When people in the West talk about THE royal family, they’re usually referring to the British monarchy – not the Jordanian or Saudi monarchies.
At the same time, England’s royalty has a very close – and long – relationship with the Saudi royals and other monarchies throughout the world.
But who is the Duchess of Cambridge? Kate Middleton? What about Megan Markle?
Let’s take a look.
Who Is the Royal family and What Do They Actually Do?
Sustaining a royal family isn’t a cheap undertaking.
Once you factor security and living arrangements, the British royals cost about $307 million each year and this number tends to rise quite a bit annually. This money comes out of citizens’ pockets in the form of taxes.
Some argue that this is a minor inconvenience due to the large revenue from tourism. Indeed, people flock from all around the world to see Buckingham Palace and the royal grounds. Royal births and weddings are huge tourist booms for the U.K.
The Duchess of Cambridge aka. Kate Middleton aka. Princess Kate
Kate Middleton is known throughout the world as the official Duchess of Cambridge. It’s possible that Princess Kate could see the ultimate throne in her lifetime because her husband, Prince William, is second in line to become king.
The Duchess of Cambridge is an international fashion icon triggering what’s known as “the Kate Middleton effect” due to her refined style. This earned Princess Kate a slot on Time’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in both 2012 and 2013. Kate is currently expecting her third child with the Duke of Cambridge.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, actress Megan Markle is engaged to wed Prince Harry this spring. Although she isn’t a member of the family yet, Megan Markle made headlines after announcing her engagement due to her race. Her father is white and her mother is a descendent of enslaved African Americans in Georgia.
Her soon-to-be husband is fifth in line for the throne. They’ve been in a loving relationship since 2016 but kept things private for the first six months.
Prince William is second in line for the throne – just behind his father, Charles. After graduating from the prestigious University of St. Andrews, Prince William spent a gap year hanging out in Chile, Belize, and various parts of Africa.
He’s spent his fair share of time serving in the Royal Air Force and British Army where he trained as a cadet and helicopter pilot respectively. When Prince William isn’t taking part in royal duties like speaking on behalf of the kingdom, he often plays polo or football.
Prince Harry spent his gap year in Lesotho and Australia before training at the Royal Military Academy and entering the Blues and Royals. In fact, Prince Harry actually served in Afghanistan’s Helmand province for ten weeks before an Australian magazine blew his cover.
This prince is very active in many organizations and foundations. He launched the Invictus Games in 2014 and actively participates in Walking with The Wounded and the HALO Trust.
Queen Elizabeth II
Born in 1926, Queen Elizabeth II has seen her fair share of world events. She became the world’s oldest monarch after Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died in 2015.
In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British Monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since the country gained independence from the kingdom in 1922. In addition to Ireland’s independence, this queen has seen several portions of the British monarchy fall throughout Africa and Asia.
Queen Elizabeth II fell in love with her husband, Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark, at the age of 13. The two officially became engaged in 1947.
Prince Phillip is married to the British Queen. His family was exiled from Greece when Prince Phillip was just a baby. Later in life, during World War II, Prince Phillip served the kingdom with the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean and Pacific regions.
There’s More Than One Royal Family
Although the United Kingdom’s royal family tends to get the most attention, several royal families exist throughout the world. Wherever there’s a monarchy, you’ll find a royal family.
No one seems to make more waves throughout the world than the Saudi royals. This family is notorious for their lavish lifestyles, and unruly or often criminal behavior. One Saudi princess recently had a French arrest warrant issued in her name for ordering a body guard to assault an interior decorator in Paris.
Additional royal families live in Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica, Japan, Morocco, Thailand, Sweden, and several other countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
As the name suggests, smart speakers are Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered devices that can do much more than just play music. These speakers definitely play music through various networking protocols. The wireless speakers play music via Bluetooth and NFC networking capabilities. But this is just the tip of the iceberg of the functionalities they possess.
