Machine Learning Model Tracks US Spy Planes        
The news web site BuzzFeed did just that, reporting this week that it employed a machine-learning algorithm to first recognize known spy planes, and ...
          A Mother Is Warning Parents About The "Hot Water Challenge" After Her Daughter Was Severely Burned - BuzzFeed News        

BuzzFeed News

A Mother Is Warning Parents About The "Hot Water Challenge" After Her Daughter Was Severely Burned
BuzzFeed News
The girl is in the hospital with burns on her face, back, and shoulders after she was doused with boiling water at a sleepover. Posted on August 10, 2017, at 10:52 a.m.. Michelle Broder Van Dyke. BuzzFeed News Reporter. Share On facebook Share.
Bronx girl who poured boiling water on sleeping 11-year-old friend's face tried to kill herself after 'prank'New York Daily News
Police: 12-year-old poured boiling water on NYC girl's faceLos Angeles Times
Mom of boiling water victim: "I want justice for my daughter"WABC-TV
CBS News -Sacramento Bee -NBC New York -Atlanta Journal Constitution
all 81 news articles »

           David Cross Doppelganger Running for Office in Switzerland         
David Cross Doppelganger Running for Office in Switzerland

David Cross Doppelganger Running for ...
This is a photo from the Swiss Labour Party. Or it's not? Perhaps it's a shot from the upcoming season of Arrested Development and this is Tobias Funke's new venture. (via Buzzfeed: http://www.buzzfeed.com/stacylambe/david-cross-doppelgnger-is-running-for-office)
Submitted by: Look What I Found
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Keywords: david cross tobias funke david cross twin swiss labour party swiss labour party david cross swiss politician arrested development
Views: 16,704


          why we care about what we wear        
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why Can't a Smart Woman Love Fashion?
I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes. ... I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself—an idea that is no less true for being a bit hackneyed. I like to think of this, a little fancifully, as going back to my roots. I grew up, after all, in a world in which a woman's seriousness was not incompatible with an interest in appearance; if anything, an interest in appearance was expected of women who wanted to be taken seriously.
*Pacific Standard - What to Wear? *Avidly/LA Review of Books - Lady Professor Conference Fashions *Racialicious - Haute Couture In The 'Ivory Tower': "The spread presumes that when a professor walks into a classroom she is a blank slate, a model to be adorned in fine clothing and given an identity. The reality is that scholars of color, women, and other groups whose bodies are read as non-normative have never been able to check their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation at the door. As soon as we walk onto campus, our bodies are read in a certain (often troubling) manner by our students, our colleagues, and school administrators. Our professionalism and our intellectual competence are largely judged by how we style ourselves. Therefore, we are highly aware of how we adorn our bodies. And, like our foremothers and forefathers who innovated with American "street fashions," we, too, use our fashion sense to define ourselves, our professionalism, and our research and teaching agendas on our own terms." Tamara Shayne Kagel: The Feminist's Dilemma: Why We Can't Stop Caring About How We Look
I find myself constantly trapped in a world where I desperately want to be judged by my work but at the same time, I want other people to think I'm pretty. I'm permanently berating myself for caring about my appearance, because I am aware on a mental level that to care at all is to be superficial. But at the same time, I find myself squirming uncomfortably when I run into someone at the supermarket when I'm a sweaty, disheveled mess... This cognitive dissonance is a state that most modern women inhabit all the time, but refuse to acknowledge. Instead, we talk and write and judge like we live in a post-superficial world. [...] It's a rare breed of woman who truly doesn't care about her appearance, and there are some women who only care about their appearance. But most of us fall in the middle -- wanting to be appreciated and loved and valued for more than how we look, but unable to completely expunge all interest in our outward image. If this is where most of us live, shouldn't we be asking for acceptance to be in this middle space?... Isn't it normal to hope that the picture of you is not taken from a horrible angle the moment you wake up and at the same time be concerned with society's obsession about the ubiquitous worship of an unattainable ideal of the female form?
Sociological Images - The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why We Have So Many Clothes (previously): "And, of course, all women are going to get it wrong sometimes because the boundaries are moving targets and in the eye of the beholder. What's cheeky in one setting or to one person is flirty in or to another. So women constantly risk getting it wrong, or getting it wrong to someone. So the consequences are always floating out there, worrying us, and sending us to the mall." *This Kind Choice - I Am Woman, Watch Me Shop? Part 1 – The Ever Changing Clothes *Part 2 – Appearance as Identity, A Double-Edged Sword *The Nation - For Women's Office Wear, Who's Making the Rules? *The Atlantic - No, It's Not Sexist to Describe Women Politicians' Clothes *Feministing - Learning to dress "professionally" in a white man's world Already Pretty: Why Caring About Your Appearance Is Valuable to Self-Care
In order to move through most peopled societies, we are required to wear clothing. Nudist colonies aside, we've all got to get dressed every day if we want to leave our homes for any reason... And in my opinion, since we've got to get dressed anyway, we might as well do it expressively and in ways that feel good. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Dress, grooming, and overall appearance constitute the first levels of information about ourselves that we offer to the observing world. They may not be the most important, but they are the first, which makes them worthy of effort and attention. ...I've already acknowledged that how you look isn't the most important thing about you... But thinking of your body as a brain-and-personality-holder strikes me as short-sighted. Consider this: Someone who focuses virtually all attention, care, and love on their body is generally considered to be vain. So why would focusing virtually all attention on your intellect, creativity, and personality be any less imbalanced? You're not a zombie – a body that moves through life without a functioning brain. But you're also not a brain in a jar – thinking and creating in the abstract alone. You have a body. As long as you are alive you will have a body. In fact, without your body, your intellect and creativity and personality wouldn't exist. Pitting your mind against your body is like cooking up a personal civil war.
Bridgette Raes - Are You a Devaluist and Don't Even Know It? (Guest Post): "Clothing is often seen as a superficial shell, and fashion a frivolous, flighty thing that gets in the way of the serious stuff. The real stuff. But I don't believe that. I don't believe we can neatly divorce the way we look from the way we live. I believe the way we look is a reflection of the way we live." Dress A Day - You Don't Have to Be Pretty: "You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female". I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T be pretty if you want to. (You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.)" (responses to "The Princess Effect", previously on MeFi) *Washington Post - Being informed and fashionable is natural for women *Flavorwire - The Catch-22 of Women's Magazines *Kat Stoeffel - Finally, 'Serious' Women Are Standing Up for Fashion Magazines: "As long as we all need to get dressed each morning, clothing will be a communication tool... Men and women both choose how they deploy the language of fashion; but women, deprived of the suit-as-uniform, still face unique challenges in fashion fluency... Women's magazines — especially when they work with women like Clinton, Abramson, and Mastromonaco — offer other women a map for navigating style and other sexist minefields without compromising their intellectual integrity. For that, we should celebrate them. And if we want to level the playing field, we should start by posing the same "frivolous" questions of men." *Ms. Magazine - If the Clothes Fit: A Feminist Takes on Fashion: "If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it. Fortunately, history has shown that feminists can, instead, harness fashion and use it for our own political purposes." *GirltalkHQ - Fashion Vs Feminism: Can You Like Both? We Break It Down *Greta Christina - Fashion is a Feminist Issue: "In fact, fashion and style are so much like a language, I'm always a bit baffled when people say things like, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the clothes I wear." It's a bit like saying, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the words that come out of my mouth." ...Fashion is a form of expression. A language of sorts. An art form, even. It's also one of the very few art forms/ languages/ forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men... And I don't think it's an accident that it's typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain." Medium (Backlash Book Club) - And Another Question: What Ever Happened to Pantsuits?: "Faludi writes about fashion as if women were totally subservient to its dictates (and as if its dictates were unified), but, of course, most women—precisely because they are judged so much by their appearance—know how to manipulate, subvert, and use clothes. To some extent, they're tools, like hammers." The New Inquiry, Vol. 20 - Sept. 2013, "Off Brand" issue (link opens PDF file) "We are told we must be clothed, and then that our clothes are not good enough.That fashion is predicated on this cruelty—making luxury of necessity, and necessity of a luxury—makes it as morally questionable as the behavior of foodies. Fine: We accept this. But we are also told that we must be bodies and that our bodies are not good enough, and fashion (at least for those who fit into it) can provide an escape from the disappointment of our flesh. Some of us feel we were born into the wrong body; for that, fashion is the first corrective. For others, fashion is the first rebellion... In selecting appearances, we want not only to be seen but sometimes to be heard before we speak. Fashion can be a weapon of the silenced, even when it is seized and wielded by those who have always talked loudest." *Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa - Fashion for Feminists: How fashion and dress shape women's identities *Migrant Woman Magazine - Asalet Tulaz: I like being the colour of feminism *Buzzfeed - How Iran's Young Women Are Using Fashion To Influence Politics *Minh-Ha T. Pham - Why Fashion Should Stop Trying to be Diverse *À l'allure garçonnière - Fashion Blogging Culture: Demanding Substance Over Style *Tanisha C. Ford - You Betta Werk!: Professors Talk Style Politics: "Below are excerpts from some of the interviews I conducted with women professors of color. Together, these interviews illustrate that studies on fashion and adornment politics offer a powerful lens through which we can explore other important issues such as women's rights, motherhood and relationship status, pleasure and sexuality, and the politics of "respectability."" Alison Bancroft - How Fashion is Queer: "The feminine is as much of a minority interest in culture as it is anywhere else in life. The only exception to this is fashion. This is why fashion is a radical creative space where heterosexual gender binaries are irrelevant and queer is the default setting, and it is also why fashion is routinely denigrated and dismissed." Final Fashion - so, is fashion feminist?: "Why is the visual aspect of fashion so inextricably linked to feminism, and why is it worth considering how to dress like a feminist?" Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie previously on MeFi: the danger of a single story
          Trump University Lawsuit Heads to Trial        
Summary: The New York Trump University lawsuit is proceeding to trial.  Donald Trump is known for speaking his mind, and now he may have to flex those communication skills in court. Buzzfeed reports that the leading Republican candidate may have to testify in a fraud case in regards to his now-defunct school, Trump University, which […]
          Ask Me Anything: The GayMA You've All Been Waiting For        

Welp. It's Apocalypse Eve here at The Money Shot. G$ bumped Mrs. Ward...and Lacey I guess, out of the hot seat in a move that will never be forgiven. I bet Mrs. Ward would have had some boiling hot takes. But I felt the right thing to do was grant the slave master of this site his wish; An AMA done by your favorite blogger's favorite blogger. Enjoy.

 Ace: I prefer the ol Facebook chat for the AMA's. I'm gonna send u the ones that got submitted so far first. Then send u the real gay ones after I'm drunk at beerfest. I would like you to ask G$ how many times on average he jerks off each week?
G$: What I do in the privacy of my own office bathroom stall is my business. More than zero...way less than hourly

 Ace: How emasculated are you on a daily basis with a daughter, wife, and a beagle that gets picked on by other neighborhood toughs?
G$: Jesus Christ...this is obvz from Ide because only a childless shit-dick would think that baby gender actually matters. I'm not of 17th century British nobility so having an heir matters little. So to answer the stupid ass question, I feel fully masculine.

 Ace: You eat steak medium well like a spade. Iceman prefers fanta. So, who is the bigger asshole when they walk into a Denny's; you or Iceman? (I was fucking dying when I first saw this question, well done)
G$: Iceman lives in Florida so we might have to go to Shoney's. I've eaten at Denny's once in the last 20+ years and it was 6 hours after visiting Prime. I ordered a burger that was 90% grease and I didn't eat it. But I also did not send it back because I was afraid what would come out next. Ice treats servers like filth so definitely he would be the bigger ass while I constantly apologize.

 Ace: AMA for G$: Be real. How many times have you used that flesh light?
G$: You have to admit that it was a baller move to win the DFL and make Dut buy me a sex toy trophy. I don't have the exact number in my head but it isn't more than five times. It is more for show these days. But yeah, you shouldn't ever ask to touch it.

 Ace: If you could bro out w/ any athlete, who would it be and why?
G$: Gronk. Easy. You are guaranteed getting laid by multiple skanks and will get shithouse drunk. I kept it in my race because I have no clue how I would handle going clubbing with black guys.

Ace: What songs would be included in a "faves of G$" playlist?
G$: I'm starting to get into Band of Horses as The Funeral is such an ELITE song. My iTunes account is packed with Big Tymers, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Tony Bataska songs for some reason but they do get better with each listen, and I'm down with Vance Joy. For my money, and I know that Iceman will agree, Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog is the greatest song of all time.

Ace: Favorite and least favorite commenter?
G$: Favorite is Prime simply because it was this site that reconnected us after 20 years. It's cool when the Internet works in a positive way. Least favorite are those that quit. May their shit names never be spoken again.
Ace: That's a fucking copout response. Who is ur least favorite commenter
G$: Fine. Least is Cakes who just disappeared without even giving a sad excuse.

Ace: What was the ultimate deciding factor in shutting it down?
G$: You have no idea how much the garbage fucking trash NFL season hurt my soul. This was BAD. When you add in ohio Buckeyes winning as well, that did not help. Basically, I lost my passion for the craft (not Aaron Craft though because he is a faggot)

G$: By the way, original Coors is a rock solid cheap beer.
Ace: The banquet beer is white trash toilet water.

