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    vinyl

    There’s a myth going around that music geeks are essential to good music curation.

    It’s an attractive idea. Just look at BuzzFeed writer Reggie Ugwu’s glowing feature on the “small teams of anonymous, hardcore music fans [racing] to solve the record industry’s toughest problem.”

    Indeed, Pandora, Apple, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play, and the rest bend over backwards to make clear how much they rely on music experts, and there seems to be no worse slander than saying a competitor is dependent on algorithms.

    But do you really need a human to pick your music? In a world when we increasingly trust AI to pick our movies, dating options, email replies, scheduling, and much more? Don't believe it.

    Consider the range of human involvement in streaming music:

    —On radio (e.g., Beats 1), human experts have total control over what you hear.

    —On handmade playlists at Apple Music and Spotify, human experts choose tracks and track order, while AI recommends different playlists

    —On handmade stations at Google Play, humans experts choose tracks, while AI recommends different stations and personalizes track order.

    —On custom radio at Pandora, humans experts help categorize music, while AI chooses what you hear on any given station. On custom radio elsewhere, human experts have little-to-no involvement.

    —On algorithmically generated playlists like Spotify’s Discover Weekly, humans experts have little-to-no involvement.

    So how important are human music experts?

    Well, radio can be fun, but it isn’t blowing anyway away, which is why everyone is moving to streaming music services in the first place.

    As for the rest, there’s little evidence that handmade playlists are better than handmade stations or that either are better than custom radio or algorithmically generated playlists. There’s personal opinion, of course, and some people love Spotify or Apple Music’s handmade playlists, but plenty of people, including many music geeks, love the other options, too.

    Personally, I subscribe to Google Play Music and listen primarily to custom radio and albums, recommended for me by AI. After testing all the options, I firmly believe it's as good or better than the alternatives. Indeed, I'd rather listen to an infinitely personalizable feed of music than a limited set of handmade playlists.

    The only data BuzzFeed cites for the popularity of handmade playlists is that 50% of Spotify users listen to them: so what? I wouldn’t expect anything else in an app that puts those playlists front and center. No doubt Google Play users listen to a lot of stations and Pandora users listen to a lot of custom radio.

    Notably, the most popular product from the past year was Discover Weekly, which amazed millions of users by understanding their preferences on a deep level. Discover Weekly does all that with little-to-no human involvement, predicting what you’ll like through big data analysis of how your listening habits compare to other people’s listening habits.

    All signs point to more stuff like this in our future. Apple's big new feature this year is a Discover Weekly knockoff called Discovery Mix. Pretty much everyone is talking about getting deeper into personalized recommendations, which inevitably means recommendations that depend more on AI. Even Pandora has steadily shifted away from human-powered labeling in favor of big data analysis.

    Music geeks still help, adding a meaningful personal touch here and there and making sure the algorithms are running smoothly, but they matter less and less.

    SEE ALSO: How to know if a robot is taking over your job

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This new update in 'Pokémon GO' will change how you play the game


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    With so many great games coming out all the time, it's easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. Many of the biggest game releases these days ask players to spend dozens (if not hundreds) of hours with them, so there just isn't enough time to see everything.

    Thankfully, games go on sale all the time. If you check the storefronts on Steam, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One every week, you're sure to find that a great game from two years ago has gone down to $15. Here are the best recent games that you should play if you haven't:

    "The Witcher III: Wild Hunt"

    This obviously isn't some obscure indie game. "The Witcher III" won several Game of the Year awards in 2015, but plenty of people (myself included) skipped it when it came out.

    Maybe we felt we wouldn't like it because we hadn't played its predecessors, or maybe we didn't have time to dive into a huge open-world RPG when it came out. If you skipped it for any reason, fix that as soon as possible. "The Witcher III" is a genuine achievement in video game writing.

    Imagine if every random side quest in "Skyrim" had the same level of care put into it as the main story. That's "The Witcher III," a game in which something as innocuous as finding materials for an armorsmith can turn into a multihour journey with emotional twists and turns.

    The main game can be found on sale for about $30 or less pretty often, and a complete edition with all of the downloadable add-ons is launching on August 31 for $50.

    Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC



    "Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor"

    Again, this was a Game of the Year contender back in 2014, but the "Lord of the Rings" connection and generic-looking main character may have turned some people off of what is a pretty fantastic action game.

    You don't need to know or care about Tolkien's fantasy universe to enjoy this. It's an open-world game that plays a lot like "Assassin's Creed," meaning you can take on Orc encampments with acrobatics and stealth, and it plays like a dream.

    It's super fun to just run around the world killing Orcs, which is great because the story is inconsequential. The Nemesis System ensures that you'll build rivalries with Orcs that you kill (and Orcs that kill you), so the game kind of generates little stores for you. It's really cool.

    Most important, I got it for $10 earlier this year. It's on sale constantly.

    Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PC



    "Wolfenstein: The New Order"

    1992's "Wolfenstein 3D" is widely thought of as the granddaddy of all first-person shooters, but its sequels (while good) have largely failed to make the same impact on video games.

    2014's "Wolfenstein: The New Order" isn't revolutionary in any sense, but it is one of the best shooters in recent memory. Set in an alternate 1960s in which the Nazis won World War II and rule the world with robotic dogs, you can use stealth or dual wield shotguns and assault rifles to mow down the Nazi scum who stand in your way.

