Study Links Smartphone Apps for Gay and Bisexual Men to STI Risk

Smartphone app man
Tim Robberts—Getty Images

Apps like Grindr and SCRUFF can lead to riskier behavior, researchers say

Gay and bisexual men who use location-based smartphone apps like Grindr to meet sexual partners are at an increased risk for some sexually transmitted infections, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, says that men who used the apps were more likely to be diagnosed with gonorrhea and chlamydia than men who met partners in person or on browser-based dating sites. Men who used apps to meet other men were about 25% more likely to be diagnosed with gonorrhea compared to men who first met their partners in person. App users were also 37% more likely to test positive for chlamydia.

The study showed no difference in the rate of HIV or syphilis among men who met partners through apps, online, or in person. However, the study’s lead author, Matthew Beymer, told Reuters there may not have been enough cases of HIV or syphilis diagnosed during the study to establish a correlation.

The study’s researchers interviewed 7,184 self-identifying gay and bi-curious men who were tested for sexually transmitted infections at the Los Angeles LGBT Center between 2011 and 2013. The men provided information about drug use and using social networking to find potential sexual partners. About 34% said they only met sexual partners in person, at places such as bars and clubs. Another 22% said they only connected with men on browser-based dating sites, while 17% said they met men only through apps. The rest used a combination of methods.

Apps such as Grindr and SCRUFF have become increasingly popular among LGBT communities since they were first introduced several years ago. The apps allow users to find potential sexual partners currently nearby who are using the same programs.

Beymer told Reuters that the researchers would like to see the apps used as education tools to teach users about safe sex practices.

“Technological advances which improve the efficiency of meeting anonymous sexual partners may have the unintended effect of creating networks of individuals where users may be more likely to have sexually transmissible infections than other, relatively less efficient social networking methods,” the study’s researchers wrote.

Some apps already make efforts to remind users about sexual health — Grindr has a website (www.grindr.com/health) with information about STI testing options and says that it partners with HIV-prevention organizations to raise awareness about safe sex. SCRUFF has included a link to public health resources since 2011.

TIME Barack Obama

WATCH: Obama Takes a Stand in the Great GIF Wars

The Commander-in-Chief weighs in on the great (Internet word pronunciation) question of our time

Is it GIF, as in gift? Or is it GIF, as in gerrymandered? That is the question.

President Barack Obama declared in a video released by the White House Thursday that he has long pondered the question of how to pronounce the Internet’s most debated word — and he’s come to a decision.

In a meeting this week, Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp asked Obama, “Did you see the GIF?” pronouncing it “jif” with the soft G. Technically speaking, this is the proper pronunciation, so decreed by Steve Wilhite, who created the GIF—short for Graphics Interchange Format—in 1987.

“A GIF,” Obama replies, with the hard g as in gloat. “I’m all on top of it.”

“So you’ve made up your mind, it’s a GIF?” Karp asks.

“It is. That is my official position. I’ve—I’ve pondered it a long time,” Obama declares.

Many in the media were quick to report on Obama’s mispronunciation of the term. But, as a proponent of the living language and non-stick-in-the-mudness in general, this writer, controversially among his colleagues, is fine with the President’s position.

TIME Travel

This Is Why Priceline Is Buying OpenTable for $2.6 Billion

Travel booking company Priceline announced today that it will buy the restaurant reservation website OpenTable for $2.6 billion in cash. The purchase is the latest in a series acquisitions that will help Priceline offer an end-to-end travel experience and better compete with rival Expedia.

Globally, Expedia and Priceline operate similarly sized businesses. Both generated about $39 billion in gross bookings in 2013 through a mixture of airline ticket, hotel and car rental offerings. But Priceline’s business is heavily international, with about 85 percent of its bookings occurring outside the U.S last year. OpenTable, which seated about 144 million diners in the U.S. alone last year, will expand Priceline’s exposure at home. The new acquisition will also allow for new cross-promotional opportuniites.

“They provide us with a natural extension into restaurant marketing services and a wonderful and highly-valued booking experience for our global customers,” Darren Huston, CEO of The Priceline Group, said in a press release. “We look forward to helping the OpenTable team accelerate their global expansion, increase the value offered to their restaurant partners, and enhance the end-to-end experience for our collective customers across desktop and mobile devices.”

