manaemedia/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Twitter is making it even easier for strangers to talk privately on the social network.
A new update enabled Monday allows users to send direct messages to anyone, regardless if the sender and the recipient are following each other.
The new feature is on an opt-in basis. In order to allow private messages from anyone, log into your Twitter account and visit the "privacy and settings" page. Scroll down, check the box that says "Receive Direct Messages from anyone" and click "save changes."
Users who don't want to receive a private message from a particular person can block them or simply unfollow them and delete the conversation, according to a Twitter blog post about the changes.
"We're rolling out these changes starting today to all users around the world," the company said in a blog post. "And we have lots more in the works to improve Direct Messages on Twitter, so that the private side of Twitter is just as fulfilling as the public side."
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NORTHFIELD, Ill.) -- Kraft announced on Monday that it's iconic macaroni and cheese will no longer include artificial preservatives or synthetic colors come January.
The Northfield, Illinois-based company said the synthetic colors in Kraft Mac & Cheese will be replaced with "those derived from natural sources like paprika, annatto and turmeric."
The Canadian version of the meal, called Kraft Dinner Original, will also be stripped of synthetic colors by the end of 2016.
"We've met with families in their homes and watched them prepare Kraft Mac & Cheese in their kitchens. They told us they want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families, including everything from improved nutrition to simpler ingredients," Triona Schmelter, vice president of Marketing, Meals, said in a statement.
"They also told us they won't compromise on the taste of their Mac & Cheese – and neither will we. That's why we've been working tirelessly to find the right recipe that our fans will love," Schmelter added.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable could be in jeopardy.
Regulators are concerned a deal that size would give the new entity an unfair advantage.
"It would take over about 40 percent of the U.S. Internet broadband space. And so the [Department of Justice] is concerned that you get these two companies together, they're going to be taking over the market and giving them an unfair advantage over all the other companies that are out there," explains Akiko Fujita with Yahoo Finance.
The Wall Street Journal reports executives from both companies will meet with the Justice Department to discuss options.
"They're now talking about putting this before a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. And essentially what people are speculating here is that that doesn't necessarily happen when the [Federal Communications Commission] wants to approve a deal and so people are speculating that this could be that first step in trying to block the deal," Fujita says.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Willie Nelson has never been bashful about how much he enjoys smoking marijuana. Now that states are legalizing it, he's branching out into the pot business.
Nelson's new cannabis brand, dubbed Willie's Reserve, seeks to provide customers with a regulated, natural and high-quality marijuana product in U.S. legal markets.
"I am looking forward to working with the best growers in Colorado and Washington to make sure our product is the best on the market," Nelson says.
The Country Music Hall of Fame member has long been a supporter of cannabis for personal use and industrial hemp production. He details his long-time use of marijuana, as well as his run-ins with the law for possession, in his new book, It's a Long Story: My Life, due out May 5.
iStock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- If you're flying somewhere this summer, you might be able to save a few bucks.
According to a new survey out Monday, the average cost of a domestic flight between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays is $453.87, down $2.01, or 0.4 percent, from last year.
If you're traveling to Europe, you'll save even more, Airlines Reporting Corp.'s survey finds. The average airfare to European destinations is $1,618.64 compared to $1,669.36 in 2014, a 3 percent drop.
"We're seeing fares fall to Europe from the U.S. this summer chiefly because there's been a 6 percent rise in available seats, and airlines are competing to fill those additional seats," Chuck Thackston, the managing director of enterprise information management at ARC, said in a statement. "When you add the dollar's strength versus the Euro, airlines want to capture this additional demand with lower overall fares."
Domestically, airfare to Kona, Hawaii saw the biggest drop from 2014, falling 12.7 percent. In Europe, flights to Belgrade, Serbia experienced the greatest plunge, tumbling 24.3 percent.
Google(NEW YORK) — Google is edging closer to its dream of sending its fleet of Internet beaming balloons into the sky.
A new video released by Google shows how the search giant is now capable of creating a balloon in a matter of hour.
"We're getting close to the point where we can roll out thousands of balloons," Google's Project Loon leader, Mike Cassidy, said in a new video released over the weekend to show off the progress.
Automated cranes are used to launch dozens of balloons a day into the stratosphere.
The Project Loon balloons can float through the sky for more than one hundred days as they cross the globe and beam Internet down to the billions of people in the world who are not yet online.
A control center will help guide each balloon to an area to ensure Google's fleet is providing the best coverage where Internet is needed, while an operations team will be dispatched to collect the balloons when they land.