    It also has a strangely personal, introspective story with some excellent characters, making it refreshing among other hyperviolent shooters.

    You can find this one on sale for $30 or less fairly often.

    Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Tracer Play of the Game

    When you're watching live sports, sometimes the action is happening so quickly that it can be easy to miss a crucial moment.

    That's where highlight reels come in, to help focus your attention on something incredible you may have missed the first time around.

    The same thing happens in the popular online multiplayer shooter "Overwatch."

    Every match in the 6v6 competitive shooter ends by highlighting a particularly amazing play from a single player; sometimes, it will focus on an offensive character getting a string of several kills in rapid succession, but it might focus on a player preventing an enemy from causing a lot of harm, too.

    This highlight reel is called the "Play of the Game," and every player in the match watches this play after the match ends as a way to celebrate someone's skills. There's nothing quite like the thrill of being singled out for your performance during a tough match.

    Wait, play of the what now? Please explain.

    If you've never seen one of these highlights, here's a Play of the Game that shows someone playing as the character Soldier: 76, killing nearly the entire opposing team in a short amount of time:

    And here's a collection of highlights for the character Mercy, who has a powerful ability that can resurrect her fallen teammates and shift the tide of battle:

    Got it. So who decides who deserves Play of the Game?

    The answer, as it turns out, is pretty complicated.

    "There’s no simple formula. There’s a complicated formula with lots of exceptions [laughs]," said Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan in an interview with Game Informer. "Mostly what’s going on is the game tracks an internal score for each player at each second of the game, and it looks for windows where player scores spike tremendously."

    Depending on your character's role — whether they're good at attacking other players or defending allies — these scores will be calculated slightly differently.

    Additionally, Kaplan said scores are weighted more heavily if the action's taking place near an important match objective, like a base or capture point.

    "There’s weighting and multipliers going on depending on what the match status is," he said.

    Kaplan doesn't think the formula is perfect, however. The Play of the Game will sometimes focus on the wrong character by accident.

    "The great example is the one that everybody laughs at when Torbjörn’s turrets get Play of the Game and he’s off hammering a wall, or even worse when he’s just lying there dead," said Kaplan.

    One of the clips Kaplan is referring to is one that shows the character Torbjörn dead on the ground while all sorts of action is happening around him. This character can build defensive turrets that persist even after he dies, so the game was recognizing that these turrets were racking up a ton of kills, but the camera stayed focused on his dead body rather than on the action itself.

    The stagnant camera mixed with the triumphant victory music is, as you might expect, hilarious.

    "That’s an obvious one where we want to do some camera work to feature what actually caused the Play of the Game to happen," said Kaplan. "We think we have a lot of ideas on that front and we want to evolve the camera work."

    While it's probably better for the integrity of Overwatch to focus on actually spectacular moments, I can't help but be a little sad that the unintentionally hilarious Plays of the Game might be going away.

    So, now that you know how Play of the Game is calculated, will you change your tactics to try to make the highlight reel focus on you? If you do, just remember that the most important aspect of "Overwatch" is teamwork. Don't be a selfish Sally.

    Or, worse yet, don't be a Cersei Lannister.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what happens when you order something on Amazon Prime Now


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    conan donald trump ad

    After Donald Trump recently made his pitch to black voters by telling them, "What the hell do you have to lose?" TBS's "Conan," hosted by Conan O'Brien, imagined what the Republican candidate would say in an outrageous parody election ad targeted to African-Americans.

    Earlier this month, Trump tried to appeal to black voters with generalized comments about the state of their lives: "You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed."

    Critics have called his comments generally tone-deaf and ignorant.

    So "Conan" jumped on the opportunity to imagine what Trump would say in an election ad targeted to black voters. The show doubles down on the stereotypes and generalizations of African-American life.

    For example, the parody promises positions in the White House for '90s music group Bell Biv Devoe. The Trump in the ad says that when he's president, "every prince will be fresh." He'll create a new time zone for "colored-people time." And he promises that black people will get their own bathrooms and water fountains.

    Finally, the parody's tagline is, "Make America Grape Again."

    Watch the outrageous parody below:

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Colbert investigates a notorious Republican conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton

    DON'T MISS: Seth Meyers explains why Hillary Clinton's new email scandal isn't as bad as you think

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'She's a bigot' — Watch Trump slam Clinton over minority rights


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    After a long day of work, I got back to my apartment on Wednesday evening looking to unwind. My girlfriend was out for drinks with her friends and wouldn't be back for a few hours, so I decided to boot up my PlayStation 4 and play something.

    abzu

    Earlier this month, I'd plopped down $20 on "Abzû," a beautiful game that was released earlier this month for PlayStation 4 and PC.

    Matt Nava, the creative director on “Abzû,” was also the art director behind “Journey,” which is one of my favorite games and one of the most beautiful PlayStation games ever made. So I was very excited to finally try "Abzû."

    Less than two hours later, the credits were rolling, and I was incredibly satisfied.

    Here's a glimpse at what you can expect from "Abzû."

    SEE ALSO: The former Prime Minister of Poland loves this video game so much he gave it to Obama as a gift

    In "Abzû," you play a scuba diver who's exploring the depths of the sea.



