How to Take a Ballot Selfie and Not Get Arrested

Early voting is in full swing, and in 2016, that means people are just as excited about bragging that they voted as they are about actually participating in democracy. Unfortunately, because this is America, actively playing a part in the electoral process can bring about some real legal trouble, and in this case, the newly ubiquitous ballot selfie has been causing a stir, as a number of states have outlawed taking photos in the voting booth. In those states, voters caught taking pictures with their ballots, particularly if they’re already filled out, could face a fine or even jail time.

This leads to an important moment of self-reflection: Would I risk jail time for humble-bragging? Of course I would. But where I’d face that jail time is unclear: While the practice of ballot selfies is only full-on illegal in sixteen states, the majority of the country has a murky policy that leaves most voters just as confused and under-informed as the officials who are supposed to be enforcing their punishment.

Not everyone is willing to take such a risk, so we’ve done our patriotic duty and compiled a list of ways to let the world know how very woke and civically engaged you are without ending up in prison.

Take a photo outside your polling place.

This is the most conservative route, if you feel it’s better to be safe than sorry. At their harshest, lawmakers are declaring that there be no photography taken within 100 meters of a polling place, so measure your steps and get out that iPhone.

Take a photo with your mail-in ballot.

While you run the highest risk to get in trouble if you take a photo on-site at a polling place, it’s far less likely you’ll receive flack for throwing a filter on your mail-in ballot. Sure, there’s a possibility that a particularly sharp state representative might be combing through the #ivoted hashtag on Twitter and bust you, but the chances are significantly lower. And seriously, if they’re doing that, they need a new hobby.

That’s why they gave you the sticker, dummy.

The “I Voted!” stickers given out at polling places have been popular fixtures since the 1980s and for many, hold a certain amount of social currency. While many voters believe that everyone should have the right to make their ballots as public as their opinions are under the First Amendment, the stickers simply note that you’re an active participant. If you want to make a bigger splash than just saying you did it, that’s where the controversy of making a ballot public comes in.

Take a photo with your unmarked ballot.

In many states, this still carries a pretty significant risk, but if you absolutely needto show the world you made it all the way into a voting booth (go you!), pout and pose before you actually cast your vote. The reason that this causes such a conflict of interest in the first place is that while all Americans are entitled to freedom of speech, they’re just as entitled to the integrity of the voting process. How do filled-in ballot photos threaten that? Well, that’s the dilemma — not all states agree that they do.

Just brag that you’re voting without picturing the ballot.

Studies universally indicate that people are more likely to vote themselves if they see that their friends on Facebook are voting, too. Do what you’ve gotta do; wrap your naked body in the flag, get an “I’m With Her” neck tattoo, write a hideous song, and post it online. Obviously it is by no means illegal to reveal who you’ve voted for online (that’s what Twitter was built for), but in some places it can be flying too close to the sun to show the very paperwork on which you’re making it official. Either way, ballot-less selfies will still be encouraging to the more reluctant voters perusing your feed, and that’s just science.

Do whatever you want because the laws will probably change soon, anyway.

Because the laws can range from no punishment to jail time for an innocent snapshot, experts predict that the actual punishments imposed in the sixteen (mostly southern) states that technically make voting selfies illegal won’t be very severe; after all, most voters don’t know that what they’re doing is, in fact, illegal. The worry most states cite, in spite of frustration expressed by major social channels like Snapchat, is that posting a completed ballot will encourage vote buying, though no studies have indicated that is true.

So what happens if I you get caught, really?

In the states where ballot selfies are flat out illegal — New York, New Mexico, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Connecticut, and New Jersey — punishment can range from a small fine to a jail stint of a few months. In other places like California, it’s okay to take a ballot selfie this time around, but it’ll be outlawed after this election. While there haven’t been many reported cases of actual legal entanglements resulting from ballot selfies in the early voting process thus far, high-profile figures like Justin Timberlake have received a public slap on the wrist for making their voting experience public.

This election season, it’s more important than ever to remind your friends both to vote themselves and, more importantly, show them how good you look voting. Just please, make sure that selfie doesn’t include handcuffs.

Instagram Introduces Much-Needed New ZOOM Feature

Instagram is back to follow up its previous surprising stories update. This time around you’ll be able to get closer to your followers via its new ZOOM feature. Currently added to its iOS host, users are now able to pinch to zoom on feed’s images and videos on profiles and Instagram’s explore page. If you have the latest software update you can currently use IG’s latest update now.

Check it out for yourself and let us know your thoughts.

Here’s Why You’ll Probably Instagram Your Lunch This Weekend

If Paul Cezanne were alive today, he’d probably spend most of his day on the /r/FoodPorn subreddit. He’d be well received by a community dedicated to sharing simple photographs of stunning food—some of Cezanne’s most famous paintings depict fruit bowls and decadent meals. Now a new study from Cornell Food Lab analyzes the phenomenon of #foodporn throughout history, and attempts to explain why we love looking at pictures of delicious meals.

