live passionately—no matter your age

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.

20
The Most Powerful TED Talks of 2014

What were the most powerful ideas of 2014? Watch our 8-minute highlight reel of the Year in Ideas — and dive into this interactive playlist of great talks from the past year.

21
All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

22
Buddha Had It Right: Relax The Mind And Productivity Will Follow

It’s been said that the only two jobs of a Zen monk are sitting zazen (meditation) and sweeping. Cleaning is one of the daily rituals of a Zen monk, one of their most important daily practices. They sweep or rake, and they try to do nothing else in that moment. The next time you’re doing housework, try concentrating on the housework—on the dust, on the motion, on the sensation. Cooking and cleaning are often seen as boring chores, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness—something I ritualistically try to do at least once or twice a week. Sounds simple—but it’s actually pretty hard—go ahead and try it.

23
This Animated Short Cleverly Reveals The Truth About Addiction And It's Devastating

"Nuggets" is a five-minute animation that surfaced online back in October but has suddenly gained millions of YouTube views in the past week. Created by German animation studio, Film Bilder, the video begins with an adorable kiwi bird casually strolling along before stumbling upon a golden nugget. The bird's interest is piqued and so he ingests the liquid inside. It's instant euphoria, and with it, the kiwi can suddenly fly for a short while. As anyone who's ever had any golden nuggets of their own can attest, what happens after he finds the next one is not the same. It doesn't last as long, and the landing is more of crash. Nevertheless, now the bird is no longer casually strolling, but running to get the next hit—with ever-diminishing returns.

24
Holiday eating: Why you feel so lousy after a huge holiday meal

For instance, regular exercisers who work out 12 or fewer hours before a big meal fare better than others. Their bodies tend to have a more sensitive insulin response, allowing them to more efficiently process the excess carbs, and a more robust circulatory system to weather the influx of fat circulating in blood. What can you do after the deed is done? Don’t lie down, or many of these problems may be exacerbated. Helping to clean up the post-dinner mess would be a 170-calorie-per-hour head start on recovering from the feast.

25
Unexpected Life Found In The Ocean's Deepest Trench

Once on the bottom, they waited and watched. And they got some big surprises. "We saw the deepest living fish ever recorded," says Drazen. "Definitely something new. We took one look at the thing and were amazed — big, wide, winglike fins, this eel-like tail and this scalloped face. It was very unique." They nicknamed it the "ghost fish" for its almost translucent skin. It appears to be a new species of snailfish — living 5 miles below the surface.

26
A broken body isn't a broken person

Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

27
Your Windowless Cubicle Is Doing Horrible Things For Your Sleep And Mental Health

For this study, researchers evaluated 20 women in a workspace for a week. Half of them worked near a window. The other half did not.

28
4 Habits of People Who Follow Their Dreams

Yet some of us follow those childhood dreams no matter what. They ignore the naysayers. They don’t take "no" for an answer. And they do what it takes to make it work. Here are four famous people who followed the calling they had as a child and the habits they had that kept them going.

29
This Lingerie Company A/B Tests The World's Hottest Women To See Who Makes You Click "Buy"

A/B testing takes more resources because it requires at least two of everything. At the all-day event, Adore Me photographs between 30 and 40 new looks that will debut on the site the next month. For every bra and underwear set, the company has to ensure it has enough options to test for each garment. Each month, the retailer also reshoots a handful of garments that didn't sell well on the site. Today, Adore Me is testing a new blonde model. While natural blondes make up about 16% of the U.S. population, and gentlemen have been said to prefer them, nobody wants to buy lingerie from them. So far, no one with golden locks has sold well, Hermand-Waiche says.

30
The art of meaningful conversation

You talk to people everyday. But do you really feel like you’re communicating? These talks will help you go beyond small talk, to the conversations that nudge along understanding.

31
Over one-third of new U.S. electricity came from solar this year

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that solar continues to break records. The industry is starting with a pretty small slice of the electricity pie — still less than one percent of total U.S. electricity — and has started booming in recent years. The price of solar panels is at its cheapest time in history, and new types of financing have emerged to help boost solar panel installations on the rooftops of homes and businesses as well as help fund those large ground-mounted solar systems being built in the deserts, with power sold to utilities.

32
The Prison Coding Class That Might Have Inmates Making Six Figures On Their Release

Jones is going through a coding bootcamp, so he will soon have the skills necessary to start working on his app. But the 31-year-old has never actually used a smartphone, and his Internet experience is limited to casual web browsing. He's an inmate at California's San Quentin State Prison—incarcerated since 2006 for assault—who is participating in Code 7370, a six-month intensive computer programming class developed by The Last Mile , a nonprofit program that offers entrepreneurship training for prisoners.

33
The Oral History Of The Poop Emoji (Or, How Google Brought Poop To America)

Ryan: How powerful is it that this language just takes a few marks and all of a sudden a completely new experience is read? It’s not surprising that that comes from languages that have a basis in graphic symbols—from Japan or from China. Those languages are constructed with similar types of images. A tree looks like a tree in Chinese (木), and a forest is multiple trees (森林). It’s very appropriate that we’re following the lead of languages that are more or less graphic. It’s actually really, really powerful. This was not a way to communicate 10 years ago, but now there’s nary an email that I don’t send out without a smiley face or something on it.