    You'll encounter wondrous creatures that will swim and play with you.



    You'll swim with dolphins.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    silicon valley hbo big head nelson bighetti

    Since its debut back in 2014, "Silicon Valley" has sparked debate on who in the tech world inspired the show's motley crew of characters. Richard is Mark Zuckerberg. Erlich is Sean Parker. Laurie is Marissa Mayer, and so on.

    Nelson "Big Head" Bighetti, played by Josh Brener, has remained a mystery.

    He climbed the ranks at Google-inspired tech giant Hooli to become "cohead dreamer" of the moonshot division; landed a profile in Wired (for real); and went on to acquire Pied Piper. But Big Head did it all with the technical acumen of a first-year computer-science student, and even that might be generous. His job for much of season three involved idling on a roof.

    He is, as Brener describes, the "manifestation of tai chi, just blowing in the wind."

    Who of the tech elite could possibly inspire such a dud?

    nelson big head bighetti silicon valley

    Big Head is actually an amalgamation of Silicon Valley has-beens.

    When a startup is acquired by a major company, the founders are sometimes relegated to do nothing. They run out their contracts wandering campus while their equity vests.

    "As far as I know, Big Head was inspired by a number of different real-life stories where people were basically in the situation of being unassigned to any project — basically being fired without being fired," Brener tells Business Insider, adding that there was no one-to-one comparison.

    There is one surprising source of inspiration for Big Head that has nothing to do with the valley: the main character of the 1979 dark comedy, "Being There."

    Watch the trailer below.

    In the film, Chauncey Gardiner (played by Peter Sellers) fakes his way to financial and political prominence after being kicked off the estate where he has worked as a gardener his whole life. His simple words about gardens and the weather are often mistaken for profound metaphors, and most of his knowledge comes from what he sees on TV. Still, he excels.

    "In the early episodes of 'Silicon Valley,' I had no idea what Big Head would go on to achieve in all of his glory. So, it was as much a surprise to me," Brener says, "but I definitely went back and looked at Chauncey Gardiner after the fact and tried to pick up a couple pointers."

    He remembers the show's writers telling him, "Hey, if you're going to steal, steal from the best."

    "Being There" has since become one of his favorite movies.

    SEE ALSO: Season 3 of 'Silicon Valley' was almost completely different

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These real-life robocops are patrolling the streets of Silicon Valley


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    "Pokémon Go" is the most popular mobile game in the world. China is the largest mobile gaming market, and the most populous country on Earth.

    Bizarrely, the most popular mobile game in the world isn't available in China. Huh?

    pokemon go

    The game also isn't available in South Korea, the fourth largest market in the world for mobile gaming. So, what gives?

    Surprisingly, it's because of Google and the way that "Pokémon Go" is so tightly integrated with Google's services. First and foremost, you login to "Pokémon Go" using Google:

    Pokemon GO Login

    But even if you circumvent that with a Pokémon Trainer Club login, the game itself relies on Google Maps data to power the game's maps. But Google Services doesn't operate in China. As of November 2012, China officially blocks all Google Services. This is the so-called "Great Firewall" of China: a means of censoring the internet deployed by the Chinese government. 

    In this case, the Great Firewall is keeping out Pikachu — and keeping the game's creator, Niantic Labs, from earning millions in the largest gaming market in the world.

    "'Pokémon Go' relies on Google Services for the game to run correctly," Daniel Ahmad, a Chinese games industry analyst with Niko Partners, told Business Insider in an email exchange. "The game itself uses Google Maps as the game world and all the various Pokéstops/Gyms are stored in Google servers."

    Pokemon Go

    In short: Since "Pokémon Go" is an online-only game, and one that's dependent on Google Services functioning to do literally anything, it isn't heading to China anytime soon.

    Chinese gamers aren't ignorant of the game's existence, of course. 

    An online survey conducted by Niko Partners, an analytics firm that specializes in the Chinese gaming market, found that people were taking to dubious workarounds for getting "Pokémon Go" working in China. Here's what the survey found (emphasis ours):

    "Within two days of the global launch of the iOS version we surveyed consumers to see whether they know the game 'Pokémon Go.' This was a self-selecting survey, meaning we did not have any screening criteria for participants. If they wanted to answer, they could answer.

    Within a couple of days we had 350 respondents. Of those, more than 60% said they know of the game. In addition, 48% said they have tried to play the official game via convoluted efforts. Only 11% of the 350 said they were able to play, and 37% said they were not able to despite their efforts."

    The "convoluted efforts" noted here primarily consist of using a service called a "VPN" ("virtual private network") that acts as a virtual mask, hiding the true location of your device.

    You log in to it, and then you log into the internet through it, thus subverting any gates you'd normally encounter on your local internet connection. People use services like this to, say, watch Netflix in a country where it isn't offered. But a VPN can also be used to play online games. Alas, even with a VPN, there are other issues that Chinese gamers will face — with no Google Maps data available for parts of China, it's possible that no PokéStops or Gyms will be anywhere nearby.

    pokemon-go-sokcho-south-koreaSouth Korea faces a similar issue with "Pokémon Go," albeit for different reasons.

