Life and Style wRap: Facebook, Royal Portrait, CES
MANILA, Philippines - In case you missed them, here are lifestyle news that made the rounds on the week of January 6 to 13.
Facebook wonders, 'Will users pay to send a message to a stranger?'
One day, Facebook users may have to pay to send messages to strangers. And if it's a celebrity or high-
profile member like Mark Zuckerberg who you want to get in touch with, you might have to pay as much
"We are testing some extreme price points to see what works to filter spam," Facebook declared.
Since December, they have been conducting their Facebook Messages test within the United States that
lets a sender pay a dollar to ensure that their message is delivered to someone's "inbox" even when the
recipient isn't within the sender's circle of Facebook friends.
The point of the test is to see if adding a “financial signal” helps ensure that only “relevant and useful”
messages end up in a user’s inbox.
But even without this pay-to-send feature, Facebook already uses social cues, such as connections
between friends and algorithms to identify spam messages.
High-tech fashion gets runway time on CES
To say that some newly unveiled products in the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) combined fashion with function is an understatement.
Smartphone users with chubby fingers can now type away with leisure using “nanonails,” an offering
from Montana-based company Tech Tips that looks like a fingernail extension meant to improve the
user’s accuracy in pressing touch-screen icons and buttons.
Sri Vellanki, the dermatologist behind the concept assures, "The nail had to look nice, I didn't want
women to have to compromise.”
Another trendy tech offering is the SunnyBag, a leather bag with flexible solar panels that harness solar
energy to charge a battery inside the bag. When you find your smartphone in need of an energy boost,
you simply connect it to a USB cord attached to the solar-powered batteries, allowing you to safely carry
your phone and charge it at the same time.
Want to listen to music on your smartphone but don’t want to be too obvious about it while
commuting? Spotted in CES were sneaky headphones integrated into caps, scarves and other fashion
And if sleuthing is really what you’re up to, these James Bond-inspired gloves might interest you. Italian-
based hi-Fun handed in high-tech gloves that can answer your phone for you. To take a call, you just
activate a button in the glove, place your thumb near your ear and your index finger in front of your mouth to speak.
Kate’s first royal portrait, unveiled
Royal portraits have stood the test of time, bringing back the faces of monarchs and rulers to the
present day through the immortal brush strokes of great artists.
The artist behind the painting is award-winning painter Paul Emsley who had previously painted African
leader Nelson Mandela and was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to produce the Duchess’
first official portrait.
“It’s just amazing, I thought it was brilliant,” said the 31-year-old royal to Emsley during a private
viewing before the public unveiling. Prince William was in agreement, saying, “It’s beautiful, it’s
But several critics were not so easily satisfied.
Robin Simon, editor of the British Art Journal, called the portrait “rotten” adding, “"Fortunately, the
Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing like this in real life.”
Ben Luke in the London Evening Standard said it was a "gentle, soft-focus image, like a delicately
airbrushed photograph or a vaseline-lensed view of a Hollywood star".
But the artist had his reasons for the portrait’s “soft” look.
He said, "The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally -- her natural self -- as
opposed to her official self," he said, adding: "She struck me as enormously open and generous and a
very warm person."
Kate, who suffered through acute morning sickness a month ago, was looking well at the portrait
screening. She is expecting the royal couple’s first baby this summer.
Astronomers spot biggest structure in the known Universe
It’s one thing to discover a galaxy, it’s quite another to discover a whole cluster of them.
The cluster is called a large quasar group (LQG) composed of clumped up quasars. Quasars are the nuclei
of ancient galaxies powered by supermassive black holes.
The astronomers who made the discovery are from Britain’s University of Central Lancashire were led by
To give an idea of just how large the structure is, it would take a spaceship travelling at the speed of
4 thousand million years to traverse from one end of the cluster to the other.
In comparison, it would only take 2 and a half million light years from our galaxy, the Milky Way, to the Andromeda galaxy, our
According to Clowes, the discovery is “hugely exciting” because it challenges our current understanding
of the scale of the Universe.
Erotic scenes at the Colosseum
Digging through ancient corridors in the Roman Colosseum, you’d expect to find manuscripts, antique
pots or maybe even the bones of gladiators. But erotica?
Archaeologists restoring a corridor between the 2nd and 3rd floors of the famous amphitheater
discovered frescoes depicting erotic scenes, alongside expected scenes of victorious gladiators and
Also discovered were samples of ancient graffiti and traces of red, blue and green decorations yet
unseen by the public.
"We have also found writing dating back to the 17th century as well as the signatures of spectators and
foreign visitors" who had come to watch the Colosseum's famed gladiatorial contests and mock sea
battles, said Rosella Rea, director of the 2,000-year-old Colosseum.
Visitors in Rome will be able to see the frescoes by the summer of 2014.
Visited by around 6 million people a year, the Colosseum is one of the most famous historical sites in the
world. Despite this, it is in bad shape with many of its stones, blackened by pollution, having fallen off in
the previous years. Experts also worry that the structure is sinking, making the amphitheater appear to
be leaning. - Rappler.com