Smart Speakers are AI-based virtual assistants capable of comprehending voice commands. The speakers not only play music but can be used to save playlists, set alarms, and provide weather and traffic updates. Moreover, the speakers connect seamlessly with smart homes to take home automation to a whole new level.
The Evolution of Smart Speakers
Contrary to popular belief, smart speakers did not originate with Amazon’s Echo. The history traces back the evolution of virtual assistants to 1961. It was the year IBM introduced its proprietary product named Shoebox. The tool was able to comprehend sixteen different words and all of the digits.
The next major breakthrough in the field came in 1990 when a company named Dragon launched Dictate. It was the first speech recognition tool which was sold to consumers.
This opened up gates for multiple virtual assistants and the trend gained popularity with Siri’s introduction.
The iPhone based virtual assistant garnered popularity around the world and other companies followed Apple’s footsteps. The next in line was Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana soon followed.
The next groundbreaking discovery came in the form of Amazon Echo. Amazon’s smart speaker introduced Alexa, the company’s very own AI to the world. The launch of Echo marked the start of an AI-based era.
Smart Speakers on the Market
The smart speaker industry currently stands at a market value of $2.68 Billion. It is estimated that the industry will grow at 34 percent in the coming years to be valued at $11.79 Billion by 2023. These figures are not surprising for both the technological and financial experts. With increasing per capita income and technological advancement the trend seems to be ordinary.
Here are some of the best intelligent speakers available in the market:
Listed at a price of $199, the Sonos One offers the best surround sound to its customer in the category. Powered by Alexa, the Sonos One comes with a range of commands to control your music. The Sonos One also connects with other Sonos speakers to provide an immersive multi-room audio facility. However, the complete set of voice commands are available only for a restricted number of music services. Moreover, the speaker fails to understand the voice commands on occasions making it a big shortcoming for the company in the segment.
Apple launched its very own smart speaker two months ago to give both Amazon and Google a run for their money with Siri powering the Home Pod system. The speakers have a distinct edge over their other competitors when it comes to sound quality. The smart aspect of the Home Pod speakers is not up to the mark compared to the other competitors in the market. Siri struggles to unleash its powers with the device and lacks the edge required to outdo Alexa and Google Assistant. Moreover, to enjoy the experience that the speakers offer, the customers need the Apple Music subscription and to restrict themselves to the Apple environment.
Microsoft did not want to be left far behind in the new race of smart speakers and launched the Harman Kardon Invoke in 2017. The speaker, powered by Microsoft’s very own Cortana, amazes the users with its sound quality and design. Cortana entertains the users with a random fact when the blue button at the top of the speaker is tapped. Although Cortana has been in the market for far longer then Alexa, it lacks the sophistication that the Amazon virtual assistant possesses. The speaker works seamlessly with Microsoft services but lacks in the overall performance in the segment.
Like the other smart speakers in the segment, LG joined the party late. The ThinQ line of speakers comes with a potential to mesmerize the user with its immersive sound quality. LG has partnered with Meridian audio to go a step ahead when it comes to sound quality. On the smart aspect of the speakers, LG has partnered with Google. Powered by Google Assistant, you can summon the virtual assistant by saying “Ok Google” to get your things done. The other capability that sets it apart from other speakers in the segment is the presence of LG’s very own AI technology. The in-house AI features help control smart LG devices via voice commands. The company is branding it as a high-resolution speaker for the masses with smart technology being the secondary feature.
The first Google Home speaker was released in November 2016 in the United States of America and was an instant hit. The smart speaker integrates with Google Assistant, putting the trademark search engine at the users’ disposal. The speaker acts a music player along with allowing the users to control multiple smart devices with voice commands. The speaker works seamlessly with Android phones and multiple third-party applications. Moreover, with a range of Google devices such as Chromecast and Google TV, the speaker works perfectly to provide a hands-free experience to the users. Due to all these advantages, Google holds the second largest share in the market when it comes to smart speakers. It is available in a variety of models depending on size and technological advancements.