“Over-the-top meals aren’t a modern invention,” said coauthor Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food Lab, in a press statement. “Paintings from the age of Michelangelo were loaded with the foods modern diets warn us about: salt, sausages, bread, and more bread.”

But the food porn phenomenon is nothing new. Indeed, admiring unattainable foods from afar appears to be a uniquely human passion, hundreds of years in the making. For this new study, the authors began by choosing 750 classic food paintings from the years 1500 to 200, found in books such as Art And Appetite and Food In Painting, and then narrowed their sample down to 140 paintings that depicted family meals (not fruit bowls—sorry Cezanne). They then identified the foods visible in each painting, and categorized them by country and time period.

Across years and countries, the authors found that roughly 20 percent of the paintings included at least one vegetable, 75 percent contained fruit, and 40 percent contained meat. What stood out the most, though, was that some of the most common foods in paintings appear to have been the least common foods during those time periods. Artichokes were the most common vegetable in these painting, followed by tomatoes, onions, squash, and radishes. Exotic fruits, rather than apples and oranges, carried the day. Shellfish, a rare delicacy, was the most common entree.

In other words, the authors conclude, the most commonly painted foods of the last 500 years were not representative of a typical diets. Instead, the paintings tend to depict foods that are fun to paint (the curves and shadows of an artichoke are a worthy challenge) or fun to imagine eating. In that way, the authors note, food porn simply hasn’t changed much over 500 years. We still love looking at unattainable foods—upvoting, double-tapping, or Liking dishes that contain odd but aesthetically pleasing ingredients, even though we know our odds of eating them are slim.

“We found that most things depicted were visually appealing, like exotic fruit or shellfish,” said coauthor Anupama Mukund of the University of Washington, in a press release. “Next time you’re at a museum and see paintings of different dinner settings across different time periods, remember that these aren’t things that people actually consumed.”

“More likely they depicted things that people wanted to be eating.”

Instagram Will Let You Filter Comments On Your Photos

It’s always nice to get positive, and even constructive, feedback on your Instagram photos. It’s not so nice when someone takes the time to hurl insults or make threats in the comments. Soon, Facebook-owned Instagram will give users new anti-harassment tools that let them hide unseemly messages left on their photos.

Instagram plans to introduce new anti-harassment tools in coming weeks. They will allow users to filter comments on posts or turn them off all together, The Washington Post reports.

The tools will roll out to “high-profile,” account users — those with high traffic, likes, and comments — first, with everyday users receiving the options later.

Although Instagram already has some policies in place regarding acceptable speech, the new tools enable users to weed out terms or comments they find personally offensive on a post-to-post basis on their own accounts.

“Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self expression,” Instagram’s head of public policy, Nicky Jackson Colaco, tells the Post. “We have slowly begun to offer accounts with high volume comment threads the option to moderate their comment experience. As we learn, we look forward to improving the comment experience for our broader community.”

‘Fish Bras’ Are The Hottest New Summer Instagram Trend

It’s summertime, so you know what that means: boats, fishing, and bikinis. Put those things together, and what do we have? Fish bras! Yes, fish bras, the hottest new Instagram trend of the summer. In a nutshell, a fish bra happens when a lady holds up a trophy catch in front of her boobs, bikini-clad or otherwise — basically recreating the top half of Kim Kardashian’s nude, black bar selfie, only with a fish.

What could be sexier than fish and boobs? Not much, according to the official Fish Bra Instagram account, which currently boasts 104,000 followers. I guess nyotaimori, or the Japanese practice of eating sushi off naked female bodies, is a thing for a reason?

Who knows! At any rate, getting back to the subject of fish bras, you clicked on this for a reason, so far be it from me to disappoint.


Netflix Is Looking for a #Foodporn Instagrammer and It Can Be You

Do you consider yourself an avid Instagrammer? Do you constantly find yourself surrounded by gourmet food? Are you able to combine these passions and successfully capture some #foodporn with each meal? If so, you might be a perfect candidate for the role of Netflix’s new Instagrammer for its show Chef’s Table.

As anyone who has scrolled through the homepage of Netflix looking for something to bingewatch knows, the promos for Chef’s Table are hinged on lusciously shot portraits of exotic dishes. These pictures don’t take themselves, and Netflix is turning to the public to find the lucky, talented individual who is up for traveling the world to both eat and capture some of the show’s featured foods. The right candidate will also be expected to chat with the master chefs in question, and to remain calm in the face of so much tantalizing food.

For info on how to apply for this dream job, visit Netflix’s application page.

