On Shania Twain's 'Life's About to Get Good,' We Have No Choice But to Take Her Word for It

There’s something just so inherently delightful about the prospect of a brand-new Shania Twain single, from an upcoming brand-new Shania Twain album, in 2017. The last time Shania released an album, LeBron James had yet to even make his NBA debut, and after endless false-start rumors and reported delays, it was starting to look like she might not release another until well after he retired. It’s not an exaggeration to say there’s been no substitute for her barnstorming country-pop while she’s been gone, either: No star to appear in her wake has matched her effortless charm, her global ambition and her absolute sledgehammer hooks.

This is all to say that “Life’s About to Get Good,” released Thursday (June 15) as the first taste from Now, due in September, didn’t have to actually be all that good to still be a welcome presence in our lives, especially going into the warm-weather months. Luckily, it is anyway; a rollicking anthem of folk-pop perseverance with a gently throbbing pulse, a sing-along-by-song’s-end chorus and an inscrutable, almost quacking hook on the verses that sounds like it should be marking a Naked and Famous song. It’s marvelous, it’s irresistible — it’s Come on Over-worthy, which 20 years later is still pretty much the highest compliment you can give to a song of its ilk.

It is also — rather quietly — completely devastating. If you don’t know about the drama Twain has undergone in her personal life since she’s been gone, a quick summary: She separated from superproducer husband Robert “Mutt” Lange after nearly 15 years of marriage, with Lange alleged to have been having an affair with Twain’s best friend, Marie-Anne Thiébaud. Shania bounced back quickly, however, and within two years she was remarried — to Frédéric Thiébaud, former husband of Marie-Anne. It’s the kind of stuff that would’ve been deemed over-the-top even in a classic country song, and it’s unignorable context when considering the alternately heartbreaking and heart-filling lyrics of of “Life’s About to Get Good.”

Despite the song’s sunny sonic demeanor and Twain’s unwavering delivery throughout, the verses are a pretty big downer from the opening lines: “I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered/ I trusted you so much, you were all that mattered.” The second verse gets even more brutal: “The longer my tears fell, the wider the river/ It killed me that you’d give your life to be with her.” And then the absolute killer at second verse’s end, as the singer resolves to move on despite her wallowing instincts, declaring “It was time to forget you… for-e-ver.” The pause before the final word and way she extends it to emphasize all three syllables sounds like she’s still considering pulling it back at any second, and it’s spine-tingling just to hear her reach the end of it.

Shania Twain performs on the Toyota Mane Stage during day 2 of 2017 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 29, 2017 in Indio, Calif.

READ MORE

Shania Twain Announces New Album ‘Now’: Listen to the First Single

But that’s where the chorus comes in, and thank heaven. The refrain is such an instantly familiar affirmation that it threatens to overwhelm the nuance of the preceding verses, as Twain rhapsodizes (with sturdy backing-vocal support), “Life’s about joy/ Life’s about pain/ It’s all about forgiving and the will to walk away.” She soldiers on with newfound determination: “I’m ready to be loved/ And love the way I should/ Life’s about, life’s about to get good.” It keeps the song from ever becoming a drag — Shania would never, not with a lead single — but has just enough lived-and-learned bruising to steer clear of being pat, either.

And when it comes to the chorus… she would know, wouldn’t she? It’s always dangerous to read too much real life directly into pop music, but with a story like Twain’s it’s pretty hard not to, and the music and delivery sells both the hurt and the healing with such crackling alacrity that it almost seems insulting not to assume she knows exactly from what she speaks. It’s exactly what fans would’ve asked for from a Shania comeback single, and it makes its title one of the year’s most gleeful self-fulfilling prophecies.

Sony Mobile Xperia XA1: small but spectacular

The Sony Mobile Xperia XA1 is the smallest of the recently released lineup of Xperia smartphones that includes the Xperia XZ Premium and the Xperia L1, yet it comes with some particularly powerful features, namely the 23MP rear camera.

It boasts an Exmor RS for mobile sensor, resulting in brighter and more vivid images and professional quality smartphone pictures, while the F2.0 wide-angel lens is perfect for large group shots and landscape photography.

