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Skytyping and Wing Walking Help Break Attendance Record at AirVenture Show

The AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, drew more people than last year’s convention.

“Our attendance was particularly outstanding, since we had some weather challenges mid-week compared to seven perfect days in 2015,” said EAA Chairman Jack Pelton. “Our grounds crew and our volunteers, who number more than 5,000, did a superb job keeping the site ready for visitors and campers who arrived by ground or air.”

According to Fox11News, over 10,000 aircrafts were featured during the convention.

CNN reports that the 2016 AirVenture show also featured skytyping, wing walking and plenty of extreme aerial maneuvering. Skytyping, which is used by advertisers to display messages for more than 2,800 square miles, is a way of mechanical and aeronautical maneuvering throughout the sky.

“My dad bought the airplanes and started this skytyping business when I was 17,” said Larry Arken, commanding officer and flight lead. “Later on, I got him to start into air shows, and I’ve been running it about 22 years.”

Consisting of more than 80 countries, a record 2,369 international visitors registered and attended the show this year. During the week-long convention, approximately 563,000 people entered the AirVenture show and enjoyed 2,855 showplaces, 1,124 homemade aircrafts, 1,032 vintage planes, 371 warbirds, 135 light-sport aircrafts, 101 seaplanes, 41 aerobatic aircrafts, 31 rotorcrafts and 20 non-categorized vehicles.

The wing walker, Ashley Key, drew some of the largest crowds at this year’s convention. She expects to be wing walking until her and her fiancé — who also happens to be her pilot — have their first child, although, she doesn’t consider her profession dangerous.

“The trick is doing it the same every time,” Key said. “When you step off of it, I know exactly where to step. I know how many steps when I’m up there. I know where my feet should go to get back into the cockpit. Do it the same every time, and there are no mistakes.”

Why is Michael Phelps Covered in Red Welts?

While virtually all Americans — 99.7% — believe a healthy smile is socially important, most Olympians naturally sport a gleaming smile while standing on the podium receiving their medals. Who wouldn’t?

This year in Rio, though, the athletes are also showing off bright red polka dots on their skin.

These red dots are scars from the ancient practice of cupping, a technique said to be extremely helpful to stimulate blood flow and to speed up the recovery time for sore muscles.

The ancient practice, developed in China, has a rich history of about 2,200 years. There are even mentions of this healing technique in ancient Greek and Egyptian texts.
On top of other health benefits, it is believed cupping will restore one’s flow of ‘qi’ through their body, the life force responsible for every action we make.
The therapy consists of a specialist warming glass suction cups and placing them on the body. The placement of the cup creates a partial vacuum which relieves pain in a holistic way, and the red welts are a symptom of blood vessels bursting underneath the skin’s surface.

Olympians of all sports are hopping on the trend. Champion Michael Phelps, U.S. male gymnast Alex Naddour, former Olympic swimmer Natalie Couglin, and Belarus swimmer Pavel Sankovich all have polka dotted legs, backs, and arms.

While this practice may be beneficial for Olympians, there hasn’t been much study on the clinical effects of this treatment. According to CNN, researchers have found cupping to be successful for pain management, but there has not been any research completed with a large sample size to draw medical conclusions.

It is not painless either. Users have reported their skin feeling as if it was trapped in a vacuum, while lit on fire. But for Olympians, a gold medal seems worth it.

 

Photograph: Photograph: Lee Jin-man/AP

Identity Theft Threats Increase Due to Social Media Use and Free Wi-Fi Networks

Identity fraud is surging, according to a new study done by the UK-based company Cifas. What’s even scarier than that fact, though, is that there’s a strong connection between these rising numbers and social media use.

Cifas has stated that Internet fraud perpetrators are increasingly getting people’s personal information from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which have become a “hunting ground” for these criminals.

Also according to Cifas, some personal details were obtained through automated hacking computers, but more and more personal details were cobbled together through these social media sites.

Identity theft can have extremely serious consequences, resulting in the loss of funds and property. It can also lead to negative marks on personal records. More than one in 10 (11%) of the victims of identity theft say that it has had a negative impact on their abilities to get jobs.

Social media isn’t the only modern Internet convenience that poses a threat to personal security. In a new AARP study, findings suggest that almost half of consumers who use free, public WiFi at least once a month conduct sensitive personal business, like banking, shopping, and e-mailing.

This is usually ok — but sometimes, public networks simply aren’t secured.