Expedia hasn’t been sitting still as Priceline has gobbled up booking websites. Last fall Expedia signed a long-term agreement to power the search results for competitor Travelocity, a move that one analyst likened to a “virtual merger.”

OpenTable users likely shouldn’t fret about the company’s service changing significantly because of the buyout. Priceline already independently operates subsidiaries such as Kayak, booking.com and rentalcars.com. The company said OpenTable would continue to operate as an independent subsidiarity at its San Francisco headquarters.

Shares of OpenTable soared more than 45 percent to $103 on news of the acquisition. Priceline shares dipped 2 percent to $1,202.

TIME language

You’ll Never Guess the Real Name for a Hashtag

Computer hashtag Richard Goerg—Getty Images

Nope, it isn’t “pound sign”

The word hashtag has officially been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, the OED announced in a blog post Friday. But that’s not the most exciting thing in its announcement.

The word hashtag denotes the symbol deployed in front of a word or phrase on social media to loop the post into a wider conversation on the topic but it has #already taken on a #life of its own, used in #some #cases as a self-referential #joke or to #make #fun of #people whose social posts are #so2011.

But you, sophisticated TIME reader, already knew all of that. What you may not have known is that there was already a word for hashtag. And it isn’t the “number sign” or the “pound sign,” as it was called back in the #DarkAges before Twitter.

The technical term for a hashtag is “octothorp,” according to the OED; octo, in reference to the eight points in the figure, and Thorpe, OED says cryptically, from “the surname Thorpe.” Whatever that means.

“Hash probably arose as an alteration of ‘hatch’,” OED says in its blog post, “originally in the phrase ‘hatch mark’. By 1961 hash was being used in computing contexts to refer to the octothorp symbol, especially in computing and telecommunications contexts.”

#FarOut, right?

TIME Gadgets

Tablets: Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Samsung's 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S tablet Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

You won’t believe the colors you can see with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S, which Samsung unveiled in New York City last night. Colors on the Tab S, Samsung’s new flagship tablet, are obviously noticeably deeper, brighter and crisper than on an iPad or even Samsung’s own former flagship Galaxy Note Tab tablet.

But the best news about the new two-model Tab S series are the prices: just $499 for the 16 GB 10.5-inch version, $399 for the 16 GB 8.4-inch version. Maybe these price tags aren’t bargain basement, but they compare more favorably with Apple’s iPad ware than in the past, and offer some decidedly higher-value viewing advantages.

The Tab S’ brilliant color display is achieved thanks to its Super AMOLED screen rather than the usual LCD. AMOLED displays have long been known to produce not only brighter, deeper colors but better stand up to sunlight (although, from past smartphone comparative experience, I’ve not been overly impressed with AMOLED’s sunlight reflecting capabilities vs. traditional LCD) and are less power hungry; Samsung claims you’ll be able to watch 11 hours-plus of 1080p video on the Tab S on a single charge.

Apple iPad Mini (left) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S (right) Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

Images and video are also startlingly sharper on the Tab S thanks to their 4K 2560 x 1600 displays versus iPad’s Retina 2048 x 1536 screen (although, quite honestly, I’m not sure if Samsung wasn’t using the original non-Retina iPad Mini for comparative purposes).

Adding to the Tab S image/video viewing experience is its adaptive brightness; its sensors sense and adjust white balance to provide just the right amount of brightness depending on not only ambient light – fluorescent, home reading lamp or outdoor sunlight, but to your activity – reading, watching a movie, viewing images, game playing, etc. Unfortunately, there was no sunlight or other variable lighting conditions available to ambiently tax the Tabs.

Samsung also uses a wider 16:10 aspect ratio (your HDTV has a 16:9 width vs. height ratio) than the 4:3 aspect ratio on iPad. As a result, images and especially widescreen video on the 8.4- and 10.5-inch Tab S models look far larger than you’d expect compared to the 7.9-inch iPad Mini and 9.7-inch iPads, which have to letterbox movies.