Ace: What's the best beer you've ever had?
G$: I am no snob on this but I've always loved a big ass stein of Spaten.

Ace: Are you sending me coordinates to a cock party?
G$: I don't think I am.
Ace: This was sent from you:

 G$: I was unaware of this...I like our relationship where it is.

Ace: What's better, life without kids or with it better?
G$: That's a good question. You're definitely more busy with one in tow. Sometimes I miss my lazy ass weekends and nights out with the bros but I love having a kid. I don't expect the childless to understand this sentiment.

Ace: 2nd question from Drew: If you had to have sexual relations with one commenter or else your beautiful spawn would be shipped to Syria, who would it be?
G$: I want to go with a guy who has been there before and would be discreet. So spread dem cheeks, Dut!

Ace: Marry, Fuck, Kill: RG3, Big Ben, Travis Prentice
G$: Kill Ben that's easy. Marry Prentice. And I've been saying it a lot this year anyway but fuck RG3.

Ace: Your top 5 porn stars ever.
G$: 1. Jenna Jameson and the rest in no particular order are Gianna Michaels, Brooklyn Chase, Briana Banks, and pre-BBW Carmella Bing edges out Amy Reid and Tera Patrick
Ace: *Googles Brooklyn Chase* She's well equipped.

Ace: If you could pick one job for the rest of your life, what would it be? And it has to be a job...not lotto stud.
G$: Lotto stud seems pretty sweet but I've always liked the looks of Ron Swanson's gig on Parks & Rec.  I think that he is the Parks Director.  You hire good people and do nothing yourself.  Plus, working for a city's Parks Department is enjoyable.  I know from experience, dude. Also: rock star would be badass

Ace: Pick 1: Cavs title, Redskins title or Miami winning BCS Bowl. The one you pick happens, but the others are guaranteed not to happen for another 25 years.
G$: You mean that if I don't pick the Redhawks to win a BCS Bowl then they won't for 25 years?  How horrible!  I want Dan Snyder to die ringless so I'm picking the Cavs just so I can hold it over all those losers up there that they are winners because of me
Ace: If it were Redhawks win a Natty you would pick that....right?
G$: Yes I would pick a national title obvz

Ace: Another user submitted question: Where is Cakes?
G$: That's what I want to know. I ain't gonna beg but we deserve an explanation

Ace: Hall Pass: You can bang one chick with She$'s blessing and no guilt. Who is it?
G$: Dolph Lundgren but if he's too busy with Iceman, put me down for Anne Hathaway.
Ace: That's the worst choice ever.

Ace: Why did you start the blog?
G$: TUNE IN TOMORROW BECAUSE G$ BIG TIMED(NOT BIG TYMED) ME AND WILL ANSWER THAT TOMORROW.
Ace: Don't make me go all whiny Bobby Costas on you.
G$: Well, I need something for the finale, god dammit


Ace: How did you come up with The Money Shot as the name? What was the second choice for blog name?
G$: The name was part of a poll I conducted in the early days.  TMS won while The Mustache Ride finished second.  To be honest, I was pulling for the latter.  Maybe 10 people voted so it was way more successful than a non-presidential general election.

Ace: What's your favorite Stube story?
G$: Stube memory - Every once in a while back in the not-married days, I would work the door.  Burke used to bartend on Sundays so if it was a three day weekend, I would check IDs for him.  Checking IDs is pretty boring so I used to fuck with people and accuse them of having fakes to see what they would do.  One douche did not care for this move (it was a pretty obvious "I'm just fucking with you vibe") and told me to go fuck myself.  So I frisbee flung his ID out into the middle of the parking lot and told him to never come back.  It felt great.
Ace: That's fantastic.
G$: By the way, the Stube Door gig came with 40 bucks at the end of the night and all the beer/shots that I could drink.  It was a GREAT job but probably not what Kempton wanted his door guy to do.  Fuck him and the Seahawks.


Ace: What was the apex of The Money Shot? Like was there a time period where page views were really up and you thought you or TMS could go big time?
G$: Apex...I used to put together a lot of list posts before Buzzfeed killed lists forever that would get linked at a lot of the big boy sites.  But the problem with the internet is that now days everything that you think of, someone has already done better.  Five years ago, that wasn't necessarily the case.  I think that my Sweatiest Coaches in College Hoops is the all-time traffic leader with something like 40K hits in one day...The part about where I envisioned the site to go is going to be a part of Wednesday.


Ace: What 3 posts would you say were your finest work? Or are you covering that tomorrow too.
G$: My God, you are asking me to pick three favorites out of 9+ years?  This truly is a hard-hitting GayMA!  The hardest one that I ever wrote was the day after my dog got hit by a car.  That one was tough.  Back when commenters getting married was fast and furious, I always enjoyed the pre-wedding day advice posts.  And I think that my favorite post here was when I ran Denard through Gruden's FFCA segment.  Also: The BRAHs 4 Life.

Ace: A late commenter question: Ask him what he plans to do to fill the void of ego inflation from internet trolls?
G$: That's a thing that I am concerned about.  I am the Slumlord of Baltic Avenue here.  Once the slum closes tomorrow, then what?  I pretty much only have one goal left anyway and that is to get TBone fired from The Fan.

Ace: How about what was your favorite post of mine and Ice? Or at least the one that sticks out above the rest of Icemans cock jokes?
G$: Will you ever live down May The Forcier Be With You?  I think not.  It was not your best effort but no one will ever forget it.  I always enjoyed Iceman and I's mock drafts and, without him going to the Friday's on Airport Hwy every night, we would have never met the Harbaugh Boys as who they really are.
Ace: I need to go back and read that post. Tater really fucked me there. Also, I actually own a shirt that says "May the Forcier be With You".

Ace: Top 3 Big Tymers songs?
G$: 1. #1 Stunna 2. Rocky 3. Big Ballin...not a big fan of Still Fly for some reason.

Ace: Why does everybody hate Dut?
G$: He's a weasel that openly brags about groomed stubble

Ace: As I'm in the middle of cooking a feast right now, What is the best meal you could make?
G$: I work well with pork and I'm good with seasoning.  Put me down for a grilled Cajun chop with bacon and cheese rotini as a side.  I make that shit from scratch.  Roux brah!
Ace: Impressive.

Ace: What do you really think happened to Cakes? My theory is he went into mourning after Ice left for Florida and couldn't take having Internet TAEKS with him and not being able to touch his face.
G$: Probably something simple like he's too dumb and felt inadequate around such brilliant takesmiths

Ace: Are you afraid of Mrs Ward? I am.
G$: Nah she married a turd sandwich.

Ace: Why aren't you protecting your dog?
G$: I wish I knew. Someone remind me in the comments to bring closure to that story. I come off like a stud.
Ace: I have my doubts.

Ace: Any sage advice for me as I am 5 months away from fatherhood?
G$: Honestly, it's easier than you think. I am NOT saying that it's easy but I built it up in head as worse than a lifetime hourly convo with Jeff but it's not. Keep a level head. Shit is going to happen. Also, do not seek to watch your kid come out. You don't want that.
Ace: I decided long ago that I would not move below the waist when it was time. No man needs to see that.

Ace: Would you ever move back to Naptown?
G$: I highly doubt it. I've long grown out of my fondness of small town America. And I don't need the in laws showing up unannounced.

Ace: Who do you predict will show up for Ribfest?
G$: The usuals will be there. Dut won't. I'm calling two Sauls and Lacey to bring one of not both of his bro in laws

Ace: Do you ever get tired of being called a ginger/lacking a soul?
G$: Someone get this n-word an urban dictionary.  One of the many kids he left behind might have one.
Ace: I'll take that as a yes.

Ace: What's your favorite app on your phone, other than PROBOARDS.
G$: My least favorite is espn. Twitter is the best. I was so wrong about it.

Ace: What is the first thing you do when you get home from work?
G$: I work out.  Get it over with before my ladies get home and I need to focus on being a mediocre husband and father

Ace: What sports team do you hate the most, other than the Redskins?
G$: Dallas Cowboys

Ace: How many times can you wear dress pants before washing them? Not being able to wear sweatpants to work is really throwing me off.
G$: Twice on the pants. Jeans can go weeks
Ace: That's fucking absurd. I'm wearing dress pants at least 6 times before they get washed, or drycleaned, right IDE?

Ace: How many people have touched your b-hole?
G$: *Crickets*

Ace: I think we've hit on just about everything. Anything else you would like to add?
G$: Nah. I'm good.
Ace: It was my pleasure allowing you to pleasure me in this interview
G$: Word.

And there you have it folks. The last ever AMA...or is it?

          What's Good Here: It's chicken and waffles, together again, at Scotty's Table        
Unlikely food combinations are in vogue. Buzzfeed's Tasty and other cooking sites are busy filling your Facebook feed with artery-clogging recipes for Doritos-encrusted mozzarella sticks and cheesy stuffed plantain tots.…
          Trend Watch: Is 'Baby Heading' the Next Hot Meme?        
The folks at Buzzfeed are predicting this might be a new thing, which is fine with us. It's hilarious when people's clothes don't fit! Basically, "Baby Heading" is just making a baby's head stick out of grown-up clothes, and then photographing it. Continue reading…
          Supreme Court Tells Alabama to Reconsider the Factors It Has Used to Determine Intellectual Disability        

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated the Alabama state courts' rejection of a prisoner's claim that he is ineligible for the death penalty because of intellectual disability, and directed the state to reconsider his claim in light of the Court's recent decision in Moore v. Texas requiring states to employ scientifically accepted standards in determining whether a death-row prisoner is intellectually disabled. On May 1, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case of Taurus Carroll, and vacated the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals' decision in his case after Carroll's lawyer argued that the March 28 decision in Moore established that Alabama had unconstitutionally deviated from accepted methods of determining intellectual disability. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that defendants who are found to have intellectual disability—then known as mental retardation—cannot be executed. The ruling left states with discretion in establishing procedures for determining which defendants have intellectual disability. In Moore, however, the Court reiterated that this discretion is not “unfettered” and that a state's intellectually disability determination must be “informed by the medical community’s diagnostic framework.” The Court struck down Texas' use of an unscientific set of lay stereotypes, known as the “Briseño factors," that Texas had used to determine whether Moore had deficits in adaptive functioning characteristic of intellectual disability. The Court said that, "[i]n concluding that Moore did not suffer significant adaptive deficits, the [Texas courts] overemphasized Moore’s perceived adaptive strengths," but "the medical community focuses the adaptive-functioning inquiry on adaptive deficits." In Carroll's case, the Alabama courts had considered Mr. Carroll’s supposed adaptive strengths—that he had passed a GED exam and successfully held down a job in the prison kitchen—as proof that he was not intellectually disabled. Carroll's attorney argued that, “As in Moore, the consideration below of Mr. Carroll’s adaptive functioning ‘deviate[s] from prevailing clinical standards, by ‘overemphasiz[ing] Mr. [Carroll]’s perceived adaptive strengths.” He also argued that Alabama had unconstitutionally employed a strict IQ cutoff score, while at the same time inflating Carroll's IQ score by refusing to apply scientifically established factors that adjust for limitations in IQ testing. With the Supreme Court's ruling in Carroll's case, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals must now determine how Moore affects Alabama's methods of determining intellectual disability. John Palombi, a lawyer with the Federal Defenders for the Middle District of Alabama, said he was "pleased" with the Court's decision. “This will require Alabama courts to follow scientific principles when making the life or death decision of whether someone charged with capital murder is intellectually disabled,” he said.

(C. Geidner, "Who Is Intellectually Disabled? Supreme Court Orders Alabama To Reconsider Death-Row Case," BuzzFeed News, May 2, 2017.) See Intellectual Disability and U.S. Supreme Court. Read Mr. Carroll's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Alabama's Brief in Opposition, and Mr. Carroll's Reply Brief in Support of Petition for Writ of Certiorari. 


          Daily Must Reads, October 8, 2012        

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung.1. CNN launches its own feature film banner, CNN Films (TVNewser) 2. The newest factchecker: Reddit (The Atlantic) 3. British Prime Minister David Cameron sends his first tweet (AllTwitter) 4. BuzzFeed relies on sponsored content shared by social media users (WSJ) 5. […]

The post Daily Must Reads, October 8, 2012 appeared first on MediaShift.


          Daily Must Reads, October 4, 2012        

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung.1. The winner of last night’s presidential debate? Twitter. (The Atlantic Wire) 2. Mark Zuckerberg discusses Facebook’s ‘next billion’ (Bloomberg/Businessweek) 3. Internet use disorder coined by American Psychiatric Association (MediaJobsDaily) 4. What BuzzFeed’s evolution says about the future of longform journalism (Poynter) […]

The post Daily Must Reads, October 4, 2012 appeared first on MediaShift.


