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The International 5 is happening right now.

If you don’t know what that means, you’re not alone. But its a big deal, with $18 million (and counting) on the line.

Dota 2 prize pool

Video games, like soccer, baseball, and football, have their professional athletes – extremely skilled players who other fans will spend hours watching play.

Pretty much any game can be an eSport. There are even professional “Super Smash Bros.” players. But by far the biggest game in eSports is “Dota 2,” a free game from the company behind other popular titles like “Portal” and “Half-Life.” The International is its official annual tournament. And it has all the pomp and circumstance of a major sports event.

Here’s a player prepping before a match:

And here’s what it looks like with two teams on stage:

 

Blitz and LD casting C9 vs CDEC #ti5

A photo posted by Dota 2 Valve Software (@dota2ti) on Aug 3, 2015 at 7:48pm PDT on
Aug 3, 2015 at 7:48pm PDT

 

Newbee’s first and last night on the main stage #ti5

A photo posted by Dota 2 Valve Software (@dota2ti) on Aug 3, 2015 at 10:17pm PDT on
Aug 3, 2015 at 10:17pm PDT

“Dota 2″ can be a bit technical, but there are still people who love to watch even though they never play themselves. 

Valve broadcasts the tournament to theaters and streams it online. You can also find a newcomers’ stream with entry-level commentary on its website. If you live in Seattle, you can buy tickets to watch live at the KeyArena.

For a taste of the action, here’s a match from day one of the tournament between teams Na’Vi and Vega Squadron. (Warning: the commentary on this video is geared toward long-time fans and can be a bit opaque if you’re a new to this world.)

The International 5 runs from August 3 until August 8.

SEE ALSO: League of Millions: Inside the video game phenomenon that’s selling out global arenas and earning stars up to $1 million

AND: PlayStation’s virtual reality device looks incredible

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A customers enters the Sears store in North Vancouver, British Columbia February 23, 2011. REUTERS/Andy Clark

Sears used to rule American retail.

But the troubled retailer’s sales are continuing to decline, falling nearly 14% in the most recent quarter. Shares are at a multi-year low, and the brand is continuing to close stores. 

The most troubling sign of all?

Sears isn’t trying to get better, Steven Azarbad, chief investment officer at Maglan Capital and an expert in distressed retail companies, told Business Insider. 

“How many more quarters of negative sales can you handle as a business without being forced to close?” Azarbad asked. “They’re not pumping cash into turning this into a real retailer or business, and merchandise looks sparse for the most part.”

The company, which also includes K-Mart stores has lost more than $6 billion since 2012. 

“It’s hard to come up with a reason why Sears and K-Mart need to exist in today’s environment,” Azarbad said. “It’s hard to imagine them ever being a destination retailer.”

Sears’ and K-Mart’s collapse is “inevitable” and could happen by the year 2016, retail analyst and author Robin Lewis writes on his blog

“These two retail brands are dead men walking,” Lewis writes. 

sears store closed

Lewis believes Sears Holdings’ inevitable decline started decades ago

He says that executives spent too much time investing in side businesses and ignored the competition.

This did not have to be fatal; however, it actually starved those resources (capital and management) from the retail business, leaving it unable to respond and adapt to the needs of the evolving consumer and marketplace,” Lewis writes.

To offset losses in the retail department, the company is planning to ramp up e-commerce and make the most of its extensive real-estate properties. 

The company raised $3 billion this year by spinning off some of its real estate properties. 

But Azarbad said the company will likely burn through the cash quickly. 

“The lack of investments into the business is troubling for the future,” he said. 

We’ve reached out to Sears for comment and will update if we hear back.  

SEE ALSO: A teenager has been taking photos of abandoned fast food restaurants

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smokers

new study published in the journal Addiction suggests countries have no excuse for not helping their citizens quit smoking.

With tobacco still the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, killing some 5 million people annually, even the poorest countries can do their part.

The international team of researchers behind the study offer up six methods that are globally affordable and shown to work.

1. Healthcare advice

Simple one-on-one discussions between a doctor and patient can be enormously effective in getting people to see firsthand — on a personal, not statistical, level — how tobacco use can harm their health.

Even five-minute chats, which require only a small investment of time, were found to raise quitting rates by 2 percentage points.

