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Meredith Dobes

Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z announce summer stadium tour

Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z announced a joint summer tour today, confirming rumors that have been in effect since their joint performance at the Grammy Awards earlier this month.

Timberlake and Jay-Z’s “Legends of The Summer” tour includes 12 concerts in Toronto, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Hershey, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami mid-July through mid-Aug.

Timberlake will release his new album, “The 20/20 Experience,” March 19 on RCA records. The album will be Timberlake’s first in seven years.

Tickets range from $39.50 to $250 and will go on sale (minus the New York date) Feb. 28.

At the Grammy Awards, Timberlake performed his new single “Suit & Tie” with Jay-Z, which received much positive feedback. He has also performed the songs “Mirrors,” “Pusher Love Girl” and “That Girl” off the new album live.

It was announced earlier this week that Timberlake and Jay-Z will headline London’s Wireless Festival this summer, as well.

Timberlake will host Saturday Night Live for the fifth time March 9. He will also perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon March 11-15 and be interviewed by Fallon March 11 and March 15.

Timberlake appeared on Fallon’s first show and the two have performed skits together on “Saturday Night Live” along with the viral “History of Rap” trilogy on Fallon’s show.

Timberlake and Jay-Z’s stadium tour is expected to be popular, and presale tickets become available Feb. 27.

Is Republic Wireless worth its $19/month price?

Republic Wireless, a cell phone service provider that debuted in late 2011, now offers unlimited cell phone service, talk, text and data, for $19 a month.

Republic Wireless customers can get the Motorola Defy XT smartphone for $99 if they opt for a $29 a month plan, instead. So why can this service provider offer lower prices than its competition?

Republic Wireless is based on Wi-Fi networks. The company does the opposite of what other service providers do by offering services over Wi-Fi networks primarily and falling back on cellular networks.

The phones work with DeviceScape to automatically connect with Wi-Fi hotspots. If none of these hotspots are nearby, phones that use Republic Wireless will switch to Sprint’s 3G network.

But are there downfalls to this? Consumer Reports found that calls are likely to drop when moving from one hotspot to another or when switching from a hotspot to 3G. Republic Wireless could determine that you are using the 3G network too much and reserves the right to drop your service if it determines this. However, the company told Consumer Reports it has yet to do this to a customer. Also, the Motorola Defy XT is the only phone Republic Wireless offers customers right now, which does not support sending or receiving MMS messages (video or picture).

Consumer Reports suggested the Republic Wireless service for people who spend most of their time in Wi-Fi hotspots or people who have older phones and might want to economically convert to a smartphone.

Love Your Pet Day calls on pet owners to show some extra love

Love Your Pet Day is today, a little known holiday set aside for pet owners to shower their pets with attention and love. For most pet lovers, everyday is Love Your Pet Day, but Feb. 20 has been set aside as the official holiday.

So how many people might be participating in Love Your Pet Day, even unknowingly? According to Petfinder.com, 57 percent of American households own either a dog or cat. Nine in ten pet owners consider their pet a member of the family. Americans spend nearly $5 billion on holiday presents for pets. Nearly half of the pet-owning population talks to their pets. There are over 50,000 veterinarians in America today, which is a 55 percent increase from 15 years ago.

Love Your Pet Day is easy to recognize. You could give your furry (or scaly) friend a walk, a little more attention, a new toy or some treats. Some businesses may be offering special deals and promotions for Love Your Pet Day, so see what you can find.

According to studies done by the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, interacting with pets can help ease stress, increase relaxation and decrease loneliness.

Playing with your pet can help you stay fit and get you out of the house, away from the suction of technology. Pets can also help you meet other people. Pet owners tend to socialize together, and neighbors may be more willing to talk to you if they see you with a pet.

Show your pet some extra love for Love Your Pet Day. It will benefit you and your little friend.

Xbox 720 details leaked, gameplay expected to improve

The Xbox 720, codenamed Durango, is expected to ship with a second-generation Kinect motion sensor, according to an article released by VGLeaks today.

The Xbox 720 sensor should improve on the current model by picking up on actions more accurately in a larger range of space using infrared technology. Because this field of view is improved, it will mean that games can be played in larger spaces (70 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically), gameplay is easier for players of different heights and more people (reportedly up to six) can fit in the play space. Color and depth will also be enhanced.

The new Kinect with the Xbox 720 will be separate from the Xbox itself, connected by a cable. It is expected to look similar to the original Kinect and should be placed above a television for the best gameplay.

Because of the improvements to the Xbox 720 and the Kinect, gameplay can occur in a variety of different rooms and lighting conditions. It will also work better for rooms with a lot of furniture, doing away with the need for rearrangement.

The new Kinect is optimized for various applications, according to VGLeaks.

“Core Kinect functionality that is frequently used by titles and the system itself are part of the allocation system, including color, depth, active IR, ST, identity and speech,” the article said. “Using these feature or not costs a game title the same memory, CPU time and GPU time.”

