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Report: Aetna in talks with Apple to provide Apple watches to millions of customers

A partnership between Apple and Aetna could bring Apple watches to the insurance company’s more than 20 million customers, according to a report. 

>> Read more trending news 

The two companies held private meetings Thursday and Friday in southern California to discuss options for such a move, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.Aetna already offers an Apple Watch to its 50,000 employees as part of its corporate wellness program and to individuals with Aetna plans under “select large employers.”

According to CNBC, Aetna is negotiating with Apple to try to provide a plan in which its 23 million members could receive an Apple watch for free or at a discounted price.

The perk would benefit both Aetna, which has increased efforts to get its members more health-conscious, and Apple, which has begun to promote health and fitness-tracking as a primary use for the Apple watch.

Apple, which reportedly surpassed Fitbit as the top-selling wearable fitness tracker, may have plans to develop its watch to better cater to wearers with chronic diseases, making the gadget even more desirable and multifunctioning, CNBC reported.

An unnamed source told CNBC that Aetna is pushing to have the plan developed by early next year.

Read more at CNBC.

Here's why you might want to stop using smiley faces in emails

Think you’re being nice when you add a smiley face to the end of your email? According to one study, you could be conveying something else. 

>> Read more trending news 

The new study, titled the “The Dark Side of a Smiley,” examines the “effects of smiling emoticons on virtual first impressions.”

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that, contrary to popular belief, virtual smiley faces are not a suitable replacement for an in-person smile.

In fact, “smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” the researchers found. 

The study, which involved 549 participants from 29 countries, tested three experiments to gather findings. 

One experiment revealed that when the gender of the email sender was unknown, recipients assumed it was a woman if the sender used a smiley face. This finding did not correlate with participants’ conclusions with friendliness or competence.

Another experiment found that not only do recipients of professional emails with smiley faces generally view senders as less competent, they’re also less willing to share important information with the sender. When considering two emails that are exactly the same with the only difference being that one includes a smiley face, the one without the emoticon is more commonly effective.

“The study ... found that when the participants were asked to respond to emails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the email did not include a smiley,” said Dr. Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management. “We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing.”

Although using smiley faces in professional emails could hinder communication in the workplace with new or unknown contacts and coworkers, the practice is more acceptable and less harmful when used with workplace buddies.

“People tend to assume that a smiley is a virtual smile, but the findings of this study show that in the case of the workplace, at least as far as initial ‘encounters’ are concerned, this is incorrect,” Glikson said.  “For now, at least, a smiley can only replace a smile when you already know the other person. In initial interactions, it is better to avoid using smileys, regardless of age or gender.”

The concise conclusion? 

“In formal business emails, a smiley is not a smile,” Glikson said.

Google, GoDaddy boot neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer over Charlottesville post

Update 2:40 p.m. Aug. 14: In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that the company planned to cancel the Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for a violation of its terms of service.

The site’s front page was replaced with a bad gateway message Monday afternoon that warned the site was having an outage.

Update 1:40 p.m. Aug. 14: Neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer on Monday moved its domain registration to Google after it was booted from web hosting company GoDaddy due to a provocative post about a deadly confrontation over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, Reuters reported.

The news wire service reported that a “whois” search showed Google as the Daily Stormer’s registrar.

The tech company did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Reuters.

Original report: Web hosting company GoDaddy is booting the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, over an inflammatory post about the woman killed in the deadly car attack on people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

>> Deadly Charlottesville car attack: What we know now

According to CBS News, GoDaddy announced the move after receiving complaints about an article on the site that made derogatory comments about Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer's appearance and views.

>> Heather Heyer identified as victim of Charlottesville car attack

"We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy tweeted from its verified account.

>> See the tweet here

Hours later, a post appeared on the Daily Stormer claiming that hacking group Anonymous had taken control of the site and would shut it down within 24 hours.

>> Who is James Alex Fields Jr., suspect in deadly Charlottesville car attack?

"THIS SITE IS NOW UNDER THE CONTROL OF ANONYMOUS," the post read. "WE HAVE TAKEN THIS SITE IN THE NAME OF HEATHER HEYER A VICTIM OF WHITE SUPREMACIST TERRORISM."

>> Read more trending news

Anonymous tweeted that it had "no confirmation" that its hackers were involved and suggested that the Daily Stormer was behind the stunt.

>> See the tweet here

Anonymous later added, "To be clear, we're saying they weren't hacked. This is DS lying in an attempt to play victim to their audience later."