2. Self-help materials

People who want to quit smoking can expect modest support if they use leaflets and books offering advice, support, and, in some cases, information regarding medication use.

Researchers saw an increase in cessation by 2 percentage points when people used printed materials instead of white-knuckling the quitting process.

3. Telephone helplines

Encouraging people to sign up for so-called proactive hotlines, in which a trained counselor initiates the call to tobacco users, can raise cessation rates by up to 3 percentage points, provided the support is offered on a regular, ongoing basis.

Meanwhile, hotlines that require callers to dial in themselves — known as “reactive” hotlines — haven’t conclusively been shown to help people quit, the researchers explain.

4. Automated text messaging

Even in low-income countries, text messages can serve as helpful reminders to smokers looking to quit.

Functioning similar to face-to-face healthcare advice, texts can deliver motivational messages and offer behavioral distractions when needed, the report explains. Quitting rates bumped up 4 percentage points over no intervention.

5. Cytisine

Cytisine is a cheap plant extract that binds with nicotine receptors to make smoking less satisfying. It also alleviates the withdrawal symptoms that make quitting so hard. 

Cytisine has been in use under the Bulgarian brand Tabex for decades, but, regretfully, has yet to win over scientists in the Western world. According to the new model, cytisine could help people from all income levels quit smoking at a low cost. When used by people who smoke at least 15 cigarettes a day, cytisine has shown bumps to cessation rates of 6 percentage points.

6. Nortriptyline

A kind of antidepressant, nortriptyline requires consistent monitoring from a healthcare professional, the researchers write.

Typically combined with behavioral support, as the drug comes with some mild adverse side effects, a 12-14-week regimen can result in a gain of 10 percentage points in quitting rates compared to a placebo.

A printer lays a no smoking sign alongside others at First Safety Signs in Bishops Stortford in eastern England, June 29, 2007. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor “One of the barriers to countries doing more to offer support has been concern about cost,” says Martin Raw, the  co-author of the study and director of the International Center for Tobacco Cessation.  

He and his colleagues used four countries of varying income levels to represent cost-effectiveness: Nepal for low-income countries, India for middle-low-income countries, China for upper-middle-income countries, and the United Kingdom for high-income countries. 

“Affordable” treatments were those whose cost to save a year of life fell below the average economic output of people in that country, otherwise known as the per capita GDP. Treatments were deemed effective if they helped people quit smoking for 6-12 continuous months.

The beauty of these six solutions, says lead author of the study Robert West, is that countries can essentially mix and match them according to their resources.

“Our report shows that every country in the world could be doing something,” West explained. “The more a country does, the more of their citizens’ lives they will protect.”

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Tim Cook

Apple is getting smoked this morning.

Again.

The stock is down ~4% to ~$114 a share on Tuesday morning. 

And shares of Apple are now down more than 14% since the day before their earnings report. 

There’s no obvious reason for the stock to be dropping right now (except maybe more sellers than buyers!), but this does continue an ongoing decline for Apple, since the company reported weaker than expected iPhone sales in its earnings report.

But even though iPhone sales were lighter than expected, Apple still beat top and bottom line estimates. 

Regardless! The stock is dropping and investors can find plenty of reasons to be worried about this latest drop… and reasons to be completely unconcerned. 

The reason for concern: In September of 2012, Apple started falling and there was no obvious reason for the stock to drop. It just kept on tanking and didn’t hit a bottom until April 2013. 

A reason for comfort: Apple rose again! Starting in June of 2013, the stock marched upwards, reaching new highs on the back of the iPhone 6 sales, and speculation about the Apple Watch.

Apple stock chartA reason for concern: Many people think Apple has tapped out the iPhone 6 opportunity. As a result, growth will be much harder to come by in the next 12 months. The watch has received mixed reviews and nobody can quite grasp how big or small the opportunity is. And this is all leaving out the fact that iPad sales continue to contract.

A reason for comfort: Apple has repeatedly stated that it’s getting more and more people from Android. It also says only 27% of people that owned an iPhone before the iPhone 6 was released have upgraded to an iPhone 6. That means 73% of iPhone owners, or ~300 million people are due for an iPhone upgrade. Not to mention all the people that own feature phones, or are buying their first mobile phone.

bii iphone sales growth 2Q15A reason for concern: Investors are tough to figure out. Stocks go up, stocks go down. And often it doesn’t make sense until well after the fact, and even then. So, Apple could tank for the next year and it might not make much sense for the first six months. And might never make total sense. 