In layman’s terms, the Xbox 720 and the new Kinect are expected to be greatly improved and allow for easier, more efficient gameplay for a variety of rooms and players.

Clive Davis and Kelly Clarkson disagree over scenes in memoir

Clive Davis, Sony Music creative chief, outlined disagreements he had with singer Kelly Clarkson in his new memoir, “The Soundtrack of My Life.”

However, Davis’s particular depiction of the disagreements led Clarkson to disagree.

After reading the memoir, Clarkson posted on her blog that Davis lied about her “hysterical sobbing” after Davis demanded “Since U Been Gone” be included on her album. Clarkson said she wanted the song to have a bigger sound, but she is very proud of it.

Clarkson went on to say she did cry once in Davis’s presence after he called her a “sh*tty writer who should be grateful for the gifts that he bestows upon [her] after she performed “Because of You,” which she had written about her life.

However, Davis continues to defend his memoir and the way he depicted their relationship.

“In the book, I provide an in-depth look at our years together during which we shared major multi-platinum success, as well as a few creative differences,” he told Rolling Stone. “I am truly very sorry that she has decided to take issue with that I know to be an accurate depiction of our time together.”

Davis said he fact-checked the incidents with at least five witnesses of the incidents depicted before he published the memoir.

Davis and Clarkson had disagreements over Clarkson’s album “My December” before it was released. Clarkson blames Davis’s lack of faith in the record and subsequent actions for holding the record back and the record having less success than her previous album. Davis said the record was as successful as it was because of the press attention it got over his and Clarkson’s disagreements.

Despite all of the disagreeing, Davis wishes Clarkson well in her career, and he said that he always has.

Kansas City explosion leaves one person missing, famous restaurant destroyed

The Kansas City explosion from yesterday left one person unaccounted for, and efforts to find her continue today.

A prominent Kansas City restaurant had a natural gas explosion Tuesday night which spread to a fire, injuring 14 people. Though the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, the Missouri Gas Energy company released a statement saying that a contractor doing underground work may have struck a natural gas line.

In the aftermath of the Kansas City explosion, cadaver dogs searched the rubble for the missing person, a female restaurant employee, to no avail. The restaurant, J.J.’s Restaurant, is completely destroyed.

The explosion damaged other buildings and apartments nearby. Rescue workers are working today to clear up the nearly four feet of debris covering the ground where the restaurant was.

Witnesses of the Kansas City explosion told NBC they smelled natural gas an hour before the explosion occurred. The Kansas City Fire Department said they will continue to investigate the explosion as the scene is cleared and will continue to look for the missing woman.

J.J.’s Restaurant was upscale and known for having one of the best wine cellars in the world, as listed by The Wine Spectator.

David Frantze, the restaurant owner’s brother, told reporters that the loss of the restaurant has a huge negative impact on Kansas City.

“My brother just spent 27 years of his life running this business,” he said. “He’s built it into one of the fine restaurants in Kansas City. To come down here and to see a hole in the ground in flames is a pretty staggering experience.”

The missing woman continues to be a priority for rescue workers.

“Our main concern right now is that we have a missing individual whose family is very much in anguish about that,” Major Sly James said.

According to rescuers, cadaver dogs will continue to be brought back to the scene as it is cleared.

Bonnaroo announces 2013 lineup

Paul McCartney to headline

Bonnaroo announced its 2013 lineup yesterday, awarding loyal festival attendees with information they’d long awaited.

Since 2002, Bonnaroo, the annual four-day summer music festival, has been held in Manchester, Tennessee and brought some of music’s biggest acts in a variety of genres. Bonnaroo originally brought out mostly folk rock and jam band acts, but in recent years, it has broadened its horizons to include indie rock, hip hop, jazz, country, gospel, reggae and electronica.

Bonnaroo is held in Great Stage Park and will be June 13-16 this year. Headliners include Paul McCartney, Mumford and Sons, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bjork, Wilco and Pretty Lights.

In an interview with Reuters, Bonnaroo spokesman Jeff Cuellar said that this year’s lineup is one of the strongest Bonnaroo has ever seen.

“Looking at the festival landscape out there … no other American festival has Mumford and Sons, Paul McCartney and Bjork all under one roof,” he said.

General admission tickets are sold for all four days, and the remaining tickets for this year will go on sale Feb. 23. There are three price levels left, $234.50, $254.50 and $269.50. As a level sells out, the ticket price is raised.

Bonnaroo suggests festival attendees stay hydrated and take care of friends at the festival, considering temperatures typically reach 90 degrees in the daytime and 70 degrees at night. The festival does have medical emergency services available, along with four-day camping included in the general admission ticket price.

