No One Really Says LOL Anymore, According to New Study

Aug 31, 15 No One Really Says LOL Anymore, According to New Study

Posted by in Featured, Technology

AOL Instant Messenger revolutionized how tweens and teens socialized. Not only did it probably help everyone learn to type faster than 225 words per minute — the minimum speed needed to become certified by the National Court Reporters Association — but it also popularized emoticons, and abbreviations. Nowadays, AIM is just a nostalgic relic. According to a 2011 report, AIM held a 0.7% share of the world messenger market. Emojis have replaced emoticons. Craziest of all, “LOL” is also going the way of the dino, too, according to a recent study by Facebook. The new analysis looked at content from the final week of May and found that “haha” is the most common way to express laughter on Facebook. Specifically, 51.4% of people used the term “haha,” while 33.7% used an emoji to express laughter. “LOL” is so infrequently used — just 1.9% — that people actually say “hehe” more, which had a 13.1% share. Gender, age, and location all factored in to the way laughter is expressed. Men tended to use “haha” and hehe” more, while women usually chose an emoji. The study also had some rather unexpected findings. “Hehe” might be a more childish sounding form of laughter, but the median age of users who preferred to say “haha” was actually lower than that of those who chose “hehe.” In other words, the younger Facebook users aren’t saying “hehe” — the older ones are. The median age of those who relied on “LOL” was also the highest median age of anyone in the group, which included Facebook users ages 13 to 70. Location also seemed to play a factor. Oddly enough, Ohio actually seemed to be torn between “haha” and “LOL.” On the West Coast, people say “haha” and “hehe” more so than anywhere else in the country, while Southern states tended to stick with “LOL.” In the Midwest, they like to use emoji, as do folks in Florida and Wyoming. The study was limited, though. It did leave out the ways...

read more

Man Recovers $10,000 In Winning Lotto Tickets He Threw In The Trash

Aug 29, 15 Man Recovers $10,000 In Winning Lotto Tickets He Threw In The Trash

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

We’ve all thrown out things we’ve probably needed: receipts for something that we wanted to return, a piece of paper with an important number on it, or the post-it with our home’s wifi password. But have you ever thrown out $10,000? Rome News Tribune reports that for Cedric Jackson, the panic of tossing out a few thousand dollars was all too real. Jackson, a regular customer at Rick’s Food Mart in Rome, Georgia, bought four tickets on Saturday, August 15th. Of those four tickets, two of them were eligible for lottery payments of $5,000. However, not realizing he had winning tickets, Jackson asked the man behind the counter to throw them in the trash. It was only a few hours later that Jackson realized his mistake. Making his way back to Rick’s Food Mart, he explained the situation to the staff. They began an extensive search for the tickets, looking through all the areas where garbage can be disposed. ”I had to go inside the dumpster cause I thought I had thrown them out for real,” says Jackson. Unfortunately, their search found nothing, and Jackson left empty handed — and heartbroken. Fortunately, however, Jackson got a call later that day from the store’s owner, Sarabjeet “Ricky” Singh. Singh found the tickets after remembering that he had dumped the counter trash into a bin inside his office. Jackson retrieved the tickets the next day, and immediately set to cash them out. That is, after he purchased a few more scratch off cards at Rick’s Food Market. Jackson says he will use the money to help and to pay off bills. And, of course, he made sure to leave Ricky Singh a nice tip for all his...

read more

Mortgage Interest Rates Rise to Highest Level This Year

Aug 27, 15 Mortgage Interest Rates Rise to Highest Level This Year

Posted by in Home Living

Mortgage rates rose modestly in the week preceding Aug. 20, according to the Bankrate regular report, with the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reaching its highest point since October of 2014. Bankrate calculated the rate at 4.06%, a slightly more conservative figure than the 4.29% reported by Ellie Mae the day before. The rise is probably linked to anticipation of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates for the first time since the global financial crisis. The continuing recovery of the housing market is likely also a factor. Residential construction is growing at a faster rate than expected; July construction reached levels not seen since 2007, when housing prices first started to decline with the burst of the housing bubble. The National Association of Home Builders also reported in August that homebuilder confidence was at a nearly 10-year high. “The housing market is a leading light of the economy and it looks like that will be the case for a while,” commented Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, in a Bankrate news release. Disarticulated Markets Still, there are several signs that the recovering housing market and the mortgage market are not quite in sync. As Lorraine Woellert wrote for Forbes Aug 19, overall mortgage debt is falling even as home prices are rising. Part of that is that buyers are putting more money down on houses. That’s a good thing; the general rule is that monthly debt payments, including mortgage payments, shouldn’t exceed 36% of a household’s gross monthly income, and putting more money down is a way to achieve that goal. But that’s not the only factor at play. Changes that were intended to correct the “anything goes” mortgage market that caused the housing bubble to burst have now swung in the other direction and made it difficult for people who should be qualified homebuyers to get approved. “The upshot,” Woellert summarized, is that “mortgages are harder to get, even for the people who deserve...

