An eHarmony for adopting kids? Florida launches novel computer-matching pilot program

Can the same data-crunching technology that matches potential couples based on personality, values and interests help Florida’s foster children get adopted? It’s a question that a wealthy Boca Raton tequila company CEO, his wife, child-welfare workers and two nonprofits have come together to answer. Family-Match, launched this month by the nonprofits Selfless Love Foundation and Adoption-Share, is using technology developed by the former senior research scientist of to try to connect the 800-plus Florida children languishing in foster care with adults who have signed up to adopt. “To be able to match common interests, common values — I think it’s an awesome thing,” says Chris Johnson, a Clermont pastor who, with wife Alicia, has adopted seven kids through the state system, including five who joined the family as teenagers. “You can say to a kid, ‘Here’s a family that has horses or loves football or plays music. They have the same interest you have.’ That’s going to help that child be much more open to the idea, and that family may be more open, too.” Traditionally, adoptive families are matched largely based on the preferences of the parents for age, gender and ethnicity. They’re typically shown pictures of available children in their community who fit those dictates. Elizabeth Wynter, executive director of Selfless Love Foundation, based in Broward County, says that is far from ideal. “They’re sort of shopping — for lack of a better word — to find a child,” she says. “They’re looking at surface things. Those don’t tell you if this kid is going to be a good fit for your family.” Dreamers describe escalating fear, angst » In the Family-Match program, would-be parents who have been approved for adoption first fill out questionnaires about parenting styles, personalities, expectations and interests, while caseworkers, Continue Reading

Love me doo: Romance for ‘interabled’ couples

Ann Bauer, The Washington Post Published 12:58 pm, Friday, February 9, 2018 Photo: Beacon, Handout Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 In Sickness and in Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance In Sickness and in Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance Photo: Beacon, Handout Love me doo: Romance for 'interabled' couples 1 / 1 Back to Gallery In Sickness and in Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance By Ben Mattlin Beacon. 248 pp. $27.95 --- You might also like: Now Playing: The iconic couple’s romance was full of passion- and also chaos. Media: HarpersBazaar As an adult almost 30 years out of college, I cannot name the universities any of my friends and colleagues attended - unless they went to Harvard, in which case it comes up frequently, usually as shorthand for "I'm right." So it's an ominous sign when Ben Mattlin drops his Harvard credentials into the second paragraph of his trenchant yet frustrating new book, "In Sickness and in Health: Love, Disability, and a Quest to Understand the Perils and Pleasures of Interabled Romance." Mattlin, author of "Miracle Boy Grows Up" about his life with a genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), is cheerful, witty, inventive and, yes, very smart. The premise of his new book is terrific: In a series of 15chapters, Mattlin interviews people with significant disabilities - including SMA, multiple sclerosis, brittle bone syndrome and paralysis - who, like him, have found love with able-bodied partners. The breadth of his research is impressive. There are young people and older ones, interracial couples and one lesbian pair. Mattlin deftly draws Continue Reading

Drew Barrymore’s dating app troubles

Drew Barrymore is still trying to get off the dating app Raya. The 42-year-old actress' marriage to her ex-husband Will Kopleman ended in 2016 and Drew thought she would try the specialist celebrity matchmaking service. But after a series of failed chats, the Hollywood star is still struggling to fully delete the app. Speaking on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' on Friday (09.02.18), Drew said: "So ever since I was a teenager and excited about the idea of dating someone, I had always fantasised about a blind date, which I have never and will never be able to have on my side at least [Ellen: because people know you] exactly! "So when the whole dating apps started, I remember eHarmony was like answer 25 questions and we will place you with someone and I was like, 'What are the 25 questions and who will they place me with?' Then years went by and my dear friend, we will call her 'Lana Maria Vichee' and she was on this dating app called Raya and then I heard that Amy Schumer found her boyfriend on there and then one night I'm flying home by myself and I'm like, 'Screw it! I'm gonna fulfil my fantasy and go on a dating app, but do a blind date but not really.' So I went on it and no one responded and one guy wrote, 'What is someone like you doping on an app like this?' And I was like, 'Is that a compliment and an insult all wrapped ambiguously but super clear in one fell swoop?' OK there's that. Then I texted with this one guy and said, 'If you feel inclined to go for a drink that'd be great but zero pressure,' but never got a response. Then there was a guy who said, 'I will meet you. I can meet you from 7 to 8pm. I have something afterwards that's my limited time window.' I'm such like a Josie Grossie from 'Never Been Kissed', and I said, 'OK so I'm available. I can't do it tonight but I am available every night this week,' it's like as lame as it gets. And he writes me back, 'Er I'm gone for the holidays.' And that was it and then he was gone. So I got off the site. Then I'm Continue Reading