As AARP’s Frank Abagnale, one of the leading experts in identity theft, forgery, and secure documents, noted, “The convenience of free wi-fi networks remains a great asset for surfing the internet or checking the news or the latest weather forecast.But consumers should never use unsecured wi-fi to log-in to social media, engage in credit card transactions, or do online banking.”

In the light of these results, AARP is launching the Fraud Watch Network campaign, which is designed to help retail stores to provide safe public Wi-Fi.

Mobile Homes Are Moving Towards More Energy-Efficient Designs

More than 17 million individuals in the U.S. live in manufactured or mobile homes, and they just may be in for more energy-efficient designs in the future.

Manufacturers shipped 70,519 homes in 2015, more than the number of single-family homes built in any state except Texas. Because of the vast amount of homes being shipped to multiple states, the federal government, not the state government, is responsible for their energy regulations.

Unfortunately, the energy provisions of the “HUD Code” (set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) that governs manufactured housing have not been changed significantly since 1994.

What this means for mobile home owners is that a lot of their money is going towards energy bills. In fact, mobile home owners are paying more than twice what single homeowners pay per square foot.

After several failed attempts at re-drafting the legislation, lawmakers finally came to a decision this past year. DOE estimates the typical manufactured home will save 27% of energy use compared to a home that meets the current HUD Code.

However, energy-efficient homes are making changes in more areas than just mobile homes. Tiny houses are on the rise, and for good reason.

Living in small dwellings has always been popular on the fringes, but the movement has progressed as the average size of a new single family home in the U.S. has grown from 1,800 to nearly 2,700 square feet in the last 40 years.

Much of the movement is based on fiscal reasons, energy conservation, environmental responsibility, and an overall simplification of living situations to allow the owner freedom from heavy rent or mortgages. The movement has grown so large, in fact, that the Tiny House Jamboree has ironically moved to a bigger venue this year.

The Tiny House Jamboree is an annual gathering in Colorado Springs, CO where tiny home movement leaders and an estimated 40,000 enthusiasts come from far and wide to educate themselves and celebrate the art of living small.

“This year is really exciting,” says Tiny House Jamboree Event Coordinator, Cole Whalen, “We’re twice as big as last year with about 50 tiny homes on display and a greater variety than ever before. We’ll have everything from an airstream to tailgate homes, Petite Chateaus which are sort of Alice In Wonderland-style homes, eco-cabins, a mini chapel, and even an ‘Ohm Hom,’ which is a legal backyard dwelling.”

They’re no tiny homes, but mobile homes are about to get more energy-efficient designs, provided the federal government can assure manufacturers follow the guidelines.

DOE still needs to work out how to ensure manufacturers meet the new code without violating HUD’s health and safety requirements, but the fact remains that the new regulations will make life a little easier on the environment and on homeowners.

Consumers Are Partial to Automated Features in their Vehicles

According to a newly released survey from J.D. Power APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout), consumers like their cars with driver-assist technologies.

The study revealed that new vehicles with features like blind-spot monitoring and low-speed collision avoidance have overall higher APEAL scores than vehicles that don’t.

The features are appropriately dubbed “gateway technologies,” since they open the way to autonomous, self-driving cars. As consumers continue to gravitate toward these features, manufacturers will continue to produce more, and make them even more comprehensive.

Indeed, as Renee Stephens, the vice president of U.S. automotive quality for J.D. Power, says, “Technology-enabled safety features help drivers feel more comfortable and confident while driving their vehicles.”

But the path towards complete automation won’t be without its challenges, as the recent fatal crash of a self-driving car in Florida proved. The Tesla Model S, which has an autopilot system, was functioning at the time of the accident, and may not have recognized the threat of a truck when it pulled up in front of the vehicle.

Some automakers highly doubt that full automation will ever be possible since there are too many factors for a machine to handle when driving, citing the Tesla incident to reinforce this pint.

However, automated technologies are obviously popular and can have wider implication. For example, the neglect of vehicles costs the economy over $2 billion a year, so perhaps automation technology will focus on the automated maintenance of vehicles instead. That would certainly be a headache that many consumers would be glad to be rid of.

The top five brands rated in the APEAL study were all high-end vehicles, all of which offered driver assist technologies. The brands were Porche, BMW, Lexus, Jaguar, and Mercedes- Benz.