The Sony Mobile Xperia XA1 uses a power-efficient processor designed to keep the smartphone powered for longer, which allows you to browse the web, watch videos and play video games for longer periods without having to worry about the device’s battery.

With a gorgeous borderless design that fits comfortable in your hand, the Sony Mobile Xperia XA1 is easily the most subtle of the latest range of Xperia smartphones and is a joy to both handle and to use.

With GST Single-Function Printers to Cost Less but MFPs to Cost More

Printer market in the country is facing a lot of headwinds due to the digital drive in organizations. The government’s move to revise GST rates has brought down the prices of single-function printers but increased the prices of multifunction printers in the country. Earlier the GST Council had set the GST at 28 % on all kinds of printers. But it revised the rates for single function printers lowering the GST to 18%.

gst

It is believed that the sale of single function printers might go up after this comes in effect. However, it is not so easy to estimate right now, given the fact that the sale of single function printers have been constantly going down for over many years now. However, the new GST regime might further give a blow to multifunction printers. MFPs are the only segment that has gone up. Players such as HP, Canon, Epson, Samsung, Ricoh, Xerox and Panasonic, among others might face headwinds if the prices remain beyond the consumer expectations.

tax

The 16th meeting of Council led by Finance Minister Arun Jiatley concluded on 11th June where rates of 66 items were revised. The Goods and Services Tax will come into effect by 1st July 2017. Most of the items have been listed under four broad tax slab- 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

Items like camera, printed circuits, speakers and monitors, printers (other than multi function printers), electrical transformer, CCTV, optical fiber are priced at 18% tax under GST. This might increase the sales of single functional printers in the country. Although the multi-functional printers will continue to remain expensive. The printer market in India has grown tremendously in the last few years.

One in 10 brand new cars has to go back to the garage for repairs in the first year – but what’s the most reliable motor you can buy?

HUNDREDS of thousands of new car buyers are having to return cars to their dealer with problems, a study has found.

Electrical gripes, engine woes and rattling interior trim are leaving owners frustrated with their brand new motors.

Jaguar XF

2
Almost a third of owners reported problems in the first year with their Jaguar XF

Driver Power, the UK’s biggest car satisfaction survey, found 12 per cent of owners said their car had gone wrong within the first 12 months.

And with a record-setting 2.69million vehicles registered in 2016, it could mean more than 300,000 have already developed faults and needed repairs.

Figures from the Driver Power study – which quizzed drivers on cars aged between two and 12 months – show the Jaguar XF was the car with the most issues.

Cars with most recorded faults in the first year

  1. Jaguar XF: 31%
  2. Jaguar XE: 27%
  3. Land Rover Discovery Sport: 25%
  4. Range Rover Evoque: 24%
  5. Nissan X-Trail: 22%
  6. Skoda Superb: 21%
  7. Nissan Pulsar: 21%
  8. Subaru Forester: 20%
  9. Citroen C4 Cactus: 20%
  10. Subaru Outback: 20%

A third of owners (31 per cent) said their car failed in the first year.

And there was more bad news for British makers, too, with the Jaguar XE the next worst following by the Land Rover Discovery Sport – more than a quarter of owners reported problems with both.

The car deemed most reliable over long-term ownership was the Toyota RAV4.

Top 10 most reliable cars

  1. Toyota RAV4
  2. Skoda Yeti
  3. Audi Q3
  4. SEAT Leon
  5. Lexus RX
  6. Kia Cee’d
  7. Lexus CT
  8. Suzuki Vitara
  9. Lexus NX
  10. Volvo XC60

Dodgy reliability of new vehicles is supported by the record number of contacts The Motor Ombudsman has received for its dispute resolution service.

In the first four months of 2017, it saw a 45 per cent rise in disgruntled customers get in touch compared to 2016.

And the top reason for an owner to contact The Motor Ombudsman related to the quality of the vehicle at the time of purchase.