Flag-burning SF man arrested during GOP convention sues Cleveland, Infowars

By Filipa Ioannou Updated 10:33 am, Thursday, January 11, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-9', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 9', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: John Minchillo Image 1of/9 CaptionClose Image 1 of 9 Buy photo FILE - In this July 20, 2016 file photo, a law enforcement officer takes Gregory Johnson into custody after he started to burn an American flag in Cleveland, during the third day of the Republican convention. President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday that anyone who burns an American flag should face unspecified "consequences," such as jail or a loss of citizenship _ a move that was ruled out by the Supreme Court nearly three decades ago. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) less FILE - In this July 20, 2016 file photo, a law enforcement officer takes Gregory Johnson into custody after he started to burn an American flag in Cleveland, during the third day of the Republican convention. ... more Photo: John Minchillo Buy this photo Image 2 of 9 Gregory Lee Johnson, whose case led to flag-burning being constitutionally protected, holds a flag in 1989 that was sent to him by a well-wisher. Gregory Lee Johnson, whose case led to flag-burning being constitutionally protected, holds a flag in 1989 that was sent to him by a well-wisher. Photo: David Cantor, STR Image 3 of 9 A police officer holds a US national flag that protesters attempted to burn outside Continue Reading

How eHarmony Stays Relevant In The Age of Tinder And Match Group

LOS ANGELES — Startups are known for their pivots, but some stick to their principles, even in the face of generational and technological change. Take, for example, eHarmony: “It was a group of people who said, ‘We know how to do this one thing. If the world is not interested in this one thing. We will go out of business,’ ” Grant Langston, eHarmony’s vice president of brand marketing, told International Business Times inside eHarmony's new headquarters in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. That “one thing” was match people for serious relationships online with a lofty goal to achieve marriages and drive divorce rates down. When the founders pitched the idea in the early 2000s, people would laugh. At that time, the online dating industry was primarily for “having sex very quickly with someone you don’t know very well,” Langston said. If you wanted a relationship, you went to family, friends or perhaps church. But 16 years later, eHarmony is one of the leaders with an estimated 11.9 percent of the $2.4 billion online dating industry, according to IBISWorld. However, it is David to the Goliath of the publicly traded Match Group, the behemoth that owns, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and only recently, a mobile app that has turned that dating world upside down, Tinder.  Match Group’s sites garner the highest traffic in the online dating industry. Photo: Data from comScore Nov. 15, graph by Mark Brooks The brand is also extending beyond the dating world. Next month, eHarmony launches Elevated Careers, a shot at matchmaking for the job market. It may not be the last expansion. “Every problem that seems to result in poorly matched people, we want to be there,” Langston said. Back in the early days, there was talk of acquisition from Match Group, but eHarmony chose independence, and it still is. Instead of being under the Continue Reading