>> Read the tweet here

Emojis with red hair, white hair, curly hair, no hair at all to come in 2018

Emojis are expanding their representation when it comes to hair -- or not having hair.

The Independent reported that the long-demanded red haired emojis could be coming to iPhones in 2018.

>> Read more trending news

Subject to approval by the Unicode Technical Committee in the first quarter of 2018, real-life redheads are already celebrating.

“I can’t wait to finally be able to use an emoji which actually represents me,” a 24-year-old woman identified as Stephanie told The Independent.

People with red hair are not the only ones getting possible representation.

Related: Apple unveils new emojis, ‘woman with headscarf,’ ‘breastfeeding,’ ‘bearded guys,’ more

Of the 67 characters proposed for Unicode 11.0, four, including red heads, are hair-related. Curly hair, no hair and white hair are among those listed in a proposal from Unicode.

UTC is the body that develops and maintains the Unicode Standard, a character coding system that universally supports the display of text and languages on the internet. For emojis and text and symbols in other languages each character has a unique code point -- a combination of letters and numbers -- assigned to each.

In July, Apple announced new emojis to come later in the year, including a beareded person,  a person wearing a headscarf, breastfeeding, and foods like a coconut and a sandwich.

Suicide rate for teen girls hits 40-year record high -- is social media to blame?

According to new data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

» RELATED: Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in boyfriend's suicide, accused of convincing him to commit suicide via text messages 

That means for every 100,000 American girls in 2015, 5 died by suicide.

Additionally, the suicide rate among teen boys in the same age group and year range rose by more than 30 percent.

>> Read more trending news

The analysis mirrors a rising national trend in suicide rates across all age groups, CDC suicide expert Thomas Simon told CNN.

» RELATED: Read the full CDC report

So, what’s going on?

Experts such as Simon and Carl Tishler, adjunct associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Ohio State University, said there are a lot of possible factors.

» RELATED: How to keep your kids safe on social media 

Some factors include substance abuse, relationship conflicts, lack of emotional support, the stigma associated with mental health, exposure to violence and economic instability.

Tishler specifically cited the rise of the opioid epidemic as a possible factor.

“Some of the opiate or heroin overdoses in adolescents may be interpreted by emergency departments as suicides. There may be more internet suicides,” Tishler told CNN.

» RELATED: The more social media you use, the lonelier you feel, study says

What about social media?

While some public health studies have shown negative effects of social media on young people’s mental health and well-being, Simon said social media isn’t always negative.

“Social media can help increase connections between people, and it's an opportunity to correct myths about suicide and to allow people to access prevention resources and materials,” he told CNN.

» RELATED: This social media platform is the worst for cyberbullying 

Still, he acknowledges that cyberbullying can greatly impact vulnerable youth.

Additionally, cyberbullying in social media may negatively influence teenage girls more than boys, according to Emory University School of Medicine professor Dorian Lamis.

» RELATED: Should kids be watching new Netflix series on teen suicide? 

“Some research has suggested that the timing of puberty in girls is a contributing factor for the increased suicide rate,” Lamis told CNN.

Lamis said the hormonal, mental and physical changes associated with puberty may leave teen girls “vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders earlier on in life.”

“The message for parents, teachers, coaches and religious leaders is to not be afraid to talk to a young person when they are concerned,” Simon said.

Read more from CNN.

If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, or if you are concerned for someone else, here are some helpful resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours)

Call 1-800-273-8255

Online chat

Suicide prevention resources for parents, guardians and families

Suicide prevention resources for teens

Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss

More resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Apple discontinues iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano

The era of click wheel iPods is ending. 

CNN reported that, following their removal from the Apple website, the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle have been discontinued. 

>> Read more trending news

Apple said in a statement Thursday that the two devices will no longer be in production. They can still be purchased in stores.

Bloomberg reported that the iPod Touch model will still be produced and will have increased data capacity. iPod Touch devices with 16GB and 64GB of storage are being discontinued. The 32GB and 128GB models have changed in price and are now $199 and $229.

“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement, according to TechCrunch.

The Associated Press reported that the sales of iPods have fallen so severely that Apple no longer provides sales stats for the devices. 

In 2005, the iPod Nano replaced the iPod Mini when the Mini was discontinued that year. That same year, the iPod Shuffle was announced.

The first iteration of the iPod was released in 2001.

Adobe to finally kick Flash to the curb

Are you a frequent user of Adobe’s Flash? If so, it will be time to say goodbye soon, because the company announced that it will get rid of the program by the end of 2020. 