A variety of art and activity displays and tents are available, as well. Bonnaroo’s unique Silent Disco will make a return. In addition to the headliners, over 100 other acts were announced and can be found on Bonnaroo’s website.

In past years, Bonnaroo has delivered some of its performances live on YouTube for fans who couldn’t make it to Tennessee and is expected to do the same this year.

A meteor falls in Russia, injures over 1,000

A meteor fell in Russia’s Ural Mountains today and injured over 1,000 people.

The Russian Academy of Sciences released a statement estimating the meteor to weigh about 10 tons, have traveled at over 33,000 miles per hour upon entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and have exploded into pieces at 18-32 miles above the ground.

Because meteors travel faster than the speed of sound, they usually cause sonic booms upon entering the atmosphere. The sonic boom this meteor produced was enough to break many windows in Russia. Most of the injuries people sustained were from flying glass fragments, as many people were attracted to windows to observe the flash of light the meteor produced.

No reports of people being directly hit by meteorites or of deaths have been made.

Asteroid 2012 DA14 is set to make its closest pass to the Earth tomorrow, but the European Space Agency found no connection between the meteor and the expected pass.

A 26-foot-wide crater was made in a reservoir outside of Chebarkul, Russia from the falling meteor. About 3,000 buildings were damaged. Over 1 million square feet of glass was shattered.

Residents whose windows were shattered will have to contend with four below zero temperature conditions overnight.

Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia told the Associated Press that the meteor struck ground just 60 miles from Russia’s Mayak nuclear storage and disposal facility.

The meteor falling in Russia was described by Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science, as being a rare and historic event.

Victoria Brink, swimsuit model, is Rep. Steve Cohen's secret daughter, not lover

What do Victoria Brink, a 24-year-old Texas State University student and swimsuit model, and 63-year-old Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., have in common?

The question baffled many, after Cohen tweeted Brink the acronym “ilu,” shorthand for “I love you,” in two different messages and deleted the messages immediately. The tweets occurred during the State of the Union address Tuesday and led to speculation that Cohen was romantically involved with Brink.

“@victoria_brink pleased u r watching. ilu” and “@victoria_brink nice to know you were watchin SOTU(state of the union).Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ilu” were the tweets Cohen sent Brink and deleted. They were archived by politwoops.sunlightfoundation.com, a website that houses all deleted tweets by politicians.

Cohen originally refuted the speculation in an interview with WMC-TV in Memphis, Tenn. by providing that Brink was the daughter of a friend. However, on Thursday evening, Cohen released news that Brink is actually his daughter.

“Today after much discussion she was able to give me the freedom to say that I’m her father, that she cleared it up with the man who’s been known as her father,” Cohen told CNN.

Cohen said he has known that Brink is his daughter for about three years and found this information out when Google searching Brink’s mother. He found that the woman had a child around the time he was involved with her, and upon contacting the woman, she confirmed it.

Though Cohen and Brink knew the truth, the family kept this fact a secret from the man who raised Brink.

When Cohen originally broke the news to CBS and NBC affiliates in his office Thursday, he noted, “It shocked me that female reporters, in addition to male reporters, did this reporting, which I considered sexist. My daughter is beautiful, and she has a great figure. She has had some opportunities to pose as a swimsuit model, and that’s all they could concentrate on.”

Cohen has never been married, and he said he regrets not knowing about his daughter or being there when she was growing up.

“But now I have a child, and I’m very proud of her and it’s a good thing,” he said.

Jonah Lehrer paid to apologize?

Knight Foundation gives Lehrer $20,000 for apology speech

Jonah Lehrer, former New Yorker writer, spoke at the Knight Foundation Tuesday about the plagiarism he committed while on staff at the New Yorker and apologized for what he had done.

Lehrer resigned from the New Yorker last July after it surfaced that he was fabricating quotes and reusing his own material for new articles. It surfaced Tuesday via Poynter that the Knight Foundation paid Lehrer $20,000 for his apology.

The Knight Foundation somewhat defended Lehrer by saying that all outside speakers are paid as honorariums. However, this did not stop the Twitter uproar that occurred as a result of the information surfacing.

Lehrer’s speech was mostly an apology through which he attempted to justify what he had done and continually owned up to the plagiarizing he had done. He also talked about a code of ethics he had developed for himself to prevent himself from committing plagiarism again in the future, should he choose to write again.

“I will restore the trust that I lost,” Lehrer said.

“A man who truly wants to atone for his sins does not need to be paid five figures to do so,” @ms_amywallace said on Twitter.

Similar tweets came from many other sources, and Jeff Bercovici from Forbes followed up with Lehrer to see if he would donate the $20,000 to a journalism scholarship or something similar in order to improve his public image.

The answer seemed to be no, as Lehrer told Bercovici, “I’m not interested in commenting. I read your article. I have nothing to say to you.”

Bercovici acknowledged that Lehrer is probably uncertain about the future of his career and possibly in need of the money.