    Google and the South Korean government are in a protracted battle over access to the country's map data. The South Korean government cites security reasons, specifically regarding North Korea, for not granting access. Google calls it preferential treatment for the South Korean mapping companies that lead the market there.

    As the the Wall Street Journal  explains, "Google’s domestic Korean rivals, Naver and Kakao Corp., only use government-supplied maps that already have had sensitive installations blurred or camouflaged. Google representatives contend that the national-security laws in South Korea unfairly benefit local competitors in the country of about 50 million people. The government maintains that national security is the laws’ sole purpose."

    In the case of South Korea, the fourth largest gaming market in the world (by revenue according to Newzoo), Niantic could create a workaround: use another mapping service. Partnering with Naver or Kakao could solve the issue, though it may also require a tremendous amount of work.

    Regardless, with evidence of the "Pokémon Go" phenomenon wearing off, Niantic (and its investors at Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company) assuredly want to push into two of the world's four biggest game markets. Now, the only question is how.

    SEE ALSO: "Pokémon Go" has a new way to block cheaters

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This new update in 'Pokémon GO' will change how you play the game


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    frank ocean novacane

    Frank Ocean made an enterprising move to independently release his new album "Blonde" on Saturday without the involvement of his former label Def Jam or Universal Music Group (UMG), its parent company. But as Billboard reports, the R&B singer's crafty and potentially lucrative manuever could get him sued. 

    Ocean reportedly fulfilled his recording contract with Def Jam on Friday by releasing a visual album, "Endless," on Apple Music. In doing so, Ocean freed himself up to release "Blonde" — his proper second album, which critics are lauding— as an Apple Music exclusive the next day, through his new independent label called Boys Don't Cry.

    According to Billboard, Ocean's strategy has "increased his potential profit share from 14 percent to 70 percent" for the sales and streaming of "Blonde," which is on track to earn 225,000 to 250,000 equivalent album units and debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. 

    As a result, UMG has missed out on the long-awaited work of one of its hottest artists. Stuck with "Endless," a visual album that isn't for sale, Universal stands to lose a significant profit.

    One source has speculated to Billboard that UMG may have grounds to sue Ocean, though other sources close to the situation at Def Jam have told the outlet that "no legal action against Ocean is currently being considered."

    The one-day window between "Endless" and "Blonde" would likely be UMG's foremost point of legal contention with Ocean. As Billboard notes, most standard recording contracts have "minimum-delivery clauses," wherein an artist can only fulfill his or her contract by delivering albums within a set time frame and at "a label-acceptable level of quality."

    In other words, it's very possibly Ocean violated his contract by releasing another album on the heels of his last delivered for Def Jam.

    Nonetheless, Ocean's controversial move has certainly made waves in the industry and brought more scrutiny to the concept of streaming exclusives for artists. 

    According to a report from music industry insider Bob Lefsetz, UMG has effectively banned streaming exclusives following the release of "Blonde."

    As The Verge notes, the prospect of influential artists leaving the major-label system for streaming services has long frightened labels and could "cause a power shift that the industry hasn’t experienced since iTunes hit the scene in 2003."

    UMG has not yet responded to a request for comment from Business Insider.

    SEE ALSO: Frank Ocean debuts 'Blonde,' his 1st album in 4 years

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The directors of 'Catfish' and 'Nerve' reveal how to make it in Hollywood without going to film school


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    blair witch lionsgate

    "The Blair Witch Project" came out in 1999, and completely captivated the country. Its "found footage" style done on an ultra-low budget of around $60,000 ended up making $248.6 million worldwide over its box-office lifetime.

    Finally, there's a new sequel to the modern horror classic.

    Yes, there was the forgettable "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," but that was really a sequel in name only.

    Horror director Adam Wingard ("You're Next," "The Guest") has gone back to the woods where the original took place to follow a new group of kids in search of the Blair Witch.

    In fact, Lionsgate, which is releasing the movie, revealed only recently that the movie is, in fact, a sequel to "The Blair Witch Project."

    Up until this year's San Diego Comic-Con, the movie was titled "The Woods." People who attended the screening at Comic-Con still had no clue what the movie was really about when they showed up to the theater.

    But then people began to understand that it was a "Blair Witch" sequel, which led to social media exploding after the screening. And Wingard did reveal that the movie is really titled "Blair Witch."

    Those who have seen it say that the movie is scary and a great continuation of the Blair Witch story. You can see for yourself when the movie opens on September 16.

    Here's the trailer, from Collider:

    SEE ALSO: 'The Rock' is now the highest-paid actor in the world — here's who he beat out

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    AP_ sarah jessica parker epipen

    You won't see or hear Sarah Jessica Parker on ads for EpiPen manufacturer Mylan after the company revealed it was raising the cost of the emergency allergy injector to more than $500, a 500% price hike since the product's introduction in 2007.

    The "Sex and the City" star was a spokeswoman for the company's "Anaphylaxis for Reel" campaign, which sought to bring awareness to its anaphylactic shock products, including the EpiPen.

    She is also a customer. She purchases the EpiPen for her son, James Wilkie, in case of emergency reactions as a result of his peanut allergy.

    Parker posted her statement about cutting ties with the company on Instagram Thursday. In it, she said that she is "disappointed, saddened, and deeply concerned" about the company's price hike.