Holly McAllister, head of customer service and quality at The Motor Ombudsman, said: “Case volumes as a proportion of contacts remain low which demonstrates the great efforts that all parties are going to in order to resolve any disagreements before needing formal adjudication which is very encouraging for all involved.”

Land Rover Discovery Sport

2
A quarter of Land Rover Discovery Sport owners had early issues

Mouse Sperm Survives in Space, but Could Human Babies?

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Freeze-dried mouse sperm used to produce healthy rodent offspring
  • This raises ethical questions about creating humans in deep space
  • Mouse sperm was freeze-dried and sent for nine month to the ISS

Freeze-dried mouse sperm that spent nine months in space has been used to produce healthy rodent offspring back on Earth, Japanese researchers said this week.

But could the same hold true for humans? And if conception were even possible in space, would babies born in zero gravity develop differently than their Earth-bound counterparts?

As NASA and other global space agencies work furiously on propelling people to Mars by the 2030s, experts say essential questions of survival on the Red Planet are often overlooked.

Mouse Sperm Survives in Space, but Could Human Babies?

Rocket scientists have little grasp of how humans would live and breathe on Mars, or if they even could withstand the powerful doses of cosmic radiation they’d receive on the two- to three-year journey.

A key component to colonizing other planets – as SpaceX chief Elon Musk has vowed to do on Mars – would be having babies, said Kris Lehnhardt, assistant professor in emergency medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

This raises ethical questions about the potential for creating a new race of humans born in deep space or in microgravity.

“If your goal is to eventually be a truly space-faring species then this is an essential area to study,” he told AFP.

“It is a completely unknown area of science.”

Mouse sperm
A study in Monday’s edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, was an “interesting first step,” said Lehnhardt, who was not involved in the research.

Mouse sperm was freeze-dried and sent for nine months to the International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth.

When the shipment returned, lead researcher Teruhiko Wakayama of the University of Yamanashi found the space sperm had sustained “slightly increased DNA damage,” after enduring an average daily radiation dose about 100 times stronger than on Earth.

Back on Earth, embryos fertilized in vitro with the sperm produced healthy offspring, and grew into normal adults, “suggesting that the DNA damage observed in the space-preserved sperm samples was largely repaired in embryos after fertilization,” said the report.

But the research revealed little about what might happen in space.

“Everything that happened afterward was on the ground again,” Lehnhardt said.

Not good for ovaries
For researchers who have examined the effect of deep space radiation on the reproductive organs of female lab mice, the news is not good.

 

A study published in the journal Reproduction this month showed that severe damage to the ovaries of female mice exposed to charged particles is typical of space radiation, “raising concern for premature ovarian failure in astronauts” exposed to deep space travel, it said.

One of the study’s authors, Ulrike Luderer, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine, said her research shows why the US space agency is worried about the health of deep space astronauts.

“These types of exposures can cause early ovarian failure and ovarian cancer, as well as other osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s,” she told AFP.

“Half the astronauts in the NASA’s new astronaut classes are women,” she added.

“So it is really important to know what chronic health effects there could be for women exposed to long-term deep space radiation.”

‘Magical leap’
Lehnhardt said he is not aware of any studies that have shown rodents could successfully get pregnant in space, or that embryos could survive there.

“If a four- or eight-cell embryo gets hit by galactic cosmic radiation, the likelihood of that embryo surviving is probably quite low,” he said.

“If somehow the embryo could get past that stage we actually have no concept of how that would develop.”

Future experiments could involve sending embryos of various species to the space station.

But even then, it might be difficult to tease apart whether any problems in development are due to the absence of gravity, or to radiation, said Lehnhardt.

If somehow we took a “magical leap” to the point where an infant could be born in a spaceship, “you have a baby that in theory can’t stand or walk, and uses its arms as it is developing for movement,” he said, warning of the potential for a new evolutionary chain of humans.

Those born or raised on the Moon or Mars, which are considered to be partial gravity environments, might fare better, but still might not be exactly the same as Earth-born people.

“Maybe the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, or the one-third gravity of Mars is sufficient for normal bone and muscle development,” Lehnhardt said.