Americans Elect: The Political eHarmony

So I start off by defining my “true colors” on a questionnaire that is made up of nine dimensions. Then I’m asked a series of in-depth, “core” questions, and upon completion I’m informed that I can now match with people who share my views. Each of my matches has a score that I can compare to mine and has answered a series of core questions that I can also evaluate to assess compatibility. And no, I didn’t just sign up for an online dating site for political junkies. I took part in the online grassroots movement to elect our next president through a national online primary that will place a bipartisan ticket on the 2012 ballot in all fifty states. Americans Elect is a nonpartisan organization whose motto is “Pick a president, not a party.” This president can be anyone that fulfills the constitutional requirements. One can self-declare or draft a candidate. All of the candidates have their profiles posted with an accompanying compatibility score. For example, my match on the nine true-color dimensions with declared candidate Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana, is 47.8 percent. But if I don’t want to let science alone dictate my match I can also choose potential candidates based on their biographical essays and responses to more in-depth, ideological questions. From there I can choose to track and/or add my support to different candidates. In late spring of this year, Americans Elect will hold a primary consisting of three rounds of online balloting where the six candidates with the most votes will emerge. Anyone can vote as long as they are a registered voter. With the exception of Texas, any person can vote, even if they have voted in a partisan primary. The primary finalists will then choose a running mate, but the hitch is that the VP pick has to be from an opposite party. The next stage is an online convention where the ticket that achieves a majority is chosen. This ticket then receives Continue Reading

Between Trump’s half-hearted apology and Clinton Foundation fiasco, this election stinks like the Rio pool

Americans are now the voting-equivalent of people who sign up for eHarmony even though the ads feature the company’s creepy CEO who looks like a serial killer. Fact 1: Anybody can get married if they aim low enough, and anybody can be president since we’ve all aimed low enough. Fact 2: One presidential candidate just fired his second campaign manager who took money from a crooked foreign government, and the other candidate has a shadowy foundation that takes money from many crooked foreign governments. Fact 3: Our tragically flawed presidential candidates have so much stink on them, it’s like they live in the Rio fart pools. Yet, we’ll still give one of them the Gold nuke codes. Last week the proof of looming disaster was sitting on our heads like giant Zika mosquitoes. We could see them, we could feel them bite, but we just refused to acknowledge the bugs or even swat ‘em away. Take Trump’s big almost-apology. It was breaking news that he said he regretted some hurtful things he’d said — although what it was that he regretted we don’t know. Then, “One thing I can promise you ... I will always tell you the truth,” which was followed by the release of an incredibly mean, untrue anti-Syrian immigrant ad as the haunting photo of the little wounded Syrian boy was sweeping the world. So what’s true — what he said in the first place, that he regrets what he said, or that he doesn’t regret it enough to not do it again? Not to be out-Trumped, Hillary’s horndog husband announced that the Clinton family foundation will stop taking foreign cash IF Hillary gets elected. Meaning — what? — that they’ll only take bribes from Americans if she gets elected? Threat or offer? Then there’s the shocking civil disobedience. Despite Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’s request that the candidates stay away, Continue Reading

He has 8 months to live. He just got married

It began when Penny Keiser broke her thumb on a water ride at HersheyPark last fall.She was off work for 11 weeks – she's a waitress at Cracker Barrel in York Township – and had some time on her hands, so she dipped her toe into the waters of online dating, joining eHarmony. There, she spotted Adam Trout's profile. She was attracted and sent him a message with some questions.She didn't know that Adam's eHarmony membership had expired – and although he did receive her message, he couldn't see her profile. He answered, and Penny discovered they had a lot in common. They were both originally from Stewartstown. They both liked diet Dr. Pepper. They were both readers and love books. Adam, who does IT work, went to York Tech, and her father and sister both graduated from there.Adam asked whether she wanted to meet for coffee. She said yes, and they met at the Starbucks in the Tollgate Plaza. They had frappes; neither one of them drinks hot coffee. They hit it off. Adam asked whether she'd like to play miniature golf, so they went to Heritage Hills and played a round – and after that, they went to Red Robin for burgers. They shared their first kiss in the restaurant's parking lot.That was Sept. 6. More: They met cruising York's 'circuit.' Now they're married The next day, Adam called her and said he was taking off from work early, using some comp time, and asked whether she wanted to go for a hike. She agreed. The plans changed, and they stayed in and watched "Game of Thrones" on TV. They talked all the way through the show.That weekend, Penny went to Ohio to visit her mother. The entire weekend, from morning to night, they were glued to their phones, texting back and forth. Adam's 10-year-old daughter, Dessa, kept asking him why he was smiling at his phone. When Penny returned, he gave her a single rose.From then, hardly a day would pass without them seeing each other. Sometimes, Adam would drop by Continue Reading

