It Turns Out that it’s Pretty Easy to Steal that Sex Video You Made on Your iPhone

Oh, but of course you never made a sex video on your iPhone. And you definitely didn’t take any pictures of you dressed as sexy Queen Victoria with duckface, either. It’s just cat photos and pictures of flowers on your iPhone and iPad, isn’t it? Well, then, this won’t disturb you at all!

Developers of applications for Apple’s mobile devices, along with Apple itself, came under scrutiny this month after reports that some apps were taking people’s address book information without their knowledge.

As it turns out, address books are not the only things up for grabs. Photos are also vulnerable. After a user allows an application on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to have access to location information, the app can copy the user’s entire photo library, without any further notification or warning, according to app developers.

And you thought having an Imam in your address book was bad! Allow David Chen, an app developer and co-founder of Curio, to outline the Orwellian implications for you:

“Conceivably, an app with access to location data could put together a history of where the user has been based on photo location…”

“…The location history, as well as your photos and videos, could be uploaded to a server. Once the data is off of the iOS device, Apple has virtually no ability to monitor or limit its use.”

Yes, it would seem that after a relatively benign message about using your “location data” an app would gain access to your entire photo library.

I’ll give you a few moments to delete all those “cat photos” from your phone, perv.

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Romneybot Squeaks Out Santorum in Michigan and Arizona

Yes, for the moment, it would appear that Romneybot is holding the lead in the Republican primaries. Yesterday, he claimed victories in Arizona and Michigan; we can but hope that this marks the death knell of Santorum’s “Campaign for an American Catholic Theocracy.” Romneybot, who likely feels as though he was created to be president, was understandably jubilant-seeming:

“I stand ready to lead our party to victory and our nation back to prosperity,” Mr. Romney told a jubilant crowd of supporters. “It’s a critical time in America.”

Ich bin ein Amerikaner! However, Romney’s tough fight in Michigan may not be the golden shower of adulation he always wanted because Michigan awards its delegates by district; thus, Pope John Paul Santorum might take almost as many as Romney. Understandably, Santorum was also pleased with himself:

“A month ago they didn’t know who we are,” Mr. Santorum said, moments after calling Mr. Romney to concede. “They do now.”

Sadly, he’s correct.

The contest now moves forward, and unfortunately Santorum is still with us; we can only hope that Ron Paul Kenobi and Romneybot prove adequate to the task of removing him from the crevice of American politics.

You’ll Be Happy to Know that Wall Street Bonuses Saw Only a Small Decline

Yes, as you struggle to pay rent, and those student loan payments from a state university (ha! loser!) prevent you from ever qualifying for a mortgage, you’ll find some cause for optimisim that the world is not a terrible place when I tell you that Wall Street bonus packages saw only a small decline this year:

Total payouts to finance industry employees in New York are forecast to drop only 14 percent during this bonus season, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli. By comparison, profits plunged, falling 51 percent.

Interesting that while profits saw a sharp decline, bonuses did not; presumably, it’s all that “top talent” that the firms are always talking about–we wouldn’t want to fire anybody responsible for a 50% decline in profits, now would we? That guy knows what he’s doing!

Sadly, that 14% drop translates into real hardship:

The average bonus was $121,150, down just 13 percent from the previous year as the headcount shrunk. In 2006, the year before the financial crisis, the average investment bank employee took home a bonus of $191,360.

But the comptroller’s estimates, which do not include noncash compensation, may not give the full picture of this year’s bonus season.

But it seems as though there’s good news after all! Noncash compensation such as stock options were not tallied in the report! Increasingly, banks are offering stock as an alternative to cash bonuses. This move could work out well if the company performs admirably in the long-term, which is ostensibly the reason for offering the option at all (the other reason is that Morgan Stanley caps their bonuses at $125,000).

So, America, the next time you seethe with populist rage, just remember that Wall Street is making sacrifices, too. It’s hard to to get away with killing homeless prostitutes when your bonus declines by 14%.

Google+ Sent You a Friend Request–Do You Accept?

Wait, who the hell is Google+? Did I meet him at that party last night? How drunk was I? Dammit, I hate when this happens!

Sadly, if this article in the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, you probably didn’t accept that friend request. Instead, you threw up, drank some orange juice, and went back to bed, leaving Google+ to wonder why you won’t accept its friendship. Especially after that amazing conversation you had.

It turns out Google+ is a virtual ghost town compared with the site of rival Facebook Inc., which is preparing for a massive initial public offering. New data from research firm comScore Inc. shows that Google+ users are signing up—but then not doing much there.

Visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period, according to comScore, which didn’t have data on mobile usage.

To be fair to Google+, it would seem that their service does offer features that might be useful; it’s not all Jesus quotes and shit white people say. However, these features are not enough to lure uses away from the social networks that they already populate (probably because moving sucks). Media analyst Brian Solis claims that Google+ has not adequately demonstrated its value to users, but he also adds that “nobody wants another social network right now.”