Google hasn't said when Project Loon could make its official debut. Facebook showed off its high profile and high flying Internet project last month.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed last month Facebook has completed its first test of an unmanned aircraft that could be used to bring Internet connectivity to the most remote parts of the world.
Running on solar power, Zuckerberg said it's expected the Internet drone could fly at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Moore's Law, the golden rule of the electronics industry that explains how computers will continue to get faster and cheaper, helped bring about the advent of personal computing and smartphones.
The guiding rule in the computing world that helped bring technology into our everyday lives turned 50 years old on Sunday -- but it may be reaching its edge.
In 1965, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, predicted that the number of tiny electrical switches that could be placed on a computer chip, called transistors, would double approximately every two years.
That has largely held true -- look no further than the computers, cameras, phones and music players that are now condensed into a single smartphone.
In an interview with IEEE Spectrum last month, Moore said he's been amazed at "how creative the engineers have been in finding ways around what we thought were going to be pretty hard stops."
However he said "now we're getting to the point where it's more and more difficult, and some of the laws are quite fundamental."
In 2013, Robert Colwell, a former Intel electrical engineer, predicted Moore's law would be dead within a decade due to the difficulty of shrinking transistors beyond a certain point to fit more on a chip.
Colwell said it would be difficult to shrink the transistor density beyond either 7nm or 5nm (a unit measuring one billionth of a meter.)
"We will play all the little tricks that we still didn't get around to," he said, according to the BBC. "We'll make better machines for a while, but you can't fix [the loss of] that exponential. A bunch of incremental tweaks isn't going to hack it."
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Chances are most Facebook users have received a friend request from someone who they’d rather not give a window into their life -- but what if it’s a co-worker or a relative?
Thankfully, there’s a quick way to move the people who you still want in your life, just not on Facebook, out of friend request purgatory without giving them access to your entire profile.
Facebook lists have been around for a while and come in handy for organizing friends, letting users make more carefully curated decisions about who they want to share with. They’re also great for dealing with those tricky friend requests that you just can’t leave hanging nor can you decline.
Here’s how to get around the problem: After accepting the friend request, toggle your mouse over the friends button to see a menu. From there choose “add to list,” scroll down and check the restricted box.
Putting people on the restricted list gives them the same access to your profile as a non-friend looking at your page -- but they won’t know any differently. In case you already begrudgingly accepted your nosey neighbor’s friend request, it’s not too late to put them on the restricted list either.
The quickest way to do it: Go to their page, touch your mouse over the friends icon in the right hand corner of their cover photo and add them to the list.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Indian Creek Island Road in the Miami area is the nation’s most expensive residential street, according to the real estate company Zillow.
The median home value on Indian Creek Island Road is $21.48 million. Indian Creek is a small private island in Biscayne Bay.
According to Zillow, five of the top 15 most expensive streets are in California, followed by Florida.
Beverly Park Circle in California is the second-most expensive residential street in the U.S. The median home value on the circle, which is inside an exclusive gate community, is $16.238 million.
Based on Zillow’s analysis of streets with at least 10 homes, here’s a rundown of the 15 most expensive streets, based on median home value:
1. Indian Creek Island Rd, FL, $21.48 million 2. Beverly Park Cir, CA, $16.238 million 3. Beverly Park Ter, CA, $15.813 million 4. Lazy Lane Blvd, TX, $15.42 million 5. Conyers Farm Dr, CT, $13.033 million 6. Strawberry Park Ct, CO, $12.421 million 7. Field Point Cir, CT, $12.113 million 8. Coopers Neck Ln, NY, $11.872 million 9. Nimes Rd, CA, $11.445 million 10. Arvida Pkwy, FL, $11.209 million 11. Cameldale Way, AZ, $10.834 million 12. Nelsons Walk, FL, $10.496 million 13. Broad Beach Rd, CA, $10.272 million 14. Tahiti Beach Island Rd, FL, $10.267 million 15. Copa De Oro Rd, CA, $10.264 million
What gives such named streets a higher price tag? Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries, the co-authors of Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, say in general, the most valuable street names describe something about a home’s location. Indian Creek Island Road is a great example because “island” indicates the homes are near water, and therefore probably worth more than non-waterfront homes in the area.
In their analysis, Rascoff and Humphries discovered the most common suffixes -- street, boulevard and avenue -- tend to be the least valuable. Way and place, meanwhile, make up only four percent of street name suffixes nationwide, and their homes are typically worth more.
