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›  No One LOLs Like Gaston Watching 'Beauty And The Beast' Without CGI

Every once in a while something comes along that makes you say what the Belle?

That happened recently when footage of Dan Stevens behind the scenes of “Beauty and the Beast” got out. Get ready. This can’t be unseen:


A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatsononline) on

We told you.

For Stevens to become the Beast, he had to wear a 40-pound muscle suit and do motion capture. In an interview with People, the actor talked about the difficulties of the suit, which included waltzing on stilts and having trouble fitting into the bathroom stall. 

He neglected to say he looked like a mix of gray mashed potatoes and the Michelin Man. 

According to Stevens, difficulties for his co-star Emma Watson included worrying that he’d step on her feet in steel stilts. It was also probably difficult not to laugh in his face.

 Despite that, somehow the movie took this ...

And made it this ... 

Say, “Bonjour,” to all the awards, “Beauty and the Beast.” 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  News Roundup for May 26, 2017

Your daily dose so you can seem more woke than your friends.

1. Jared Kushner is a person of interest in the Russia probe. He?s not suspected of any wrongdoing. Yet. More here.

2. The G-7 is underway in Italy. Will Trump continue to be a schoolyard bully? More here.

3. At least 26 people were killed in Egypt as gunmen fired on bus carrying Coptic Christians travelling to a monastery. More here.

4. Even after his attack on a reporter, Greg Gianforte won a seat in the Montana special election. Chalk that up as another win for Trump and another loss for America. More here.

5. Hey, Jupiter! The planet is more complex than we thought. No promise of aliens yet. More here.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  6 Summer Scams And How To Avoid Them

As the weather gets warmer, mosquitos and ticks re-enter our lives, and along with them comes their larger cousin, the scam artist. There are ways to prepare for those seasonal meal stealers. The same goes for scams, as foreknowledge is the best repellent.

Ticks and mosquitos aren?t harmless ? they are well-known vectors for serious illnesses. Scam artists are also vectors for a plague that affects millions of people each year: identity theft. But sometimes a scam is of the simpler smash-and-grab variety.

Either way, some scams never seem to get old, as evidenced by the huge number of people that continue to fall for them no matter how many warnings we issue. There are always new variations that snare even the wariest consumers.

With that, I give you this summer?s smorgasbord of scams.

1. The Summer Rental Scam

It?s not the easiest thing on earth to find a summer rental that has all the right elements: a reasonable distance from the beach, the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a pets welcome policy. So, when you do find the right one, the tendency for most people is to pounce. Don?t be most people. If you get scammed on a rental, you?re not going to know till you show up at the front door and a puzzled person peers back at you. Oh yeah, and good luck finding the rental office, because it?s an abandoned drive-in.

The best thing you can do is visit the property in question beforehand. If you are working with a real estate agent, ask for his or her license number and check it, request references if there are no reviews online and confirm that the address is real and the premises are truly available for rent. Some home-rental websites have their own vetting processes and offer guarantees that will protect you in case of fraud.

2. Summer Job as Credit Application

It is not completely bizarre to need a background check before getting hired, but chances are that the young person in your life looking for a summer job is not applying to be a bank clerk or armored car driver. When it comes to providing personally identifiable information to an employer, use your head.

It is sadly a common occurrence that when kids are offered a ?job,? they provide their information for tax purposes, including their Social Security number, and then never hear back. The reason: The only ?job? was a robbery. Their identity is stolen, and because kids will be kids, it often takes a long time for them to realize the jerk who flaked on a summer job offer gutted their creditworthiness.

Never provide sensitive personal information to a job site or anyone claiming to offer a job at the start of the process. Before you show up for an interview, make sure the job is legit: You can figure this out by doing an online search or making a few phone calls.

3. Door-Knocker Scams

Summer is the time for door-knocking scams. It can be anything really. Sometimes the knocker wants you to help save an endangered species or an embattled population far away, sometimes they are selling a lawn service, home maintenance or sustainably produced electricity ? all these causes, services and products may be legitimate, but the person offering them ? not so much.

If a stranger comes to your door, your level of suspicion should be high from a personal and digital security perspective. If you like what a knocker has to say, tell them that you will go online to help their cause or buy a product, and send them on their way.