          8月9日(æ°´)のつぶやき その3        

俺の予想はもっと悲観的で、日本のリベラルは安倍内閣を倒す為なら貧困層なんか死んでも良いと思ってるんじゃないかと。リベラルの癖に消費税増税を叫んでるアホが実在するあたり、あながちデタラメでもないと考えてます twitter.com/Aahi69Mai/stat…

— もりちゃん(CV:毒蝮三太夫) (@mollichane) 2017年8月9日 - 20:06

30代産婦人科医(後期研修医)が自殺、時間外173時間で労災認定 「医師も人間だ」と父母
残業代はごく一部しか払われず、大半がサービス残業
buzzfeed.com/jp/kazukiwatan…

またか・・・都内の総合病院てだけで病院名が未公表だがこれは公表してもらわんと

— EARL⊿暑気あたり (@DrMagicianEARL) 2017年8月9日 - 20:04

『タモリ倶楽部』、年に一度の祭典“空耳アワード2017”が8月25日(金) と9月1日(金)の深夜に放送。審査員として星野源らがゲスト出演します amass.jp/92607/

— amass (@amass_jp) 2017年8月9日 - 20:13

【毎日アンケート】20170809
安倍政権を支持しますか

※投票感謝します。
※リツイートして退出ください。

— 稲垣@①消費税減税②糖質制限(まず小麦) (@inagaki_kt) 2017年8月9日 - 20:03

参加者「魚とか売るところだからきれいだと思っていたけど、思ったよりすごく大きくてびっくりしました」「せっかくここまで出来ているので 使ってみてもいいと思う」

豊洲市場で初の親子向け見学会(日本テレビ系(NNN))
headlines.yahoo.co.jp/videonews/nnn?…

— 井上リサ☆玄海紀行 (@JPN_LISA) 2017年8月9日 - 20:13

米国:北朝鮮ミサイル想定訓練 11月からハワイ州で - 毎日新聞 mainichi.jp/articles/20170…

— JSF (@obiekt_JP) 2017年8月9日 - 20:30

#ひるおび 安倍首相の名前を徹底して消す~ネットの反応「ここまでして安倍首相をおろしたいのか」「こりゃ酷い。ここまで自国の総理を愚弄する番組なんか日本に存在してはダメでしょ」 anonymous-post.com/archives/10754

— アノニマス ポスト (@anonymous201504) 2017年8月9日 - 13:36

7日のテレ朝「グッドモーニング」で、萩生田光一から事実に反すると抗議を受けて、1分程度の訂正謝罪の放送をしてたwww閉会中審査での証言を聞けば、前川喜平の勝手な思い込みと朝日新聞の捏造記事で加計問題が作られた事は明らかなのに、そこ… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— 500円 (@_500yen) 2017年8月8日 - 16:05

林芳正文科大臣は、石破茂の負の遺産「石破4条件」を認可の判断にしないと名言キタ━━(゚∀゚)━━!! 日本獣医師会も玉木雄一郎も石破茂も涙目www【石破4条件を検証せず認可判断】「4条件」検証せず認可判断 加計問題で林文科大臣 5.tvasahi.jp/000107289?a=ne…

— 500円 (@_500yen) 2017年8月9日 - 16:25

リフレ派は自分で堂々と「リフレ派です」って言うけど逆に「デフレ派です」と名乗ってるのを聞いた事がないんですよ。言ってる内容は完全にデフレ派なのに。恥ずかしくて言えない様な主張なら辞めてしまえとw twitter.com/shinchanchi/st…

— もりちゃん(CV:毒蝮三太夫) (@mollichane) 2017年8月9日 - 20:09

グァムに一発着弾したら、満場一致で宣戦布告。
真珠湾の時と同じ構図。トランプ一挙浮上。CIAの書いたシナリオかな?

【トランプ政権】米共和党支持者の74%が対北軍事行動に賛成 脅威認識が大幅上昇 sankei.com/world/news/170… @Sankei_newsから

— 高須克弥 (@katsuyatakasu) 2017年8月9日 - 19:06

【捏造報道】テレビ朝日が謝罪「加計学園問題・萩生田主犯説は田原総一朗とかいうジジイの妄想でした」~ネットの反応「ジャーナリスト界の前川みたいなもんだな」 anonymous-post.com/archives/10763

— アノニマス ポスト (@anonymous201504) 2017年8月9日 - 14:30

最初の一枚だけなら安倍首相の名前を入れ忘れたと言い訳できるかもしれないけど、二枚目のパネルも安倍晋三の名前を消してるのは、完全に確信犯だよねwwwひるおびの偏向報道は本当に陰湿だよなwww #tbs #ひるおび pic.twitter.com/VavzcB5Vus

— 500円 (@_500yen) 2017年8月9日 - 13:24

< #北朝鮮情勢 >トランプ大統領「世界がこれまで目にしたことのないような炎と猛威に直面することになる」~ネットの反応「CBSとMSNBCでもトップニュースでグアム攻撃をブレーキングでやってた 今回ばかりはプロレスじゃないな」 anonymous-post.com/archives/10728

— アノニマス ポスト (@anonymous201504) 2017年8月9日 - 10:13

ひでーなぁ… twitter.com/YokaiWatcherKe…

— 生田よしかつ (@ikutayoshikatsu) 2017年8月8日 - 20:54

これを本気で言っているのならまともな人ではない。正々堂々だろうがなんだろうが若手教員が問題教員を追い出すことなんてできませんよ。上の世代は雇用は法律で守られている。そういう教員は若手の任期付き教員をクビにする権限がある。甘えの問題… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— 中東ニュース速報 (@chutoislam) 2017年8月9日 - 20:05

@ikutayoshikatsu 大人だけ?子供も豊洲市場!

小学6年生
「マグロ売り場が広くて特別な魚なんだと思った。今度は競りをしている時に来てみたい」

小学5年生
「ニュースでよく見るが、入ってみると建物の中はすごく広か… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— 豊洲の歩き方 + ネオ江戸ベイエリア (@SKYZandBAYZ) 2017年8月9日 - 20:24

事情を知らずに(しかもここまで連日詳細に事情を説明しているのに)「甘え」などと言ってしまえる人こそ、甘えて生きています。「そういう人が状況を悪くしている」などと知らずに言い切る人が大学を悪くしているのです。 twitter.com/chutoislam/sta…

— 中東ニュース速報 (@chutoislam) 2017年8月9日 - 20:08

📺メディア情報📺
#ボブという名の猫 下記の番組で紹介されます!!
【8/13(日)】
・BSジャパン/シネマアディクト 26:35~ qq2q.biz/FdnF
・テレビ東京/一夜づけサンデー 27:05~ qq2q.biz/Fdnp

— 8/26公開「ボブという名の猫」 (@BOBtheCAT_japan) 2017年8月9日 - 20:42

豊洲市場の親子見学会で「豊洲市場が汚いのかなと思っていたけど、綺麗でいつ移転してもいいと思った」と感想を述べている子供がいた。最初「豊洲は汚い」と思ってしまったのは、今まで散々「毒だ!」「汚染だ!」と騒いだ大人達の影響もあっただろう。子供達も自分の目で見る機会があってよかった。

— 井上リサ☆玄海紀行 (@JPN_LISA) 2017年8月9日 - 22:26

テレビ朝日がダルビッシュに謝罪 「読唇術」番組内容で ダルビッシュ「テレビ朝日は謝罪とかじゃなく、本人にちゃんと確認をしたほうがいいと思う」~ネットの反応「相手が安倍総理なら『言ってない証明をしろ』って言うでしょうね」 anonymous-post.news/archives/1126

— アノニマス ポスト (@anonymous201504) 2017年8月8日 - 12:46

小川「被爆者の方々にあんな悲しい怒りの表情を覚えさせる、そんな政治って何なんだろうっていうふうにも思うんですよね。」
アホすぎる。

報ステが賛成することの反対が正しいw
#tvasahi #å ±ST pic.twitter.com/PPbgxqUnWf

— きやすめ。放送法ってなーに? (@ZeroE13A1) 2017年8月9日 - 22:19

北朝鮮でやれよ。意気地無し❗ twitter.com/swu_kawa/statu…

— 高須克弥 (@katsuyatakasu) 2017年8月9日 - 18:38

稼得能力で選好しておきながら、いざ家庭に入って「家事をしない!」と吹きあがる方々、稼得を優先するタイプの人間をパートナーに選んだのだから家事へのコミットが低いのは当たり前なんですが、頭が悪いんでしょうか。それとも単にわがまま根性を… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— 白饅頭(光属性) (@terrakei07) 2017年8月9日 - 22:35

安倍内閣は若者に支持されてる。要因は就職が楽になったから。簡単な話。簡単だけど凄く重要なんだよ。デフレが生んだロスジェネは大量の生活保護者を産む可能性が指摘されてる。そこに掛かる費用は20兆と言う試算もある。いい加減解りなさいよ。デフレである限り何をやってもダメなんだよ。

— もりちゃん(CV:毒蝮三太夫) (@mollichane) 2017年8月9日 - 22:38

TVは菅野完が女性に性的暴行し100万の賠償命令をされたことを報じません。
森友の時に籠池理事長の代弁者として散々使ってたのに何故報道しない?
不起訴処分判決が出てた山口さんのことは犯罪者のように吊るしあげといて、賠償命令が出され… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— DAPPI (@take_off_dress) 2017年8月9日 - 07:21

「ミヤネ屋」による小池百合子都知事と野田聖子大臣の偶像化報道です。二人の内心をポジティヴに【描写】することで、視聴者は二人に親近感を持ち、「同じ考え方でいたい」と考える【同一視 identification】という心理が生じます。
youtu.be/_cDlSCFXLCQ

— 藤原かずえ (@kazue_fgeewara) 2017年8月9日 - 00:23

日報問題。
ルール通り廃棄された日報。
民主党政権でも”戦闘”の記載はあった。
稲田大臣が徹底捜索を指示して2月7日に統幕から公表。
2月15日に同じ日報のコピーの隠蔽を大臣が指示?

偏向報道が過ぎてストーリがブレブレ。
言いが… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— きやすめ。放送法ってなーに? (@ZeroE13A1) 2017年8月9日 - 22:40

被爆者団体は、核兵器を保有してない日本政府を批判する前に中国大使館や朝鮮総連の前に行って抗議してこいよ。なんで日本政府や米国政府を批判して、中国や北朝鮮を批判しないんだよ。「どこの国の総理ですか」じゃなく、お前らがどこの国の市民団体だよwww #tvasahi #報道ステーション

— 500円 (@_500yen) 2017年8月9日 - 22:16

STEVE MORSE Says 'It Would Be Nice' For DEEP PURPLE To Play With RITCHIE BLACKMORE One Last Time… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— BLABBERMOUTH.NET (@BLABBERMOUTHNET) 2017年8月9日 - 22:37
          GOP must help bring the Trump presidency to a peaceful conclusion ... by gimleteye        

On Bill Moyers website, a timeline of the #TrumpRussia trumpocalypse. 

Even if the legal definition of treason has not been reached -- because the U.S. is technically not "at war" with Russia -- the normative values of democracy are crumbling under the most chaotic presidency in U.S. history.

Moreover, the disorganization and vulnerability exposed by Russian hacking of the 2016 election has achieved a core Putin purpose: to massively marginalize the power and influence of the United States.

Trump's ongoing disaster threaten to inflict mortal wounds to our democratic system of checks and balances.

The #GOP must help bring the Trump presidency to a peaceful conclusion.

NOTE: also read: High-Profile Russian Death in DC Was Putin Hit-Job
.

          BuzzFeed is getting into the smart appliance business with the Tasty One Top        
BuzzFeed One Top Here’s a sentence I never expected to write: BuzzFeed is making its first smart appliance, the Tasty One Top, available for pre-order. It sounds a little weird for a digital media company to try to sell you a fancy hot plate, but this is part of BuzzFeed Product Labs, which was created last year following the acquisition of e-commerce startup Scroll. The team’s goal is to… Read More
          Romance and YA TV        

A double-header recorded at ATX, a Television Festival earlier this year. First, “Keeping the Romance Alive” with Hart Hanson (creator, Bones), Liz Tigelaar (showrunner, Casual; creator, Life Unexpected), Carter Covington (creator, Faking It), and Jennie Snyder Urman (creator, Jane the Virgin). How do writers keep a show going that's centered around a romance? What pitfalls can that bring, how do they keep an audience caring through the third, fourth, and fifth break ups…or even more, after the central couple commits for the long haul, or worse decides to leave the show? Moderated by Jarret Wieselman (Buzzfeed).

Then, Jarret is joined by Carina MacKenzie (The Originals) to talk about “Young Adult TV” with Tigelaar, Covington, Anna Fricke (developer, Being Human), and Rebecca Serle (Famous in Love). The creators of these “teen centered” TV shows discuss what they believe classifies a show as YA, what storylines they will and will not broach when it comes to this age range, and how they have mastered writing from the teenage perspective while garnering audiences of all ages. Recorded at ATX Television Festival on June 10-11, 2016. Get your badge now for ATX's sixth season, June 8-11 2017, at http://atxfestival.com/


          EMPIRE        

Writer/executive producer/co-creator Danny Strong (Recount; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1&2) and co-executive producer/writer Wendy Calhoun (Justified; Revenge; Nashville) discuss the first season of the blockbuster series. Moderated by Buzzfeed's Jarett Wieselman.

Recorded at ATX Television Fest in June 2015.


          Bunheads/Teachers/Younger panels from ATX Television Festival        

First, Bunheads creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and cast members Sutton Foster, Kelly Bishop, and Stacey Oristano discuss the dance sequences, turning points, and character moments that made this Cancelled-Too-Soon series so loved in it's short time on air.

Then, Younger star Sutton Foster discusses the hit TVLand sitcom.