Yet Google executives aren’t giving up–they’re looking at their long game:

Google executives downplay the direct comparison to Facebook, which has 845 million monthly active users. They have repeatedly said they are making a long-term bet on the initiative, and the company has yet to build up some of the weapons that made Facebook successful, including encouraging app development.

In an interview, Bradley Horowitz, a Google vice president of product management, said Google+ is designed to be more than a destination site and, as a result, is “extremely hard for any third party to measure.” Rather, he said, Google+ acts as an auxiliary to Google services—such as Gmail and YouTube—by adding a “personal” social-networking layer on top of them.

And when Google+ really takes off, the data mining tools will already be in place; thus, advertising content will be so tailor-made for you that your innermost psyche will reveal itself in glorious banners of divorce attorneys, local gun shows, and discount bakeries. Not even Freud could hope to analyze your subconscious with the accuracy of Google+.

So maybe when you wake up, you should accept that friend request and head on over to Google+. Start a “hangout,” have a video conference; then, prepare to be bombarded by ads for private detectives.

Because Google+ just realized you were adopted and figured you might want some help finding your real parents.

Did You Make $2 Billion This Year? No? Well, You’ll Have to Pay Taxes–Sorry!

If you’re like me, you didn’t clear $2 billion this year. I know, I know, it was a terrible year for all of us. I’m sure that next year will be better. Especially for A.I.G., which won’t be paying any taxes this year, and probably not for the next several years, either!

Apparently, despite A.I.G.’s sizable $1.6 billion in profits (they declared more than $17 billion, but $1.6 reflects reality), they will be taking this year off from income tax preparation because of a fancy loophole our delightful government arranged for them. Sorry, H&R Block! Insert populist-leaning rabble-rousing here:

This rule-twisting could deprive the government of tens of billions of dollars, assuming the firm remains profitable. The tax dodge, and let’s be honest, that’s what it is, also will most likely help goose the bonuses of A.I.G.’s employees, some who helped create many of the problems that led to its role in the financial crisis.

You see, when A.I.G. suffered catastrophic losses and required a taxpayer bailout, they also were able to declare those losses in some sort of ridiculous tax avoidance scheme (something called “net operating losses”); moreover, because of our ridiculously unfair tax code, they are able to spread those losses over several years, thus eliminating the need for a 1040 for the next decade. Also, A.I.G.’s executives will be able to use such NOL’s to pad their bonuses:

The tax break for A.I.G. also perversely benefits employees who are paid based on the company’s performance and usually in stock, which is being lifted by this backdoor handout. The biggest beneficiary is Robert H. Benmosche, A.I.G.’s chief executive since 2009, who has been granted tens of thousands of shares.

Congrats, Bob! I can imagine that replacing all those worn-out bootstraps really adds up.

Yes, But Can a Robot Tell a Hobo to Stop Looking at Porn?

Soon, a master’s in library science will join the ever-growing ranks of useless degrees; relax, philosophy, you’re still number one. At San Francisco State, the stacks will be largely off-limits, and a library-robot will retrieve your requests for you:

The books on display will be high-demand volumes, recently published titles and those recommended by various departments. The rest will remain in five storage units rising three stories high. Books are retrieved by a robotic arm activated by an electronic prompt. Retrieval time is supposed to be 5 to 10 minutes.

Apparently the new library arrangement emphasizes the sociability of the library; because if there’s one thing a scholar goes to the library for it’s some social time with friends and an overheard conversation about how Becky needs to stop shaving her pubes in the shower.

Not surprisingly, some stodgy bastards aren’t completely excited about a robot fetching Aquinas’ commentaries on Aristotle. Peter Orner, a creative writing professor, dislikes the modifications: “There’s a trend now where books are being stored in big vats and they aren’t available for us to touch and see,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be a writer if, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I didn’t wander the open stacks,” he said. “I would argue strongly that the Internet is not a substitute for a college library.”

I agree with Orner; the writing process is greatly enhanced by browsing the stacks for inspiration. There’s nothing like seeing the connections between the works on various authors, or realizing that you’re holding the key 20th century interpretation of Hegel’s influence on Marxist dialectical materialism.

Plus, the lesser browsed stacks make perfect places to fart.

Good News! Rick Perry Retired!

Ha! Psyche! He’s just taking retirement pay while still receiving his governor’s salary! Wait, what?

Apparently, under a provision in Texas law, certain state officials can be paid a retirement benefit while they still work. And Governor Perry, who is perhaps more savvy than we’ve given him credit for, is milking that teat like a farmer on speed:

Mr. Perry invoked the provision last year, disclosing in December that he had increased his take-home pay by more than $90,000 a year through his on-the-job retirement. He also makes $150,000 a year as governor.

Perhaps even better is that hardly anyone even knew about this lovely little benefit until Rick Perry, the man who promised to eliminate congressional benefits, ran for president:

In Texas, the considerable pension benefits given to politicians are exempt from government transparency laws and not subject to ethics disclosure rules. But Mr. Perry, a presidential candidate before dropping out last month, had to reveal the pension payments to the Federal Election Commission.

