For the past nine years, Amazon Prime users have received free two-day shipping and a passable lineup of streaming video content for just $79 per year. Alas, the party is over; in an email that went out to subscribers today, Amazon has announced that "as fuel and transportation costs have increased," the annual cost of a Prime membership will increase to $99.
Students, who originally paid just $10 for the service, will now pay $49. And Amazon Fresh users — whose decision to get both consumer products and groceries through the company is the extreme version of Amazon's implicit "never leave your house again" promise — have been rewarded with an unchanged $299 annual fee. Scott Meslow
The government spent $2.6 million to make motivational phone calls to truckers trying to lose weight
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has dropped $2.6 million (and counting) funding a five-year program through Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) to help long-haul truckers lose weight.
"Drivers experience multiple roadblocks to health, including laws permitting long work hours and an isolating job structure that restricts physical activity and dietary choices," the grant explains, so the researchers use "mobile computing technologies to provide training and feedback during a weight loss competition, and delivers motivational interviewing on cell phones." Participants also have the opportunity to win lottery prizes.
The grant notes that weight loss will reduce incidence of sleep apnea in truckers and thus increase public safety, but surely that might be offset by all those cell phone calls on the road? Bonnie Kristian
As summer blockbuster season winds to an end, Hollywood is starting to offer our first glimpses at the movies that will be angling for Oscar gold in the months ahead. The first trailer for one major contender has finally dropped: Room, a harrowing drama adapted from Emma Donoghue's bestselling 2010 novel of the same name.
Room follows Brie Larson as a woman confined to a small room with her young son, who has never experienced the outside world. When they finally escape from captivity, they're forced to readjust to an entirely new way of living.
Room hits theaters on October 16. Scott Meslow
Earlier this month, 24-year-old Sarah Lee Circle Bear was found unconscious in a jail cell in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where she was being held for a bond violation. She died in her cell soon after the incident, and her family is reportedly considering legal recourse.
Witnesses allege that Circle Bear, a mother of an infant and a toddler, was being transferred to a holding cell when she began crying out in pain, asking for medical attention. The jail staff reportedly told her to "quit faking" and "knock it off" before dragging her body into the cell where she would later be found unresponsive.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Native Americans are disproportionately the victims of police killings, while a 2015 report from the Lakota People's Law Project details other justice system disparities Native Americans suffer. Bonnie Kristian
There are few computer games that have stolen more time than computer Solitaire, which has been a Microsoft staple since Windows 3.0. Short, simple, accessible, and addictive, it was the perfect time-waster — to say nothing of that triumphant moment when you win and all the cards start bouncing down the screen.
Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 10, brings Solitaire back in all its glory. But there's a catch: If you're not willing to tolerate obnoxious ads, you'll need to pay for it.
The latest version of Solitaire — which comes with every copy of Windows 10 — has full-screen video advertisements built into the game. If you want to get rid of them, Microsoft offers two subscription payment options: $1.50 for a month, or $10 for a year. Subscribers will also get "more coins for competing Daily Challenges," because nothing says "Solitaire" like going head-to-head with a bunch of your friends.
Microsoft actually introduced the ad-supported Solitaire as a downloadable app in 2013 — but this is the first ad-supported version that actually comes bundled with the operating system, so users who are excited to rediscover the old classic are in for an unpleasant surprise. (Or, you know, they could just pull out an actual deck of cards.) Scott Meslow
Herman Cain sees a lot of himself in Donald Trump. For one, Cain too led the early polls during his 2012 campaign for president, to the alarm of his more straight-laced Republican peers. For another, both men faced scandals concerning their romantic lives — Cain was accused of having an affair with an Atlanta woman, and Trump was once accused of possibly raping his wife many years ago. (She has since disavowed that claim.)
The difference, Cain claims, is that Trump has the billions to make it out alive.
"When I got attacked I had to make a choice, do I continue. First of all, it's a big distraction, trying to defend all of the false and negative accusations," Cain told USA Today. "It takes away from you trying to campaign unless you have deep pockets, which I did not have, it costs money to sustain a campaign and fight off those attacks at the same time, and to be honest with you, I didn't have the money to do that. I simply didn't have the money to do that. That's not his problem."
It remains to be seen if Trump will face the same fate as Cain — losing. Jeva Lange
The Commerce Department revealed Thursday that the U.S. economy picked up speed in its second quarter growth and, thanks to a revision of the first quarter GDP growth, was found to have grown in the year's first quarter. Previously, first quarter GDP was shown to have shrunk at a 0.2 percent rate, but revisions reveal that it actually grew at a 0.6 percent rate.
Although second quarter growth rates fell slightly below economists' expectations of a 2.6 percent growth rate, these incremental gains bolster the Federal Reserve's notion that the U.S. economy is, indeed, steadily on the rise. Becca Stanek
When you can't go to a Bernie Sanders rally, the Bernie Sanders rally comes to you. From an apartment in Washington, D.C., the Democratic presidential candidate broadcast Wednesday evening to 3,500 other simultaneous house parties and gatherings, reaching living rooms in all 50 states — with more than 100,000 people signing up to attend their local events. If you discount that the location wasn't centralized, the live stream "house party" was the largest gathering in support of a 2016 presidential candidate yet.
But what's a house party without a killer cocktail?
Manisha Sharma and bartender Miguel Marcelino Herrera, the hosts of the apartment from which Sanders was live streaming in D.C., introduced their thousands of guests to the "Bernie Paloma" as a show of their "Mexican hospitality," The New York Times reports.
“Paloma means dove, dove means soul, and Bernie's got soul," Sharma said.
Of course, the drink honoring the Vermont socialist has a healthy dose of maple syrup. Jeva Lange
The Bernie Paloma
0.5 oz. Vermont maple syrup
0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
2 oz. silver tequila
Garnish: "salt air," which is sea salt, lime juice, water and Sucro, emulsified with a hand blender. [The New York Times]