New app lets you know if McDonald’s ice cream machine is working

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 4:03 AM

App Lets You Check if McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine is Working or Not

For late-night snackers, developers of an iPhone app could save you from waiting in line unnecessarily at your local McDonald’s.

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Ice Check allows people to find the closest McDonald’s and tell whether its ice cream machine is working. The app also allows users to report the status of an ice cream machine, WCMH reported.

“I came up with the idea for the app around a year ago, after a late-night Oreo McFlurry craving went unfulfilled due to the ice cream machine being down,” Raina McLeod, the app’s creator, told BuzzFeed.

Ice Check is only available for iOS devices.

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VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:59 AM

Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Appears At Status Hearing

The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development.

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Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled.

>> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident.

>> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know'

According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017.

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up.

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The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

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Do video games lead to violence seen in Parkland, other mass shootings?

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 11:41 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

One day after the mass shooting at a Florida high school, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told a radio host he believes the “culture of death that is being celebrated” in violent video games and movies was the trigger for the violence that led to the deaths of 17 students and teachers.

Bevin, in an interview with radio host Leland Conway, said violent video games that glorify murdering people and even allow players to rack up points for showing less compassion was at the core of the increasing number of attacks on schools, churches and concerts.

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"There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them," Bevin told Conway. "They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life."

It is not the first time Bevin has called out the makers of video games where players score points for killing. In January in Bevin’s own state, a 15-year-old boy killed two classmates and injured 14. After the shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, Bevin posted an 11-minute video on Facebook where he said violent videos were a “cultural problem” that sparked the incident.

"We are desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death," Bevin said. "This is a cultural problem."

After the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week, Bevin stepped up his attack, calling out other cultural influences such as music, television and movies, slamming them for violent lyrics or plots.

"Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people?" Bevin said. "Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?"

According to a story from The Miami Herald, Nikolas Cruz, the Stoneman Douglas school shooter, would play video games for up to 15 hours a day. Cruz family friend and neighbor Paul Gold, who owns a film and video production company, said he sometimes played a game or two with Cruz.

The games Cruz liked to play were violent ones, he told The Herald.

“It was kill, kill, kill, blow up something, and kill some more, all day,” Gold said. 

Bevin isn’t the only one speaking out against violent video games. Others have pointed to such games as inspiration for similar attacks. But is there evidence that links playing violent games with taking a rifle and shooting people at a high school or some other venue?

The psychological community is split. 

A study by researchers at the University of York in York, England, found no evidence that adults who play violent video games were any more likely to commit a violent act then those who do not play the games.

The study of 3,000 participants released in January showed the games do not “necessarily increase aggression in game players.

The York study also examined the realism of the games and whether that had an effect on the way players later acted. They looked at games that used characters that moved and reacted as a human would, not just an animated character. Researchers concluded that “there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.”

The York researchers pointed out in their conclusions that the tests were conducted on adults. "We also only tested these theories on adults, so more work is needed to understand whether a different effect is evident in children players."

A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association contradicts the York study in part. The APA study found that playing violent video games is linked to increased aggression in players, but that there is “insufficient evidence” to link game playing with criminal violence or delinquency.

Those conducting the study stressed that while an increase in aggression was seen in the subjects of the study, the games’ effect on certain people with certain risk factors needs to be studied further.

“We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behavior,” said Mark Appelbaum, the chairman of the task force that conducted the study. “What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?”

A study of 105 Canadian teenagers – boys and girls – found that the teens that spent more than three hours a day playing violent video games were in danger of delayed emotional development .

Mirjana Bajovic, the author of the study, noted that not all the teens playing violent games showed a delay in emotional development, and that no correlation existed between the level of emotional development and those who played nonviolent games. Bajovic did note that the time spent playing those games was the main factor in influencing “empathic behavior and tendencies.

A study published in Psychological Science led researchers to conclude that for some, assuming an identity in a video game can have real-world impact.

Researchers asked 200 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to choose to be either a villain or a hero in a video game, and what they saw was an impact in levels of consideration in the students.

“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or a villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” said Gunwoo Yoon, lead author of the study.

The students were given the choice to serve chocolate sauce to a stranger or to serve hot chili sauce. Researchers found that those who chose to play the hero – in this case, cartoon character Superman – would serve chocolate to the stranger. Those who assumed the villain role – Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels – would serve the chili sauce. 

The choices from the students were measured after as little as five minutes of playing the games. 

 

Magaly Newcomb, right comforts her daughter Haley Newcomb, 14, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at a makeshift memorial outside the school, in Parkland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)(Gerald Herbert/AP)

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Lawyer accused of lying in Russia investigation

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 9:38 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:38 AM

Robert Mueller - Fast Facts

An attorney is facing charges of lying to the FBI in the agency's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump's campaign.

The charges against lawyer Alex Van Der Zwaan are the latest in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

READ MORE: Who is Rick Gates and why was he indicted by Robert Mueller? | Who is Paul Manafort, the man indicted in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation? | What are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates charged with? | MORE

Special Counsel Robert Mueller Files First Charges

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Dallas Mayor pro tem tells NRA it can hold annual convention someplace else

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:29 PM

NRA Told To Hold Annual Convention Someplace Else By Dallas Mayor Pro Tem

The National Rifle Association was planning to hold its annual convention in Dallas, but a city lawmaker has asked the gun lobby group to consider finding another host city. 

Dwaine Caraway warned the NRA that it will be met with “marches and demonstrations” if the group still holds its three-day meeting in the city in which he serves as mayor pro tem, ABC News reported.

The  147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits are scheduled to be held May 4-6. It is free for all NRA members. 

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Caraway told ABCNews that he is “putting all citizens first” with his request to the NRA to reconsider.

If the group moves the meeting, Dallas could lose up to $40 million from the 80,000 members attending, USAToday reported.

The NRA responded after Caraway’s request.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesperson for the NRA, told WFAA, “No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city. We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities, urban and rural, throughout the country.”

>>Complete coverage of 2017 NRA Convention in Atlanta 

Fox News reported that Caraway is a gun owner who says he believes in the Second Amendment, but is challenging the NRA to come to the table to work with leaders to increase gun safety through laws.

The NRA has come under fire after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and teachers were killed and more than a dozen were wounded, NBC News reported.

The gunman, who is 19 years old, owned 10 rifles, CNN reported. He was able to buy them legally, Fox News and The Associated Press reported. That was despite having previous treatment at a mental health clinic and comments on YouTube, attributed to him, that he was going to be a professional school shooter, the AP reported. The FBI said it couldn’t confirm who posted the comment, the AP reported.

Last year, the NRA held its annual convention in Atlanta. President Donald Trump was a keynote speaker during the meetings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

>>Watch: Donald Trump speech at NRA convention

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was also a speaker at last year’s meetings. He currently has an A-plus rating by the NRA, which helped him get re-elected last year, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Students and their families who were directly affected by last week’s shooting are now speaking out against Scott and anyone who has been backed by the NRA.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to the Tampa Bay Times, said that, “These people who are being funded by the NRA are not going to be allowed to remain in office when midterm elections roll around. They’re going to be voted out of office.” 

WATCH: Florida High School Shooting Survivor Talks About NRA

This year’s event guest speakers include NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Benghazi survivor Mark Geist, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. and political commentator Tomi Lahren.

Related: 

Facts About the NRA

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