4. Wi-Fi Scams

This is a year-round thing, but people still get got all the time by phony Wi-Fi scams, and the problem is only getting worse now that more municipalities are offering free access to the internet. The problem is that free Wi-Fi doesn?t guarantee secure Wi-Fi.

Always check with the network provider or someone of authority before logging on to any new wireless connection. Use a VPN, or virtual private network, to conduct any transactions that involve sensitive information. (Here are 50 more ways to avoid falling victim to hackers.)

5. Front Desk & Fake Menu Scams

Hotel scams are many and various, and it?s best just to remember that you are a target whenever you are traveling, but there are two scams that are sufficiently common. The first is the front desk scam, which is pretty simple.

You check in late, you?re tired and your phone rings. The scammer doesn?t know when you checked in. He or she is calling random rooms. You are told there is a problem with your credit card. Can you please confirm the number? The second scam to look out for is the menu scam. Scammers produce fake ones, and then steal your credit card information when you call to place an order.

If you get a call from the front desk, hang up and call back or go in person to confirm your payment method. Use your smartphone to order food or call the front desk for suggestions.

6. Moving Scams

Summertime is moving time. Just make sure your relocation isn?t a moving experience of the hair-pulling kind. While there are many great services out there, there are also some fraudulent ones that could wind up costing you big time.

With new online services like Task Rabbit and Angie?s List to name but two, there are ways to choose a moving service, large or small, that suits your needs and provides reviews. Just make sure you check out their reputation online before they show up at your door.

You May Have Identity Theft Repellent

Just as mosquitoes can ruin a summer picnic, a good scammer can turn a winning day into a master class on losing your mind as bank accounts are drained, credit cards are maxed out and large purchases are made in your name. There?s a way out, and you may already be covered.

If you think you might have been a victim of identity theft, it?s important to monitor your credit for anything out of the ordinary ? primarily accounts and delinquencies you don?t recognize. You can get a copy of each of your three major credit reports for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com and you can use a free tool like Credit.com?s credit report card to check for signs of identity theft every month.

It?s also a good idea to check with your insurance agent, bank, credit union or the HR department where you work. It is increasingly more common as a perk of your relationship with the institution to be offered free access to a program that provides education, proactive assistance and damage control if you become a victim of identity theft.

If it?s not free, you may be able to get it at a minimal cost. (Full disclosure: CyberScout, a company I founded in 2003, provides these services to institutional clients, and they in turn offer the service to their clients, customers, members or employees.)

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  This Device Holds Your Head Up So You Can Nap Hands-Free

One of the most annoying problems with napping on a plane happens when your head lolls about and you can’t find a comfortable and considerate way to prop it up. Inventors have offered up various fixes over the years, from inflatable hoodies to a head hammock, but this solution looks more promising than any we’ve seen in a long time. 

The JetComfy is a cushioned platform for your head that attaches to an armrest and extends to your desired height. While other travel nap gadgets involve blow-up wraps, only support your chin, or require sticking your head into a dark hole, JetComfy takes a more basic approach, says co-founder David Brecht.

“Our goal was to mimic the natural resting pose of resting your head on your hand,” he told HuffPost. 

The JetComfy is a memory foam cushion on an extendable base, which you can slide onto your armrest and clip into place. Adjust the cushion’s tilt to your liking, then nap away. Then retract the base and fold it back up when you’re done. 

At first glance, it looks like this gadget would annoy the heck out of your seat mate because it takes up armrest space. But supporting your head the usual way could be more obnoxious, Brecht suggested. 

“JetComfy takes up only a very tiny portion of the armrest, leaving it available for your neighbor to still use. If you didn’t have a JetComfy, you would be resting your arm on the shared armrest which takes up much more space,” he said. 

It’s worth noting it seems people tend to place their arms on the armrest anyway when using the JetComfy, according to photos posted to the company’s Facebook page

The gadget hit the market late last year and retails for $49.99 on jetcomfy.com and $39.99 on Amazon. It has built-in power packs to charge electronics, too.

Some reviewers said the JetComfy is too bulky, complained its cushion bumps into their neighbor, and said it doesn’t strap on correctly in aisle seats. Others report no such issues and call it a lifesaver for long flights. 

JetComfy meets TSA carry-on guidelines, so you should be able to bring it onboard with no problem. Whether your seat mate will complain or not is a whole other issue, however: In 2014, a travel gadget called the Knee Defender sparked national debate after causing an in-flight skirmish between passengers when one used it to prevent another from reclining her seat.

