Image by Allan warren | Wikimedia

Image by Allan warren | Wikimedia

British rock pioneer Peter Gabriel spearheaded the class of 2014 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 10, 2014.

Class of 2014 is in session

The class features Gabriel alongside other famed acts such as Nirvana, Kiss, Cat Stevens, Hall and Oates, Linda Rondstadt, Brian Epstein (Beatles manager), Andrew Loog Oldham  (Rolling Stones manager), and the E Street Band (Bruce Springsteen’s backup band). For the event, the 64 year old rocker captivated the audience with the songs “Digging in the Dirt” (with famed songwriter Youssou N’Dour) and “Washing of the Water” (with Chris Martin of Coldplay).

Not a stranger to (hall of) fame

Gabriel was the original singer for the iconic rock band Genesis, also a Hall of Fame inductee (2010). Now, he distinguishes himself as a Hall of Fame rocker both as a band member and a solo artist.

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Image by Himanis Das | Wikimedia

Image by Himanis Das | Wikimedia

Recently appointed CEO of tech giant Mozilla Brendan Eich has come under fire from websites and even the company’s own employees after supporting an anti-gay marriage group.

Proposition 8

In 2008, Eich made a $1,000 donation to support California’s Proposition 8, which was a bill aiming to put a ban on gay marriage in California. When the donation’s public listing appeared in 2012, Eich’s name appeared.

Despite the brief scandal, Eich maintained his position as the Chief Technological Officer of the company during that time.

Backlash

Eich’s appointment as the CEO was met negatively.

Employees of the company tweeted against the appointment.

“Have waited too long to say this. I’m an employee of @mozilla and I’m asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO,” tweeted Jess Klein from Mozilla, who is one of the many others who expressed dissent.

Companies have also reacted negatively to Eich’s new post.

App development company Rarebit pulled out its apps from the browser Firefox. In an open letter to Mozilla, Rarebit founder Hampton Catlin said, “As a married gay couple who are co-founders of this venture, we have chosen to boycott all Mozilla projects.”

Dating site OkCupid also called for its users to stop using Firefox due to Eich’s denial of equal rights for gay couples.

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Image by Mstyslav Chernov | Wikimedia

Image by Mstyslav Chernov | Wikimedia

A Turkish court ordered the deferment of a controversial ban on microblogging site Twitter, but it can take a few weeks before the site becomes completely accessible again.

Turkey’s telecommunication authority TIB has 30 days to act on the temporary injunction.

As of posting, the site remains blocked in the country.

Ban has ‘no legal grounds’

The notorious ban comes after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan swore to “wipe out Twitter,” following many allegations accusing him of corruption that made the rounds online.

Many entities have contested the ban, Twitter itself included.

Twitter argued that it had acted on two out of three legal orders from the country, but said that they did not act on the third due to a concern, which orders the suspension of a certain account spreading corruption allegations.

“Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption,” said Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde.

“The millions of people in Turkey who turn to Twitter to make their voices heard are being kept from doing just that. There are no legal grounds for the blocking of our service in Turkey,” added Gadde.

Places of lies

News agency Reuters quoted Erdogan at a rally on March 23, saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies here.”

Twitter users in Turkey have used different methods to circumvent the ban. By afternoon of March 26, the BBC reported political slogans against and for Erdogan were the top trending topics in the country.

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image by michaeljohnbutton | Wikimedia

image by michaeljohnbutton | Wikimedia

According to recent figures, New Zealand economy grew by 2.7 percent in 2013. This growth makes the country one of the fastest growing nations in the developed world.

Growing Output

Statistics said that New Zealand’s output grew by 0.9 percent in the three months to December. This marked the country’s 12th consecutive quarter of growth. Its manufacturing sector grew by 2.1 percent, the nation’s fastest growth since 2006.

Changes in Interest Rate?

This, however, will not change the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s policy of tightening interest rates. New Zealand is the first country to increase interest rates in 2012. It changed the official bank rate by 0.25 of a percentage point to 2.75 percent.

According to Finance Minister Bill English, there was solid growth across the entire economy, overtaking those of the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan. “Business and consumer confidence remains high, manufacturing activity has been expanding for almost a year,” Bill added.

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scandal at afax

Image by Danny Choo | Wikimedia

Music consumption in Japan for 2013 experienced a steep decline, and this took its toll on global figures. According to data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the setback in Japan has caused a global slowdown.

Slides and jumps in figures

Physical sales of music in Japan suffered a 16.7% decline, which, globally, has caused a 3.9% drop in worldwide statistics.

Europe and the US, however, have had positive outcomes the past year. The former recorded its first growth in 13 years, while the latter has experienced a 3.4% increase in digital sales.

Japan has the second largest music market in the world, and many consider it unique because of its reliance on physical products like CDs and the scarcity of download services for music lovers. Japan is also the only country with a top 10 album rundown filled by local artists, along with South Korea.