Dario Lo Presti/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Astronomers' telescopes might be a key hurdle to the future of an automated robotic lawnmower that a company called iRobot Corporation hopes to create.
iRobot filed a request for waiver with the FCC in January hoping to obtain certification to market a robotic lawn mower. In its filing, the company says the product would "reduce deaths and injuries related to lawn mowing," "reduce emissions and noise pollution," and "improve quality of life."
iRobot is a Massachusetts based company that designs and builds robots for consumer and military use. Its robotic lawn mower is in the early design phase, according to filings.
The problem is that in order to operate the mower, one would have to install wires within trenches around the perimeter of the lawn. An alternative method would involve using beacons that could simply be driven into the lawn's perimeter.
Last month, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory filed comments on iRobot's request, noting that the radio frequencies proposed for use by the robotic lawn mower and its beacons could interfere with several large radio telescopes.
According to Wired, lawyers representing iRobot reached out to the NRAO in January to discuss the specifications. The two sides, however, differ on how large an exclusion zone is necessary to protect radio telescopes. iRobot says a 12-mile buffer zone is sufficient, while the NRAO hopes for a 55-mile exclusion zone.
Wired says that the NRAO hopes only to protect its interests, and not to prevent the creation of robotic lawnmowers.
Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Automaker BMW has issued a recall for close to 91,800 Mini Coopers in the U.S. to fix a flaw with the vehicle’s floor mat that may prevent the passenger air bag from deploying, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Saturday.
The recall affects 59,270 Mini Cooper and Cooper S models manufactured from January 2005 to November 2006, and 32,530 Mini Cooper and Cooper S convertibles made between January 2005 and July 2008.
BMW told the agency it has been notified of one minor injury linked to the defect, according to the safety recall report.
The automaker plans to replace the mat in the affect models for free, starting May 1.
ABC News(MIAMI BEACH, Fla.) -- Kesslyn Ross was getting ready to jetset off to Miami Beach for a romantic weekend getaway with her date Dave Koncsol, who was paying for the whole trip, from salsa dancing lessons to fine dining.
The only thing is, Koncsol and Ross had never met before.
“I am actually going on a date with a guy and we are traveling to Miami and we are going to meet up for the first time he’s paying for this entire thing,” Ross said.
Koncsol, a 26-year-old outside sales representative from Santa Monica, California, and Ross, a 21-year-old neuroscience major at Tulane University, are like a growing number of couples seeking spring break romance with the help of MissTravel.com, an online dating website that pairs "attractive" women with "generous" men willing to foot the bill for trips all over the world.
“I just expect to have a good time,” Koncsol said.
Ross said she had no intention of telling her parents that she was about to spend a week with a guy she had never met.
“My dad might have an issue with it because… I’m his only girl and he’s my dad,” she said. “He loves me and wants to make sure I’m safe.”
Although MissTravel.com offers background checks, Ross felt comfortable enough going along with the free vacation because she had been chatting with Koncsol for a few weeks.
The two met for the first time at their Miami Beach hotel, where Koncsol had arranged for them to have separate rooms. He would also pay for all their meals and outings together. But even after spending all this money on a stranger, Koncsol insists that he isn’t expecting more than someone to hang out with.
“It's nothing like a sugar baby/sugar daddy kind of thing,” Koncsol said. “It's, like, two adults, one who is financially stable enough and generous enough where they would offer to take care of a girl and take them on vacation but without expectation.”
Brandon Wade, the founder and CEO of MissTravel.com, who also founded the sugar daddy/sugar baby website, SeekingArrangement.com, said MissTravel.com is about connecting women who want free trips with men who want to provide them.
“A lot of people look at MissTravel and think, ‘wow these guys are taking advantage of the naïve young women,’ when in reality the opposite could be true,” Wade said. “The women [are] actually making use of the system to take advantage of the guy for a free trip.”
There are about half a million profiles on MissTravel.com, many with people hoping to find a match, but also millionaires, looking for “no strings attached fun” and girls seeking financial support.
Some critics say MissTravel.com is akin to an escort service, which Wade denied.
“When we go out for dinners on the first date the guy will pick up the tab and sex might be involved, so do we then equate the flowers that he gives her, the gifts that he gives her, the dinner that he pays to be a monetary exchange for sex? The answer is absolutely not,” Wade said.
Even if Koncsol had secretly hoped for a hook-up, his prospects weren’t looking good in the beginning. Things were awkward at first and the two didn’t seem to have much chemistry. During their time together, Ross came down with bronchitis and Koncsol had to take her to the hospital.