If all else fails, you can always try falling asleep on a plane sans gadgets. Sweet dreams!

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Photo Series Shows Kids Enjoying Childhood Without Technology

A stunning photo series is showcasing the joys of a tech-free childhood.

New Zealand photographer and mother of four, Niki Boon, documented her children’s everyday lives in a series she calls “Childhood in the Raw.”

“This project came into being with our decision to educate our children alternatively, at home,” Boon told HuffPost. The family lives in a rural environment without modern electronic devices like TV and smartphones. 

Boon said this lifestyle choice has sparked a lot of questions and criticism from friends, family and strangers. At first, even she and her husband sometimes had doubts. 

“In the beginning, the photos served as a visual document, to record things that the children were doing in a day, to reassure both others and ourselves that there was learning taking place,” the mom explained.

“But as time went on, I became frustrated that the pictures weren’t really telling the story well enough for me. It just wasn’t with enough depth,” she continued. “So I spent many hours and late nights trying to teach myself how to take better pictures, ones that depicted what I was seeing in front of me, and tell the story the way I saw it … and things just evolved from there.”

Boon and her husband have a 12-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 7, 9 and 13. 

“Like all parents we would love our children to be strong in who they are, confident, free thinkers, proactive, independent, resilient, empathetic and happy,” she said. “I hope that, living with the land that we have, that they also gain a healthy respect for the earth, and for the animals and plants that live with us on it.”

The photographer said her family’s alternative, tech-free lifestyle reminds her of her own childhood growing up on a farm with extended family. She told HuffPost she hopes her photos move people in some way, “negative or positive.”

Ultimately, the mom just wants to document the wonders of her kids’ childhood. Said Boon, “I hope they look back on it and smile.”

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  This Crazy Forest Mirror Illusion Will Transport You To Another World

This mirror-illusion video has people doing a double-take.

Entitled “Walk in the Woods,” it’s the creation of Kevin Parry, a stop-motion animator at LAIKA. Be mesmerized as Parry travels through a mirror from one forest to another world, only to return moments later.

Watch the clip and see if you can figure out how he pulled it off:

Walk in the Woods

A post shared by Kevin Parry (@kevinbparry) on

How did he do it? Parry won’t give away all of his secrets, but he did offer a brief explanation to the photography website PetaPixel.

“The video is comprised of a single take, duplicated, and I had to make sure my start and end points were fairly lined up when shooting,” Parry said. “There is a bit of digital trickery in that I had to warp the ends of the clips to match, but there’s a hard cut in there (with only a few frames of dissolve). But I didn’t green screen or mask anything.”

The video has picked up more than 100,000 views since it was published on May 11.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Explore America?s Stunning Marine Sanctuaries Without Getting Wet

The United States is home to many underwater treasures: the haunting shipwrecks of Thunder Bay, the colorful corals of Gray’s Reef, the barnacle-covered statue of Christ in the Florida Keys.

For most Americans, however, these sights are out of reach. Though half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast, only a tiny fraction — fewer than 5 percent, according to some industry estimates — actively dive or snorkel.

But thanks to an online project spearheaded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, everyone can now experience these underwater wonders in vivid detail. Diving knowledge isn’t required and you won’t even get wet; all you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Virtual Dive Gallerylaunched earlier this month, allows users to explore U.S. national marine sanctuaries online. There are currently 360-degree, virtual reality images of five sanctuaries available: the ship graveyard of Thunder Bay in Lake Huron, the Florida Keys, Gray’s Reef in Georgia, Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico, and the coral reefs around American Samoa. A virtual reality headset isn’t necessary to enjoy the images, but makes the experience all the more true to life.

“We can put a window to the ocean in the palm of someone’s hand and let them explore the underwater world and national marine sanctuaries through that window,” Mitchell Tartt, chief of the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Conservation Science Division, told The Verge this week of the VR gallery.

This window doesn’t introduce people just to the beauty of underwater environments, but to the tragedies found there too. Climate change, pollution and other human actions are damaging many marine sanctuaries in the U.S., said NOAA — destruction that many Americans will never see firsthand. The virtual gallery is a way for people to better connect with these problems by witnessing the degradation for themselves.