Amazon released the Echo line of speakers in 2014 and became the first company to introduce AI based smart capabilities to the world. The Echo comes integrated with Alexa, Amazon’s in-house AI. The speaker maintains to-do lists, playlists for the users and provides scheduled updates on weather and traffic. It has in-built integration for applications like Spotify but its biggest strength is the Alexa Skill Kit. The Alexa Skill Kit is a collection of code samples and APIs that help developers add to the already existing database of skills the virtual assistant possesses.
Google Home vs Alexa – the Best Buy
Smart speakers have become a part of the lives of millions of people around the world. These people are finding it hard to imagine a life without the handy device. The giants that control this market are none other than Amazon and Google. Amazon with its Echo line of speakers powered by Alexa and Google with Google Home integrated with Google assistant. The only thing that is confusing is what to choose between the two.
The consumer’s choice may vary depending on the devices they own and their different preferences. The Amazon’s Echo powered by Alexa offers a wide range of smart-home device support, the ability to stream music and superior sound quality to the Google Home speakers. However, what really differentiates it from Google Home is the ever-growing Alexa Skills. The growing list of skills includes reading recipes, unlocking smartphones, booking an Uber, ordering a Pizza and much more than answering general knowledge questions. The Alexa Skillset currently has about 15,000 similar skills to serve the users and entertain them. The company offers a range of models that are the Echo Dot, Echo Tap, Echo Show, Echo Spot and the Echo Look.
Google Home trumps Echo in synchronized playback
The Google Home, on the other hand, comes with the Google search engine at its disposal. The Google home answers questions in depth as compared to the Amazon Echo. The speakers work seamlessly with Android and Google devices. The smart speakers can synchronize the Gmail account and manage google calendar. It comes with an ability to manage six different accounts based on voice recognition system. With the help of the Chromecast, the user can synchronize multiple speakers in different rooms to play the same song. However, the Google assistant lacks in the smart capabilities that Alexa has developed due to its launch two years ahead of the former.
The average price of the Amazon Echo amounts to $100 while Google Home costs $129.
The Future of Smart Speakers
The future of smart speakers seems bright with experts speculating the virtual assistants to take care of the daily chores for the people. From ordering grocery to paying bills the realization of a robot helper from a Sci-Fi movie seems realistic. With multiple brands focusing on AI the scope for development is enormous and we may see innovation at its very best in the foreseeable future.
Everyone has that one friend who won’t shut up about apple cider vinegar – or ACV as the experts like to call it.
That friend might go a little crazy sometimes: yes, ACV is great for hair, but do you really want to smell like salad dressing?
You don’t need to go nuts, but you should know about all the amazing benefits of apple cider and its amazing fermented vinegar compound.
All the Amazing Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar You May Not Know About
Here are all the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar we could find. How you put them to good use is entirely your choice: go for just a few to test the waters or jump straight into the ACV pool.
It Might Lower Cholesterol
An Iranian study suggests that ACV can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the concentration of good stuff (HDL). This means ACV is a powerful mechanism for improving or maintaining heart health.
What makes ACV such a great choice for improving skin? Its antibacterial properties. Just place some ACV on a cotton ball and wipe away. Not to mention, ACV is also great for minimizing the color and appearance of scars.
Make Your Pearly Whites Sparkle
Just swish around and spit. This powerful substance is a perfect alcohol-free mouthwash solution for making your teeth sparkle.
Everyone and their mother has a home remedy for hiccups – but ACV actually seems to work. The logic behind it makes sense too: the flavor is so strong and sour that it overstimulates receptors in your mouth which ultimately stops the spasms.
Remember its anti-inflammatory properties? Yep, that makes ACV excellent for soothing sunburns.
Afternoon Energy Boost
Everyone could use an extra energy boost around 2 in the afternoon and ACV is the perfect solution. Just add a tablespoon to a glass of water and drink up. Experts swear by it.