And finally, Teachers, an upcoming TV Land sit-com based upon the web-series is discussed by showrunners Jay Martel and Ian Roberts (Key & Peele), and writer/creator/actors “The Katydids”: Katie O’Brien, Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, and Kathryn Renee Thomas. Moderated by Buzzfeed's Jarrett Wieselman.

Recorded June 5, 2015 at ATX.


          Nude McKayla Maroney Camel Toe Pussy Tumblr Shows She 'Is Not Impressed' With Pretty Much Everything (PHOTOS)        
Nude McKayla Maroney Camel Toe Pussy Tumblr Shows She 'Is Not Impressed' With Pretty Much Everything (PHOTOS)


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Video, Fab Five, London Olympics 2012, McKayla Maroney Gymnastics, Fierce Five, Mckayla Is Not Impressed, Mckayla Is Not Impressed Tumblr, Mckayla Maroney, Mckayla Maroney Fab Five, Mckayla Maroney Is Not Impressed, Mckayla Maroney Tumblr, Mckayla Tumblr, Women's Gymnastics 2012, Women News

McKayla Maroney is a gold and silver Olympic medalist, and the 2011 World Vault Champion, and she recently taught Jenna Bush to dougie. Now she can add "Internet darling" to her already-impressive list of accomplishments.

Maroney won the silver medal for Women's Vault after a disappointing fall during her second performance. During the medal ceremony, photographers captured the less-than-pleased look on her face. Buzzfeed even called it her "Did you really think I'd be happy with silver?" look. The photo was so fabulous that 28-year-old New Yorker Gavin Aloen decided it would make a hilarious meme. On August 7th, the "McKayla Is Not Impressed" Tumblr was born -- and we are so happy that it exists.

Here is a sampling of things that do not impress McKayla Maroney:

McKayla is not impressed by The Spice Girls.


McKayla is not impressed by Drake and Chris Brown.


McKayla is not impressed by Hillz in the War Room.


McKayla is not impressed by the men of "Magic Mike."


McKayla is not impressed by the Mars Rover landing.


McKayla is not impressed by the Sistine Chapel.

The Tumblr eventually got back to Maroney herself via Twitter. Her reaction? She's impressed ... kind of.

(Her tweet has since been taken down but was captured by Yahoo! News and Mashable.)


          Not So Nimble: NY Times Does 6-Month Study, Concludes It Needs to Move Faster        

92831019-1If you were put in charge of The New York Times, right this minute, what would you do? What could anyone do to save this legendary institution and move it into the digital age? That’s what I keep asking myself after reading about the  alarming Innovation Report that got leaked this week. The Times commissioned the report, and put a team, led by A.G. Sulzberger, son of Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., on the job. The team spent six months to come up with recommendations for how the Times should adapt to the digital age.

The report runs for 91 pages and is scathing. Joshua Benton, the director of the Harvard-based Nieman Journalism Lab, calls it “one of the most remarkable documents I’ve seen in my years running the Lab.” The report portrays the Times as an institution that has fallen behind traditional rivals like the Washington Post as well as upstarts like the Huffington Post. The report was supposed to be just for Times insiders, but got leaked to Buzzfeed.


          COMEY BLACKMAILED TRUMP USING FUSION GPS RUSSIA DOSSIER: Russian Bankers Suing Buzzfeed Over Dossier        

          Une star américaine accusée de maintenir des femmes en esclavage        
R. Kelly est accusé par une enquête de Buzzfeed News de retenir six jeunes femmes à son domicile. Il dément fermement ces accusations.
          Friday party!        
Quit social media* and get your life back!



Related: Long-term knowledge (not snippets and buzzfeeds) is what changes your life

* I've quit "as much as I can" and it's been much better!

          Daily Tech Headlines – July 28, 2017        
Buzzfeed sells a hot plate, YouTube Red folding into itself and Self Driving car talk takes Washington. MP3 Please SUBSCRIBE HERE. Follow us on Soundcloud. A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible. If you are willing to support the show or give as little as 5 cents a … Continue reading Daily Tech Headlines – July 28, 2017
          Movie Review: The To Do List - A Pro-Sex, Sex Comedy        

It's hard to deny writer/director Maggie Carey's The To-Do List stands out not only from its competition at the box office, but also from others in the "losing-it" genre. The film is one of the first pro-sex sex comedies that doesn't sneak-in the syrupy message of sex being for the "right person," amid jokes about bodily fluids, excrement and slang. This credit is due entirely to the films central character Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) being the most three dimensional character in the genre since Steve Carrell in Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Like Carrell, Plaza gives a performance to back up the writing as she attempts to cram four years of sexual experience into one summer.

TO DO LIST

The films greatest strength is in the way her character melds perfectly with the premise while easing into any issues with the gender twist on the genre. Klark's Type-A personality and impeccable scholastic skills allow her to prepare for her journey the same way she would for one of her many AP tests - on all of which she got a perfect score - work her way up to losing her virginity to the guitar toting head life guard Rusty Waters (Scott Porter). Thankfully, neither Rusty nor any of her other marks turn out to be jerks in the way they are in Easy A - even if it is a better film. They're sex-driven like any young adult but never to the point it makes them a bad person.

Unfortunately, the full lead characters don't take away from rest of the film which is a run-of-the-mill sex comedy. We have seen the aforementioned gags - particularly the gross-out moments - in other films and while those might not be up to the level of To Do List and makes the sum of all that's hear weaker than its individual strengths.

Among these is the use of the setting. I assume this won't be the last 1990s but hopefully a few of them improve reach the mastery of the era as Adventureland did with the 1980's. What we get here is best summed up in the opening credits which by themselves are effective, but is otherwise ripped from any given Buzzfeed list, highlighting Pearl Jam posters, Liz Frank binders and mix tapes. The film is peppered with other nineties trinkets that are end to themselves rather than serving the story or any of its characters.

While Klark doesn't need any support, some of the smaller characters need all the help they can get. Brandy's parents are played by the usually excellent Connie Britton and Clark Gregg and while the give their characters everything in their arsenal, the characters fail to deliver on their moments. I suspect Carey means Brandy's father to be a role reversal on women's portrayal in male oriented comedies but it would be better if Britton's character was as well-rounder as her on-screen daughter. Unfortunately this lack of balance do hurts the impact of her one-on-one moments with Brandy.

This lack of focus in the film surrounding Brandy comes through strongest in the film's final gag. I don't want to go into too much detail but the punch line has some problematic implications that fall more in line with the plot of the 70's adult classic Deep Throat than the feminist pro-sex nature of the rest of the film.

I suspect The To Do List will join its predecessors in the ranks of premium cable rotation and home video to find its audience - it will have to since it's already out of most theaters Those interested should seek it out if only for Plaza's character and performance as well to see what is hopefully just the beginning of the pro-sex sex comedy. I'm equally hopeful that those future films will improve on it.

***/*****


          Listen, You’re Privileged, Time to Deal With It        

If you’re a Buzzfeed fan like the rest of the world, you maybe saw this quiz recently about privilege. You can take it here if you want: How Privileged Are You? I took it for the same reason I take many of their quizzes –because one of my sorta friends posted it on Facebook and I like to know what an arbitrary quiz based loosely

The post Listen, You’re Privileged, Time to Deal With It appeared first on dude mom.


          Nude McKayla Maroney Camel Toe Pussy Tumblr Shows She 'Is Not Impressed' With Pretty Much Everything (PHOTOS)        
Nude McKayla Maroney Camel Toe Pussy Tumblr Shows She 'Is Not Impressed' With Pretty Much Everything (PHOTOS)


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McKayla Maroney is a gold and silver Olympic medalist, and the 2011 World Vault Champion, and she recently taught Jenna Bush to dougie. Now she can add "Internet darling" to her already-impressive list of accomplishments.

Maroney won the silver medal for Women's Vault after a disappointing fall during her second performance. During the medal ceremony, photographers captured the less-than-pleased look on her face. Buzzfeed even called it her "Did you really think I'd be happy with silver?" look. The photo was so fabulous that 28-year-old New Yorker Gavin Aloen decided it would make a hilarious meme. On August 7th, the "McKayla Is Not Impressed" Tumblr was born -- and we are so happy that it exists.

Here is a sampling of things that do not impress McKayla Maroney:

McKayla is not impressed by The Spice Girls.


McKayla is not impressed by Drake and Chris Brown.


McKayla is not impressed by Hillz in the War Room.


McKayla is not impressed by the men of "Magic Mike."


McKayla is not impressed by the Mars Rover landing.


McKayla is not impressed by the Sistine Chapel.

The Tumblr eventually got back to Maroney herself via Twitter. Her reaction? She's impressed ... kind of.

(Her tweet has since been taken down but was captured by Yahoo! News and Mashable.)


          Lugares criativos para usar cortinas ( além das janelas)        
Cortinas podem ter mais funções além de vedar a luz das janelas, elas podem substituir portas,dividir ambientes ou até virar uma cabeceira.São ideias para adicionar cor,estampa,movimento ao ambiente.Podem também esconder a baguncinha e dar privacidade.

Eu já usei cortina debaixo da pia do banheiro (veja aqui) e na cama beliche dos meninos (aqui) mas confesso que tem alguns lugares aí que nunca havia pensado em usar.Confiram abaixo e inspirem-se!

1- Nos armários da lavanderia e/ou cozinha
Fontes: 1 e 2

2-Separando ambientes
Fonte: aqui

3-Instaladas no teto para dar um charme na cama
Fontes: 1 e 2

4-Ou na parede como cabeceiras
Confiram um post com ideias para cabeceira aqui

5-Para dar privacidade na cama beliche
Fontes: 1 e 2

6-Num móvel 
Fontes: 1 e 2

7-Um cantinho da leitura pra criançada
Fontes: 1 e 2

8-Criando um closet
1 e 2

9-Para esconder a sapateira
Fontes: 1 e 2

10-Substituindo a porta do armário embutido
Fontes: 1 e 2

E você?Já  usou cortina em algum lugar diferente da janela?Conta aí pra gente!😊


          Are Texas and other states colluding with Sessions to end DACA? The ACLU is trying to find out        

Did the Republican leaders of ten states and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III coordinate the legal threat that those states have promised to take against the Trump administration if it does not rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by next month? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has just filed public records requests in those 10 states to find out. What gives the group grave concern—and suspicion—is that Sessions seems to be gladly welcoming the states’s legal threat:

The states attacking DACA appear to have allies in the Trump administration. Responding to the states’ June letter, Sessions remarked: “I like [that] states and localities are holding the federal government to account and expecting us to do our responsibility to the state and locals, and that’s to enforce the law.” These statements raise serious questions regarding the Trump administration’s commitment to defending DACA as well as questions about possible communications between the states and members of the administration.

“It would be very telling if there was in fact communication between the attorneys general offices and the Trump administration because it would show there’s a coordinated attack against DACA and that they are trying to subvert Trump, who said DACA recipients should 'rest easy,'” the ACLU’s Lorella Praeli, a Dreamer, told Buzzfeed.

From the start of his campaign, Donald Trump promised to rescind DACA should he be elected, despite meeting with immigrant youth before his run and saying they “convinced” him on immigration. Because Trump speaks out of both sides of his mouth and won’t give a definitive answer on the future of DACA, nearly 800,000 immigrant youth continue to live in anxiety. Sessions, of course, has vocally opposed the program, and there’s strong indications the administration won’t defend it in court.


          Buzzfeed: What kind of bride are you?        


          Hal yang Dapat Memicu Kanker        
Di kehidupan yang serba mudah seperti sekarang, banyak orang yang akhirnya lebih memilih cara instan tanpa perlu harus repot. Hal itu kemudian menjadi kebiasaan yang dilakukan berulang-ulang. Contohnya saja makanan dan gaya hidup. Namun segala kemudahan yang ada belum tentu sehat, dan justru menjadi pemicu masalah kesehatan, salah satunya kanker. Berikut adalah 5 hal yang bisa memicu kanker seperti yang dilansir dari Buzzfeed.com!

Daging Olahan
Memakan daging olahan secara rutin dapat meningkatkan risiko kematian karena kanker. Selain itu, daging olahan diproses melalui serangkaian cara dan bahan pengawet sehingga mengakibatkan penyakit yang berhubungan dengan kardiovascular. Disarankan mengkonsumsi maksimal 20 gram daging olahan untuk konsumsi per hari.

Popcorn Instan
Jika suka mengkonsumsi popcorn instan yang dimasak sekaligus dengan kantongnya dalam microwave, lebih baik sekarang dihindari. Karena ternyata, kantong popcorn tersebut mengandung PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid). Jika terbakar, bahan ini dapat menyebabkan kanker dan menghambat kesuburan.

Salmon
Salmon yang dipelihara diduga mengandung pestisida, antibiotik dan serangkaian bahan kimia pemicu karsinogenik. Salmon yang ditangkap langsung dari perairan lebih segar dan sehat karena tidak mengandung bahan kimia.

Keripik Kentang
Keripik kentang digoreng dalam temperatur tinggi untuk membuatnya renyah. Namun ini justru mengakibatkan terbentuknya acrylamide, yaitu karsinogen serupa yang ditemukan pada pembakaran rokok.