“Sometimes, seeing really is believing,” Chiara Zuccarino-Crowe, tourism and recreation coordinator at NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, told HuffPost in an email Wednesday. “The majority of the public doesn’t have regular opportunities to go scuba diving or snorkeling, so they can’t experience these environments first-hand. The virtual dive galleries let us bring sanctuaries to the public. The thrill of seeing them in a totally new way ? as if you were there underwater ? makes the environmental and resource protection issues more tangible.”

The gallery currently includes images from American Samoa of staghorn corals before, during and after a 2015 bleaching event. Bleaching, caused by warming temperatures and pollution, is devastating reefs worldwide.

People can also explore images of bleached corals in Flower Garden Banks, and invasive species like lionfish, which are wreaking havoc on ecosystems in sanctuaries like the Florida Keys.

“Being in the middle of a coral reef undergoing a bleaching event ? and being able to flash forward a couple months at the click of a button to see the extent of coral death or recovery ? really underscores the urgency in addressing the stressors impacting our marine environment,” Zuccarino-Crowe said.

The virtual gallery is a collaboration between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the privately funded XL Catlin Seaview Survey, a global project aimed at documenting the health of the world’s reefs. It has been many years in the making, beginning back in 2014.

Since then, divers have been collecting images from marine sanctuaries across the U.S. using cameras enclosed in waterproof boxes. No extra lighting is used unless the shoot takes place more than 10 feet underwater, Tartt told The Verge. This way, viewers are offered a more authentic experience. 

“Part of what I like about these images is not to post-process them too much,” Tartt said. “Part of the engaging part is to make them look like they would look like if a diver went there.” 

NOAA said it will continue to add virtual dives to the gallery as more images become available. The hope is to eventually have all 13 U.S. marine sanctuaries in the gallery, the agency said.

Virtual dives for Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale sanctuary and Monterey Bay are among those currently in the works. NOAA said it aims to roll out a new virtual dive location every month. 

Explore the Virtual Dive Gallery for yourself here.

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-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Bill Maher Tells Donald Trump To 'F**k Mars? And Make Earth Great Again

Bill Maher is just about done with people who say they want to explore and colonize Mars — including President Donald Trump.

In a new ATTN:-produced animation released Wednesday, the “Real Time” host called on billionaires and politicians to “stop fantasizing that Mars is Earth’s backup planet.”

Citing Trump’s signing of a bill in March which added human exploration of the red planet as a NASA objective, Maher suggested that “if we are going to take the challenge to overhaul a planet” then it may be best to begin with our own.

After all, he said in the clip inspired by one of his recent “New Rule” monologues, they’d be better off enacting “completely doable policies” to reverse climate change here than moving to the “airless, lifeless, freezing shit hole” of Mars.

“Fuck Mars,” he ended the segment. “It’s time to make Earth great again.”

Check it out in the clip above.

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-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Bill Gates Wants You To Read Trevor Noah?s Memoir This Summer

Deepen your mind while you deepen your tan.

Microsoft founder, philanthropist and avid bookworm Bill Gates has a few book recommendations for the summer. Each of the titles, which he listed in a blog post on Monday, are meant to help readers better understand the larger world around them.

“Some of these books helped me better understand what it’s like to grow up outside the mainstream,” Gates wrote. “As a child of mixed race in apartheid South Africa, as a young man trying to escape his impoverished life in rural Appalachia, or as the son of a peanut farmer in Plains, Georgia.” 

He adds, “I hope you’ll find that others make you think deeper about what it means to truly connect with other people and to have purpose in your life. And all of them will transport you somewhere else — whether you’re sitting on a beach towel or on your own couch.”

One book Gates recommends is Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show,” which details the comedian’s life growing up in apartheid South Africa.

“I loved reading this memoir about how [the] host honed his outsider approach to comedy over a lifetime of never quite fitting in,” Gates wrote.

To find out Gates four other picks, just watch the video above. Happy reading!

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  This Real-Life RoboCop Is On The Case At A Dubai Shopping Mall

Police officers should take care, because robots are starting to gun for their jobs.

At least they are in Dubai, where a robot police officer officially reported for duty on Tuesday, according to Ruptly TV.

Police have nicknamed the robotic cop “RoboCop” after the classic 1980’s action movie, but its duties seem more appropriate for “Paul Blart, Mall Cop.”