Say Bye-Bye to Bad Breath
Not only does ACV help teeth shine, but it’s also great for kicking bad breath to the curb. The antibacterial properties wash away the microorganisms responsible for making your breath stink. Just swish a little bit around in your mouth after a garlicky meal and say good-bye to stink breath.
Soothing a Sore Throat
Yes, ACV has antibacterial properties, but its acidic properties create an environment that bacteria simply cannot survive. Down a tablespoon to calm your sore throat.
Calm Muscle Cramps
Did you know that ACV has super high potassium levels? It’s true. Potassium is crucial for muscle recovery after exercise or any time you find yourself susceptible to cramping – especially nighttime leg cramps. Mix two tablespoons with some honey and water and chug it down.
Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels
ACV has so many benefits both inside and outside the body. One of which is maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Studies tested this hypothesis after participants consumed a slice of white bread – which spikes blood sugar levels through the roof – so you know it really works.
Wipe Away Bruises
As an anti-inflammatory, ACV is an ideal (and natural) solution for reducing the appearance of bruises and other skin imperfections. Just place on a cotton ball and rub on the affected area a few times each day.
Taming an Upset Tummy
ACV is great for all things gut-related. Constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, nausea – you name it.
Natural Bug Repellant
Skip the DEET-laced products and go with ACV instead: bugs hate the acidity. It also works well for taming bug bites and kicking out flees.
Mucus in your throat and nose won’t be able to stand the harsh environment from ACV’s potassium and acid combo.
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet for Weight Loss
No, the apple cider vinegar diet doesn’t involve chugging ACV and nothing else. It can, however, be very useful for reducing cravings and appetite while helping your body digest starch and sugars. Sorry, apple cider for weight loss isn’t the same, but ACV is a great tool when combined with a balanced diet and exercise.
Freedom from Flakes
ACV works for all things skin-related: dandruff included. Did you know yeast causes those pesky flakes? Yuck! ACV creates a PH level on your scalp that is too hostile for yeast to grow.
Is Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar Really the Best?
When you’re relying on this modest substance to carry out so many important jobs, don’t you think it’s important to go with a brand you can trust?
With Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, you can see the difference: store brands are clear and have a very light color while Braggs is opaque with a deep color. Plus, this option is non-GMO, certified organic, and 100% unpasteurized with 5% acidity.
Once you try this out, you’ll end up buying it up by the gallon.
It seems like there’s a new fad diet every month or so.
This one cut carbs. That one monitors your urine.
What is the keto diet and is it safe?
Like most strict diets, the keto diet plan requires careful planning and consideration before jumping into it.
Here’s what it is and how to tell if it’s right for you.
What Is the Keto Diet?
It’s hard not to at least consider a new diet when stars like Kourtney Kardashian and Tim Tebow are already onboard. But what is the keto diet anyway?
This diet has been around for a while but recently started gaining traction at the start of the new year. That’s probably because as people search for ways to meet New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, THE new diet trend is the first thing to come to mind.
This diet revolves around the idea of “detoxing” the body.
Like all “detox” plans, this diet involves strictly limiting certain food groups – carbs in particular.
Your body typically uses whole grains and carbs as its main energy source. With this diet, you force the body to use fat and protein for energy instead.
What Does the Keto Diet Plan Look Like?
Meat lovers will fit right in with this diet since it places such a huge emphasis on proteins and fats.
With this plan, you’ll eat a lot of
Fish like salmon and tuna
Cheese and dairy
Green veggies like kale, broccoli, and spinach
Coffee with grass-fed butter
Almonds and nuts
Ground beef like meatloaf
Here’s what some of your meals might look like on this plan:
Breakfast: Spinach, goat cheese, and egg scramble or chia pudding
Lunch: Chicken salad lettuce wraps or tuna salad with cucumber slices
Dinner: Cauliflower crust pizza or chicken kabobs
Snacks: Celery and hummus, almond butter and celery, coconut milk shake
The idea is that you trick your body into burning fat for energy instead of glucose – this may work for a few weeks. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t back this concept up for sustainability because low-carb diets aren’t a great option for long-term weight loss.