Sex outside marriage more acceptable than 10 years ago for Americans over 45: study

Americans 45 and older are far more open to sex outside of marriage than they were 10 years ago, but they're engaging in sex less often and with less satisfaction, according to a major new survey. What's the problem? Financial stress is a prime culprit, said sociologist Pepper Schwartz, the sex and relationship expert for the American Association of Retired People, which conducted the study. "The economy has had an impact on these people," she said. "They're more liberal in their attitudes, yet they're having sex less often. The only thing I see that's changed in a negative direction is financial worries." The survey, being released Friday, is based on detailed questionnaires completed last year by 1,670 people 45 and over. The AARP, which represents 40 million Americans over 50, conducted similar surveys on sexual attitudes and practices in 1999 and 2004. One of the most pronounced changes over the 10-year span dealt with sex outside of marriage. In the 1999 survey, 41% of the respondents said nonmarital sex was wrong. That figure dropped to 22% in the new survey. Yet sexual activity marital or not seems to be less frequent overall for this age group. In the new survey, 28% said they had intercourse at least once a week, and 40% at least once a month both categories were down roughly 10 percentage points from 2004. Asked if they were satisfied with their sex lives, 43% in the new survey said yes, down from 51% in 2004. One intriguing finding: Respondents who had a partner but weren't married had sex more frequently and with more satisfaction than respondents who were married. "These long-term married couples may get a little less interested," Schwartz said. "Older people in nonmarried relations work harder at it and enjoy it more." Schwartz, a professor at the University of Washington and author of 16 books on relationships, said it was notable how even respondents in their 70s and 80s stressed that sex was important to their quality of life. Continue Reading

Coolest new online shopping sites, plus great holiday features at some old favorites

It’s tough to keep up with the latest sites and features, so the folks at ShopSmart magazine do it for you. These sites are some of the coolest they've seen lately. Some are new, and some are just new to us. BEST FOR: BUYING BASICS Keep your home fully stocked with all the important household staples, like detergent and toilet paper, without having to haul them home from the supermarket. At Alice, which shares its name with the beloved housekeeper on “The Brady Bunch,” you can buy directly from manufacturers for less. Discounts can be particularly steep if you use clickable coupons. The site makes it fun to update your shopping list and reminds you when it’s time to reorder. Shipping is free when you buy at least six items. BEST FOR: LOADS OF COUPONS This newly redesigned site has coupons and promotional codes from about 7,000 retailers, including some exclusives, such as $40 off a year of eHarmony. It’s well organized, with categories including most-used coupons, exclusive deals, free shipping, about-to-expire offers, and more. Also check out its new sister site, BEST FOR: CREATING A LOOK Covet acts like a virtual personal shopper, helping you find your style based on your responses to a series of fashion photos. Choose the outfit that’s closest to your style, and the virtual stylist will help you find clothes that are in that style, in your size and on sale. BEST FOR: LOCATING OBSCURE STUFF Ask a shopping question and get an answer from a real, live human. Recent example: “Where can I find vintage eyeglass frames?” Works on Twitter, too, at @imshopping. Just be aware that it’s not a live chat; the site forwards your question to an expert in that particular shopping category, who does some digging, then gets back to you, usually within a few hours. Continue Reading