» RELATED: Google launches SOS alerts in Maps and Search to help users during a crisis

The corporation broke the news this week, revealing that its partners - Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc and Mozilla Corporation - will phase out support for Flash over the next three years. 

>> Read more trending news

In 2020, Adobe will no longer release updates and browsers will no longer support it. 

The decision comes after Flash’s usage begin to dwindle in 2010 after Apple decided not to use it for iPhones. Since then, more modern applications were created, and Flash continued to suffer. 

» RELATED: Microsoft Paint to be depreciated in next Windows release, could be removed in future

To prepare for the shift, companies are encouraging their developers to work with other programs. 

Flash first launched more than 20 years ago, and many developers used it as a way to create a variety of applications, such as video games, that were able to run on several web browsers.

» RELATED: The new Google Maps tracker will ruin your lies about being late 

Despite the end of Flash, its creators are still proud of its impact. 

“Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era,” Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe Creative Cloud, told Reuters. “In fact, we think the opportunity for Adobe is greater in a post-Flash world.”

Roomba robot vacuum cleaner could collect data about users' homes

The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum, iRobot, could collect data about the floor plans of customers’ homes.

iRobot’s chief executive, Colin Angle, told Reuters that iRobot may begin selling floor plans of customers' homes to Google, Amazon or Apple. The information would be sold to tech companies in a push to create “smart homes” controlled by internet-enabled devices, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news

The robotic vacuums can collect data about the dimensions of rooms and information about the distances between tables, furniture and home furnishings.

“There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” Angle told Reuters.

Read more.

NBC launches twice-daily news show on Snapchat

If you love to use Snapchat as a news source, there’s more coming. NBC has just launched a twice-daily show called “Stay Tuned” on the platform.

»RELATED: Snapchat now allows exact location sharing

The organization made the announcement Wednesday, saying that it is the first daily news program to air on Snapchat. 

Hosted by NBC and MSNBC News correspondents Gadi Schwartz and Savannah Sellers, the show is a two-to-three-minute segment that highlights the biggest news of the day from politics, pop culture and beyond. 

>> Read more trending news

"Stay Tuned,” which is aimed at younger audiences, will go live each weekday at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 1 p.m. on weekends. To find it, just go to Snapchat’s Discover section. 

»RELATED: Snapchat's latest update includes limitless snaps and more

“It’s fitting that NBC News is pioneering this new format for a new platform,” Nick Ascheim, senior vice president for digital at NBC News, said in a statement. “It’s a continuation of NBC News’ tradition of innovation, first in radio, then in inventing color TV and the morning news program and now with an entirely new type of news show for Snapchat."

This isn’t the first time NBC has teamed up with Snapchat for a series. Last year, it released “The Voice,” which was just nominated for an Emmy for creative achievement in interactive media. The deal with the company also includes "Saturday Night Live” and “World of Dance.”

“Stay Tuned,” which debuted Wednesday morning, is produced by a team of 30 and is filmed in New York.

Police release last text from 14-year-old electrocuted by cellphone in bath

Authorities in New Mexico on Friday released the final text message sent by 14-year-old Madison Coe before she was electrocuted while taking a bath earlier this month.

>> Read more trending news

Family members told KCBD that Madison was visiting her father in Lovington, New Mexico, on July 9 when she was electrocuted and killed while using her plugged-in cellphone in the bath.

A trio of text messages released by Lovington police showed an image sent by Madison of a cellphone charger plugged into an extension cord, which was in turn plugged into a bathroom wall outlet. The cords were shown sitting on top of a towel.

"When you use (an) extension cord so you can plug your phone in while you're in the bath," Madison wrote in a subsequent message.

In a statement obtained by EverythingLubbock.com, Lovington police said officials preliminarily ruled Madison’s death an accident due to electrocution.

Police said Madison was using her Samsung S6 Edge cellphone while bathing. She was careful to make sure the cords stayed dry, authorities said, but was apparently unaware of a “significant area of fraying to the extension cord.”

>> Related: 14-year-old electrocuted by cellphone while taking a bath

The cord was plugged into an non-GFCI outlet that was not grounded, police said.

“Specific evidence shows that the cellular telephone was never immersed in water,” police said. “Forensic evidence indicated that (Madison) came in contact with (the) area of the frayed extension cord while she was still in the bathtub, which contained water at the time, resulting in her electrocution.”

Madison’s grandmother, Donna O’Guinn, described the teen last week to KCBD as a “very smart” girl who “just loved life.”

“She was just sweet to everybody and everybody loved her,” O’Guinn said. “This is such a tragedy that doesn’t need to happen to anyone else.”

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