Radiasi Sinar Ultraviolet
Paparan sinar ultraviolet berpotensi mengakibatkan kanker kulit. Maka jangan lupa untuk memakai sunblock jika harus beraktivitas di bawah paparan sinar matahari.

sumber: http://www.dreamersradio.com/article/32163/simak-5-hal-yang-dapat-memicu-kanker

          What Time Is It? Princess Time!        
Disney Princesses as Adventure Time Princesses.
Because mathamatical.
(Maritsa Patrinos for Buzzfeed)

Previously on Popped Culture...
Cinderella's Basic Instinct
Cosmopolitan Princesses
Twisted Sisters



          This Pit Bull’s Transformation Will Bring Tears To Your Eyes        
When Wilson Coutinho Martins found Davi, the pit bull weighed only 28 lbs. and suffered from a huge, gaping wound in his rear. source: Buzzfeed
          The Most Hilariously Dangerous Things Pit Bulls Did in 2016        
They Terrorized Our Nations Turtles source: Buzzfeed And stuffed animals didn’t have it much better: source: Buzzfeed They Spent The Year As The Worst Backseat
          5 German Shepherds Who Need To Be Taken And Snuggled Immediately…        
This little TICKLE MONSTER. source: Buzzfeed This flopsy-wopsy who just wants a break from his walk. source: Buzzfeed This hungry hungry hippo. source: Buzzfeed This
          How Can a Large Dog Breed Turn into an Abnormally Huge Pit Bull Hulk?        
[VIDEO:] The couple who owns Pit Bull Hulk has been offered over $500,000 – but the giant dog is priceless… Credit: BuzzFeedVideo Owning sensationally different
          7月30日(日)のつぶやき        

【ラッパーがトラック募集する、トラックメーカーがトラック提供するあれやこれや 】
絶対無い方が良いストレスがたまに発生してるっぽいから書いてみた。

tekkotekkorecords.com/%e3%83%a9%e3%8…

— TANOSHIT [太野曇二] (@tanotanji) 2017年7月29日 - 17:46

とある画家が見た現実が話題「ムスリムの女の子には、少女マンガは超衝撃的」 (68 users) bzfd.it/2vb6zXK 13件のコメント b.hatena.ne.jp/entry/s/www.bu… pic.twitter.com/jJUoTaPvgc

— はてなブックマーク::Hotentry (@hatebu) 2017年7月30日 - 16:46

レキシMC「フジロックでは物販で稲穂売っちゃダメなんだって!それなのに稲穂持ってるおかしなひとたちがこんなに!やめて!」「後ろの方はYUKIちゃんに行く人たちですね、さよなら、レキシの思い出は稲穂だけになるよ!♪おもいーではーいーつーも稲穂だーけどー♪」JAMそばかす披露!!

— 紗羅@7/27-31フジロック (@jam_sarah) 2017年7月30日 - 16:14

品川駅(港南口)のなんでもない平日朝の様子を撮ったので、ここに置いておきます pic.twitter.com/pk7AFAzW3J

— ななし (@sigeyosiinoue) 2017年7月29日 - 16:58

今日「悪魔のいけにえ」初めて観たんだけど、「あ、コレ絶対この人とは疎通とれないんだな」っていう圧倒的な絶望感がでもなんかどこかで覚えもあるような…ああアレか、、あの時のあの感じか、という妙なリアルさとも重なる所がありとてもいい映画体験でした

— ヨシアキ (@yoshiakiiiiiiii) 2017年7月30日 - 23:26

非日常的ないびつさは知らないだけで日常にまぎれてるよな。少し前にやってた「クリーピー」もそうだったけど。外から分かりやすいマクロな歪みよりも内側から徐々に侵食するミクロな歪みの方がより恐ろしい

— ヨシアキ (@yoshiakiiiiiiii) 2017年7月30日 - 23:32
          ÐšÐ¾Ð³Ð´Ð° не везет по жизни        
Случайность, небрежность, собственная глупость — кого интересует, по какой причине жизнь в очередной раз повернулась к этим людям не самой привлекательной своей стороной! Остается только пожалеть бедолаг и порадоваться, что это не наши фото мелькают в перепостах этих историй. И, конечно, успеть перепостить самому! По материалам buzzfeed.com
          Ð•Ð´Ð° как произведение искусства        
Импрессионизм и реализм, абстракционизм и психоделика, — поклонник любого стиля в искусстве найдет себе отраду в одном из этих блюд. Они так совершенны, что кажется кощунством нарушать их гармонию ложкой или вилкой. По материалам buzzfeed.com
          FUN HOME Tickets Now On Sale for Boston Engagement        

Broadway In Boston announced today that tickets for the upcoming Boston engagement of Fun Home, the groundbreaking and Tony Award-winning Best Musical, will go on sale to the public on Sunday, August 6, 2017. Fun Home will play a limited two week engagement at the Boston Opera House October 17-29, 2017 as part of the 2017-2018 Lexus Broadway In Boston Season.

Fun Home was the event of the 2015 Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL and making history along the way as the first show written exclusively by women to win theater's highest achievement. It was named to all of the major top 10 lists including The New York Times, Associated Press, New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, Chicago Tribune, The Hollywood Reporter and more.

Tickets for Fun Home can be purchased through an authorized ticket seller found only at Ticketmaster 800-982-2787, and by visiting www.BroadwayInBoston.com. Tickets will also be sold directly at the Boston Opera House Box Office, 539 Washington Street, Boston, MA during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm) beginning Monday, August 7th. Season Subscribers interested in tickets should call Broadway In Boston directly at 1-866-523-7469. For groups of 10+ please call Broadway In Boston Group Sales directly at 617-482-8616 or email Groups@BroadwayInBoston.com.

Based on Alison Bechdel's best-selling graphic memoir, FUN HOME introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood that connect with her in surprising new ways. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, FUN HOME is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

Robert Petkoff (Broadway's Ragtime, All The Way, Anything Goes) will play Bruce, Susan Moniz (Broadway's Grease, Chicago's Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater) will play Helen and Kate Shindle (Broadway's Legally Blonde, Cabaret) will play Alison.

Joining them will be Abby Corrigan as Medium Alison, Carly Gold as Small Alison, VICTORIA JANICKI as Joan, Robert Hager as Roy, Henry Boshart as John, LUKÉ BARBATO SMITH as Christian, Anthony Fortino, Noelle Hogan, Caroline Murrah, Amanda Naughton and Michael Winther. At certain performances, Jadyn Schwartz will play the role of Small Alison.

Fun Home features music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and direction by Sam Gold, whose work on this production earned them Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Book and Best Direction. With this win, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori also made history by becoming the first female writing team to be awarded the Best Score Tony Award.

Fun Home was also nominated for 2015 Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design of Musical (David Zinn), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Ben Stanton) and Best Orchestrations (John Clancy). The creative team also includes Danny Mefford (Choreography), Kai Harada (Sound Design), David Zinn (Costume Design) and Chris Fenwick (Music Direction).

Tony Award-winning director Sam Gold, who staged both the Off Broadway and Broadway productions of Fun Home, restaged the national tour. The Broadway production of Fun Home opened on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre on April 19, 2015 and ran through September 10, 2016.

For more information on the Boston engagement, please visit www.BroadwayInBoston.com or the official Fun Home website at FunHomeMusical.com. For the latest news, announcements and "backstage" access on all of our upcoming shows become a fan of Broadway In Boston at www.Facebook.com/BroadwayInBoston, follow us on Twitter @BroadwayBoston and on Instagram @BroadwayBoston. Join the conversation using #BroadwayInBoston.

Tickets for Fun Home can be purchased through an authorized ticket seller found only at Ticketmaster 800-982-2787, and by visiting www.BroadwayInBoston.com. Tickets will also be sold directly at the Boston Opera House Box Office, 539 Washington Street, Boston, MA during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm) beginning Monday, August 7th. Season Subscribers interested in tickets should call Broadway In Boston directly at 1-866-523-7469. For groups of 10+ please call Broadway In Boston Group Sales directly at 617-482-8616 or email Groups@BroadwayInBoston.com.

ABOUT BROADWAY IN BOSTON:

Broadway In Boston is Boston's leading theatrical presenter and producer of Broadway since 1984. For the past 33 years, more than six million theatergoers have experienced over 300 Broadway In Boston productions in many of the city's historic theatres including the Boston Opera House. Long-running sensations and Boston favorites, Blue Man Group and Shear Madness continue their successful runs at the Charles Playhouse, a Broadway In Boston venue. Broadway In Boston is part of the Broadway Across America network. For more information please visit www.BroadwayInBoston.com.

ABOUT BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA:

Broadway Across America is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com and The Broadway Channel. Led by 9 time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO), BAA is the foremost presenter of first-class touring productions in North America, operating in 41 markets with over 270,000 subscribers. Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, On Your Feet!, School of Rock and The Producers. Broadway.com is the premier theater website for news, exclusive content and ticket sales. For more information please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com and Broadway.com.


          Games and Addiction        

Crumbs lead from empty pizza boxes and crusted sugar coats the days-old energy drink can.  His mouth hangs open with a zombie's fervor, his blood-shot eyes red and sunken, retreating from their owner's subjugation. The 30-something man sits in a dark basement, the harsh light cast by the television in front of him illuminates his sweat-stained ACDC t-shirt and his unkempt neckbeard. The world could be ending and he wouldn't know it. All he cares for is the digital apocalypse on the flatscreen.

Mention "gamer" to anyone, even those who play videogames regularly, and that 30-something neckbeard comes to mind. Yeah, it's a tired stereotype. True? Besides the occasional World of Warcraft horror stories on CNN and deaths-by-Starcraft we hear about from South Korea, it's hard to tell. Games and addiction. The relationship is a sore topic for gamers, clickbait for the BuzzFeed knockoffs, and it bewilders pretty much everyone else. At this point, videogames' addictive nature depends on your point of view and how far you're willing to Google to find a study to support your claim.

I am an avid skeptic about violent games encouraging violent people, and I used to share my skepticism with addictive games encouraging addicts. After all, games like Hatred are hardly training simulators for mass shootings, just like there are no trench-coat-clad men on lamplit street corners peddling Pokemon Red. Cops don't bust into people's houses for "cooking" code for the next Call of Duty.

Yet...

The premise for this blog came up when I went with my dad to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Like him, my whole family has battled with alcoholism, and I've kinda been waiting for a genetic switch to flip and then BAM, I'll be at the next meeting with "Hi, my name's Hunter, and I'm an alcoholic." Even though alcoholism has been a demon often talked about in my family, I've never met it personally. Until that meeting. I got to meet it face-to-face: a meth-head who drinks to soften his crash after a high; a mom who drinks to get over cheating with her husband; a man who went to jail for hitting someone under the influence, and when free, went right back to the bottle.

Ask any AA regular to define Alcoholism, and they'll give you a different answer every time. Sometimes it's addictive, like any other drug; they need a swig else they'll withdraw. My mom has this problem. My dad says Alcoholism is defined by when drinking causes a problem. The problem could be as simple as arriving late to every social gathering, and as serious as killing someone by drinking and driving.

And that got me thinking: are games addicting? Surely, to some people, yeah. Else they wouldn't accidentally starve themselves to death. But not to everyone, because that's not how I feel when I'm not gaming. I don't go through withdrawal and get angry when I can't play a round of Rocket League. But gaming has caused problems for me in the past. I would sometimes be late because I tried to play too many matches of Gears of War 3, and other times I'd outright miss a college deadline because I was too 'busy' pwning newbs on Counter Strike. I had a roommate who I never saw because he was always playing League of Legends; well, I would see him, but only for enough time to warm up a hot-pocket and grab a beer from the fridge.

Yikes.

Games are not "bad", just as alcohol isn't "bad." I never drank in high school, thinking that getting drunk would place me in a serial-killer's mind set, and I'd kill everyone in the room. Yeah, harsh. Yeah, pretty stupid, but I was a kid. Then I let my hair down in college and learned having a hangover isn't comparable to American Psycho. But I've realized the similarities between alcoholism and gaming are jarring. Both are anti-depressants. Both are heavily social, but can also be very isolating. And, in worst cases, both can kill.

I'm not suggesting here that we all start going to "Gamaholics Anonymous" (Hi, my name's Cru Hunter, and it all started with Super Smash Brothers...). What I am saying is this: many of the lessons alcoholism, that of restraint, support, and priorities, could help a lot of gamers who struggle with managing their lives like I sometimes do. I love games, but I can't make a living off of Team Fortress 2, and while it provides a great escape, gaming is best for me in smaller quantities. I have trouble with that., but it may not be the same for everyone.

____________________

So what do you think? Are there similarities between alcoholism and "gamaholicalism"? Do you feel addicted to games?

As always, Happy Gaming!


          What does the fight between palantir & nypd mean for your data?        
via GIPHY In a recent buzzfeed piece, NYPD goes to the mat with Palantir over their data. It seems the NYPD has recently gotten cold feet. Join 35,000 others and follow Sean Hull on twitter @hullsean. As they explored options, they found an alternative that might save them a boatload of money. They considered switching … Continue reading What does the fight between palantir & nypd mean for your data?
          5月4日(木)のつぶやき        

【公式】トッティが今季で引退。

天才、レジェンド、そして本当に優しい男...

心から、お疲れ様でした!