“That would lead to a similar species then spreading out amongst the solar system.”

Robotics Are Helping Paralysed People Walk Again, but the Price Tag Is Huge

Ashley Barnes was 35 years old when doctors told her she would never walk again.

A botched spinal procedure in 2014 paralyzed her from the waist down. The Tyler, Tex., resident had been an avid runner, clocking six miles daily when not home with her then-9-year-old autistic son, whom she raised alone. Life in a wheelchair was not an option.

“I needed to be the best mom I could be,” Barnes said. “I needed to be up and moving.”

So she threw herself into physical therapy, convinced she would one day run again. Soon she realised that wasn’t a reality.

Although she wore a brave face, “I would save my moments of crying for my room,” she said.

Robotics Are Helping Paralysed People Walk Again, but the Price Tag Is Huge

About a year later, hope resurfaced when she learned of the ReWalk system, a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton that attaches to the legs and lower back. It contains motors at the knee and hip joints and sensors to help it adjust with each footfall. While wearing the device and holding two forearm crutches, someone with complete lower-limb paralysis can walk.

Rehabilitation centers often employ such devices in physical therapy, which is how Barnes first encountered one at the Baylor Tom Landry Center, a rehab clinic in Dallas. After seven months without being able to stand, she did. Then she took a step as she began to learn how to walk again.

In 2014, the ReWalk system became the first personal robotic exoskeleton approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The following year, the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to cover the exoskeletons for qualifying vets. Meanwhile, several companies began touting similar devices. For example, Ekso makes units used to rehabilitate people after spinal cord injury or stroke.

Health insurers, however, generally don’t cover the expensive equipment.

After working with the ReWalk system at her rehab center, Barnes,who uses a wheelchair at home to get around, decided she wanted one of her own. But Tricare, her insurer, denied the request.

In a statement, Tricare said it “does not cover these devices for use on a personal basis due to concerns with their safety and efficacy. This is particularly important due to the vulnerability of paralysed users in the event of a fall.”

Two years and countless no’s later, Barnes still doesn’t have one because, according to Tricare, it isn’t “medically necessary.”

Barnes strongly disagrees.

“This is medically necessary,” she said. If she had one of the devices, “I’d be able to go to the bathroom. I would be able to walk around, exercise in it. I would love to be able to stand up and cook things in my microwave or on my stove.”

She paused before adding, “I would no longer have to look up at my son.”

The ReWalk Personal 6.0 System costs, on average, $81,000 (roughly Rs. 52 lakhs). Ottobock’s C-Brace is priced at $75,000 (roughly Rs. 48 lakhs). For the Indego Personal, which received FDA approval last year, it is $98,000 (roughly Rs. 63 lakhs).

About 28 percent of the more than 5.2 million Americans living with paralysis survive on an annual household income of less than $15,000 (roughly Rs. 9.6 lakhs), according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The basic expenses of living with paraplegia are, on average, $519,520 (roughly Rs. 3.3 crores) in the first year and $68,821 (roughly Rs. 44 lakhs) each subsequent year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. Furthermore, only 34.3 percent of people are employed 20 years after a paralysis-causing injury.

To date, ReWalk has sold only 118 personal devices in the United States.

Some people do get devices covered by insurance, but it can be an onerous process, as evidenced by Mark Delamere Jr. The Boston native, 19, was paralysed in a car accident in 2013, on the third day of his freshman year of high school.

Like Barnes, he thought he would never walk again. Like Barnes, with the help of a robotic exoskeleton, he did. Unlike Barnes, though, he has an exoskeleton at home.

But for two of his teenage years, he sat in a wheelchair while his family filed claims and appealed denials.

 

“They don’t really classify these things with the purpose of you getting better, because they think the injury is never going to change,” his father, Mark Sr., said.

Eventually, though, Mark Jr. got approved by his insurance company and received the ReWalk, which he uses for at-home therapy and just to “walk around the house and the neighborhood, up and down the street.” Asked to describe the feeling, he was at a loss for words.

“It’s kind of crazy,” he said. “It just feels kind of – I don’t really know. It feels so different.”