But later, the couple had a private salsa lesson and things seemed to heat up. Afterwards, they hung out together poolside, went to a romantic dinner and watched the sunset.
“If I wasn't sick, then I don't really know if we would've gotten as, like, close as we are I feel like now,” Ross said. “He really stepped up to the plate and showed me that he is a super caring person.”
At the end of their trip, the two hugged goodbye, and shyly admitted they shared a more intimate goodbye in private. Koncsol said he wanted Ross to visit him in Los Angeles, but they haven’t set a date yet.
Courtesy: Ben Larsen(POQUOSON, Va.) -- Ben Larsen was only looking to grab a good deal on a rare type of film he collects when he made a purchase last Thursday night on eBay.
Instead, the 21-year-old amateur photographer from Poquoson, Virginia, got not just the film but a trove of photos that appear to be from the Vietnam War era showing U.S. soldiers in Seoul, South Korea.
Larsen, who works in IT, first got a glimpse of the unexpected treasure when he developed a roll of black and white 35mm film that came free with the 127 film he purchased for around $35.
“I saw some foreign buildings so my dad and I began to try to figure it out,” Larsen told ABC News.
“I could see in a negative that there were soldiers in formation so I knew it was during a war,” Larsen said. “I went online and narrowed it down to Korea and eventually found a stock photo of one of the buildings from the side but there was no info so I spent hours doing reverse Google image.”
Larsen was able to determine that the building was a guard tower at Gyeongbokgung Palace and used Google Street View in Seoul, South Korea, to find the exact building.
“As I turned the Street View camera around, I realized it was like the guy was just walking down the street taking photos so I was able to follow his footsteps essentially,” Larsen said.
Reddit users quickly weighed in and determined that the photos appear to be from the Vietnam War, likely taken sometime in the late 1960s.
“I spent three tours in Korea 71, 85, and 95. This is definitely 1/12 FA Battalion (which is currently an MLRS battalion in Fort Sill, OK), part of the 2nd Infantry Division,” wrote one user.
“…The pants have a shorter cut, stopping at the ankle instead of continuing over the shoelaces, which came into fashion in the early 60s,” wrote another.
“This isn't during the Korean war, as Seoul was pretty damaged at that time period. Given the newness of some of the buildings it is probably in the 1960's, and as some have said here, it's during the Vietnam War,” wrote another.
Larsen also reached out to the eBay user from whom he purchased the film and found out that the film had originally been bought at an estate sale whose owner was a pilot in either Vietnam or Korea.
“I really don't know much about him, but I do know I seen a lot of pictures just thrown in a dumpster and garbage that looked pretty sentimental toward the end of the sale. Kinda broke my heart. I'm thinking the kids didn't want them,” the eBay seller wrote in his reply to Larsen.
Larsen also heard from someone on Reddit who volunteered to process the color film for him for free. Once he has those photos, he says he plans to have them all scanned into a higher resolution and then will decide what to do with them from there.
“I just want to make sure I get the highest quality I can while they’re still good because they fade over time,” Larsen said.
Péter Mács/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks took a beating Friday as investors worried over Greece’s ability to pay its debt and possibly exit the Eurozone, China’s change in stock market regulations and disappointing corporate earnings from Amex and General Electric.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,826.30 on Friday, down 279.47 from its open.
The Nasdaq fell by 75.98 to close under the 5,000 mark at 4,931.81. The S&P 500 fell by 23.81, finishing the session at 2,081.18.
Here's what weighed on the market:
• GREECE: Creditors are still struggling to come up with a plan to keep Greece from defaulting on its debt and investors fear the country will struggle to make payments to the International Monetary Fund due next month if it fails to reach a deal.
• CHINA’S REGULATION: Another catalyst triggering the sell-off on Friday was stock market regulation from China. After the markets close in Asia, Chinese financial regulators issued warnings about that country's soaring stock market that has more than doubled in the last year. Regulators said they will tighten rules on borrowing to buy stocks. WHAT ALL THIS MEANS FOR YOUR 401(K):
After years of rallying it's surprising the nervousness of the market when its faced with bad news.
Sebastien Galy, Sr., FX strategist for Societe Generale points out, “It tells you that once investors are trading and want to get out of their positions they won’t be able to, which could cause a large flash crash.”
The bottom line if your 401(k) or investments are overly extended in risk you should take the time now to pare that back.
Galy says it’s only a matter of time before a major trigger causes a flash crash.