    A photo posted by SJP (@sarahjessicaparker) on

    The price hike, which was revealed on Wednesday, resulted in furious reactions from the public and political leaders, including Hillary Clinton. At first, Mylan said the price increase was partly a result of President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

    Mylan then announced it would be implementing new measures that would bring the cost down for patients, including $300 coupons and increasing income assistance in buying the medication.

    SEE ALSO: Not everyone is buying into Mylan's EpiPen price plan

    DON'T MISS: Sarah Jessica Parker and 20 other big stars of Fall's new TV shows

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Doctors Show Why 3D Printing Holds 'Limitless' Potential For Medicine


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    rey star wars force awakens

    Warning: Major spoilers ahead if you haven't seen "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

    With Rey in "The Force Awakens," "Star Wars" added another strong female hero to its universe.

    But a dark theory suggests Rey might not be a hero at all.

    Instead, she could be the franchise's newest villain.

    The question of Rey's parentage was one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the newest "Star Wars" and could help explain her natural ability to use the Force with so little training, while Luke Skywalker had to endure Yoda's trials in the original trilogy. 

    But all we can do is assume Rey is Luke's daughter for now and wait until later episodes fill us in.

    In the meantime, this theory compiled by Uproxx uses the information given in "The Force Awakens" film and novelization. The film shows how easy it is for Rey to use the Force and the novelization, which is canon, says during her and Kylo Ren's climactic battle that she heard a voice from the dark side that told her to kill Kylo Ren.

    star wars force awakens posterAnd like Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader, Rey suffered a very troubled childhood and is full of anger and fear over the death of her father figure Han Solo.

    Most convincing of all, the video explainer points out how in the "Force Awakens" poster, Rey's staff lines up perfectly with Kylo Ren's red lightsaber — the kind members of the Sith use — meaning Rey is literally positioned to take over using the Sith's weapon and therefore become a member of the dark side.

    Outside of this theory, the idea that Rey is tied to the dark side is hinted at in John Williams' compositions. Her theme is a lighter, reversed version of Darth Vader's famous "Imperial March."

    Try to pick your jaw up off the floor and watch the full theory explainer:

    SEE ALSO: Here's everything we know about the upcoming 'Star Wars' movie, 'Rogue One'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The directors of 'Catfish' and 'Nerve' reveal how to make it in Hollywood without going to film school


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    ryan lochte

    Ryan Lochte is reportedly trading his Speedos for dancing shoes for a spot on the upcoming season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

    Several news outlets report that the 32-year-old Olympic swimmer will join the reality dance competition's 23rd season.

    A show insider told People that "Ryan has wanted to be on the show for years."

    Another source told the magazine that Lochte could be a frontrunner on the show, which hasn't officially named the season's cast yet.

    A show representative told Business Insider that ABC doesn't comment on casting rumors. The cast will be announced on the August 30 episode of "Good Morning America."

    This wouldn't be Lochte's first reality show. He previously starred on the E! reality show "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" It was universally panned by critics and canceled after one season.

    The new "DWTS" headlines are probably a welcome change for Lochte. The 12-time Olympic medalist is suffering from the fallout of creating an international debacle after lying to Rio and Olympic authorities about him and three fellow Team USA swimmers being robbed at gunpoint during a night out on the city.

    Instead, the swimmer has admitted that they were confronted by an armed security guard after vandalizing a gas station bathroom.

    Since Lochte's fabrication, all four of his sponsors dropped him.

    He will also face possible sanctions from the US Olympic Committee, in addition to further investigation by Brazilian officials.

    SEE ALSO: One of the 4 American swimmers apologized for the 'serious distraction' he caused at a gas station in Rio and admitted he 'omitted facts'

    DON'T MISS: NBC's Olympics had a 'nightmare' drop in ratings — here's how it could fix the problem

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ralph Lauren joins Speedo and drops Ryan Lochte


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    Boloencierro Matalpino Spain bull run bullfight animal rights

    In late 2011, with Spain mired in nationwide economic malaise, a town north of Madrid learned it didn't have the funds to hold a key part of its annual festival: the bull run. 

    Rather than scrap the event entirely, the town's mayor, Javier de los Nietos,hit upon another, cost-effective solution.

    Residents of the town of Mataelpino replaced the bulls that charged after revelers with a 10-foot wide, 440-pound polystyrene ball, creating the boloencierro, a combination of the Spanish words "bolo," or ball, and "encierro," or bull run.

    The boloencierro took advantage of the winding, up-and-down street layout of the town of 1,700 people, which is about 3,700 feet above sea level in the hills outside the Spanish capital.

    The town hosted its sixth iteration of the boloencierro in 2016 (the ball broke in half this year), and previous years have already given the town a boost in tourism. The event has won Mataelpino publicity from as far afield as China and Japan. In Spain alone, four other towns will host versions of Mataelpino's boloencierro this year. 

    While it doesn't have the same dangers as running with actual bulls, injuries can still happen during the boloencierro. In addition to cuts and scrapes from falls, those who don't dodge the bolo can be knocked down and concussed.

    "You feel very small, and you have to keep your wits about you," de los Nietos told El País, "because if the boulder cracks you on the back, it can push you against the walls or onto the ground."