A digitized music market

The IFPI blames the statistical downturn on the failure of Japan to transition from physical sales to digital platforms.

The federation noted a stable growth of 0.1% excluding Japanese statistics. Digital sales have also gone up significantly across many countries.

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Published in the journal Nature, scientists said they had found an elusive mineral that suggests it came from a vast reservoir deep in Earth’s mantle.

‘Strong confirmation’

Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere

Image by NASA | Wikimedia

The discovery creates theories about the existence of a water-saturated zone between the Earth’s rocky layers that would help explain volcanic activities and the interaction of tectonic plates.

“This sample really provides extremely strong confirmation that there are local wet spots deep in the Earth in this area,” said lead researcher Graham Pearson of Canada’s University of Alberta. “That particular zone in the Earth, the transition zone, might have as much water as all the world’s oceans put together.”

Water from a stone

Measuring only three millimeters, the stone was obtained by scientists when they were on a quest to search for other minerals.

A piece of this mineral has long been sought by scientists. They believe it may hold as much water as all the planet’s oceans combined.

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It didn’t take long for Jorge Mario Bergoglio to take the world by storm with his charisma and unpredictable gestures. With his immense popularity since being elected as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, it’s easy to assume that there’s nothing not to love about Pope Francis. Apparently, though, some people will beg to disagree.

Hard Times for the Conservatives

pope francis in chair

Image by Catholic Church (England and Wales) via Flickr

Traditionalists find it hard to deal with the new Pope’s approach in leading the church. Conservative Catholics still can’t get over Francis’s unprejudiced treatment with gay priests and mercy for divorced couples. In fact, The Catholic Family News editor wrote in his recent blog, “Though this might shock some readers, I must say that I would never allow Pope Francis to teach religion to my children,” referring to the Pope’s sloppy theological competence.

Other Critics

British progressive political blog Left Foot Forward editor John Bloodsworth explained that Francis’s widespread populist appeal is merely a product of “clever repackaging,” and he is no different from his predecessors in terms of political leadership.

Nobody can really please everybody, even the Pope. Hate him or love him, it’s still way too early to measure the Francis effect in a world with over one billion Catholics.

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Oscar-Less Fates

Image by Loren Javier

The Internet is, once again, mourning for Leonardo DiCaprio’s lost to Matthew McConaughey for the Best Actor award in the recently concluded Oscars. As much as the world wants him to win the coveted golden statuette, it’s pretty much expected for him to lose again—for the fourth time since 1994 as a nominee for the Best Supporting Actor in his impressive performance as Johnny Depp’s mentally challenged younger brother—as if he’s plagued by a curse many brilliant actors share.

If DiCaprio’s fate already seems tragic, many other individuals have suffered worse in the hands of the Academy.

Glenn Close

Best known for her roles in Dangerous Liaisons and Air Force One, Glenn Close’s stellar career is almost perfect but for a keepsake from the Academy. She got a remarkable six Oscar nominations, but never won.

Peter O’Toole

Although he received the Academy’s Honorary Award in 2003 for his contributions to the history of cinema, Peter O’Toole was nominated eight times for the Oscars, but just got hosted.

Whether they are robbed or overshadowed by other stars, what matters is that great actors continue portraying memorable characters and making exceptional works of art with or without a recognition from the Academy.

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Ellen DeGeneres twitter

Image by Darius

Ellen DeGeneres’ celebrity-filled group selfie has grabbed the most retweet record, with over a million retweets.

Star-studded selfie

The host was walking through the crowd taking individual selfies with several celebrities when she decided to go for a big group photo.

She asked Meryl Streep to join her and several nearby stars decided to jump in the photo as well, including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, and Lupita Nyong’o. Jared Leto snuck in on the fringes of the shot.

The DeGeneres tweet was taken by Cooper, all stars wearing huge smiles.

“If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars,” Ellen’s tweet reads.

Traffic load

DeGeneres’ photo together with a crazy number of A-list actors produced a ridiculously star-studded selfie that crashes Twitter.

Minutes after DeGeneres posted the photo, it had more than 100,000 retweets and broke her Twitter page.

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money

Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012

ZEFR, a startup that builds social marketing and rights management software for online videos, has announced that they’ve raised $30 million through the help of Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) and other investors, such as U.S. Venture Partners, Richmond Park Partners, Shasta Ventures, and First Round Capital.

Working with Adidas

ZEFR co-founder, Richard Raddon, said in an interview that many fans of Adidas like to post videos while taking their brand new shoes out of the box. Also known as unboxing, Adidas uses these videos to gather information that helps them target their ads.

The Success Continues

The BrandID service of ZEFR connects fan and franchises, which help brands manage and keep track of their fans. “Around 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, which is staggering. There is a ton of conversation happening around brands and we have found that you can connect with people on a deeper level,” Raddon added.

The funding that ZEFR received will be used to hire additional talents that’ll help them improve software development, including their plans to hire more for their engineering team.

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