Moreover, Perry points out that he’d be an idiot not to capitalize on this benefit:

“I would suggest to you that it’s rather inappropriate if you’ve earned something if you don’t take it and take care of your family,” Mr. Perry said. “This was put into place by the Legislature, and if your point is it’s not appropriate, then the Legislature will change it.”

The provision allows certain employees to benefit from two retirement systems, the elected class and the employee class. Thus, elected officials can receive the employee benefit while they serve in their elected capacity. Rick Perry apparently ranks among nearly 200 public employees that receive over $100,000 in salary while earning pension benefits.

Suddenly Perry’s campaign foibles make perfect sense. Retirees in America seem prone to annoying behaviors: clogging highways with Winnebagos, voting for Republicans, and writing checks after the cashier finishes ringing everything up. Also, using checks. Get a fucking debit card!

This Kid’s a Real Turkey

Sadly, professional bowling gets little respect. Probably because it’s one of the few sports that allows you to enjoy a nacho platter while participating. It is, as Mary Pilon notes in her Times article, the “corner of the sports landscape where gray-haired and balding athletes can thrive.” But 14 year-old Kamron Doyle is going to change that.

Sipping a blue sports drink and eating a Milky Way candy bar for breakfast Friday morning, Doyle, a 5-foot-5, 105-pound eighth grader, prepared for the next round of the United States Open, an event with nearly 400 competitors and a top prize of $60,000. In advancing this far he had already become the youngest bowler to reach the prize-money level in a Professional Bowlers Association national tour event.

Kamron began bowling at the age of six after attending a friend’s birthday party; something about the sport really called to him, and he began practicing and watching videos of champion bowlers on YouTube:

“I can’t really remember why I liked it so much at first,” he said. “I just remember watching some of those guys on TV and thinking I should do it, too.”

Here’s my theory, Kamron: bowling is awesome. Who the hell wouldn’t want to bowl professionally? Communists, maybe. But because Kamron is not a member of the Professional Bowler’s Association, he is not technically a professional bowler; thus, he is not eligible to compete as a professional in tournaments. Yet the governing body for bowling does allow amateurs under the age of 18 to compete for scholarship prize money, and Kamron’s already racked up nearly $20,000.

So get off your asses, parents, and take your kids bowling. And then, when you’re at the bowling alley, enjoy a nacho platter and a beer. Do they sell beer at high school basketball games? I think not. It’s time to rethink our notion of “prestige sports.”

5 Things You May Not Know About DJ Skribble

It’s been a little while since I aided your trivia team’s cause, and so what better way to remedy that than to offer you some help with the answers to the “90s MTV” category!

5 Things You May Not Know About DJ Skribble

1. That he exists.

Well, he does in fact exist. His name is Scott Lalacci, and he was born on Long Island (but probably not Suffolk County, Long Island–he looks pretty Nassau).

2. He worked on Wyclef Jean’s first album, The Carnival.

DJ Skribble is credited with “scratching,” which I will assume refers to records, and not his (or anyone else’s) balls.

3. He owns a car shop in Queens.

It’s called Skribble’s Auto Spa, and it specializes in car customizations. If you’d like to make an appointment to have your car pimped, just call (718) 848-1663.

4. He doesn’t pick his battles very well.

In 2004, DJ Skribble attempted to sue two teenagers in Illinois for copyright infringement; the two teens had started a DJ business called “Skribble Entertainment,” and they played local high schools and parties. The lawsuit received some very harsh publicity, which negatively affected the launch of Skribble’s toy line. He eventually dropped the suit after giving the teenagers a shitload of free publicity.

5. He makes poor friendship choices.

DJ Skribble is friends with Chris Reeder. Who is Chris Reeder? Chris Reeder is the man responsible for this musical atrocity (Skribble himself is partly responsible). I urge caution when you listen to this: it’s possible your speakers will actually ooze fecal matter. Chris Reeder also enjoys getting into to Twitter fights with random strangers and giving people instructions on how to find him on Google.

Your Wang Will Inevitably Make You Say “Dang”

Do you have a penis? If the answer is yes, then you should probably avoid social media:

When it comes to managing their social media profiles, women, on average, behave more like mature, responsible adults while men act like impulsive adolescents.

In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, some interesting and divergent trends emerged in the patterns of social media usage by men and women. Apparently, when it comes to the Internet, having a wiener is a major setback to keeping it classy. Especially when it comes to privacy:

A full two-thirds of female users allow only friends to view their Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace pages without restrictions, while fewer than half of male users do so. Some 26% of men choose the most public setting for their profiles versus only 14% of women.

Not only are women more likely to restrict their sharing to those within their circles; they’re also more apt to kick people out of the circle. Asked whether they have deleted people from their networks, 67% of women said yes, compared with 58% of men.

Moreover, nearly twice as many men as women regretted something they’d posted; arguably, this is because men are just more self-reflective and apologetic than women.* This apparently places men in the same category as “young morons,” who expressed regret at a rate of up to 15%! And here you thought the future was looking bleak. At least the millenials will regret it when they screw everything up. And if they’re men, they might even admit it!**

*Dammit! I deeply regret that comment.
**Son of a bitch! I deeply regret that comment.

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