If you’re reading this and thinking “that sounds like the Atkin’s diet,” you’re right. Diet companies are great when it comes to rebranding.
Although they aren’t identical, this diet is also very similar to the paleo diet.
What Is Ketosis and Is It Safe?
The thesis of all low-carb diets rests on the idea of ketosis: when your body burns excess fat.
The idea is that you can trick your body into burning fat you already have for energy instead of glucose from carbs. Once you start doing this, you’ve reached a state of ketosis.
Is ketosis safe? Generally, yes.
How do you get into this fat-burning state?
It usually kicks in after severely limiting your carb intake for about three or four days. You need to seriously limit your carbs, too: no sugar, no whole grains, no nothing. In order to reach ketosis, you need to consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates in three or four days – that’s like 3 slices of bread.
Diabetics should pay close attention to their blood sugar levels while on this diet, too.
If you typically survive on a morning muffin, bagel for lunch, and pizza or pasta for dinner, you aren’t going to like the feeling of going carb-free. Get ready for the keto flu: headaches, nausea, brain fog, bad breath, stinky sweat, and lots of pee.
You’re going pee and sweat a lot while on this diet, so it’s important to drink plenty of water. Without keeping up the water, you could reach dangerous levels of dehydration during ketosis.
Hey, that means it’s working, right?
After some time, there is evidence to suggest this state can actually improve your cognitive function and mental clarity – but you have to make it through the fog first.
Is the Keto Diet Right for You?
It depends on your personal needs.
It doesn’t seem like this diet is a good method for sustained and long-term weight loss. In fact, fad diets are never the best option for reaching a healthy weight.
This diet could be a decent method if you want to quickly drop a few pounds to jump-start a traditional diet. Just make sure you carefully plan your meals. The ketosis state will help shed those initial pounds and get the ball rolling.
This diet might also be an excellent option for folks with certain medical conditions.
Doctors have prescribed low-carb diets to patients with epilepsy for years to help prevent seizures. Those with diabetes may also find success in this diet since these folks already limit their carbohydrate intake.
For the rest of us, this diet probably won’t work any miracles.
You might have heard about Popcorn Time, an app that lets you download and watch movies free. Free movie downloads? It sounds too good to be true. How does that work? Is it legal? Is it ethical? And how does it compare to movie streaming services like Google Play or Netflix? Grab some popcorn, pull up a chair, and read on to learn all about it.
What is Popcorn Time?
Popcorn Time is a BitTorrent client with an integrated media player. What that means, is that it’s a piece of software that allows peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of media files. In addition, users can use the software to view those files on their devices. Peer-to-peer means that users post media files, like movies, and other users can download those files and watch them with Popcorn Time. Many consider Popcorn Time a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services such as Netflix.
Popcorn Time was developed by a group of people in Argentina as an antidote to what they perceived was a flawed system of streaming services there. Its ease of use quickly made it popular. There were versions for Linux, macOS, Windows, and Android. On top of that, it was free, open source, and had a larger available library than Netflix.
But legal troubles plagued Popcorn Time. First, several governments blocked access to the site, citing copyright violations. Then lawsuits ensued. Then, in 2014, developers took down the official website and its GitHub repository. A year later, different user groups resurrected the software. The current version of Popcorn Time is available at this website, but take caution as it may be illegal to use where you are. Below, we have the best ways to stream free, if Popcorn Time is illegal where you are.
How Does it Work?
Popcorn Time uses the BitTorrent protocol. The BitTorrent protocol allows users to join a group of hosts who upload to and download from each other simultaneously. This allows the files to transfer effectively using lower bandwidth, and makes file transfer faster than it would have been, had users tried to download from a single server. The diagram below illustrates the idea of distributed computing that makes software like Popcorn Time work.
That depends on where you live. The BitTorrent protocol itself is perfectly legal. Many users employ it to transfer their own content, for example, to other users. Because the technology makes it easy to share other people’s copyrighted material, though, the potential to violate copyright laws with a BitTorrent client is always there. And downloading free movies can get you into trouble.
