Sick of Reading About Millennials? Call Them Snake People Instead With This New App!

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Sick of seeing articles talking about narcissistic millennials? Tired of getting unwanted opinions in your newsfeed about those entitled youths? Annoyed with the media’s portrayal of today’s young adults?

Then get the “Millennials to Snake People” Chrome extension.

Boston-based UX designer Eric Bailey has recently skyrocketed to social media fame after creating the “Millennials to Snake People” Chrome extension, which converts any and all mentions of “millennials” to “snake people.”

“I read one too many listicles, and I was like, this is getting a little weird,” Bailey told Adweek. “I had a free Saturday night, as sad as that sounds, and banged it out in a night.”

It’s easy to read into Bailey’s new extension. Converting mentions of millennials to snake people can definitely be seen as a commentary on how the nation characterizes 20- and 30-somethings, but in actuality, it’s just fun. Why did he choose snake people, specifically then?

“I don’t know,” he told AdWeek. “I’m a huge nerd, so it just seemed funny. The testing was basically a week of giggling straight.”

The project didn’t get much attention during its first few days, but somehow picked up steam somewhere. Soon enough, Bailey saw The Next Web’s tech reporter, Owen Williams, had tweeted a link to it, which in turn had been re-tweeted by famous author William Gibson.

“It’s sort of a lampoon,” he said. “Every generation seems to do this to the generation that comes after it.”

There is a lesson here, though. UX, which Bailey designs, is an integral part of any digital presence. It’s the process of improving a website or app’s usability to enhance user satisfaction. Without a quality UX, companies’ digital counterparts are virtually unusable, and help the competition get ahead.

“This is a product of the eye-rolling that’s happening online with the overuse and under delivery around the ‘Millenial,'” said Tom Ajello, Founder and Creative Director of Makeable. “People are throwing the word around without any commitment when it comes to creating a great user experience for the target. Overall, I’m not surprised that this type of app would appear. There is a massive misconception that The Millennial is a specific ‘bullseye’ of a target demographic. That is just untrue. The target is made up of a vast spectrum of tastes, idiosyncrasies and technical affinities just as any other target [market] one could think of today.”

By creating a quality app that enhances the UX of a popular web browser, Bailey’s gone viral. In other words, content is key for anyone looking to garner some social media fame to help their brand name development.

After all, what content could be better than poking fun at those selfie-taking, latte-sipping, Uggs-wearing snake people?

Shed of the Year Finalists Announced

Almost Complete Wooden Cabin With Window
People all over the world are turning to backyard sheds as more than just a storage space for garden equipment. Whether they want a backyard bar, an art or yoga studio, or just a comfortable place to hang out, homeowners everywhere are turning to the humble shed as the solution. In the United Kingdom, Channel 4 television hosts an annual competition for Shed of the Year.

Homeowners have been competing in Shed of the Year since its inception in 2007, and winners receive a wooden plaque, £100 worth of products for the shed, a £1000 cash prize, and a giant crown to be placed on the shed. There are eight categories that sheds can be entered into, including pub, cabin, and eco.

Twelve finalists have been chosen for the competition, and the winner will be selected by public vote. Notable finalists include a distillery located inside a former hen house, complete with house sheep, a “Starlight Diner,” an observatory with telescopes, and a tree house. A micro shed just four by two feet was entered by Colin Edmundson, while Terry Meredith’s tree shed seats ten and includes a barbecue from its 14-foot high perch. The Starlight Diner features a vintage juke box and comfy booth seating.

Citizens who wish to vote for their favorite sheds may do so before noon on May 29, 2015. Later in the summer, the category winners will be showcased on television as they compete for overall winner. Over 2,500 homeowners initially entered the competition, so the judges had quite the task of paring the numbers down, first to 32, then to 12.

Homeowners interested in building their own sheds should consult their local zoning boards to learn about required permits and building restrictions. Sheds with concrete foundations may require a permit to install, while some temporary structures can be added to yards with little fuss.

‘The Scream’ and ‘The Dance’ Part of Paris’ Newest Art Museum

jazz singer on grunge background
Open for less than a year, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is Paris’s latest and hottest cultural attraction, gaining the attention of art lovers in France and throughout the world.

