Smartphone apps let us play games, count calories, find cheap gas — just about anything developers can dream up. And the app market is growing quickly. Last month, Apple hit a milestone of 500,000 apps for sale. Competitor Google has more than 200,000 in the Android marketplace.
President Obama and the first lady attended a total of six fundraising events last week, half of them small gatherings with top-dollar donors. They also got a reminder of what comes with reliance on high rollers: An unflattering analysis of how many big givers in 2008 wound up with jobs in the administration.
The Iowa caucuses are the first big test of the nominating process, but the 2012 caucuses will also provide the first big test in a presidential contest for the Tea Party, which was formed during President Obama's first year in office.
The Iowa caucuses are now less than eight months away, and the field of Republican candidates is still taking shape, but the Iowa Tea Party has begun its own campaign, in the form of a three-week-long bus tour across the state.
At the Stonecutters Island army base in Hong Kong, camouflage-clad Chinese soldiers lunge forward with fierce yells, making stabbing motions with their daggers. There's a communal shout of admiration from the crowd watching the display on the army's home territory, which is opened up once a year to the public as a goodwill gesture.
Shabazz Palaces emerged out of the ether, or at least that's what group leader Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler would have you believe. The former Digable Planets MC originally operated under a veil of secrecy, taking the alias Palaceer Lazaro, declining interviews and performing behind a head scarf and sunglasses. After self-releasing two critically lauded mini-albums in 2009, Butler has loosened the grips on his anonymity.
One of my favorite songs by Brazilian icon Chico Buarque goes: "Apesar de voce amanha ha de ser outro dia" ("In spite of you, tomorrow will be another day"). Released in 1978, "A Pesar De Voce" is a thinly veiled reference to the dictatorship whose ruthless grip was suffocating Brazil at the time. I think it also speaks to the power of the Tropicália movement (of which Buarque is considered a founding father): In spite of oppressive conditions, there was an explosion of film, literature and music that made an indelible mark on Brazil and the world.