    Spain boloencierro

    Count animal-rights groups are among those who welcome the new take on an old tradition.

    "Each year, people are gored or trampled while they run with the bulls," PETA told Cronica Norte in 2014. 

    "Boloencierro is fun, for all the family and a great alternative for the growing number of people who oppose bullfighting and bull runs," said the group, which also offered to cover the costs for other towns in Spain and Portugal that replaced the traditional bull run with a ball run.

    The prevalence of bullfights has declined in recent years, particularly in Spain, where the event has attracted public protests as well as political and financial pressure from municipal governments. 

    Despite boloencierroes being hailed as an alternative to regular encierros, to Mayor de los Nietos, this version will be no substitute for the real thing. "It’s not something that divides bullfighting aficionados from opponents: in fact it brings them both together; everybody enjoys the party," he told El País.

    SEE ALSO: Pablo Escobar may be long gone, but his hippos are still causing problems for Colombia

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    NOW WATCH: Incredible video footage from this year's running of the bulls festival


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    Dwayne Johnson Sergi Alexander GettyDwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been on an incredible run of late and things have only gotten better. Forbes has now named him the highest-paid actor in the world with $64.5 million earned in the past year.

    Thanks to franchises like "Fast and the Furious" and "San Andreas," his lifetime worldwide box-office gross is over $6 billion, and coming up he's got a "Baywatch" movie and "Jumanji" sequel.

    He's also stepping into the superhero world in the near future as he's signed on to be Doc Savage.

    That's not to mention his other endeavors like a YouTube channel, a production company, and endorsement deals.

    Here we look back on the incredible career of "The Rock," from a washed-up football player with only $7 to his name to becoming the highest-paid actor in the world.

    Frank Pallotta and Mallory Schlossberg contributed to an earlier version of this story.

    SEE ALSO: Here's the most popular music artist in every state, according to Pandora

    Before he was "The Rock," Dwayne Johnson was born on May 2, 1972, in Hayward, California.

    Source: Biography



    Wrestling is in Johnson's blood. His father, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, was a member of the first African-American tag-team champions, and his grandfather Peter Maivia was one of the first Samoan wrestlers.

    Source: YouTube



    Johnson didn't go straight to wrestling. His first sport was football. After starring in high school, he played in college for the Miami Hurricanes. Over his tenure at the University of Miami, Johnson started just once but appeared in 39 games and had 77 tackles, and he was a part of the 1991 national championship team.

    Source: ESPN



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Britney Spears

    In early 2008, after having lost custody of her children, Britney Spears suffered a public breakdown that led to the collapse of her career.

    Following days of odd behavior in the spotlight — including reckless driving, shaving her own head, and attacking paparazzi with an umbrella — Spears was admitted to UCLA Medical Center's psychiatric hospital in January 2008. 

    While Spears was in the hospital, her father, Jamie, was granted a "temporary conservatorship" that allowed him to control her treatment and daily life. The legal judgment stabilized Spears' career at the time, and it still controls her personal life and finances to this day. 

    Since 2008, however, Spears has signed a lucrative Las Vegas performance contract and released three albums to varying degrees of success.

    On Friday, Spears will release her ninth LP, "Glory," which many are deeming yet another comeback for the singer, following the relative failure of 2013's "Britney Jean," which was the lowest-selling album of her career.

    The story of Britney Spears is, essentially, a series of comebacks.

    Read on to see how Britney Spears made an impressive return to form from her low point:

    SEE ALSO: Britney Spears hasn't been in control of her career or personal life for more than 8 years

    In late 2007, around the time her album "Blackout" came out, Britney Spears was embroiled in a custody battle with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. After a judge found that she engaged in "habitual, frequent, and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol," Spears temporarily lost custody of her children.

    Source: CNN



    In January 2008, following an infamous public breakdown, Spears was admitted to the UCLA Medical Center for emergency psychiatric treatment. Her father was then granted a legal conservatorship over her personal life and finances.

    Source: The New York Times



    Spears largely retreated from the spotlight, doing very little promotion for "Blackout." There was never a tour for the album.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    60 days in monalisa

    Moments into Monalisa Johnson's stint at Clark County Jail, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, one thing immediately stuck out to her. 

    It was one of the filthiest places she had ever been.

    "I'd never seen anything like it," Johnson told Business Insider. "There was mold growing, gnats flying up out of drains. Black mold, green mold, every kind of thing you can think of was growing around the showers and in the toilets and the sinks."

    Johnson was a participant on the documentary series "60 Days In," whose second season premieres Thursday on A&E. The show follows eight volunteers who go undercover as inmates for two months in order to expose problems within the system.

    The participants — none of whom have criminal records — were booked under false names and fake charges during their stays. Corrections officers were not made aware of the undercover program until filming was complete. 

    Upon arrival, Monalisa questioned whether the bunk beds in the women's pod or her jail-issued sleeping mat had ever been cleaned.

    "That was like some stuff that you would see in a foreign country," she told the cameras in one episode. "I would have never expected American jails to look like that from the inside."

    60 days in sewageIt was clear the conditions took a psychological toll on her fellow inmates, according to Johnson.

    "When you're de-cluttered and things are clean, you tend to focus better and accomplish more," she said. "When they come in there and see it that way, they automatically just drop to a sense of hopelessness. Even if they know they're going to get out, it still feels likes a hopeless environment."