CultureMap Houston reports that the art museum’s newest exhibit displays some of the most profound and recognizable works of modern art. And in addition to the paintings and sculptures, critics are amazed with the museum’s architecture itself, with CultureMap Houston referring to it as a “glass masterpiece.”

Located in central Paris, the building was designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Designed with an ultra-modern look in mind, the museum features a canopy of 12 glass sails atop the main gallery, which along with its large, ice-like frame, has earned it the nickname the “Iceberg.” It is, one could argue, similar in style to the Sydney Opera House, and it has definitely caught the attention of architects around the world. In fact, it has already been written up by publications such as Architectural Digest.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton was named after LVMH Moët Hennessy, the French-based multinational conglomerate known for making luxury goods. At the behest of its CEO Bernard Arnault, the construction of the museum was officially announced in 2006. After years of planning and construction, the Fondation Louis Vuitton held its grand opening in October last year.

“The success of the LVMH group relies on a strategy that combines timelessness with extreme modernity in the creation of its products,” Arnault said. “I hope that this same spirit will drive the Fondation.”

Starting in April, the museum opened its breathtaking exhibit, “Keys to a Passion.” According to the exhibit’s booklet, the gallery focuses on the major works of art of the first half of the 20th century, work that “established the foundations of modernity.” Artists featured in the exhibit include Kazimir Malevich, Claude Monet, Emil Nolde, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Francis Bacon, among many others. Some of the most iconic paintings in the gallery are Henri Matisse’s “The Dance” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The gallery is set to be open through July 6th.

Already one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and home to some of the best luxury apartments, Paris will certainly draw even more visitors with its newest cultural installation.

“Fondation Louis Vuitton’s new museum will tilt the focus to a new part of Paris. Having just visited the museum last weekend, I paid particular attention to the visitors, most of whom were not French,” said Rik Gitlin, Paris Copia Concierge. “At the ticket kiosk, a large percentage of those purchasing tickets were speaking English. As the exit of the museum leads directly in to a park focused on children (Jardin d’Acclimation), many families seemed to be taking advantage of a time to picnic and spend time with the kids, many of whom had to have been bored in the museum. Many visitors opt to get back on the Metro line #1 and visit La Defense, which had faded in recent years as a tourist destination. All of that will be changing in the coming months and years as the Fondation Louis Vuitton Museum will prove to be a great and perfect addition to the classic museums including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and the Eiffel Tower.”

Salt Lake City’s Housing Market Ranks Among the Nation’s Strongest

Street of residential houses
In just another indicator that Utah’s economy is one of the strongest in the nation, recent housing data has found that the Salt Lake City real estate market ranks as one of the 10 “fastest moving” markets in the U.S.

According to UtahPolicy.com, the greater Salt Lake City housing market ranked 10th among large cities measured by how many homes were still on the market after a two-month period. In April 2015, more than half — 55% — of Salt Lake City homes had been sold in less than two months.

It’s a sign that more people are looking to relocate to Salt Lake City. It’s also good news for home sellers in the area, as they can be confident their homes will be sold soon after they go on the market, giving them a healthy return on their investments.

Another great way for home sellers to make sure they get the best return on their investment? Completing home improvement projects before putting a house on the market. The simple act of getting a new garage door can allow homeowners to recoup an amazing 84% of their investment.

With the average home price in Salt Lake City currently hovering around $299,900, Utah’s capital is also one of the most affordable big cities in the country for buyers. This is especially true when compared with homes in San Francisco, which holds the No. 1 spot as the fastest-moving housing market. The average house in San Francisco sells for a budget-breaking $1,099,000.

If renting an apartment is more your style, Salt Lake City is still a highly-affordable metro area.

According to a May 11 Deseret News article, the Salt Lake Valley is one of the most affordable places to rent in the Western U.S., with average monthly rents hovering around $868. Only Phoenix, at $811, and Las Vegas, at $769, have lower rents — and both these cities are facing major economic challenges, unlike Salt Lake City.

All these factors make Salt Lake City a true rarity in today’s real estate environment — a market that’s as good for buyers as it is for sellers.