But an ultimate, final reason for comfort: Apple remains a strong business that’s pumping out billions in cash. The iPhone is on steady footing, and while it missed analyst expectations, sales of iPhone were still up 35% year-over-year, a huge improvement for a business that did $31 billion in sales last quarter.

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Halligan Hubspot

Glassdoor recently published a new slide deck called 25 Tips from Top CEOs.

It’s comprised of management advice from some of the highest-rated CEOs from its annual Employees’ Choice Awards, which are based entirely on ratings from employees. These CEOs run companies based in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.

A lot of them are simple ideas that won’t necessarily blow you away, but they’re great advice nonetheless for anyone in a leadership position.

SEE ALSO: Nine people who were hired to whip young millionaire founders into shape before the company got too big

Glassdoor spoke to some of the highest-rated CEOs for this report.

The advice falls into the following four categories: trust; open communication; teamwork; and motivating employees.

As CEO, you need to build strong trust with your employees.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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times square

The past couple of weeks, I experimented with the “cash-only diet,” ditching my Discover card and reverting to cash for everyday purchases.

Research shows that people spend significantly more when using credit cards instead of cash, and several people have used this strategy to get out of deep debt.

What began as a short-term personal challenge quickly evolved into a long-term lifestyle amendment — 14 days of cash changed the way I’ll spend forever.

If I keep it up, I’ll save $600 this year.

The strategy worked brilliantly for a number of reasons: I knew exactly how much I was spending each week, had a better idea of how quickly money can disappear, gave more thought to certain purchases, and enjoyed the overall convenience that comes with carrying cash.

The most eye-opening and rewarding takeaway was how much I actually saved, and how much I’m on track to save each month, simply by altering the way that I spend.

Outside of rent and utilities, I try to keep monthly expenses to under $500, which allows me $125 a week. That number has always seemed more than doable, but I realized within days of starting the experiment how easy it is to find yourself over-budget with just one bigger or unexpected purchase.

What the cash-only diet did was force me to use exactly $125 — there was zero wiggle room.

It turned that abstract number of 125 into physical cash — something tangible, that I could grasp — and brought my budget to life in a way, allowing me to interact with it and be more hands-on when it came to spending habits.

This spending strategy doesn’t allow you to brush off unexpected purchases that roll around (a wedding gift, parking ticket, flight home, or wardrobe necessity, for example) and deem them too infrequent to account for. It forces you to alter your everyday spending habits so that you can make the bigger purchase and still stay at or below budget.

Just by sticking to my weekly allowance of $125, I will be saving about $50 a month, the average amount I tend to go over-budget due to unexpected purchases or lack of discipline when handling a debit and credit card.

That’s $600 a year, just by turning my theoretical budget into something tangible.

This strategy still requires discipline — my debit and credit cards sit in my wallet, itching to be used — but it puts one more barrier between me and spending money.

SEE ALSO: I spent 2 weeks using only cash — here’s how 14 days changed the way I’ll spend forever

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xperia z5

Having just launched its latest super mid-range smartphones, Sony will turn its attention to the next flagship launch which is surely just around the corner. If a recent leak holds any truth, the next Xperia could jump on the fingerprint sensor bandwagon and incorporate the feature in to its side-mounted power button.

An image tweeted by Vizileaks shows what it claims to be the next generation Xperia Z and Z Compact separated by an iPhone 5s. For the sake of saving confusion, we’ll call them the Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact for now.

What’s really interesting about these images is that they clearly show fingerprint recognition setup screens on the display. The closest device (Z5) shows the progress icon, which isn’t too dissimilar to those we’ve seen on other phones. Look at the furthest phone and you can see a tutorial screen clearly showing the user how to register the fingerprint; by placing their thumb on the power button.

This power button seems vastly different in design to previous Xperia phones. It’s a large, pill-shaped button rather than a tiny, fiddly round button like the one featured on the Z3.

Sony Xperia Z(TBC) and compact http://t.co/yNTHvYg5dm


ViziLeaks (@vizileaks) August 03, 2015

Like previous iterations of Xperia, it would appear that the next pair will feature very similar form factors to every other Android-based Sony smartphone in recent history. Although unsurprising, that is a little disappointing.