Several governments have blocked high profile BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay and Supernova because users violated copyright laws in those countries. In addition, sites like Supernova, TorrentSpy and yes, Popcorn Time, have received lawsuits from the MPAA over shared movies. Many of these lawsuits resulted in the sharing site shutting down, or worse. Two of The Pirate Bay’s founders even received prison sentences in their home country of Sweden for copyright violations.
And it’s not just companies that find themselves in hot water. In the United States, more than 200,000 individuals have been sued since 2010 for sharing copyrighted material using the BitTorrent protocol. And fines can range from $2,500 to $150,000 — that’s a lot more than a year of your favorite streaming service.
The upshot is if you want to torrent, check the rules of your country very carefully. Some countries, like Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, and the Netherlands, have permissive laws about downloading copyrighted works of art. Others, like the United States and the United Kingdom, are much stricter. In addition, read the fine print of your user agreement with your Internet Service Provider. Some ISPs frown on torrenting and may come after you themselves. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and on the side of the law.
The BitTorrent protocol is not anonymous and is not necessarily secure. The tracker function within the software allows interested parties like law enforcement to obtain the IP addresses of current and past users. This means that users are vulnerable to lawsuits, legal prosecution, and cyberattack. So if you want to share something you created with other peer users, that’s great. But if you’re thinking about sharing someone else’s copyrighted creation, think again.
That’s a lot of income and a lot of jobs. Some may argue that artists should be happy people are interested enough in their work to steal it. But the fact is, every sale an artist loses due to piracy puts that artist one step closer to not being able to afford to continue making art. So think it over.
So, Is There a Way to Legally Watch Movies Free?
We’re so glad you asked that! In fact, there are several.
There are a number of free, easy to use, and completely legaldownload services where you can watch free movies. How are they legal? Well, some services are owned by movie distribution companies that make their films available to users. Others provide movies that are in the public domain. And some are advertising supported. Have a look.
Popcornflix is owned by Screen Media Ventures, a film distribution company. They have a library of over 1,500 full-length feature films — that’s a lot of movies. And they make it available to users at no charge. You can enjoy new films and classics, in all the popular genres, and all for free.
Public Domain Torrents
Public Domain Torrents allows you to download movies that are, you guessed it, copyright free and in the public domain. Choose from a number of genres, including action and adventure, comedy, science fiction, and more. This is a great place to find classics, but you’ll find some more recent movies as well.
Some people prefer downloading to streaming because sometimes, streaming can glitch. But there are a number of high-quality streaming services that are not only free but address the glitching problem as well. You may have to put up with some advertising from time to time, but it’s a small price to pay for free, legal, high-quality content.
Sony Pictures owns Crackle.com, which means two things. First, the content is fresh. There’s a continuous flow of new TV, movies, and more, from a major studio. Second, since Sony owns the content, it’s perfectly legal for them to give it to users for free. Their free app works with the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android phones and tablets, BlackBerry phone, Nook tablet, Kindle Fire tablet, and the Windows Phone. It’s easy to get started, so why not get started today?
If you like foreign films and anime, you’ll love Viewster. They have other content, too, of course. Some of it you will have heard of, and other content you might not have heard about. It’s a great place to discover something new. And it’s legal! Viewster pays a licensing fee for each of its films, which allows them to provide the films to you for free.
Cut, and That’s a Wrap
Everyone loves free movies. What’s not to like? And today, you have so many ways to get them. Some, like torrenting with tools like Popcorn Time, may or may not be legal in your area. If you’re going to go that route, make sure you know the risks and the rules. And make sure you’re prepared to deal with the possible consequences. If you’d rather skip the risk, then lucky you. There are so many ways to get your hands on free, legal, high-quality movies, videos, and TV shows — without the risk of lawsuits or legal prosecution.
So fire up your popcorn popper, put your feet up, and get ready to find your next favorite movie — for free.
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