Aug 27 2012

Political Ad Lie Detector

Super PAC App' knows when political ads stretch the truth. CNN

 

What if every political ad came with a "truthiness" disclaimer?

That's essentially the goal of the Super PAC App, a new project from former students at MIT's Media Lab.

Their free iPhone app, which will be available on Wednesday, listens to political advertisements on television and matches the ad's audio waves against a database -- much like the Shazam app identifies music. It then tells the app's user who paid for the ad and how much they're spending on the campaign before pointing them to nonpartisan sources -- PolitiFact, FactCheck.org and others -- to try to verify the ad's claims.

The app is free of advertising and is funded in full by a grant from the Knight Foundation, according to Dan Siegel, one of the app's co-creators.

(Read more)

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Aug 27 2012

Tracking Isaac, There's An App for That

6 mobile apps for tracking Hurricane Isaac. CNN

 

For those of us who live inland, hurricane-tracking seems more a curious indulgence, but if you live along the coastal regions in a hurricane zone, keeping tabs on these atmospheric leviathans is paramount.

Case in point, Hurricane Isaac — at one stage threatening Florida and the Republican National Convention — has moved well west, now following a path through the Gulf reminiscent of the one Hurricane Katrina traveled seven years ago.

While it's shaping up to be a weaker Category One storm when it makes landfall, with sustained winds of between 74 and 95 miles per hour, it's still very much a hurricane, prompting the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to declare emergencies (and in Alabama's case, the governor to order mandatory coastal evacuations).

Here's a rundown of 2012′s top hurricane tracking apps for those on the go with tablets or smartphones.

Hurricane Tracker (iOS)

My pick of the bunch, EZ Apps' $2.99 Hurricane Tracker offers detailed storm maps, National Hurricane Center info, threat level maps, audio/video forecast updates, real-time feeds and push alerts.

Hurricane Hound (Android)

Hurricane Hound uses Google Maps as its framework and tracks both forecasts and the locations of Atlantic and East Pacific hurricanes and tropical storms, points out areas the National Weather Service is keeping tabs on and offers standard NWS "tropical outlooks and discussions, public advisories, forecasts, and satellite imagery."

Hurricane / Hurricane HD (iOS)

Developer Kitty Code's longstanding $2.99 hurricane-watching app (updated in June) offers a repository of global meteorological information, including tracking maps, satellite views, five-day forecasts, radar and bulletins from the National Hurricane Center. 

Hurricane Software (Android)

When I checked in last, Hurricane Software was a promising beta freebie. It's now out of beta — still free, though ad-littered (there's a $2.99 ad-free "Pro" version) — and packing hurricane data from the National Hurricane Center, high resolution maps, satellite images, warning information and storm tracks.

(Read full story)

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Aug 27 2012

Mandisa on Good Morning America with TobyMac

'American Idol' Singer Loses 100 Pounds After Simon Cowell Remark. Good Morning America

When Mandisa Hundley auditioned for "American Idol" in 2006 she thought it would be her chance to make it big in music.

Instead, the opportunity turned into heartbreak, thanks to a comment from then-judge Simon Cowell.

As Hundley, 35, stood before the judges, Cowell, known for his often brutal appraisals of contestants, commented not on Hundley's soulful sound, but her size.

"Do we have a bigger stage this year?" he said.

"It was just hurtful and mean and the one thing I didn't want to have happen," Hundley said.

The gospel singer, who told Cowell on that show that she forgave him, also took Cowell's words to heart and changed her life.

(Read more)

Mandisa Hundley Performs 'Good Morning' Live. Good Morning America

The "American Idol" star plays a song from her latest album, "What If We Were Real."

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