Marriage Rate to Hit 100-Year Low

Bride

While many wedding traditions are still going strong — 84% of brides are even still incorporating old, new, borrowed and blue items into their wedding-day attire — it appears that the tradition of getting married at all might be stalling.

According to the 2015 edition of the U.S. Wedding Forecast by Demographic Intelligence, the marriage rate in the United States will be at its lowest point in a century this year and is poised to dip even lower.

“Even though we have seen a modest recovery in the economy, the marriage rate continues to slowly decline,” Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, said in a May 19 news release. “A variety of factors — including sluggish job opportunities for the less educated, and declines in American religion — account for the American retreat from marriage.”

The researchers behind the report expect the marriage rate to fall to 6.74 marriages per 1,000 population in 2015. The trend is then likely to continue, down to 6.72 in 2016 and 6.70 in 2017. For comparison’s sake, that figure was 7.09 in 2008.

The forecast, which draws on demographic, cultural and economic data, includes detailed predictions of U.S. marriage trends for 2015, 2016 and 2017 — and in past years has been over 99% accurate in its predictions.

The researchers highlighted three more specific findings in this year’s report: that better-educated women are actually more likely to marry than their less-educated peers; that marriage rates have fallen the most dramatically for young women and women with lower education levels; and that more weddings now involve Hispanic brides.

Economic concerns are, unsurprisingly, a major factor in the falling marriage rate. That’s true especially among groups who were hit hard by the Great Recession, including young people and people without college degrees.

But cultural concerns are strong drivers of these trends as well, according to Demographic Intelligence. Both men and women are postponing marriage or forgoing it altogether because they are less likely to have faith in it as a permanent commitment, the report states; cohabitation has also emerged as a major competitor to marriage, especially as young Americans become less and less religious than previous generations.

The report and its predictions are consistent with other recent studies from well-known groups such as the Pew Research Center.

Officials and Nonprofits Emphasize Boat Safety for Memorial Day Weekend, Summer Season

Allegory of Justice
Officials and organizations in states across the nation have been raising awareness during National Boating Safety Week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, and residents in some states may have a particular incentive to heed warnings.

Florida leads the nation in boat crashes, according to figures released May 8 by the U.S. Coast Guard. The state saw 581 accidents last year, which comes out to about one in seven of all boat crashes nationwide.

There were 70 fatal boat accidents in Florida in 2014, including 12 caused by drunk boat operators. Alcohol is the leading contributor to fatal boating accidents nationwide; in accidents with a known primary cause, alcohol is listed as a factor in about 16% of boating fatalities.

Unsurprisingly, small, landlocked states had fewer accidents in 2014, the Coast Guard said; Vermont had only five. Ocean access doesn’t correlate with number of accidents across the board, however, as Hawaii had only nine accidents last year, one more than South Dakota.
Tips for Safe Boating
So what can boaters do to stay safe as they take to oceans, lakes and rivers this summer?

As mentioned above, alcohol is to blame in a large portion of fatal boating accidents. As relaxing as it may be to crack open a beer while out on the boat, not drinking while boating is an important safety measure.

Boat owners should also make sure to have regular safety checks performed, take boating safety classes and permit only qualified adults to operate their boats. Weather conditions can change rapidly out on the water, so it’s important to check conditions just before a boating trip and have emergency supplies and equipment on board in case of a sudden storm. It’s also a good idea to leave a float plan (a planned route) with someone at home or at the marina in case the boat becomes disabled.

And, of course, all boaters should know that life jackets save lives. Boats must have at least one life jacket for each person aboard to meet U.S. Coast Guard guidelines.

Marginal Reduction in Motorcyclist Deaths Only a Qualified Victory, Road Safety Association Cautions

accident
An estimate based on preliminary state data suggests that motorcycle fatalities decreased for the second consecutive year in 2014, the Governors Highway Safety Association said May 20, but the total number of fatalities is shockingly high and suggests there is much work to be done when it comes to improving safety for motorcyclists across the nation. Motorcycles account for only 3% of the vehicles on the road, but motorcyclist deaths account for 14% of motor vehicle-related deaths in the United States.