Scientists Find That People Who Take Selfies Regularly Overestimate How Attractive They Are

If you’re a fan of filling up your Instagram and Snapchat feeds with selfies, you might want to reconsider – a new study suggests that you’re probably not as beautiful as you think you are, and plastering your face all over the internet isn’t giving the world the best impression.

Yup, in a new shade-throwing study, researchers say that independent observers typically view rampant selfie-takers as more narcissistic, less attractive and less likeable compared to individuals who forgo the solo photos.

In the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto, scientists gathered 198 college students. One hundred of these students were selfie-takers, while the other 98 reported little to no selfie-snapping.

These students were asked to take a selfie fit for social media, and were then also photographed by one of the team members, resulting in each participant having a selfie and a standard picture of themselves.

With these pictures in hand, the students rated how attractive they thought other people would find them. The team then had a group of 178 independent, outside observers rate the photos for attractiveness, likability and narcissism.

When all was said and done, both groups – the selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers – reported themselves more attractive than they were rated by the outside group, though the selfie-takers were off by a greater degree, reports David Hayward for PsyPost.

Also, all of the researcher-taken photos were rated higher than the selfie photos. Plus, the selfie-takers were rated significantly higher on the narcissism scale.

The study had a pretty limited sample size, so more work needs to be done to verify and confirm the results. But basically the research is suggesting that not only do people think they are way hotter than they actually are, but taking selfies also significantly decrease people’s opinions of you.

“Selfie-takers generally over perceived the positive attributes purveyed by their selfies,” the team said in a report by Adam Boult for The Telegraph. “Here, we found that selfie-takers believed their selfies to look more attractive and likeable than photos of them taken by other people.”

So, if taking selfies is perceived so poorly, why the heck do so many people do? It comes down a well-known psychological phenomenon called ‘self-favouring bias’, which states that “people have a tendency to perceive themselves as being better than average on a wide range of positive traits”, reports Hayward.

Basically, people think they’re better than others. This isn’t news, but those feelings are greatly increased when people have more control.

For selfies, people pretty much have the most control possible because they can adjust the angle of the shot, the filter, when they post them to social media and every other aspect. The study suggests that this causes people to have a rather extreme bout with self-favouring bias.

This isn’t the first study to ponder the negative side of the selfie craze, either. Last year, researchers from Ohio State University said that male selfie-lovers show signs of psychopathy. And based on media reports, selfie-taking killed more people last year than sharks.

All of these studies are basically saying that maybe it’s time to cool it with the selfies. After all, if you’re friends with someone on Instagram, they probably know what your face looks like, no need to remind them hundreds of times a day.

The new study was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Sony Patents Smart Contact Lens Camera Technology

Following in the footsteps of Google and Samsung, Sony has just patented technology for smart contact lenses. According to sonyalpharumors, the Japanese tech conglomerate’s iteration of a lens looks to be very advanced with a built-in camera, storage and transmission unit. The patent also states that the device would be able to have autofocus, aperture control and image stabilization. To control the camera “shutter,” the wearer would simply have to blink, but the patent claims that the contact lenses would be able to differentiate between a regular blink and one to capture a photo. While details are obviously sparse at this point, one thing is clear — the next wearable technology is going to be the contact lens. Click here to see the full patent.


GoPro Captures Every Angle with the Six-Camera Omni

There’s no questioning GoPro’s lead in the action camera market.

The company’s palm-sized devices are found everywhere from the biggest surf competitions to the sets of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and now the company is stepping into what could be the next video revolution, 360-video.

That’s where the Omni comes in. The Omni is GoPro’s new 360-degree camera that features six HERO4 Black cameras combined in a cube-like shell to capture every single angle in ultra high resolution. No word yet on official specs, but expect more info soon as the company plans to reveal more about the Omni in the coming weeks.

Instagram Videos Can Now Be Up To A Minute Long

If you’ve been wishing for longer videos of cute cats, dogs, and kids saying the darndest things on Instagram, the social media gods have heard your prayers. Instagram users will now be able to post videos that are up to one minute long, adding 45 seconds to the previous video length limits.

Before this update, users could only post videos up to 15 seconds in length, which is awfully short when there’s an adorable cockatoo screeching funny things, or a dog and a raccoon engaging in some solid interspecies snuggling.

“In the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent,” the company said in its announcement, adding that “longer videos mean more diverse stories” from popular accounts.

The company says the update started rolling out on Tuesday, and will be available “for everyone in the coming months.”

Instagram is also bringing back the ability to make videos out of multiple clips from your camera roll — if you’re an iOS user.

This move to longer videos is interesting, in that it takes Instagram a step closer to YouTube, and a step away from apps like Snapchat, which limits users to videos that last a matter of seconds. Perhaps Instagram is just trying to carve out its own little spot in the crowded world of mobile video.