Both Samsung Galaxy Tab S models are 6.6mm thin Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

Both the new Tab S models are also thinner and lighter than their Apple competitors, despite having larger viewing area. Both the Tab S models are 6.6mm thin compared to the 7.5mm thickness of both iPads; the 10.5-inch Tab S weighs in at 465 grams vs. the smaller iPad Air’s 469 grams, while the 8.4-inch Tab S tilts the scales at 294 grams vs. the smaller iPad Mini at 331 grams.

Features and Apps

Aside from advancing the tablet display and thickness state-of-the-art, Samsung is pushing its Paper Garden magazine app. The company unveiled partnerships with Condé Nast (Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, GQ), National Geographic and – geek alert – Marvel Comics, each with specially-designed and some exclusive content.

The Tab S will come with a pile of free short-term and trial music, video and reading subscriptions, including a copy of the movie Gravity.

Samsung also demonstrated a new Content Home widget, which aggregates all your sound and image content sources into single home page.

You’ll also be able to use your Tab S in conjunction with your Galaxy S phone to transfer or make WiFi phone calls or for “mirroring” – seeing the content from your phone on the Tab S screen. Samsung also has ported several features from its pro Galaxy Note tablet series including multi-window for side-by-side app viewing.

Technically, the Tab S seems extra speedy when compared side-by-side with earlier Note tablets. The Tab S brains are “octacore” engines – a 1.9 GHz quad core processor paired with a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, and apps swim in a generous 3 GB of memory. The Tabs will come in 16 GB and 32 GB varieties – no prices for the 32 GB versions were announced. Each can be expanded by 128 GB via a microSD card slot.

Bluetooth keyboard case for the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Stewart Wolpin / Techlicious

Each will be available in bronze or white, each sharing the dimpled rear cosmetics of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 phones, and ringed in gold. Also available will be two types of cases, a simple flap-over or a “book” case that offers three angles for writing or viewing. There’s also be a 7.5mm thin Bluetooth keyboard designed for each.

The Tab S goes on pre-sale today on Samsung.com and Amazon: $399.99 for the 8.4-inch model, $499.99 for the 10.5-inch model. Wi-Fi versions will be available in July; LTE editions will go on sale later this year.

This article was written by Stewart Wolpin and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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Watch The Daily Show Rip Apart Google Glass Enthusiasts

No, Google Glass discrimination isn't a "hate crime"

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook,Daily Show Video Archive

Thursday night’s episode of The Daily Show perfectly ripped apart Google Glassholes—referred to by correspondent Jason Jones as iDouches—who claim discrimination in the streets because passersby think that they’re being recorded… “which sometimes they were.”

“Yes, it seems even in this day and age you can still be treated differently just because of how you look — wearing a $1,500 face computer,” Jones said, before declaring to Glass hater and tech expert Larry Rosen, “I bet you don’t think they should be able to get married either.”

On the one hand, Glass owners are sometimes getting assaulted in the streets of The Mission in San Francisco (not ok) or verbally accosted in bars (“it was a hate crime!”) On the other hand… Google Glass.

Watch how the Daily Show trolled Glass wearers to perfection in the clip above.

TIME Gadgets

New Samsung Tablets Use Size and Screens to Take On iPads

Samsung's 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S tablet Samsung

Samsung has trotted out another round of tablets: The 8.4- and 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S line looks to take on the 7.9- and 9.7-inch iPads by offering larger, more colorful screens while keeping thickness and weight comparable.

The $399 iPad Mini with Retina Display, for instance, measures 0.29 inches thick and weighs 0.73 pounds. The 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S, by comparison, is 0.26 inches thick and weighs 0.65 pounds. Take the $499 iPad Air: also 0.29 inches thick, and it weighs 1.03 pounds. The 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S is 0.26 inches thick and weighs 1.025 pounds.

To the average person, the size and weight differences amount to splitting hairs; from a marketing perspective, Samsung gets to claim its tablets are thinner and lighter despite having bigger screens.

As for those Samsung screens, they’re color-rich Super AMOLED screens, each with 2560×1600 resolutions. Apple’s Retina displays are of the IPS variety and sport 2048×1536 resolutions. As far as total resolution goes, it’s another marketing point for Samsung. As for the merits of Super AMOLED versus IPS screen technology, the conclusions aren’t nearly as clear-cut. Here’s a good IPS vs. AMOLED piece if you’re interested. Spoiler: Let your eyes decide.