34
Goodbye to one of the best years in history - Telegraph

Judging the world through headlines is like judging a city by spending a night in A&E – you only see the worst problems. This may have felt like the year of Ebola and Isil but in fact, objectively, 2014 has probably been the best year in history. Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly. More British soldiers died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme than in every post-1945 conflict put together.

35
23 Things That Didn't Even Exist A Year Ago But Are Absolutely Vital Now

Each year, creative geniuses gift us with amazing new products that change our daily routines. Sometimes these inventions occupy so much of our time we forget that they were just recently not a part of our lives.

36
14 striking findings from 2014

To suggest that MSNBC is more balanced than Fox is ridiculous. Both carry extremist views and neither should ever be used in the same sentence with balanced news. As for CNN, you obviously never served in the Middle East campaigns nor likely ever wore the uniform. In Iraq, U.S. Marines would watch CNN broadcasts for the irony. Most of the time it favored the enemy. For example, U.S. troops would be ambushed and retaliate. CNN would report it as Marines attacking a small village and ignore the fact that the inhabitants provoked the fight. This happened so many times that one began to wonder if CNN was getting money from the other side to propagandize their cause. Aljazeera? Seriously?

37
6 Imaginative Redesigns For The World's Fastest-Growing And Most Unequal Cities

That's why a new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, which shows how six teams of architects and designers tackle the problem of growing income equality in cities from Lagos to New York, is so fascinating. The design teams spent 14 months looking at urban interventions in their own cities, and then used that inspiration to create new visions. "The teams were learning from informality, these spontaneous bottom-up interventions," says curator Pedro Gadanho .

38
4 Habits Of Punctual People

I admit it; I read this article because I am habitually sliding in right on time or a couple minutes late and was hoping for some insight on what I could do differently. However, I am highly organized, very routine-oriented and completely realistic about time. I do enjoy and plan down-time in my day. So reading this, it would seem that one of my problems is not providing myself buffer time and I would completely agree with that. But here's something you didn't mention: I don't like to be early. On occasions when I am early, all I can think about is what I could have been getting done at home. (I am a homemaker and also work from home.) That is usually why I am late, too, come to think of it. I'm always trying to get one more thing done before I leave. I guess maybe that could come under not being realistic about time??

39
39 Blogging Tools to Help You Work Faster

Digg Digg was built by our Buffer engineers a couple years back, and it’s been a staple on the Buffer blog ever since. What we’ve found most helpful with Digg Digg integration is the flexibility of where you can place the share buttons: floating to the left or right of the article, pinned to the top or bottom of a blog post or manually wherever you wish inside your theme.

40
The History Of Web Design Explained In 9 GIFs

CSS. First unleashed in 1998, CSS was the answer to a lot of the design problems of the early web. By seperating the way a site looked from the site's content, designers finally had a technology that allowed them to make a website look exactly the way they wanted, custom-tailored to the device it was being displayed on. The earliest versions of CSS weren't very flexible, but eventually, CSS became the most important technology for designers on the web to master.

41
Undercover Video Reveals Harsh Conditions Inside Apple Supplier Factory

The letter is a lengthy rebuttal to the BBC's claims. For the most part, it focuses largely on issues raised in the BBC's report that are unrelated to factory conditions -- namely, allegations that Apple uses tin from dangerous, illegal mines in Indonesia that exploit child labor. Williams said he was "appalled" by conditions in Indonesia, but that the company wanted to "stay engaged and try to drive a collective solution."

42
13 of the Most Amazing Things Discovered in Space This Year | WIRED

This series of images shows the asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart, as viewed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 2013. This is the first time that such a body has been seen to undergo this kind of break-up. The Hubble observations showed that there are ten distinct objects, each with comet-like dust tails, embedded within the asteroid's dusty envelope. The four largest rocky fragments are up to 200 metres in radius, about twice the length of a football pitch. The date increases from left to right, with frames from 29 October 2013, 15 November 2013, 13 December 2013, and 14 January 2014 respectively, showing how the clumps of debris material move around. The 14 January 2014 frame was not included in the science paper and is additional data.

43
5 Ways To Encourage Kids To Grow Up To Be Innovators

Among the key outcomes at the Children’s Innovation Project so far have been increased fearlessness, especially when it came to taking risks and trying new ways of doing things, Butler says. Children also became better at creative problem solving. Butler says she thinks it’s important to shift the focus when praising children if we want to foster more innovation.

44
13 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Online marketers spend a lot of time demystifying Search Engine Optimization (SEO), from the jargon and rules to new updates and algorithms. As the technology continue to advance, what you might know about SEO a year ago may no longer apply today.

45
The TheTechNewsBlog Daily

The TheTechNewsBlog Daily, by TheTechNewsBlog: updated automatically with a curated selection of articles, blog posts, videos and photos.

