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Monthly Archives: August 2017

LeVar Burton sued for using ‘Reading Rainbow’ catchphrase on his podcast

Actor LeVar Burton, who taught Gen-Xers and millennials about the wonders of literature via PBS’ Reading Rainbow, is being sued for his continued use of the show’s iconic catchphrase. The 60-year-old peppered his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, with the tagline “But you don’t have to take my word for it,” and that’s put him in legally dubious territory.

WNED-TV Buffalo, New York, which originally produced Reading Rainbow, is suing Burton. It’s the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute about the show’s intellectual property. As the Hollywood Reporter notes, the suit alleges that Mr. Burton’s goal is to control and reap the benefits of Reading Rainbow’s substantial goodwill that unquestionably belongs to WNED. More specifically, that Burton is guilty of: copyright infringement, conversion, cybersquatting, violations of the Lanham Act, breach of contract and interference with customer relations. WNED is seeking profits from the actor’s podcast.

Burton’s RRKidz production outlet has been working with a proper licensing agreement from WNED since 2011. Though he acquired the rights to the brand, turned Reading Rainbow into a successful iPad app in 2012, and raised millions on Kickstarter to revive the series in 2014, the original agreement is murky. As the Reporter notes:

WNED’s interpretation of the agreement is that the 2011 deal represented a divide and conquer approach to the renaissance of Reading Rainbow whereby RRKidz would be allowed to take over digital distribution of the series while the broadcaster would focus on making new episodes. Profits were to be split.

Burton hosted Reading Rainbow from 1983 to 2006, during which he won 12 Emmys. As of Aug. 1, is no longer operated by RRKidz. In its place: the original logo, attributed to WNED. It’s a bitter reminder that nothing gold can stay.

H/T the Hollywood Reporter

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This Accessory Is Perfect If You Never Know What To Do With Your Phone When You Run

I do one of two things when I go outside for a run with my phone: I either hold it in one of my hands or I tuck that sucker into my sports bra and, let me tell you, neither are great options. Holding it is downright annoying, and there is just something about keeping my phone that close to my boobs that feels very, very unnatural. Still, as irritating as it is to figure out where to put my phone when I run, I definitely feel better having the device on me rather than leaving it at home.

So, for longer than I care to admit, I’ve been on the hunt for a good solution to this problem. And, to be honest, I’d prefer not to wear one of those uncomfortable and, let’s be real, unsightly armbands. They never seem to fit my arms correctly, the velcro rips at my arm hair, and they always feel more distracting than anything else. Can’t a girl just get into the zone in peace and achieve a nice, satisfying runner’s high without so many pesky distractions?

Praise be to the goddess of jog, for there finally appears to be a solution!

Behold the FlipBelt, the answer to your prayers and mine.

So, the FlipBelt is basically a spandex belt that holds everything you might need while you’re outside running, without the whole experience being hella awkward. Think of it as a streamlined version of the fanny pack, except it doesn’t sit like a big, uncomfortable bump on the side of your body.

Instead, this puppy firmly and cleanly wraps around your hips, and you can simply slide it on like your favorite pair of yoga pants. The FlipBelt comes in a wide variety of colors, and it can store your keys, money, ID, and phone without being bulky or flopping around all over the place.

It even has an ergonomically designed water bottle you can add on to it! Plus, at $29 a pop,it’s not going to break the bank.

Honestly, the greatest achievement of something like this is that you don’t have to actually think about your phone when you run.

I think we can all agree that we probably need a little (or a lot) more time to simply not think about our phones, let alone use them as much as we do. Because, in addition to it being necessary to unplug every now and then, looking at your phone can also have a negative impact on your form.

Dr. Michael Fredericson, professor of sports medicine at Stanford University, told SFGate that looking at your phone prevents you from focusing on your body, which you need to be doing whenever you’re moving it. Plus, having your head in texting position can cause stiffness and, potentially, injury.

Texting can also interfere with the kind of workout you get due to how much it simply distracts you from getting in the zone. According to a 2016 study published in , using your phone while you exercise decreases your time spent in a high-intensity workout. So, if you’re looking to go hard at the gym, maybe keep your phone out of view or try putting it on airplane mode.

Or, you can just pop that bad boy into your sick new FlipBelt, amirite?

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Elon Musk leads 116 experts calling for outright ban of killer robots

Open letter signed by Tesla chief and Googles Mustafa Suleyman urges UN to block use of lethal autonomous weapons to prevent third age of war.

Some of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots.

Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman are leading a group of 116 specialists from across 26 countries who are calling for the ban on autonomous weapons.

The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons which include drones, tanks and automated machine guns. Ahead of this, the group of founders of AI and robotics companies have sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently under way for killer robots.

In their letter, the founders warn the review conference of the convention on conventional weapons that this arms race threatens to usher in the third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

The founders wrote: “Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at time scales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”

We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.

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