But his story is rare. “People are paying out of pocket or fundraising” for exoskeletons, said Dan Kara, research director for robotics at ABI Research, a technology analysis and consultant company.

The price of the devices exceeds their value in the eyes of insurers, which “want to be able to prove they actually improve quality of life and utility,” said Howard Forman, a Yale professor of diagnostic radiology and public health. “Utility” means that an exoskeleton would provide a medical benefit beyond simply helping people move around and complete daily tasks.

Virginia Tech researchers found that these devices, by getting otherwise immobilized people to move around, can help them manage spasticity – a continuous contraction of muscles, which can be quite painful – and improve bowel function. Barnes said when she was training with the exoskeleton, tending to her bowels took about 20 minutes each day, not the customary hour.

One major concern is how relatively untested the technology is outside the controlled environment of a rehabilitation facility. Indeed, they don’t always work as planned.

Stacey Kozal, a 42-year-old Ohio resident, was paralyzed from the waist down after what she said was a devastating flare-up of lupus. For more than a year, she fought with her insurance provider, Anthem, in hopes of obtaining Ottobock C-Braces. These devices have bendable knee joints equipped with sensors that “measure the current position of the joint every .02 seconds,” according to Ottobock’s website. A built-in microprocessor adjusts ankle pressure while a hydraulic system moves the knee to help the user place her foot down in the right place.

Eventually, Anthem agreed to cover a C-Brace for each leg, which Kozal used to hike the Appalachian Trail, where limitations revealed themselves. The battery required constant recharging. Rain was problematic because the C-Brace isn’t waterproof.

While she plans to wear her C-Braces around the house, she’s now hiking the Pacific Crest Trail using old-fashioned braces that lock her legs in place. She uses her core, hips and upper body to swing her legs forward, and she keeps her balance with the aid of forearm crutches. C-Braces are heavier than traditional devices, so when their batteries died on the Appalachian Trail, they made it more difficult for her to move around.

Another major issue for insurers, though, is the price. But Forman said, “Though these technologies are incredibly expensive now, we have all kinds of evidence that eventually . . . they can become affordable to anyone.”

Indeed, some entrepreneurs are working on cheaper solutions. Silicon Valley start-up SuitX created a lightweight model called the Phoenix. While most exoskeletons have motors powering each joint, the Phoenix simply uses two hip motors. Even so, if approved by the FDA, the device would cost $40,000, according to SuitX.

“The rehabilitation marketplace is limited by the number of people who have these conditions,” Kara said. The exoskeletons are “basically handcrafted, which is expensive. If you could up the volume, you could lower the price.”

The key would be expanding the user base. One way to do that, he noted, is to sell the devices for purposes other than rehabilitation. Warehouse workers might wear them to assist with lifting heavy loads. Some companies are already testing this idea: Lowe’s, for example, recently outfitted several of employees with exoskeletons as part of a pilot program.

The worldwide market for exoskeletons – $97 million now (roughly Rs. 624 crores) – is expected to grow to $1.9 billion (roughly Rs. 12,232 crores) by 2025, according to ABI Research.

Kara compared the prospects for exoskeletons to the growth of LiDAR, which uses pulsed lasers to record topographic features. For years, researchers used LiDAR to create 3D maps of the Earth, but it was expensive. However, the rise of self-driving cars, which use the technology to navigate roadways, fostered improvements in the technology. As a result, Kara said, the price of LiDAR systems has begun to fall and is “expected to drop dramatically, from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of dollars or less.”

Waiting for exoskeleton prices to drop is tremendously frustrating, Barnes said. “We take so much for granted when we don’t have physical problems,” she said. “Like just being able to reach up and grab something in my laundry cabinet without having to break my neck to get it.”

She isn’t ready to just accept that she – and others who will face these issues – might never get a sense of greater normalcy.