read more

Tragic: LGBT Seniors Who Marry Could Risk Losing Retirement Benefits

Aug 27, 15 Tragic: LGBT Seniors Who Marry Could Risk Losing Retirement Benefits

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

When the U.S. Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry this June, gay and lesbian couples across the nation finally gained access to the legal and financial benefits of marriage. Some gay and lesbian couples waited half a century or more for the right to marry, but now some of those couples face a heartbreaking choice. Retirement experts say that gay and lesbian seniors who finally exchange their vows could risk losing crucial retirement benefits, such as subsidized home care or disability payments. Although most Americans probably associate the LGBT movement with young, Millennial activists, U.S. seniors played a crucial role in the recent landmark decisions on gay marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court initially heard United States v. Windsor, which was based on the lawsuit of Edith Windsor, 86, after she was denied federal estate tax exemption upon the passing of her spouse. So after SCOTUS officially extended marriage rights to same-sex couples, many older gay and lesbian couples rushed to get their long-awaited marriage licenses. But experts say that could leave many couples financially vulnerable; for instance, many seniors depend on Medicaid to cover nursing home care. As the Baby Boomer population ages, the U.S. population of seniors (ages 65 and above) has never been higher, and up to 90% of older Americans wants to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible. Programs like Medicaid can help make that possible, but if a gay or lesbian senior marries, their combined financial assets could disqualify them from such programs. “It’s a matter of ‘Be careful what you ask for,’” says retirement expert Anthony Timiraos. “Now [LGBT people] have all the issues involving marriage that straight people do.” SAGE USA is a nonprofit that serves LGBT seniors, and the group recently created “Talk Before You Walk,” an educational program that helps seniors weight the financial pros and cons of marriage. SAGE Executive Director Michael Adams says, “our concern is that people will make a decision based on that excitement...

read more

Pictures Shared by HONY Photographer Help Raise Over $2 Million For Pakistani Workers

Aug 25, 15 Pictures Shared by HONY Photographer Help Raise Over $2 Million For Pakistani Workers

Posted by in Featured, Lifestyle

Since the first photograph was taken 186 years ago, it’s estimated that more than 3.5 trillion photos have been taken around the world. These days, everyone has a camera phone they can use to snap a quick pic to post on their social media sites. But some photographers, like Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York (HONY), have been trying to use their photography skills for a greater purpose. Stanton, known for his chronicles of colorful characters on his Humans of New York blog, has spent the month of August taking a trip to Pakistan. While there, Stanton has replaced his daily posts, which usually feature New Yorkers, with photographs of the people he has encountered there. This includes Syeda Ghulam Fatima, the founder of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front in Pakistan. Fatima’s group fights against the unjust working conditions of bonded labor at brick kilns. ”Throughout rural Pakistan, illiterate and desperate laborers are tricked into accepting small loans in exchange for agreeing to work at brick kilns,” Staton wrote on the HONY page. “But due to predatory terms, their debt balloons, growing larger as time goes on.” The laborers, unable to keep up with the demands of their loans, end up working for the rest of their lives with no compensation. The working conditions of these brick kilns are harsh, and often lack modern conveniences such as running water. If a laborer dies, their debt falls on the shoulders of their children. NBC News reports that since the pictures from Pakistan have gone up, Stanton has seen an overwhelming amount of support from his followers. Stanton originally set up a month-long Indiegogo campaign, aiming to raise $100,000 for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. Four days after the campaign was started, over $2.1 million was raised. In response to the overwhelming support, Fatima said, “This is a big step for laborers that this has received so much attention, and that their voices have reached a global stage and we are being hear. With this,...

read more