(涙) pic.twitter.com/qgle0GdHvu

— CesarePolenghi チェーザレ (@CesarePolenghi) 2017年5月3日 - 22:04

スカサカの「スカサカライブ」を見ていて感じるのは、DAZNになってから、メディアの取り上げるクラブ間隔差が広がってると思うし、ジリ貧クラブだと思われたら最後、J1であってもスルーされるし、むしろ伸びている地域リーグやJFLのクラブの方がニュースバリューがあるんだなということ。

— ぐっちい(ラ式の人) (@satokoyamaguchi) 2017年5月3日 - 22:26

2007~2008年くらいから、「新潟は毎年主力を抜かれる」とかって言われてたけど、それを言ってるやつらに対して僕は「いや他人事じゃねえよ。絶対それだけじゃ終わらないよ。J自体が衰退するよ」って主張してたけど、ホントにその通りになってて草も生えない。

— TK (@taka0730) 2017年5月3日 - 23:07

身も蓋もない話、もはや「クラブ間格差」なんて生易しい問題ではなくて、共倒れしますよね、このままだとw

— TK (@taka0730) 2017年5月3日 - 23:06

これ同感なんだけど、それ以上に、日本サッカーというかJリーグ自体の話題性のなさがヤバイなって感じてたりしますわ。

— TK (@taka0730) 2017年5月3日 - 23:03

韓国人俳優に「ファッキン・コリア」 京都のヘイトスピーチを韓国メディアも報道 buzzfeed.com/takumiharimaya… #スッキリ で初めて見たけど、これは完全にアウトだわ(--;)発言した奴こそ「ゴーアウト」だね。

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 08:08

このラーメン屋が謝罪する必要は本当にあるの?謝罪するのは発言した奴だけでOK。 #スッキリ

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 08:12

序盤戦の天王山を制した鹿島が暫定首位に浮上! 昨季のCS決勝に続き再び金崎が埼スタで躍動 soccer-king.jp/news/japan/jl/… 「This is 鹿島」「This is 浦和」と称しても差し支えないゲームだった。

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 17:34

だからこそ、浦和は鹿島には勝てないんだよ。それ以上に鹿島は先制してからのゲームプランがパーフェクト。(これが出来そうでなかなか出来ない)アルビならば前半で破綻しているけど。 twitter.com/mainichi/statu…

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 17:38

鹿島のすごいとこって、こんな大一番制した試合で、じゃ誰がMVP?ってなると、なかなか決められないところ。チームで、ファミリーで戦ってる証拠。
それゆえに代表には選ばれにくいのだけど・・・

ハリルさん、言っちゃいなよ。日本代表発表します・・・・鹿島アントラーズ!なんて。

— Mr.Marintlers (@marintlers) 2017年5月4日 - 17:21

オシムが浦和対ガンバを「ナショナルダービー」と称していたけど、今は鹿島対浦和が「ナショナルダービー」。このゲームはナイトゲームで多くの人々に見てもらいたかったな…。
それにしてもレオとラファエルのマッチアップは緊張感に溢れていたし、二人の偉大さを改めて思い知る…。

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 17:40

浦和 0-1 鹿島
中央はレオシルバ・小笠原がガッチリ固め、関根・宇賀神のサイドは西・伊東がバッチリ封じ、柏木もいないとなると浦和は決定機らしい決定機作れずウノゼロ。
むしろ鹿島のカウンターでもう一点入ってもおかしくなかった。追加… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— 中坊 (@tyuu__bou) 2017年5月4日 - 16:04

西大伍、ペドロジュニオール、レオ、ラファエル。22名中、4名はアルビに在籍したんだよな…。

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 17:48

浦和サポにも冷静な目を持つ方がいるんですな。 twitter.com/tyuu__bou/stat…

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 17:49

浦和DF森脇の「臭い」発言が一触即発の騒動に発展…鹿島MF小笠原と真っ向対立 headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20170504-… 尾沢

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 22:23

浦和DF森脇の「臭い」発言が一触即発の騒動に発展…鹿島MF小笠原と真っ向対立headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20170504-… 小笠原の主張が真実ならば、レオに対する森脇の暴言は、これはアルビサポーターとしても許すわけにいかない(-_-;)

— けいいち (@outside_k1) 2017年5月4日 - 22:25
          HEADLINES: Your First Look at Margiela x H&M, and Katy Perry Dyes Her Hair Orange While Ex Russell Brand Dates Ginger Spice??        
Emma Stone is a badazz blur in Interview Magazine. That’s all. (Styleite)   Conor Cruise/C-squared (Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman’s son) is a serious DJ touring Europe. In other news: “DJ” has replaced “teacher” as the new back-up career. (Buzzfeed)[...]
          Everyday is Valentine's Day        

This post is going to be short and sweet!  While, it's great to have a special holiday set aside to show the person you love how special they are and how much you care, I think everyday should be like Valentine's Day. What's wrong with showing people you love how special they are and how much you care with acts and/or tokens of kindness everyday? Nothing!

This week was designated as random acts of kindness week. We showed acts of kindness to each other but also to others through kind words and small tokens of appreciation. It was a great week and I'm inspired to do it more often! 

If you ever desire to show kindness to others but just don't know how, here are some of my favorite places for ideas!

101 Random Acts of Kindness
26 Random Acts of Kindness
366 Days of Kindness

Hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day by doing random acts of kindness for the people you care about!



          We Sent Alex Jones’ Infowars Supplements To A Lab. Here’s What’s In Them.        

Alex Jones' wildly popular suite of Infowars supplements probably won't kill you, but extensive tests provided to BuzzFeed News have shown that they're little more than overpriced and ineffective blends of vitamins and minerals that have been sold in stores for ages.

The independent test results are the work of Labdoor, a San Francisco-based lab that tests and grades dietary supplements. Labdoor ran full tests on six popular Infowars supplements to determine the exact make-up of each supplement and screen for various dangerous and illegal chemicals. It also investigated a few of the products that "claimed incredible benefits for what seemed like could just be simple ingredients."

"We tested samples in triplicate, and wherever possible, cross-checked those results with at least two independent analytical laboratories, so we have complete trust in our conclusions," Brian Brandley, Labdoor's Laboratory Director told BuzzFeed News.

All of the test results were largely the same: The products are — more or less — accurately advertised. They don't contain significantly more or less of a particular ingredient than listed on the bottles, and there are no surprise ingredients. They're also reasonably safe, meaning they passed heavy metal contaminant screenings and tested free of stimulants, depressants, and other prohibited drugs.

But just because the product's ingredients matched their labels doesn't mean they lived up to Jones' claims. Survival Shield X-2, for example, "is just plain iodine, the same stuff doctor's used to pour on surfaces as a disinfectant," Labdoor's results read.

When the company tested Anthroplex, which retails for $29.95, it found that there was so little zinc that "if you're extremely zinc deficient, the value...is not going to be significantly helpful." The report notes that "you could actually get another zinc orotate supplement for around $5 WITH an impactful serving size," before concluding simply that "this product is a waste of money."

This claim — that the Infowars supplements often contained less effective serving sizes than their less expensive counterparts — was a running theme in Labdoor's results. In almost every example, Labdoor's tests and reviews describe the products as little more than heavily over-priced supplements with few health benefits, if any.

As Jones' popularity has risen, so has his supplements business, which sources have told BuzzFeed News largely funds Jones' highly controversial Infowars media empire — home to incendiary conspiracies including but not limited to: #Pizzagate, that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked, and that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich provided Wikileaks with the DNC emails — in addition to acting as a kind of lifestyle-brand complement to Jones' particular brand of conspiracy-minded, fear-fueled programming.

“He can sell 500 supplements in an hour,” a former employee told BuzzFeed News this spring. “It's like QVC for conspiracy.” One estimate by New York magazine — which uses some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the number of reviews of supplements on Jones' Infowars Life Store — suggests that, with an average supplement price of $30, Jones could haul in $15,000,000 in sales over a two-year period. A second, less conservative, estimate from the magazine puts the figure even higher — nearly $25,000,000 without including repeat customers (of which there are likely many).

Here's a closer look at what exactly is inside the products that keep America's favorite conspiracy theorist on the air, according to Labdoor.

Super Male Vitality/Super Female Vitality (liquid) - $69.95/ $59.95

Super Male Vitality/Super Female Vitality (liquid) - $69.95/ $59.95

Claimed ingredients for Super Male: ​Tribulus Terresteris (fruit), Tongkat Ali (root), Ashwaganda (root), Maca (root), Avena Sativa (leaf/stem), Suma (root), Catuaba (bark), Muira Puama (bark), Fulvic Acid

Claimed ingredients for Super Female: Organic Tribulus Terresteris (fruit), Organic Epimedium (leaf), Organic Ashwaganda (root), Organic Avena Sativa (leaf/stem), Wildcrafted Suma (root), Maca (root), Wildcrafted Tongkat Ali (root), Wildcrafted Muira Puama (bark), Wildcrafted Catuaba (bark), Shilajit

Test results: The lab found no traces of unlisted items like caffeine. Nor did it find any athletic enhancing drugs/stimulants or Viagra.

Labdoor suggests that there is no real research to show that many of Super Vitality's ingredients are effective. One ingredient — Tribulus terrestris — "seems to increase libido in rats" but only improves erectile disfunction "in one lone human study," according to Labdoor. And the lab notes that serving size in both serums is "way too small for this combination of ingredients to be effective."

Labdoor review snippet: "Both of these products are most likely safe, but ineffective."

Anthroplex - $39.95

Anthroplex - $39.95

Claimed ingredients:​ Zinc Orotate, Horny Goat Weed, Tribulus terrestris, Tongkat Ali-Longjack, Fulvic Powder

Test results: Labdoor found that Anthroplex passed a heavy metal screening but noticed a discrepency in the amount of reported zinc in the capsules. According to Labdoor, there's 31% less zinc than advertised. "When we look into the zinc dosage, it's so ridiculously low that you'd basically be buying a worthless product for $40," the report reads.

Review snippet: "This product is a waste of money. The claim that 'Anthroplex works synergistically with the powerful Super Male Vitality formula in order to help restore your masculine foundation and stimulate vitality with its own blend of unique ingredients' is fluff on multiple fronts."

Oxy-Powder (powder) - $46.95

Oxy-Powder (powder) - $46.95

Claimed ingredients:​ Elemental Magnesium, Natural Citric Acid

Test Results: According to Labdoor, the product contains almost exactly the values of magnesium and citric acid that it claims. It also passed a screen for heavy metals.

While the product has the exact ingredients as advertised, Labdoor's report takes issues with Infowars' claims that the product is "ozonated." According to the lab, "Ozone is so reactive that it wouldn't remain as ozone in the supplement itself. Additionally, if you could take ozone, you shouldn't as it's extremely toxic."

Review snippet: "This product's claims related to "nascent oxygen" also have no real
basis in science."

Survival Shield X-2 - $29.95

Survival Shield X-2 - $29.95

Claimed ingredients:​ Iodine (as nascent iodine)

Test results: According to Labdoor, the product contained just under the value of iodine that it claimed. It also passed a screen for heavy metals.

There's not much to say, here. Basically, what Infowars is selling in Survival Shield X-2 is a bottle of iodine at 3x mark-up.

Review Snippet: "We tested this product on the chance that it might be potassium iodide or sodium iodide, which it wasn't. Survival Shield is just plain iodine."

Claimed ingredients:​ Chamomile flower, Jujube Seed, Hawthorn Berry, Catnip Aerial Parts, Lemon Balm Aerial Parts, Long Pepper Fruit, Licorice Root, Amia Fruit, Magnesium Taurinate, Calcium Carbonate, Gotu Kola Aerial Parts, and Essential Oils of Anise Seed, Cassia Bark, and Clove Fruit

Test Results: "This product tested to be free of stimulants and depressants listed as drugs prohibited from athletic competition in WADA's annual Prohibited List. It also passed screenings for heavy metal contamination (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury)."

Labdoor notes that, like the male and female vitality serums, Child Ease "has so many ingredients, they wouldn't be effective in a 1.25 mL serving size."

The report also cautions the use of these ingredients in children, especially given the lab's suspicion that "Infowars may also be marketing this supplement as a way to treat autism or a substitute for vaccines." The lab notes that "these recommendations are unfounded and dangerous."

Review Snippet: "It also has ingredients that have never been studied for safety or efficacy in human research and as a consumer, you're supposed to blindly trust that it's okay for your kids."

The following products were not lab tested by Labdoor, but they were reviewed by the lab's research team:

Joint Formula (pills) - $29.95

Joint Formula (pills) - $29.95

Review Snippet: "Almost all of the listed ingredients are not supported in research for joint health."

Caveman True Paleo Formula (shake powder) - $59.95

Caveman True Paleo Formula (shake powder) - $59.95

Review Snippet: "They're using fancy ingredient names for what are really simple ingredients"

Lung Cleanse (spray) - $49.95

Lung Cleanse (spray) - $49.95

Review Snippet: "It's maybe like a spray liquid cough drop in your throat - temporarily effective, but not worth $50."

DNA Force (pills) - $134.95

DNA Force (pills) - $134.95

Review Snippet: "There's no way to definitively test 'DNA health', so having a claim of supporting DNA and/or mitochondrial function seems far-fetched"

Deep Cleanse (liquid) - $29.95

Deep Cleanse (liquid) - $29.95

Review Snippet: This one is very short and to the point. "This is basically an iodine supplement with more than likely ineffective herbal ingredients."