Sony announced a new Xperia Z at IFA last year, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the company chose to refresh its lineup once again at the Berlin tech show. It would fit in with the manufacturer’s release schedule, although there’s no guarantee Sony will choose to do so this year.

Filed under: Android Tagged: fingerprint sensor, leaks, rumors, Sony, Xperia Z, Xperia Z5

For more information about Android, Sony, and rumors continue reading at 9to5Google.

What do you think? Discuss “Possible Sony Xperia Z5 and Compact leak shows larger power button with built-in fingerprint sensor” with our community.

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Coastal cities could see a rise in sea levels by as much as 4 ft by the end of the century. To help put a visual to the number, artist Nickolay Lamm created this series of simulations of US city landmarks as affected by sea levels rising 5, 12 and 25 feet. Using Climate Central‘s sea level rise maps, Lamm imagines recognizable locales such as Venice Beach CA, Miami Beach FL, and Boston Harbor with catastrophic flooding.

 Produced by Rob Ludacer

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haircut

Getting a haircut isn’t supposed to be complicated. 

You’ve been doing it since you were old enough to sit still in a chair. But have you been doing it right?

Turns out, there are some things you can do to make your next barbershop visit run smoother, for you and your barber. 

J Clark Walker, who works at Fellow Barber in New York’s West Village, has enumerated eight tips on how to be the best barbershop client you can be.

And no, it’s not just about being a big tipper.

1. Be patient. As Walker says, a good barber is probably a busy barber. And a good barber takes his time. They always try to stick to their schedule, but it doesn’t always pan out that way, especially with pickier customers. Additionally, don’t jump in the chair as soon as the previous client hops out.

2. Chill about the hair clippings. Things will get a little hairy sometimes,” Walker writes, but that’s what the cape is for. 

3. Don’t expect your barber to be a magician. Bringing an inspiration photo is always helpful, but know that the person in the photo has a completely different quality of hair and scalp. Your haircut isn’t going to be a dead-ringer for the one in the photo. 

4. Stop nodding. Conversation is natural, sometimes even encouraged. But talk with your hands, not the nod of your head. If your barber places his hands on your head to steady it, that’s the international sign to stop moving.

5. Don’t lay down mandates. Let the barber choose the tools. Don’t demand a scissor cut because you think it finishes better. Similarly, don’t claim you’re growing your hair out — because you wouldn’t be sitting for a haircut if that were true. Trust your barber.

6. Don’t get too pickyYour barber is happy to adjust the haircut to your liking, but speak up before the cut is finished. You’re only paying for one haircut, not five.

7. Prep your hair before you arrive. Comb it, don’t slather it with product, and, especially if there’s no pre-cut shampoo, make sure it’s clean. 

8. Tip your barber, but don’t be weird about it. Use it as a chance to say how much you liked the cut. Also, it’s usually preferable to hand the tip to your barber, not the receptionist. 

SEE ALSO: 4 Things To Tell Your Barber When You Get A Haircut

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Thousands of people around the world are sharing images of a creative poem after a British man shared it on Twitter in July. The reason? The poem has two totally different meanings depending on where you start to read it.

The poem started making its way around the internet after a man tweeted a photo of the poem tacked up in a bar in North London, Mashable reported. It has since been retweeted thousands of times on Twitter and viewed by over 1.4 million people on Imgur.

Here’s a look at the poem in the original tweet:

pic.twitter.com/q3BReodddw

— Ronnie Joice (@ronniejoice) July 22, 2015

If you read the poem starting with the first line, the poem begins with, “Today was the worst day ever,” and goes downhill from there. But if you start with the final line and read up to top, the meaning completely reverses, becoming full of positive mantras. 

Written by a New York high school student, Chanie Gorkin, the poem was entered in a contest last year, but didn’t become popular online until this summer, CBS reported. “It comes from Hasidic philosophy, which I learn daily and try to take to heart, so I try my best to live what I wrote,” Gorkin told CBS

This isn’t the first time reversible poetry has swept the internet. In February 2014, a similar poem was going viral.

Read this… My 14 year old brother wrote this… Crazyyyy pic.twitter.com/RzvhJU1LUN

— Derek Nichols (@DerekNichols0) February 26, 2014

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