46
Borrow These 5 Smart Startup Habits To Maximize Your Productivity

We'd add: do checklist! It increases the productivity (once it's done, you don't need to re-think the task), reduces the bus factor (if you can't do it, give somebody else from your team a try) and what's even more important - forces you to think if the way you are doing something is the best/most efficient way. Here you have an example: https://netguru.co/blog/posts/...

47
Why do we cry? The three types of tears - Alex Gendler

Whether we cry during a sad movie, while chopping onions, or completely involuntarily, our eyes are constantly producing tears. Alex Gendler tracks a particularly watery day in the life of Iris (the iris) as she cycles through basal, reflex and emotional tears.

48
This Futuristic Office Doesn't Have Chairs And Desks

The designers are working with researchers from the University of Groningen to test the room's advantages. "The results will be published next spring," says Rietveld. "But what seems to be a result is that after a day of working, people are more active in their head, but more tired in their body. And that's actually what it's all about—the main goal is to actually put more pressure on your legs during the day, and take different positions. That's what sitting is not doing."

49
Move Over, Millennials: Generation Z Is Entrepreneurial And Plans On Working Independently

These kids are is generally liberal when it comes to some of the social issues of our time. Almost three fourths of respondents believe everyone should have the right to marry and that transgender people should have equal rights. Over half of all respondents think everyone should have the right to become a citizen, and almost two third think that health care should be free for all. It's possible, of course, that this generation will become more socially conservative when it gets older. But overall, Generation Z seems to have a pretty good head on its shoulders.

50
Science-Backed Tactics For Motivating Other People

Your headline doesn't match your content. "THE SECRET TO MOTIVATING PEOPLE AT WORK ISN'T MORE MONEY." vs. "IF PEOPLE ARE PAID ENOUGH TO TAKE MONEY ISSUES OFF THE TABLE, THEY’LL BE ABLE TO FOCUS ON THE WORK AND FIND THE BEST SOLUTIONS, WHICH RESULTS IN HIGHER PERFORMANCE." hmmmmmm...... I assume you see what I mean. I have talked to Pink about this. He never said money doesn't motivate. In fact EVERYTHING in DRIVE is predicated on paying people A LOT OF MONEY so that they will forget about their extrinsic motivations and focus on the intrinsic ones. Both forms of motivation are important. Historically, firms have focused too much (in my opinion) on the extrinsic, and disregarded the intrinsic. Repeat: DRIVE focuses on the importance of intrinsic, but not at the exclusion of extrinsic - in fact, it utterly depends on it.

51 Your body is my canvas
52 12 Stylized Maps That Express The Beauty Of Cities
53 The Best And Worst Branding Of 2014
54 How to recycle your electronics and gadgets - CNET
55 15 gadgets that instantly make cooking more fun
56 17 Tools For Remote Workers
57 Happiness and its surprises
58 5 DIY and safe hangover cures to try this weekend
59 Watching lava fight with snow in Kamchatka
60 Why Successful People Have So Many Groups Of Friends
61 The Not So Silent Office Productivity Killer
62 Coffee Alternatives That Are Better For Productivity
63 Geek Love at 25: How a Freak Family Inspired Your Pop Culture Heroes | WIRED
64 4 Common Word Traps That Can Destroy Your Career
65 Let's revive the Golden Rule
66 People are unwrapping drones for Christmas and it's not going so well
67 Americans Feel Better Informed Thanks to the Internet
68 Finding faster-than-light particles by weighing them
69 Reg Saddler on Twitter
70 The very best of Verge Video in 2014
71 THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL: 2014
72 California gets ready for immigrant driver's licenses
73 A High-Tech Dance Performance Melds Human Bodies With Code | WIRED
74 7 new trailers you should watch this week
75 12 highest moments for marijuana in 2014
76 A Zero-Emissions House That Charges Itself and Your Electric Car Too | WIRED
77 Meeting The Challenges In Mobile Health Innovation
78 7 Habits of Highly Emotionally Intelligent People
79 See Lincoln, JFK, Thatcher, And Other World Leaders As Hipsters
80 Twitter: What to expect in 2015
81 Encrypted email, based in Switzerland.
82 THE PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING REPORT: Real-Time Bidding Is Taking Over The Digital Ad Market
83 The Future Of Wearable Technology Is In The Enterprise (At Least For Now)
84 Why Persona-Based Marketing Will Never be Obsolete
85 How Many G's Did the Millennium Falcon Pull in Empire Strikes Back? | WIRED
86 In Holiday Document Dump, NSA Declassifies Compliance Errors
87 Scientists Use a Shadow Network That's 1000x Faster Than Your Internet
88 Want Your Cookies To Look Really Fancy? Try This 3D Printer
89 12 Days of Tech: The products we truly love this Christmas
90 7 Daily Mantras To Boost Your Productivity
91 Researchers Advance 'Quantum Teleportation'
92 The Greatest Productivity Tool You Never Thought Of: Email Autoresponder
93 The Color Of Your Cup Could Change How Your Coffee Tastes
94 Sony’s smart glass uses regular glasses, aims for sports and work
95 Ikea Reissues Original Midcentury Furniture
96 The State of Consumer Technology at the End of 2014 - stratechery by Ben Thompson
97 Why a good book is a secret door
98 Here are the best after-Christmas deals