    About 30% of US jail inmates and 23% of state prisoners show symptoms of major depression, according to a 2006 Justice Department reportSeveral participants from the show's first season said they felt depressed during their time in jail, thanks in part to the drab surroundings, lack of daily structure, and stomach-turning food.

    "What I learned the most was that those are humans that are inside of there," Johnson. "They deserve to have human rights ... and their rights are being violated."

    The season premiere of "60 Days In" airs Thursday on A&E at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

    SEE ALSO: 7 undercover inmates spent 2 months in jail — here are the most outrageous things they witnessed

    DON'T MISS: A man who went undercover in a jail for 2 months discovered a disturbing truth about veterans who are locked up

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The directors of 'Catfish' and 'Nerve' reveal how to make it in Hollywood without going to film school


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    As video game consoles get more and more powerful, the line between what's real and what isn't in sports games gets increasingly blurry. We're at the point where each stadium is lovingly realized, each uniform's cloth moves in the wind, and each athlete's sweat drips realistically. 

    "Madden NFL 17" is no different. Here's how this year's game looks on the newest hardware:

    SEE ALSO: The best new feature in 'Madden 17' has nothing to do with playing football

    The newly-relocated Los Angeles Rams are heavily featured in "Madden NFL 17," as is their star running back Todd Gurley. Here's how he looks in the game:



    As a bonus, here's Gurley hurdling over Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object.



    Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL. Here's his virtual counterpart stiff-arming Von Miller, who we swear is one of the best defensive players in the league:



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    RTXYMVH

    Netflix just dropped the trailer for a new documentary, "Audrie and Daisy," that covers the harrowing details surrounding the sexual assault cases and subsequent harassment of Daisy Coleman and Audrie Pott. 

    Both girls' cases tell a story that has become dismayingly similar to a more recent case involving a Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting a woman earlier this year.

    Coleman and Pott were both sexually assaulted in 2012, while unconscious and intoxicated, both had pictures and videos taken of them while passed out, both faced incessant bullying and harassment in the aftermath as they tried to pull their lives back together, and none of their alleged abusers faced significant consequences.

    The Coleman case

    Coleman, after being sexually assaulted and videotaped while she was passed out, tried pressing charges against her alleged abuser, Matthew Barnett, who was a football player and the grandson of a Missouri state representative.

    The charges against Barnett were dropped without any explanation.

    When Coleman's mother tried to ask questions, she apparently lost her job. The family moved out of Maryville shortly after, and their Maryville home was burned to the ground a few months later.

    Daisy claims she faced brutal harassment and bullying after her alleged assault, including being targeted on social media, being called derogatory names, and being told she had been "asking for it." Since then, Daisy has made repeated attempts to take her own life and is in therapy. 

    Audrie Pott

    A tragic ending

    Audrie Pott was a pretty and popular student at Saratoga High School in California when one night of partying changed her entire life. Audrie was at a party at a friend's place where she allegedly became unconscious after drinking too much.

    At some point during the night, she was taken to a bedroom, had her clothes stripped off, and had various parts of her body, including her cleavage and genital region, drawn on with Sharpie. While she was still unconscious, the three boys who were with her allegedly digitally penetrated her.

    She woke up the next morning with Sharpie marks all over her body and no recollection of what had happened the night before, but she started to piece together the details when she found out there had been pictures taken of her when she was naked and unconscious. 

    Despite being devastated over the events of that night, Audrie tried hard to get her life back to normal, but she found it difficult after being subjected to vicious cyberbullying and harassment when the photos of her spread among her peers. A few days into the start of her sophomore year of high school, Audrie Pott hanged herself.

    One of the boys' parents took him out of Saratoga High School and enrolled him at another school, where he was allowed to play football. The other two boys remained at Saratoga.

    "Audrie and Daisy" delves into the details of what happened in both girls' cases and explores the question of why, as one person in the documentary's trailer put it, it has become "more important to shield the boys than it [is] to find justice for the girls." 

    The documentary was played at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and will premier in theaters and on Netflix on September 23. 

    View the trailer below:

    SEE ALSO: Conan O'Brien made a jaw-dropping Donald Trump parody ad 'just for black voters'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The directors of 'Catfish' and 'Nerve' reveal how to make it in Hollywood without going to film school


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    xbox one s

    Earlier in August, Microsoft launched the Xbox One S: A leaner, meaner update to 2013's original Xbox One console that packs a little extra juice into a 40% smaller shell.

    It's a huge step over the original Xbox One in just about every way. Normally, I'd say you should buy it without reservation.

    But back at this year's E3 video game conference, Microsoft made the extremely atypical move of pre-announcing a new, mysterious Xbox console, codenamed "Project Scorpio," to be launched in the holiday of 2017.

    Project Scorpio is promised to be "the most powerful console ever," bringing a lot more graphical horsepower to the table. We don't know what it looks like, what it will cost, or which games are coming to it, but we do know that it'll deliver ultra-high definition gaming in full 4K resolution, among other graphical feats. 

    That leaves people considering getting an Xbox with a difficult choice: Buy an Xbox now, and risk being left in the cold when Project Scorpio comes out in 2017? Or wait for more details on Project Scorpio but miss out, in the interim, on upcoming Xbox-exclusive games like Gears of War 4 and Scalebound?