The robot officer, manufactured by Pal Robotics of Barcelona, has a touchscreen that allows shoppers to report crimes or pay traffic violations. It can also giving directions and shower people with compliments (which, of course, always sound more sincere coming from a pre-programmed electronic device).

Oh, it can also scan a person’s face from 100 feet away, according to Konbini.com.

This first RoboCop is just the beginning for Dubai, which hopes to eventually make its police force 25 percent robot, according to Newsweek.

“We are looking to make everything smart in Dubai Police. By 2030, we will have the first smart police station which won’t require human employees,” Brigadier-General Khalid Nasser Al Razzouqi, director-general of Smart Services at Dubai Police, told the Gulf News.

As cute as a compliment-giving robotic police officer might seem, there are potential pitfalls, and not just the loss of business for doughnut shops.

Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England, argues there are some serious moral concerns

“There are big ethical problems,” he told CNN. “If you’re asking a robot to apprehend criminals, how can you be sure that the robot would not injure people?”

He adds that guaranteeing a robot can safely intervene in crime-related scenarios 100 percent of the time is “extremely difficult.”

“Of course, when humans make mistakes they are held to account,” Winfield said. “The problem is that you can’t make a machine responsible for its mistakes... How do you punish it? How do you sanction it? You can’t.”

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

›  Miss USA Reminds Young Women That They Have A Seat At The Table In STEM

Recently-crowned Miss USA Kára McCullough has some powerful words for women and girls who wish to pursue a career in STEM. 

In a video for Now This posted on Wednesday, McCullough talks about how much she loves her position as emergency preparedness specialist with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but how it wasn’t an easy journey to get there. 

“Being a woman in the science industry is truly empowering,” she says. “I walk into my agency knowing that I am meant to be here.”

McCullough, who majored in chemistry in college, touches on her struggles with math and how having those struggles inspired her to push herself even harder. 

Prior to being crowned Miss USA, she started a community program, Science Exploration for Kids, to encourage young girls and boys to get enthusiastic about STEM subjects, especially those who, like her, struggle with certain aspects of it. 

McCullough hopes to use her platform as Miss USA to encourage young girls to explore the STEM fields, and stay confident even if they feel out of place. 

“Don’t ever give up on yourself,” she says in the video. “I struggled with math as a child but I allowed myself to not be limited by those inabilities.”

Hear, hear. 

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›  Uber Vows To Repay NYC Drivers 'Tens Of Millions' After Tax Snafu

Uber says it will reimburse its New York City drivers “tens of millions” of dollars in lost earnings for miscalculating its commission there for several years.

The ride-hailing company said it had inadvertently calculated its commission since November 2014 based on drivers’ “gross” fares ? before taxes and fees are taken out. Instead, it should have collected a percent of the smaller, post-tax “net” fare.

Uber said it realized the error last Friday, after it revamped how it shows drivers their earnings and discovered their commissions violated the terms of service.

The company told HuffPost it would refund drivers’ backpay they’re due, plus 9 percent interest. The average driver should receive around $900.

“We are committed to paying every driver every penny they are owed - plus interest - as quickly as possible,” said Rachel Holt, Regional General Manager, US & Canada, in an emailed statement. “We are working hard to regain driver trust, and that means being transparent, sticking to our word, and making the Uber experience better from end to end.”

But New York’s Independent Drivers Guild said the news is just one more sign of an industry in need of regulation.

“Uber’s theft of drivers’ hard-earned wages is the latest in a long history of underhanded tactics in this industry,” IDG founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. told HuffPost in an emailed statement.  “Year after year, companies like Uber, Lyft, Juno and Gett become more valuable and year after year they find new ways to take advantage of hard-working drivers,” he added. “This is exactly why we have been calling for industry-wide pay protections to stop the exploitation of New York’s drivers once and for all.” 

It’s unclear if Uber drivers in other cities have been subject to similar miscalculations. The company said it is reviewing that possibility but has yet to find another instance. 

While Uber calculates its take based on drivers’ “net” fares, ride-hailing competitor Lyft told HuffPost its commissions still are based on its drivers’ gross fares, as its agreement specifies.

“In New York, we deduct commissions and administrative fees from gross fares, as per our driver agreement,” a Lyft spokesman said in an emailed statement. “We also pay sales tax on gross fares as required by law.” 

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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Britain's real-life 'Iron Man' has high hopes for jet suit
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Mostly Cloudy, 2 C

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