“My biggest reason for standing up tall to them is I want to do it for all those behind me,” she said. “The more it gets approved, the more it can’t get denied.”

iOS 11 Drag and Drop Support on iPhone Discovered by Developer, but It's Disabled by Apple

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Drag and Drop feature is currently exclusive to iPad
  • The feature was announced at WWDC 2017
  • A hidden setting can be used to enable the feature on the iPhone

Among the several key changes introduced with iOS 11, drag-and-drop feature quickly became a topic of discussion in the tech world. However, the new feature turned out to be an exclusive for iPad. Interestingly, a developer has now found out that the Cupertino-based company has added the support for the feature in iOS 11 for iPhone as well but kept it disabled for users as of now.

For those who are unaware, the drag-and-drop feature in iOS 11 allows users to drag items such as pictures and links from one app to the other, just like PC users have been able to do since ages. As this feature can put up a strong case in favour of iPad as a PC replacement, the larger mobile device has been the focus for this feature.iOS 11 Drag and Drop Support on iPhone Discovered by Developer, but It's Disabled by Apple

However, developer Steven Troughton-Smith has now found out that drag-and-drop feature has been keep hidden in the iOS 11 beta for iPhone and is currently vaulted by system settings inside the platform that are inaccessible to end users. Troughton-Smith was able to make the function work in an iOS emulator and it seems to work exactly as it does on an iPad.

 

Notably, a Twitter user named Dave Schukin also suggested recently that drag-and-drop feature is supported by iOS 11 on iPhones, though at the time he suggested the feature only works within the same app.

Steven Troughton-Smith went a step ahead further and has suggested that if the company chooses to do away with a physical Home button on the next iPhone, it can consider the soft Home button as a potential ‘drop target’ for the feature as well.

While it is understood that Apple decided to stick to iPad for the feature as it seems rather convenient to perform other complicated tasks such as multi-tasking on the larger display, it would be interesting to see if the Cupertino-based company brings this feature to the iPhone as well.

 

The online shop where everything costs just 50p – but there’s a small catch

BARGAIN hunters can now cash in on the ultimate no-frills online website where everything cost just 50p.

The online store, simply called fiftypencefashion, offers a whole range of products – from kids accessories to jewellery and makeup – for just 50 pence.

The online store offers a whole range of products for just 50p

The online store offers a whole range of products for just 50p

Postage is free on all items and new stock is delivered on a weekly basis.

Freebie hunter Anushka Fernando, who works at Magic Freebies UK, first discovered the website while looking for cheap cosmetics online.

She said: “Fiftypencefashion offer a whole range of items for just 50p. Naturally, I went straight to the cosmetics section, and was surprised to find branded nail polishes from Collection and eye-shadows by Max Factor.

“If you do some digging around, you can find all sorts of bargains. Plus, they stock a wide range of party items including partyware, party bag fillers, invitations and wrapping paper – perfect for mums on a budget!”

But there’s one small catch that shoppers need to know about – you are required to spend at least £10 per order, meaning you’ll need to stock up on those bargains.

Here are some of the best deals spotted on the website this morning:

Makeup

Collection 2000 long last gel eye liner
Cost: £4.99 at Boots and Superdrug
Saving with fiftypencefashion: £4.00

Max factor max effect trio tester pots
Cost: £1.99 at Superdrug for one palette (£5.97 for three)
Saving: £5.47

7

Nails

Collection 2000 Hot looks nail varnish
Cost: £1.99 at Boots
Saving: £1.49

7

Jewellery

Summer bracelets
Cost: Juelz beaded bracelet between £2.39 – £3.99 on eBay
Saving: between £1.89 – £3.49

7

Hair

Floral alice band and scrunchies set
Cost: £4.99 on Amazon
Saving: £4.09

7

Party supplies

12ft party banner
Cost: £1 on Amazon
Save: 50p

To snap up other online bargains, check out eBay – as an investigation by the Sun Online earlier this year found that shops flog leftover stock on the auction site and discounts can be as good as 80 per cent off high street prices.

Over 50 big names, including Argos, Debenhams, Lakeland, Tesco and Superdrug, have official shops on eBay.

The products are mostly new and never-been-used end of line stock or leftover sales items. Some shops may sell “refurbished” items which are usually products which have been returned by customers.