Workplace Wellness Benefit Programs on the Decline

While the range of workplace benefits offered by employers to encourage health and wellness among office workers has skyrocketed since the turn of the 21st century, new data indicates that such programs are dropping off dramatically within the past few years, as employers fail to see their long-term financial justification.

The latest annual survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), now in its 20th year, compiled data from some 3,490 companies in regards to the kinds of perks and benefits offered to employees.

While the number of core employee benefits, such as health care coverage and retirement savings plans, has remained fairly constant since SHRM first began gathering data in 1996, other benefits — subsidized childcare, health coaching, on-site flu vaccinations, and on-call nursing assistance — are all on the decline.

Granted, the overall presence of wellness programs has witnessed a significant boom: 78% of surveyed businesses currently offer wellness benefits, such as healthcare premiums for weight loss or quitting tobacco, compared to just 54% two decades ago.

This “could be an indication that organizations are being more strategic in selecting effective wellness programs for their employees,” the study’s authors wrote. Still on the rise are benefits like gym memberships, standing desks, and nap rooms.

Wellness benefits aren’t necessarily just about employee health and productivity, though. Separate research indicates that 66% of workers who are offered benefits would recommend their employers to other people as a great place to work.

The cost-benefit trade-offs of such programs, however, seem to vary widely in their effectiveness and results. One analysis of a Fortune 100 company’s lifestyle-management wellness program was found to cost the company an additional 50 cents for every dollar spent.

After experimenting with various benefits for a few years, says Evren Esen, director of survey programs at SHRM, employers “may be taking a step back” to analyze the return on investment of such programs. Only 37% of employers now offer health coaching, compared to nearly 50% last year. Similarly, there was a 7% decline in on-site flu vaccinations.

Overall, however, the large majority of companies with wellness programs — 77% — considered them to be “somewhat or very effective in reducing health care costs,” and perks like telecommunication options, 401(k)s, educational assistance, and paid parental leave are all on the rise.

Websites Developed By Artificial Intelligence Could Mean the End of Days for Skilled Designers

Website building service Wix.com has recently launched an innovative “artificial design intelligence” (ADI) service to change the way novice website creators build their sites.

Wix was founded in Tel Aviv in 2006 and has since served as a foolproof development platform aimed at helping entrepreneurs and bloggers build websites using drag-and-drop tools, making coding knowledge obsolete.

With the introduction of Wix ADI, the company is striving to make website development even easier and faster, using algorithms to automate the web design process. These algorithms are created through a compilation of existing user data, ultimately designed to put together a universally popular website design.

Furthermore, Wix guarantees that no two ADI sites are the same. They promise unique pages, layouts, colors, themes, etc. The client simply answers a few questions, providing the platform with a basic outline of what the company is and in what generalized category they fit. From this information, Wix ADI compiles relevant images, text, and layouts.

Once the site has been fully automated, users can go in and customize aspects of each page. They can tweak layouts, switch themes, edit text, and insert additional images.

“Wix ADI is the world’s first technology platform that combines website design and content creation with artificial intelligence to enable complete websites to be created in a matter of minutes,” said Avishai Abrahami, the cofounder and CEO at Wix. “Building a professional and complete website is the first step in getting online, and while Wix today makes it easy, challenges still exist. With Wix ADI, we solve these challenges, getting businesses online with a fully functioning, stunning looking website easier and faster than ever.”

Professional designers have expressed mixed reactions following the introduction of “robot”-generated websites. Many are arguing that artificial intelligence has nothing to do with the platform’s new features at all. “AI, as developed by Wix…is no more artificial intelligence than robots on an automated assembly line constitute skilled craftsmen,” claimed Ben Moss, editor of WebdesignerDepot. “Wix ADI is an elaborate template browser.”

When it comes down to it, however, many of today’s companies are just looking for a simple design that earns them enough of a web presence to get their name out there. Wix ADI does just that, creating an attractive site that compels visitors to want to learn more about a business. In a world in which 46% of Internet users consider a website’s design to be a leading factor in determining that business’s credibility, that’s all a company can really ask for.

Settlement Reached in Class-Action Lawsuit Regarding Moldy Washers

Customers who purchased a Maytag, Kenmore, or Whirlpool front-loading washing machine between 2001 and 2010 may be eligible for up to $500 as part of a class action settlement.

WRTV Call 6, a local ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, exposed the presence of mold and other defects in front-loading washing machines back in 2013.