“We are glad to see a continued decrease in motorcyclist fatalities, but the number of motorcyclist deaths on our roadways is still unacceptable,” Kendell Poole, GHSA chair and director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety, said in a news release.

The Spotlight on Highway Safety report, published annually by the GHSA since 2010, provides early analysis based on data submitted by all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, for the first nine months of the previous year. This year’s report projects that the final motorcyclist fatality figure for 2014 will be 4,584. That’s a drop of 1.8% from the 4,668 reported in 2013 and one of only three such decreases since 1997.

The figures alone might make it appear as if motorcycle crashes are a far smaller concern than car crashes; for comparison’s sake, there were 35,244 fatal car crashes in 2013. But the overall trends of car and motorcycle safety have taken disturbingly different paths. While general motor vehicle fatalities are 28% lower than they were a decade ago, motorcyclist fatalities are 26% higher.

Numerous safety improvements have been made to passenger vehicles in recent years, and policies such as graduated driver licensing have caused accidents and fatalities to decline for these kinds of vehicles.

There’s little evidence, on the other hand, that there’s been any significant reduction in risk for motorcyclists over a similar period of time; fluctuations in fatalities may, in fact, have more to do with the number of motorcycles being purchased and weather patterns. Given that motorcycle sales were up 8.2% in the first quarter of 2015, it’s very possible fatalities could increase again.
Reducing Motorcycle Accidents and Deaths
There are ways to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities, the GHSA emphasized, with mandatory helmet laws being a good first step. “By far, helmets are the single most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in the event of a motorcycle crash,” Poole commented.

Currently, only 19 states and D.C. require all riders, regardless of age, to wear helmets.

Reducing alcohol-impaired driving, enforcing speed limits, ensuring proper licensing for motorcyclists and educating other drivers on how to safely share the road could all reduce fatal crashes, the report suggests.

But ultimately, it simply can’t be denied that motorcycles are not as safe a mode of transportation as cars. Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to lose their lives on the road, per mile driven, than occupants of passenger vehicles.

“Motorcycling remains a dangerous pursuit,” the new study concludes.

Michigan Considering to Allow Lottery Winners to Remain Anonymous

Wooden gavel barrister, justice concept

The state of Michigan is considering a bill that would allow lottery winners to remain anonymous if they so choose to.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan House of Representatives just approved a bill in committee that would enable lottery winners to conceal their identities. Currently, people who receive lottery payments of $10,000 or more can remain anonymous in state lotteries. However, Michigan winners of the Mega Millions or Powerball lotteries do not have that option.

That is why the House Regulatory Reform committee approved the bill with a 13-2 vote on May 13th.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit the Michigan Lottery Commission from releasing information about winners without their consent. If the bill is passed, Michigan will join six other states — Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Carolina — in protecting the identity of lottery winners. Four other states — Colorado, Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts — permit anonymity if the winners claim their money via a trust.

“Lottery winnings, while for many is a major plus in their live, it can be a major negative at times,” said Rep. Ray Franz (R). “It costs friendships. It costs family relationships. It costs jobs. I thought it should be an option that’s available.”

The Lottery Commission opposes the bill because they feel it will obstruct the agency’s marketing and publicity efforts, which in turn could drive down lottery ticket sales. The state uses ticket sales to fund education. Last year, Michigan made $742.8 million from lottery revenues.

“We look at it as a step backward in terms of openness and transparency,” Holyfield said.

Hitherto, remaining anonymous has been a popular option for Michigan lottery winners. Last year, the Lottery Commission reports that 69% of the 87 winners of more than $50,000 chose to conceal their identities. However, the single Michigan resident who won $66 million from a Mega Millions pot was unable to remain anonymous, as the lottery’s organizers published the winner’s name.

The bill is now being considered by the full House of Representatives.

Memorial Planned for ‘Docile’ Escaped Cow Shot by English Police

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A community near Newcastle, England, has come together to mourn the loss of a cow shot by police.

On Sunday, May 17, a cow nicknamed Bessie escaped from a farm in Wallsend. Bessie was one of three cows that ran loose through the streets.

What ensued next was a three-hour chase by police to contain the bovines, which Northumbria Police said were a “significant risk” to the public.