    Here's what you need to know when choosing between buying an Xbox One S now versus Project Scorpio later.

    Don't sweat it too much

    Seriously, don't stress out here: Microsoft has promised that Project Scorpio and the Xbox One will share a games library.

    That means it will play all your Xbox One games, past, present, and future. It'll also play those select two hundred-plus Xbox 360 games that are currently playable on the Xbox One. All your Xbox One controllers will still work with it, too. 

    project scorpio new xbox one

    And Microsoft has given strong indications that any games for Project Scorpio will also work with all models of the Xbox One. We don't know exactly how that will work, but Microsoft has hinted that certain newer games simply won't look as good when played on an older console. 

    So no matter which Xbox One you choose to buy, there's still going to be a steady stream of games. You won't be left in the cold. Plus, Microsoft is pushing a new initiative where buying a copy of an Xbox One game will also net you a copy for Windows 10, so you'll be able to play wherever you'd like, on either PC or console.

    "No one gets left behind," said Xbox boss Phil Spencer when Project Scorpio was announced.

    That said...

    Lookin' good

    Even going on the few details we have available, Project Scorpio definitely has the major edge in graphical horsepower: To judge by Microsoft's specs, it's six times as powerful as the original Xbox One.

    What this means for you is that you'll be able to play (certain) games in full, glorious, "true" 4K/UltraHD resolution, the next huge step up from our modern and more common HD technologies. And in general, it'll be able to support yet more gorgeous graphical effects than we see on the modern Xbox One.

    That also means Project Scorpio has enough juice to support high-end virtual reality headsets, like Facebook's Oculus Rift. And while Microsoft hasn't specifically announced Oculus Rift support, the two companies are tight enough that it seems like a safe bet something is in the works. 

    tomb raider sdr vs hdr

    The Xbox One S supports 4K/UltraHD, too, but only for movie playback from specially-marked Blu-Ray discs, not for games. That said, it does support high-dynamic range, or HDR, a technology for displaying super-vivid colors that Business Insider's own Antonio Villas-Boas thinks is actually better and more noticable than UltraHD.

    Of course, if you don't have a cutting-edge 4K/UltraHD TV, or a $599 Oculus Rift headset, and you don't have any plans to get either, you won't get the most out of Scorpio's phenomenal cosmic power. 

    Which brings us to the next point...

    Price is wrong

    The Xbox One S is clearly the value option here, with lots of options for bundled-in games and hard drive storage space.

    According to Amazon, the best-selling Xbox One S model is a $349 configuration with 1 terabyte (as in, one thousand gigabytes) of storage, and a copy of Madden NFL 17. Other configurations include a $399 model with 2TB of storage, or a $299 version that comes with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 5: Guardians and 500GB of storage in a neat little package.

    Meanwhile, Project Scorpio is being billed by Microsoft as a premium product, which is executive code language for "not cheap." All of Project Scorpio's power is going to come with a price tag, and it seems fair to assume it'll cost significantly more than the Xbox One S when it launches next holiday season.

    phil spencer microsoft xbox

    If it helps, you can think of the Xbox One S as the iPhone SE of the Xbox line: Powerful enough and cheap enough to be attractive to a lot of people, but not necessarily right on the cutting edge.

    So, bottom line here is that if you really need that cutting-edge aspect, and you're already investing heavily in the world of 4K and virtual reality, waiting for Project Scorpio is the thing to do. If you don't care about any of that stuff and just want to play the latest games for cheaper on the latest Xbox available, you can't go wrong with the S.

    Finally, the Sony PlayStation 4 is going to have similar issues, with a new slimmer model slated to get announced very soon, and with the more powerful PlayStation 4 NEO launching next year. But that's another story. 

    SEE ALSO: The next-generation Xbox could be even more different than we thought

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    NOW WATCH: 5 hidden features to get the most out of your Xbox One


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    Music IndustryThis story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Digital Media Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

    Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group (UMG), has reportedly sent a memo to his executives prohibiting them from signing exclusive distribution deals with streaming services, according to Bob Lefstetz’s influential industry newsletter cited by The Guardian reports.

    If obeyed, Mr. Grainge’s dictum could derail a music streaming industry that has come to rely on exclusive artist releases as a user acquisition strategy.

    UMG is one of the world’s big three record companies (along with Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group), owning well over a hundred labels and sub-labels across the globe, and with stakes in scores more. A subset of its portfolio includes the Interscope, Def Jam, Republic, and Capitol record labels, which count stars like Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Adele and Drake in their rosters. Releasing content on as many platforms as possible makes sense for the record label because it maximizes the potential for song streams and thus royalty payments too.

    Grainge’s directive would undermine music streaming platforms like Apple Music and Tidal, for whom exclusive releases are a key point of differentiation from the competition. For example, Frank Ocean’s long-awaited new album, Blonde, was released exclusively on Apple Music last week, as was Drake’s record Views earlier this year. On the same note, Tidal is the sole streaming home for Beyonce’s Lemonade in perpetuity, and Kanye West infamously caused a stir when he made the ultimately erroneous announcement that Life of Pablo would only ever be available on Tidal.

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