Ruth Ogden, who spoke with WRTV, bought a Whirlpool Duet front-loader in 2004. She said that after about a year, she started to notice a strong odor in her clean clothes.

“My son was a typical teenage slob, and we all thought the odor from him was getting into our clothes,” she said, adding that she disposed of hundreds of dollars worth of clothing.

Though Ogden spent money on products to clean her washer and even purchased a new washer as a last resort, she said that she might have difficulty getting any cash out of the settlement.

“Who saves receipts for 10 years of products to get the stink out of clothes when you didn’t even know that was causing it?” Ogden said in frustration.

Attorneys for other disgruntled customers alleged that the washers had “serious design defects” that ultimately caused mold and mildew buildup; however, Whirlpool failed to alert its customers to this risk.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, all types of mold have the potential to cause negative health effects, ranging from minor to severe, and in some cases, exposure to mold can even result in death.

Fortunately, no one has come forward with claims of serious health issues as a result of the faulty washers.

Since the start of the lawsuit, the companies in question have made design improvements to their machines. The new front-loaders have virtually eliminated the risk of mold by installing special vents that allow air to better circulate.

To officially approve the settlement, a hearing is scheduled for September 7 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, OH.

17 Dogs Rescued From Jackson Garage This Weekend

Seventeen dogs living in “filth and misery” were rescued this weekend from a Jackson, NJ, garage, covered in urine and feces, according to the Associated Humane Popcorn Park Shelter.

The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received an alert this weekend that dogs were being kept in “horrific conditions,” as the statement from Popcorn Park states.

“The owners of the dogs started out with just a couple of dogs but quickly became overwhelmed when they began to multiply,” the statement said.

The dogs ranged from five months old to young adults and had apparently never left the garage before being rescued this weekend.

“There was no ventilation in this garage, no windows, nowhere for the urine and feces to go, and no end in sight for these poor dogs living in such filth and misery,” the statement said.

Over time, the dogs and the garage became covered with waste. The feces had been on the dogs for so long that their fur had matted.

According to the shelter, several dogs had to be shaved down to the skin, while others required hour-long or more baths to remove all of the feces from their fur.

The shelter said the dogs’ condition was “much worse” than the dogs rescued from the Howell hoarding case earlier in the month.

More than 200 dogs were rescued earlier in the month from a Howell home in what authorities deemed “an extreme hoarding situation.”

In total, 276 dogs were found inside the 1880-square-foot home; some dogs were even discovered in the walls.

Fortunately, most of the dogs from the Howell case were in fair condition when they were rescued, and the very first Howell dog was adopted this past weekend.

The dogs from Jackson, however, are not currently up for adoption.

“The hard part is getting them to realize that they are safe and cared for, and that they have nothing to be afraid of. Right now they are still quite terrified and can barely handle being touched,” the statement said.

Over 90% of pet owners say that their pet brings a smile to their face more than once a day. The hope is that soon, these lovable dogs will be rehabilitated and doing the same in their new homes.

Poster Explaining Do’s and Don’ts of Cheerleading Causes Backlash at University of Washington

There are almost four million cheerleaders in the United States, but whoever made a new promotional poster at the University of Washington must believe they should all look the same.

A flyer posted on the official Facebook page of the University of Washington cheerleaders listed dos and don’ts for students looking to join the team.

It showed a picture of a thin, blonde cheerleader not wearing much clothing. There were arrows pointed to each one of her body parts, with a tip for each one.

Potential cheerleaders were told to have a bronze, beachy glow, voluminous hair, flattering eye shadow, and “girl about town” lipstick.

The “body do’s” included having a physically fit athletic physique with a natural or spray tan.

The poster also advises young women to show up at tryouts in solid black sports bras, mid-rise black shorts, and cheer shoes. Girls were not allowed to try out if they wore a shirt covering their midriff.

This controversial image caused negative comments to be posted on their Facebook page from cheerleaders all over the country. They complained that over-sexualizing cheerleaders is only adversely impacting the sport and the reputation its participants have fought so hard to get.

Reported on Syracuse.com, the Associated Students of the University of Washington released a statement saying, “An advertisement such as this completely objectifies women and creates barriers that only perpetuates the inaccessibility of opportunities that should be open for every student on this campus.”

In response to the backlash, the university withdrew the poster.

A spokesman for University of Washington athletics department backed up the graphic, saying it was only created to answer questions the students were asking about tryouts.

Officials at the University did not address the debate any further.