The police department closed off roads in an effort to corral the cows, but Bessie, especially, posed problems for the town, according to officials.

A spokesperson for the Northumbria Police said that the cow “was in a highly distressed state and considered to be a significant risk to members of the public and motorists.” As a result, “The decision was made for the animal to be destroyed by firearms officers at the scene.”

In addition to armed police, a helicopter was also present at the scene. The other two cows were left to be wrangled by their owners.

Area locals say that this response by law enforcement was unnecessary.

Freelance photographer John Millard said that Bessie was “standing there, just eating” when he took a picture of her.

The cows had reportedly been spooked by dog walkers in the neighborhood and had jumped over a fence, but no other evidence suggests that the cows were a serious threat to residents.

Barry Aitchison had been asked by police if they could use his upstairs window to shoot the cow, but they ended up going to a neighbor’s house instead. “It was wrong for the police to kill a cow,” he told The Chronicle.

The outrage over the incident spread beyond the small town and to the internet. A Facebook group, “R.I.P. Wallsend Cow,” has picked up nearly 8,000 likes and is hosting a candlelight vigil for the cow on May 22.

Guests are encouraged to light a candle for Bessie and say a prayer for her while wearing a set of cow pajama onesies to show their support. So far more than 400 people have RSVP’d to the memorial.

“What is more comforting than a cozy pair of footed onesies?” said John Fitzpatrick, CEO at Big Feet Pajama Co. “Footed onesie pajamas will help the guest remember happier, more peaceful days as well as keep them warm during the memorial. I might question the wisdom of cow print onesies in light of past police response.”

But the event has done more than encourage mourners to buy a set of animal onesie pajamas for adults. It has also caused Brits to question an excessive police presence for such a minor incident.

Millard said that he not only witnessed the cow being shot, but he also saw a “massive police presence” with at least 15 police cars and a helicopter.

He had assumed the response was to a terrorist threat, not a “docile little cow standing in a field.”

Dave Turner, who set up the “R.I.P. Wallsend Cow” page on Facebook, said Bessie wasn’t doing anything.

“It wasn’t doing anything, it was just eating a bit of grass,” Turner said. “It probably got sick of the grass it was eating elsewhere, it heard about a nice new patch, went down and started grazing, and the next thing is police turn up and start firing at it.”

The candlelight vigil is meant to be “a serious send-off for Bessie,” according to Turner.

Ashton Kutcher Surprises His Mom With a Huge Home Remodel

rendering of a modern living room with open kitchen
It was a Mother’s Day gift that put most other Mother’s Day gifts to shame.

Deciding that flowers or a card just wouldn’t be good enough, actor Ashton Kutcher recently surprised his mom by remodeling her home in Homestead, IA.

According to People, Kutcher decided to give his family home a much-needed renovation as a way to give back to his mother and stepdad — and to accommodate his own growing family after the birth of his daughter, Wyatt Isabelle.

“My mom has been the greatest influence in my life – my parents gave me everything,” Kutcher, 37, explained. “They went to great sacrifices to give me the life that I have and anything I can do to say thank you is the right thing.”

The soon-to-be Mr. Mila Kunis filmed the entire home improvement process in a documentary, and orchestrated the entire project from his home in Los Angeles for added secrecy. He used online home design website Houzz, a startup in which he has invested money, to hire home improvement contractors from afar.

“This was definitely a great Mother’s day gift and a beautiful way of saying thank you to a parent — you don’t see that every day. Most of my older customers are left alone with their remodeling projects,” said Peter Kiwior, owner of Pro-Home Services Inc. “Their kids are busy working, so they rely on contractors to give them advise and help them with their remodeling needs.”

Kutcher kept the project secret with the help of his stepdad, Mark, People reported. After the basement remodel, which took 27 days, Kutcher finally revealed the result to his ecstatic mom.

“Oh, this is beautiful,” she can be seen exclaiming in the documentary, wiping tears from her face.

For the former That 70’s Show and Two and a Half Men star, it’s the least he could do to show her how much he appreciates her, he said.

“You know, you grow up and you have a good parent, and I don’t know that there’s anything I could ever do that really says thank you, but trying sure feels good,” Kutcher said.