Myco-ZX (pills) - $54.95

Myco-ZX (pills) - $54.95

Review Snippet: "This product's ingredients are unsupported in research and there's very little guidance on safe dosing."

Brain Force Plus - $20.96

Brain Force Plus - $20.96

Review Snippet: At the current serving size, however, dosing is significantly
lower than expected for most ingredients

Secret 12 - Vitamin B12 (liquid) - $23.96

Secret 12 - Vitamin B12 (liquid) - $23.96

Review Snippet: "There's nothing really "secret" about this product's main ingredient"

Winter Sun Vitamin D (liquid) - $23.96

Winter Sun Vitamin D (liquid) - $23.96

Review Snippet: "you couldgrab a bottle for around $10 and skip the 2X+ price markup from Infowars"

Colloidal Silver: (liquid) - $19.95

Colloidal Silver: (liquid) - $19.95

Review Snippet: "There's no proof that this works."



          FaceApp Is At It Again With Racial Selfie Filters        

Remember FaceApp?

Back in April, it was a suddenly popular Internet Thing(™) that would make your face look like you were a baby, an old person, or a different gender. Neat!

Then people noticed that the app's "Spark" filter (at first called the "Hot" filter) just made them look whiter.

The company removed the filter in response to the backlash. At the time, FaceApp told BuzzFeed News that the whitening effect wasn't intentional: "It is an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior." All was seemingly well.

But now FaceApp is at it again.

The app introduced new filters today: "Asian, Black, Caucasian, and Indian." It may have Milkshake Ducked itself.

FaceApp said in a statement to BuzzFeed News: "The ethnicity change filters have been designed to be equal in all aspects. They don’t have any positive or negative connotations associated with them. They are even represented by the same icon. In addition to that, the list of those filters is shuffled for every photo, so each user sees them in a different order."

"The 'Spark' filter was quite a different case. It implied a positive transformation and therefore, it was unacceptable for an algorithm to implicitly change the ethnicity origin," FaceApp added.

Here's what happens: You take a selfie.

With some skepticism.

You select some filters.

Clockwise from top right, my choices were Caucasian (looks most like my Caucasian self, but with icier blue eyes), Asian, black, and Indian.

Should we take a second look at that?

Here's what happened when BuzzFeed News video producer Brendan Logan tried FaceApp's new filters:

Clockwise from top right: Asian, black, caucasian, no filter.

And BuzzFeed News reporter Katie Notopoulos:

Clockwise from top right: black, Asian, Indian, no filter.

And Jill Stachyra, who sent BuzzFeed News her selfies (below). She's 16, lives in New York, and identifies as half black and half white.

"I got this notification and I'm SHOOK. That is me; I'm a half-black/white 16-year-old girl from NY and I'm infuriated. This should not be normal," she told BuzzFeed News.

"Top left is normal; top right is 'Black' — notice the enlarged lips 🙄 — lower left is 'Asian' and lower right is 'Indian,' which correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, India was in Asia," she said.

Some people on Twitter were not pleased:

But some people were into it...?



          A Mysterious Anonymous Letter Was Allegedly Behind Target’s Hampton Creek Recall        

The envelope of a letter sent to a retailer this summer, containing allegations about Hampton Creek's products. The return address names Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek's CEO; the company says he did not write this letter.

An investigator hired by Hampton Creek, the Silicon Valley food startup famous for its eggless mayonnaise, says a mysterious entity appears to be trying to sabotage it.

An unsigned letter sent this summer to an unnamed major retailer claimed that Hampton Creek had contaminated and mislabeled products, according to the investigator. And the return address indicated that it was from CEO Josh Tetrick — even though Hampton Creek denies he wrote it.

The investigator told BuzzFeed News this was one of two known such anonymous letters — and the other was sent to Target, which issued a high-profile recall of Hampton Creek’s products as a result.

While it’s unclear whether the two letters were identical or sent by the same person, the identity of the sender or senders is “the million-dollar question,” said the investigator, who requested anonymity. “It’s clearly fraud.” He also said that Hampton Creek is “weighing their legal options.”

At the time of its recall in late June, Target publicly said that the allegations it had received were unconfirmed, but specific and serious enough to warrant action.

Those claims included allegations that pathogens like salmonella and listeria were found in Hampton Creek products and at one of the facilities where the company’s products are made; that some products were incorrectly labeled as non-genetically modified; and that the company failed to list honey as an ingredient in its sweet mustard salad dressing.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

This week, Hampton Creek said it’s working to get back on Target’s shelves after the Food and Drug Administration reviewed its products and told the company it found nothing of concern. Target had carried around 20 of Hampton Creek’s items, which include eggless mayonnaise, cookies, cookie dough, and salad dressing.

“More than a month ago, Target was led to believe that several of our products were mislabeled or unsafe,” Hampton Creek spokesperson Andrew Noyes said in a statement. “We’ve remained confident that our products were safe and properly labeled, and that when presented with the facts, the FDA would agree. As expected, they have. They informed us, after reviewing applicable evidence, that the matter is closed.”

A Target spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

News of the Target recall was originally broken by Bloomberg. The investigator said that in addition to being mailed in an envelope with a return label that falsely named Tetrick, the letter also indicated that a copy was sent to Bloomberg.

This is the latest twist in a tumultuous summer for Hampton Creek. Last month, Bloomberg reported that at least five members have left the startup’s board of directors, leaving only Tetrick.

But on Tuesday, Hampton Creek also got the effective green light from the FDA to use a proprietary ingredient — a mung bean protein isolate — in a forthcoming product, Just Scramble, an egg substitute that scrambles like an egg.

LINK: Hampton Creek Has Ditched Its Name, And Is Now "Just."


          Facebook Has Killed The App It Was Using To Attract Teen Users        

Facebook has discontinued Lifestage, a standalone selfie-sharing app for iOS and Android aimed exclusively at high schoolers.

Thomas White / Reuters

The app, created by a 20-year-old product manager at the company named Michael Sayman, lasted less than a year, with Facebook officially ending support for it on August 4, according to a spokesperson. Sayman joined Facebook when he was 18. Business Insider first reported the news of the app's shutdown.

Lifestage opened to a phone's camera, much like Snapchat does. Teens on the app — it only allowed people under 21 to sign up — could share pictures and videos of themselves that only people at their school could watch, much like the app Afterschool. Twenty registered users or more comprised a school.

But not long after it first debuted Lifestage, Facebook largely obviated the need for it by creating in-app Snapchat clones with Instagram Stories, Whatsapp Stories, and Facebook Stories. The company said in a statement, "We've gotten some helpful feedback from this app that we're using to improve a number of visual and camera features across the Facebook app."

It continued, “Teens continue to make up an important part of the global community on Facebook, and we've learned a lot from Lifestage. We will continue to incorporate these learnings into features in the main Facebook app.”

Facebook never shared user numbers for Lifestage. Overall, the company had 2 billion monthly active users as of June 2017. In November 2016, Facebook said that a billion of its monthly users only access the social network on their phones.

Of all Facebook's standalone apps, only Facebook Messenger has reached a number of monthly active users — 1.2 billion in April 2017 — comparable to Facebook itself. The company's other apps, including Facebook Slingshot, Riff, Rooms, Moments, another Snapchat clone called Poke (RIP 2012-2014), and its Instant Articles predecessor Paper (RIP 2014-2016) have not achieved widespread adoption. Facebook shut down the team responsible for these experiments, the Creative Labs division, last year.

Lots of people on Twitter had not heard of Lifestage and joked that it had never been A Thing.

Facebook’s New App Is All About Getting Teens To Share Videos Of Themselves

The Facebook App Now Has Camera, Direct, And Stories, Three Features That Copy Snapchat

Instagram Adds Face Filters, Snapchat Cloning Complete


          Of Course Google Had To Fire James Damore        

Brian Snyder / Reuters

The culture wars come for us all, and this week it was Google's turn.

Sometime on Saturday, an internal "anti-diversity" memo written by an engineer named James Damore spread throughout Google's internal messaging systems before being leaked in full to the press. The memo — which argued that genetic inferiority was the reason for the gender pay gap at Google and other tech companies — also took issue with the politics of Silicon Valley and other elite institutions. Google's progressive biases, Damore argued, alienated conservatives and effectively silenced voices that weren't aligned with a specific brand of social justice.

Google swiftly and strongly condemned the contents of the memo. The company’s vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance, Danielle Brown, issued a statement arguing that although Google remained an open environment for “difficult political views,” those views need to “work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.” Similarly, Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a statement saying that the memo was a violation of Google's Code of Conduct. On Monday evening, Google fired Damore.

It's easy to see that the company had little choice but to fire Damore for violating its Code of Conduct. At its core, Damore’s manifesto, and the backlash it inspired, was an HR issue. But the incident also played right into these highly charged political times.

Indeed, within minutes, Damore’s firing spawned a predictable fallout across social media. In conservative pockets of the internet, Damore was hailed as a hero for speaking up. RIght-wing blogs like Breitbart have doubled down on the story, attempting to back Damore's assertions in articles featuring interviews with scientists who agree with him. On Twitter, pro-Trump media figures like Jack Posobiec combed through Danielle Brown's social media accounts and found that she worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Across 4chan, trolls floated Google boycotts and campaigns to "push back against" the company for its decision. Both Julian Assange and the right-leaning social network Gab offered Damore a job. Damore has threatened legal action for wrongful termination. A mess.

In almost every respect, the Damore debacle is perfect grist for our current culture war mill. It touches on all the hot-button issues of the day: gender, ideological monoculture, anti-conservative bias, and the political and cultural makeup of one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world and others like it.

But while the debate across the internet is broadly concerned with the external politics of the firing, the internal politics are much more clear-cut. The memo was almost certainly as controversial within Google as it was on the broader internet: Emails were exchanged, complaints made, and employees drawn into conversations and away from their work. Executives have a material and procedural interest in pacifying their employees, and at least some of Google’s were upset.

What’s more, Damore's manifesto argument that women are biologically inferior is an untenable position inside almost any company — not just politically, but logistically. The first issue being: What does one do with Damore inside the company? You can't call people inferior and then, say, manage them. Or perhaps even be managed by them. And so who does Damore work with going forward? Will people still work with him? Does his career trajectory change post-memo? Is it fair to, say, exclude him from a management track? Does he need to switch teams? Do others need to switch teams? The manifesto invites endless human resources questions, many of them without any good answer.

Though we imbue Silicon Valley’s companies with all manner of culture war implications, at the end of the day they’re just that — companies, with bottom lines to meet and employees to keep happy. In suggesting that a large portion of his colleagues were genetically inferior, Damore got in the way of all that. Of course he was fired. The red line for the company wasn’t that Damore said that Google has "an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology” — it was that he explicitly belittled an entire gender.

But in 2017, everything is political. Thus, the online shitstorm. And in Silicon Valley, it’s especially fraught. Though they tend to position themselves as politically neutral, many of the world’s biggest tech companies employ largely Democrats and espouse socially liberal values such as marriage equality and women’s rights — a fact that has long been cause for anxiety from conservatives who feel the biggest platforms are too powerful to have any overwhelming political ideologies.

Specifically, Google has a well-documented progressive culture. In 2008, the company came out forcefully in favor of marriage equality, well before it was embraced by most politicians. The company's executive leadership has long championed liberal candidates and individually donated generously to their campaigns. Alphabet Chief Executive Eric Schmidt wasn't just an Obama donor, but advised his 2012 election campaign on digital strategies. In 2016, Schmidt was closely involved with Hillary Clinton's campaign, investing heavily in technology startups that eventually became the Clinton campaign’s "top technology vendor."

Political bias makes the tech companies squeamish too. Most days, it seems, the companies and their leaders are grappling with the dueling desires to live up to their progressive values while also finding a way to appear as neutral platforms. They want #resistance without the responsibility (and backlash). And it's left the companies appearing tone deaf and seemingly unable to reconcile their values with the messy nature of being political in 2017.

But even if everything's political in 2017, it's not always necessarily politically motivated. When an employee alienates a significant percentage of the company’s workforce, the company has no choice but to sever ties, lest it be seen as forcing thousands of women in the company to simply put up with the idea that they’re genetically inferior.

And as recent history shows, severing ties under intense internal pressure happens on both sides of the aisle. Breitbart News, which has fiercely criticized Google for Damore’s firing in numerous articles, recently terminated writer Katie McHugh for a series of anti-Muslim tweets. And early this year, reports detailed that the site forced its most popular editor, Milo Yiannopoulos, to resign after pressure from higher-ups regarding comments he made that were viewed as an endorsement of pedophilia. Similarly, the conservative conference CPAC also canceled on Yiannopoulos after the controversy.

Google’s decision is no different. And if the company is guilty of any disingenuousness, it’s in the messaging of Damore’s termination, which is exacerbated by Google's — and Silicon Valley's — precarious attempt to appear unbiased. Google could and should have been clearer about why Damore was fired. It could have noted that the company indeed does have political echo chamber issues. It could have taken pains to publicly reach out to conservatives in the company and begin a dialogue about political alienation in the workplace. It could have stressed that Damore’s memo wasn’t written in a vacuum, just as Google and Silicon Valley do not exist in a vacuum, and that the company understands that, for better or worse, everything is political now and the sooner Silicon Valley can come to terms with that, the better.

