Toy of the Day: Mattel and Google Unveil Updated Virtual Reality View-Master

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The View-Master back, and it’s been upgraded for the 21st century.

Google and Mattel have announced at the 2015 Toy Fair in New York, that they are teaming up to transform the toy you remember as a kid into a virtual reality experience.

The new device looks very similar to the original with it’s signature shape and lever, but instead of inserting paper discs, you insert your Android phone.

It is based on Google’s “Cardboard” platform and requires an app from Mattel to let you explore what they are calling 360 degree “photospheres.”

Now you can send your kids to Europe or… prison!

“Take a virtual field trip to Paris and sit in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower as it soars above you,” says Mattel. “Visit historic Alcatraz Island and interact with your surroundings to discover fun facts.”

The stereoscopic photo viewer was first introduced at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, and the new edition will be available this Fall for $30.

Fail of the Day: Brian Williams Misremembers Helicopter Story, Twitter Responds By Meme-Shaming Him

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Remember that time Brian Williams was shot down in a helicopter in Iraq?

Well now neither does Williams, and he is apologizing publicly for the erroneous story which he has been telling for years after being called out by some of the troops who actually were in the attack.

Sorry dude, I don't remember you being on my aircraft, said Lance Reynolds on Facebook. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened.

He brought up the story in a news segment Friday about a tribute to a retired soldier at a New York Rangers game.

But crew members told the military news site Stars & Stripes that this never happened, and Williams issued a retraction.

I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago, Williams said on NBC Nightly News Wednesday. I want to apologize.

The soldiers of the 159th Aviation Regiments Chinook which was actually shot down claim Williams was in a helicopter that arrived an hour later.

I don't know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another. Williams said.

He later elaborated and apologized further in a Facebook comment:

You are absolutely right and I was wrong. In fact, I spent much of the weekend thinking I'd gone crazy. I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in '08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.

Now people on Twitter have started a hashtag to shame him called #BrianWilliamsMisremembers, in which he claims he was part of some other major historical events.
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Facebook'sWants Cut Down on the Number of Idiots Believing Fake Crap in Your Feed

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From the Facebook Newsroom:

To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts. This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.

Posts that receive lots of reports will be annotated with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it.
This change appears to be focused primarily on news sites that pump out hoaxes regularly, so your paranoid uncle will still be able to make ignorant comments on Onion articles at least!

Controversy of the Day: Miss Universe Selfie Sparks International Crisis

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Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, took an innocent selfie with some of her fellow competitors on January 11 and posted it to Instagram. Little did she know this would start a firestorm of epic proportions throughout the Middle East.

Because that is the type of world we live in now.

The issue here is that- along with Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan – Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, is also in the photo. And her country is not very happy about it, since they consider Israel to be an enemy state (they are technically still at war).

According to Lebanon's The Daily Star, some citizens want her to be stripped of her crown for such an atrocity.

"You could have avoided mingling with the Israeli contestant like previous Lebanese contestants have done throughout the years. And if you were harassed like you say, you could have at least avoided the huge smile [we see] on your face," wrote one critic on Twitter.

Matalon thinks the the whole thing is absurd.

"It doesn't surprise me, but it still makes me sad," she wrote on Instagram. "Too bad you cannot put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country."

Miss Lebanon is taking a different approach to the outcry by both apologizing and denying any responsibility for the photo. In a re-post of the photo on Instagram (with Miss Israel cropped out) Greige says Matalon jumped in to take the shot last minute.

"Since the first day of my arrival to participate to [Miss Universe], I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with [Miss Israel], who tried several times to take a photo with me," she wrote.

The Miss Universe pageant issued the following statement in response to the controversy:

"It is unfortunate to know a photo of four smiling women from different parts of the world, working together at an event, could be misconstrued as anything other than what it is, a celebration of universal friendship, which the Miss Universe pageant is all about."

Thanks to this incident, the competition which airs on January 25, will likely have a much bigger audience.