This just in
July 28, 2014
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Facebook isn't the only site experimenting on its users. OkCupid revealed Monday that it has been conducting experiments on its users, too.

In a blog post on OkCupid's website, the company's cofounder Christian Rudder explained a few of the experiments the dating site recently ran on unassuming users. One experiment included a special "Love is Blind" day in which photos were removed from users' profiles, while another told users they had a higher match percentage than they had in reality (in that experiment, the users affected by the experiment were notified afterwards).

While social networks experimenting on their users may seem like risky move, Rudder was unapologetic about OkCupid's studies. "Guess what, everybody: If you use the Internet, you're the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site," Rudder wrote. "That's how websites work."

As for the results of the experiments? OkCupid found that people were more likely to respond to others' messages when their profile photos were removed, and those conversations went deeper. Once the photos were re-added, however, the conversations dropped off. "It was like we turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight," Rudder wrote.

In the other study, in which couples were told they were a great match instead of a bad one, Rudder found that the power of suggestion is real, with couples being more likely to send messages to matches when their compatibility rating appeared to be high.

"OkCupid definitely works, but that's not the whole story," Rudder wrote. "The mere myth of compatibility works just as well as the truth." Meghan DeMaria

Sinai
7:33 a.m. ET
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At least 35 people have been killed in simultaneous attacks in Egypt's northern Sinai region. Militants apparently targeted six military checkpoints, utilizing at least one suicide car bomb as well as mortars and RPGs, and took soldiers captive in addition to seizing weapons and armored vehicles, The Associated Press has learned. Mines were also placed in the region to prevent Egyptian military vehicles from quickly accessing the sites of the attacks, Wael Abbas, an Egyptian journalist, told Al Jazeera.

Egyptian military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir reported to the media that fighting is ongoing between the Egyptian army and the militants, and claimed a much lower number of casualties — only 10. However, the Egyptian army has deployed fighter jets to the region for support, Al Jazeera says. Additionally, in response to the Sinai attacks, Israel has closed off two of its border crossings into Egypt, Haaretz reports.

As of yet, no one has taken responsibility for the highly coordinated attacks, although the suspicion is that they were committed by an Islamic State affiliate. There were reportedly around 70 militant fighters involved. Jeva Lange

Gas Wars
7:27 a.m. ET
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On Wednesday morning, Russian state gas company Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, after Ukraine declined to make an advance payment for July's shipment amid failed pricing negotiations. "Gazprom is not going to send gas to Ukraine at any price without the advance payment," said CEO Alexei Miller, as quoted in Russian media.

Talks between Ukraine and Russia's energy ministers broke down on Tuesday, and Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz said it wouldn't agree to Russia's offer. Russia and Ukraine fight over gas imports with some frequency, and Ukraine said it will buy gas from elsewhere in Europe until Russia lowers its price. Ukraine assured Europe that Russian gas deliveries to the rest of the continent through Ukrainian pipelines won't be interrupted. Ukraine uses far less gas in the summer than the frigid winter months, strengthening Kiev's bargaining position. Peter Weber

Grexit Watch
6:19 a.m. ET
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Greece effectively defaulted on its debt obligations at midnight Wednesday, skipping a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund. But the Financial Times reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in a letter to Greece's creditors, has now agreed to European conditions for a new bailout, with just minor modifications. Greek national broadcaster ERT is reporting a similar capitulation.

The reports were enough to send European stocks sharply higher early Wednesday, and bond yields dropped in Greece's southern European neighbors Italy and Spain. Tsipras had previously rejected the demands from the European Central Bank and eurozone finance ministers, defiantly scheduling a July 5 referendum. Peter Weber

In Memoriam
5:52 a.m. ET

Comedian Chris Farley died in 1997, at age 33, of a drug overdose. It's an all-too-familiar story for actors and stand-up comis, as the comedians who reminisce about Farley in the upcoming documentary I Am Chris Farley know too well. A lot of them have struggled with addiction issues themselves, and all of them were big fans of Farley. Farley's death "comes up in something in my mind every day," David Spade, Farley's best friend, says in the film. "And I think it will forever."

Sometimes comedians "think they have the physical capacity to handle" the celebrity and fast-and-loose lifestyle, says Dan Aykroyd, who similarly lost comedy partner John Belushi to a drug overdose at age 33. But the documentary isn't just about Farley's death. It's also a celebration of his life, talent, and work. It will air on Spike on August 10, and you can watch the trailer below. Peter Weber

last night on late night
5:04 a.m. ET

We all want to be listened to and acknowledged, but sometimes our friends and loved ones let us down. Especially if we abuse their patience through frequency of complaints or poor storytelling. On Tuesday's Inside Amy Schumer, Schumer imagined a service that can make those people feel loved and respected. Three caveats: "ListenAlert" will cost you, its operators won't listen to your dreams ("we are not saints"), and, of course, it isn't real (yet). But this clip is actually safe work work. You can watch below. Peter Weber

fast fashion
4:31 a.m. ET

In June, the Lady Warriors, an all-female community basketball team in Minneapolis, held a fashion show to show off their new uniforms. The players, young Muslim immigrants from Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa, helped craft their uniforms with University of Minnesota fashion designers and sports researchers, plus coaches and members of the community. The uniforms cover the girls' head, arms, and legs, solving a big problem for many female Muslim athletes.

Wearing a hijab or other religiously appropriate clothing gets in the way of dribbling a basketball, kicking a soccer ball, or swimming. Not covering up isn't an option for many Muslim girls, and the new uniforms — designed to be worn in all sports, even swimming — could help not just the teens and tweens in Minnesota but female Muslim athletes everywhere. You can see the uniforms in action in the Associated Press video below. Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
4:01 a.m. ET

At the end of last week, the Supreme Court handed liberals huge victories on ObamaCare and gay marriage. On Monday, the conservative majority of the court realigned, handing the right its own set of wins. But not all wins are created equal, Jon Stewart said on Tuesday's Daily Show. And the big conservative victories — striking down new EPA rules restricting toxic emissions from power plants and upholding the use of a painful death-penalty drug — are odd ones to celebrate, he said.

"So yes, gay people have the right to marry and poor people have the right to insurance, but on the bright side, America can still kill prisoners painfully and everyone else slowly," Stewart said. Noting the giddiness at Fox News of the victory for coal power plants, especially, he asked, rhetorically, "you know the losing team in that game was lungs?" To wrap things up, Jordan Klepper stepped into the old Stephen Colbert role, playing the faux-conservative yin to Stewart's yang, and it's a good fit. Watch below. Peter Weber

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