Samsung — and, by extension, Google — are still playing catch-up to Apple, however, when it comes to tablet-optimized apps. Android has made gains towards stocking its store with bonafide tablet apps recently, but with so many Android devices — both phones and tablets — out there, from a developer’s standpoint, the path of least resistance is to make an app that works well on Android phones and then hope it scales well enough to keep tablet owners happy.

Samsung’s 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S Samsung

With Apple, you have far fewer devices for which you have to try to build apps: all iPhone models from the iPhone 5 onward have 1136×640 screen resolutions; all the Retina iPads have 2048×1536 resolutions. Your major outliers are the non-Retina iPad Mini and earlier iPhones that are on their way out.

Samsung’s arguably done a good job getting its tablets into the hands of consumers. As The Verge’s Dan Seifert notes, Sammy shipped 40 million tablets last year, against Apple’s 70 million. Samsung has also not been shy about flooding the zone with Galaxy tablets: “Samsung has released at least nine tablets in just the first six months of this year, many of which have overlapping features and designs,” writes Seifert.

And Samsung does have some neat software tricks up its sleeve. This line of tablets will let you dock two apps next to each other, and you have access to a specially-designed, high-definition Netflix app. You also get a feature that mirrors your Samsung phone on the tablet’s screen and Galaxy Gifts, a package of almost 30 time-limited premium services from the likes of Box, WebEX, Evernote and several newspapers.

On paper, this latest tablet salvo from Samsung looks impressive, but now we get to see how consumers react. The 8.4-inch model starts at $399, and the 10.5-inch model starts at $499. Both will be available as Wi-Fi models in July, with LTE versions to follow later in the year.

TIME health

Now Doctors Can Use Google Glass to Record Your Visits

Google Glass Prescriptions
John Minchillo—AP

Google's face-computer may be coming soon to a doctor's office near you

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are about to get a new tool in the medicine bags: Google Glass.

Drchrono, a digital health startup, claims to have created the first “wearable heath record” that can be accessed through Google’s futuristic face-computer. Doctors can use the app to store patients’ records as well as record medical visits and even procedures via Glass’ camera for consulting later on.

While some patients may be hesitant to let doctors record their visits, Drchrono says its Glass application complies with HIPPA standards which protect patient privacy — and patients will have to give permission to have doctors record their visits via Google Glass.

The application is currently in its beta phase, though Reuters reports about 300 physicians have signed up to use it. Drchrono, just one of a plethora of startups tapping into the healthcare app market, has also developed digital health records apps for iPads and smartphones.


TIME Internet

Facebook Lifts Ban on Exposed Nipples in Breastfeeding Pictures

The social media site said the ban was quietly lifted about two weeks ago. It does not apply to other images of female nipples

It appears Facebook has withdrawn its ban on female nipples in photos of breastfeeding mothers.

Facebook has drawn heat from feminists for considering images of topless women as violations of their policies against nudity and obscenity —even when the photographs depict breastfeeding mothers.

Feminist writer Soraya Chemaly brought attention to the policy change on The Huffington Post, noting that the social media company had quietly changed its policy on obscene content in regard to breastfeeding mothers. Images that include the exposed nipples of breastfeeding can now be posted on the site without the risk of removal.

“The female nipple ban no longer exists for breastfeeding mothers, which should make many people who have been pushing the company to address a nudity double standard at least partially happy,” Chemaly wrote on Monday.

The ban drew the attention of women last year who took the site to task over the policy, which they said is an example of gender-based discrimination. A campaign led by Chemaly called on Facebook to combat both hate-speech and “obscenity” double standards. It garnered over 60,000 tweets, 5000 emails, and a bundle of disgruntled advertisers, and led Facebook to respond with an explanation of its policy.

A year later, the breastfeeding ban has been lifted, though bans on artistic displays of female nipples remain in place. Facebook has not yet acknowledged that the ban was lifted for breastfeeding women.

[Huffington Post]

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