But above all else, Google should have stressed that the decision to fire Damore was difficult, but ultimately the only course of action — not a salacious political issue, but a mundane business decision.



          India’s Government Just Banned The Internet Archive And People Are Furious        

India’s government has blocked the Internet Archive, the free, 21-year-old online digital library that lets anyone find archived versions of millions of webpages through the Wayback Machine. The move has prompted backlash in India, particularly because the access to deleted webpages that the Internet Archive provides offers an easy way to get around government censorship.

The news was first reported by Indian technology news website MediaNama.

Users in India who tried accessing the website on Tuesday evening saw a boilerplate message from India’s Department of Telecommunications, which the government throws up whenever it directs internet service providers in the country to block websites.

BuzzFeed News screenshot

It's not clear why the website was blocked. An Internet Archive spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the service had not been contacted by the Indian government, and that its queries to the Department of Telecommunications and the country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology have gone unanswered. "Obviously, we are disappointed and concerned by this situation and are very eager to understand why it's happening and see full access restored to archive.org," the spokesperson said.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Department of Telecommunications for comment.

"It seems highly unlikely to me that the Wayback Machine or Archive.org threaten national security or public order in a way that Google's Cache or a well-stocked library don't," Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society, a think tank based in Bangalore, told BuzzFeed News. "The blocking orders the Department of Telecom sends to ISPs are marked 'confidential' rather than being published officially on [the department's] official website." Doing this prevents citizens from knowing why a website is blocked.

"This is another reminder of the capricious, arbitrary, and utterly opaque nature of online censorship in India," Prakash told BuzzFeed News.

Minutes after the Internet Archive was banned, furious Indians took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

Twitter: @Memeghnad

Twitter: @tishasaroyan

Twitter: @tishasaroyan

Twitter: @thej

India has a controversial history of blocking websites or internet access entirely.

A controversial section in India's Information Security Act, which was upheld by the Indian Supreme Court in 2015, allows any officer in the country's central government to ask internet service providers in the country to block any website to protect the country's "sovereignty and integrity."

This is the second time that the Internet Archive has been blocked by the Indian government. In 2014, it was among the 31 websites banned in the country — along with GitHub, Pastebin, and Vimeo — for "carrying anti-Indian content" by ISIS. Concerned citizens criticized the move.

And in the Indian state of Kashmir, the government has cut off access to the internet more than 30 times since 2012.

For now, some Indian redditors have discovered a workaround to access the Internet Archive.

Can verify.

http://archive.org is banned. You can get around it with https://archive.org.


          Apple Just Launched A “Shot On iPhone” Instagram Account        

Apple just launched an official Instagram account dedicated to iPhone photography, and it's looking for iPhone photographers to feature.

Instagram: @apple

The description of the Apple account reads, "Welcome to @apple. Tag #ShotOniPhone to take part," indicating that Apple is searching for photos on Instagram to post on its account. Instagram users around the world have been already been posting photos using the hashtag.

iTunes, Apple Music, iBooks, Planet of the Apps, Carpool Karaoke, and Beats headphones already have Instagram accounts. The new Instagram account appears to source images from iPhone photographers around the world.

The account's first posts all bear the hashtag #ShotOniPhone, which is also the tagline of a prominent iPhone marketing campaign.

Instagram: @apple

Each post is a collection of several photos with personal remarks from their photographers.

The account's following is growing rapidly. At 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, it had 70,000 followers. By 2:30 p.m., it had 188,000.

Instagram: @apple

Here are some more of the posts:

Instagram: @apple

Instagram: @apple

Instagram: @apple

Apple's new account is also posting Instagram Stories:

Apple

The account's stories currently show Instagram users' photos, which are narrated by sound clips of the photographers talking about their photo subjects and their approaches to photography.

Apple

Apple

Apple did not respond to request for comment.

11 Hacks For Taking The Best Possible iPhone Photos

Apple Is Reportedly Releasing A Cellular Version Of The Apple Watch Later This Year

Apple CEO Successfully Avoids Discussing Trump When Asked About Trump


          Apple Is Reportedly Releasing A Cellular Version Of The Apple Watch Later This Year        

Issei Kato / Reuters

Apple is planning to release a cellular version of its Apple Watch smartwatch later this year, according to a report Friday from Bloomberg.

That means the Apple Watch would no longer rely solely on the iPhone to download or stream data, and would be able to connect to an LTE network. You may be able to leave your iPhone at home and receive incoming calls or texts to your watch — a capability that many cellular-enabled Android smartwatches, such as the Samsung Gear S3 and LG Watch Sport, already offer.

Bloomberg also reports that the smartwatch will be equipped with an Intel-supplied chip and that the company is in talks with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile about carrying the cellular version.

Last year's model, the Apple Watch Series 2, introduced GPS, which decreased the watch's reliance on an iPhone connection. With GPS tracking turned on, however, the device's battery life is reduced from about 18 to five hours. A cellular connection would also impact battery life.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

To compensate for battery drain due to data use, many smartwatchmakers, such as LG, have simply increased the size of the battery. The LG Watch Sport, introduced earlier this year, is designed to work with Android devices and has cellular LTE data, built-in GPS, NFC for mobile payments, and a heart rate sensor — all features that the upcoming Apple Watch will likely have.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The new Apple Watch may also ship with WatchOS 4, the latest version of the watch's software, slated for release this fall. The update includes new watch faces, a redesigned workout app with better pool integration for swimmers, the ability to exchange information with gym equipment, and deeper AirPod integration.

Apple has historically announced the latest version of the iPhone and Apple Watch during its annual September keynote.

John Gruber, who runs the Daring Fireball blog and has been known to have early information on Apple products, said he had also heard the new cellular watch model would include an "all-new form factor."

"It’s hard to overstate just how big a deal this could be," Gruber said. "No mention in Businessweek’s report, though, of the all-new form factor that I’ve heard is coming for this year’s new watches."


          Some Etsy Employees Aren’t Happy About The Company’s More Corporate Direction        

Two years after an unimpressive IPO, Etsy fired its CEO and restructured the company in hopes of increasing revenue and putting the company on the path toward greater profitability. These efforts, which included laying off nearly a quarter of its staff so far this year, seem to be working, based on a positive earnings report released earlier today. But some of Etsy’s approximately 800 employees aren’t happy with the direction of the company, and around a dozen employees have drafted a public petition demanding change. Fifty people have signed it so far.

“We believe these changes represent a move away from Etsy’s mission and values, and we are feeling uncertain about what the future holds for us as Etsy employees and for Etsy’s community of creative entrepreneurs,” the employee petition reads. It was published by Etsy engineer Kiron Roy earlier this week, and is said to represent the interests of both Etsy employees and the independent artists and crafters who sell their goods on the site.

Employees supporting the petition have five main requests for Etsy’s board of directors and executive team: a plan to provide health insurance for some of the people who sell goods on Etsy, reassurance that Etsy’s six-month parental leave policy won’t be dismantled, transparency around severance packages, a recommitment to Etsy’s environmental sustainability goals, and an open discussion about widespread restructuring within the company, including the dissolution of specific teams and projects.

“There have been large changes at Etsy that affect every employee’s life, and there continue to be changes in the works that we have no visibility into. I don’t think we’re asking for control over every little thing that happens, but I think we feel uncertain in our day-to-day jobs,” Roy told BuzzFeed News. “There’s a lot of uncertainty about how long these structural changes might last, and I think that the essential radio silence from the leadership team didn't do anything to help employees work through that uncertainty.”

For much of its 12-year history, Etsy has been trying to build a sustainable, responsible, socially conscious startup inside an industry known for its cutthroat capitalism. In 2012, it was officially designated as a B Corp, which means it met certain standards around diversity, environmentalism, and economic impact. In a profile last year, New York Magazine described Etsy’s Brooklyn headquarters as “an extremely cozy private welfare state.”

But as Bloomberg reported in May, support for Etsy’s unusually anti-corporate way of doing things started to wane after the company went public in 2015. Etsy’s unimpressive stock performance caught the eye of tech investor Seth Wunder, who bought up Etsy shares and used his stake to push the company toward a more traditional management style, demanding less spending on social-good issues.

In May, shortly after Wunder presented his requests to Etsy’s board, Chad Dickerson was fired as CEO and 80 employees were laid off. In June, 150 more employees were laid off; at the time, new Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said the company would be “moving forward with a more nimble structure that supports our current business needs.”

“Etsy was endeavoring to change the way the world did business,” writes Jed B., one of the employees who signed the petition, “but in recent months leadership has seemed more interested in doing what everyone else is already doing.”

A spokesperson said Etsy is “aware of the petition” but doesn’t “comment publicly on internal company discussions.”

Roy said he’s had multiple one-on-one meetings with leaders inside Etsy since the petition first went public. He described those conversations as “genial,” saying, “I think they understand that this is not about us versus them.” But he says the issues raised in the petition need to be addressed with all employees.

“Many of us joined Etsy specifically because we viewed it as a company that treats its values seriously. We put our values into our filing for for initial public offering as risk factors, saying, ‘We’re going to be living up to our values, and that’s a risk you have to understand if you’re going to invest in Etsy,’” Roy said. “As an engineer, I prefer to work at Etsy versus some other company where I could make more money because I believe it’s a value-led, ethical company.”


          Here Are 9 Things Larry Page Couldn’t Remember About Google In His Uber-Waymo Deposition        

He does, however, remember that he is not a lawyer.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

There’s a lot that Google co-founder Larry Page seemingly doesn’t know about Google.

Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, displayed his apparent lack of knowledge during questioning on July 17 as part of Alphabet’s lawsuit against Uber over self-driving car technology. On Wednesday, Uber’s lawyers asked a judge to compel the executive to be questioned again, claiming that Page wasn’t adequately prepared for the July deposition.

Waymo, a self-driving car startup owned by Alphabet is suing Uber, claiming that the ride-hail behemoth hired a former Alphabet employee who it knew had stolen trade secrets regarding a patented sensor system used in autonomous vehicles.

The two companies have been duking it out in a series of court hearings and filings since February, ahead of a trial currently scheduled for October.

The latest in that battle came today, with Uber demanding it be allowed to depose Page again. Uber says that based on Page’s deposition — which is littered with claims that he isn’t aware of or can’t recall information about the case and his company — it’s clear the Google founder wasn’t properly prepared by his legal team.

Both sides will have to wait and see what US District Judge William Alsup has to say about that.

Uber’s lawyer: Sir, I'd like to start by asking you some questions about the bonus that was paid to Anthony Levandowski. He received a bonus that was in excess of $120 million; is that right?

Page: I'm not familiar with the exact amount, but that sounds correct.

Uber’s lawyer: You recall it was over 100 million?

Page: I recall it was large.


View Entire List ›


          â€˜Dear Kitten’ ad gives a feline take on the Super Bowl        
Friskies’ “Dear Kitten” web series is heading to the Super Bowl with a new spot from BuzzFeed. The 60-second commercial, called “Dear Kitten: Regarding the Big Game,” features a voice-over “cat” explaining the unusual behaviors and fashion exhibited by humans during the NFL championship game. “Let me warn you, it gets weird,” he says, then […]
          my BuzzFeed plagiarism (maybe) debacle        

This is an awkward reentry into writing here, since there’s plenty of other stuff to talk about, but let’s start with this:

BuzzFeed ripped off one of my MamaPop posts.

Note: What makes this whole thing kind of directionless is that MamaPop shut down for good a few weeks ago so the original post is no longer [...]

          Echo Chambers and Alternative Facts: PR in the Public Sphere        
By Jacqueline Sofia

Echo Chambers and Alternative Facts: PR in the Public Sphere
There’s an echo in the room. Do you hear it? Every time you scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feed, that echo reverberates louder and the walls inch inward.

You see a headline that makes you nod in agreement. You “like” it and move on to the next post. Some of the articles have no basis in fact, but you’re not reading the articles anyway, just the headlines. The more you click that blue thumbs-up emoji, the less the facts matter, and the more your emotions start to build their own reality inside these walls. Now the air is thick with alternative facts in an alternative reality of your own making.

Welcome to your echo chamber.

Swaying Public Opinion

This isn’t the Twilight Zone. The practice of engineering public opinion through mass dissemination of information, and watching as that information (factual or not) sways people’s emotions and actions, can be traced back more than 100 years.

In October 1902, leaders of the American coal mining industry were arguing over whether the president cared more about mine operators or mine workers. Theodore Roosevelt’s response was, “I speak for neither the operators nor the miners but for the general public.”

Roosevelt and his administration pioneered the use of public relations to convince the American people that the U.S. government was equipping them with the necessary facts to make policy decisions that were rooted in their best interests.

An activist in many respects, Roosevelt felt strongly for the well-being of anthracite miners who were on strike in Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. Although he could have let his emotions guide major U.S. policy decisions, he instead went out seeking the facts — not “alternative facts,” but actual information that could be verified, including first-hand accounts of the living and working conditions of striking miners, as well as non-union mine workers.

Roosevelt carefully researched the issues facing the American labor force, and helped galvanize public opinion in support of the government’s ability to present accurate information and proposed solutions, for the sake of the greater public good. In essence, his public relations strategy wasn’t just fact-based, it was also ethical.

Manipulating the Message

Let’s not be naïve. Unethical tactics are used as a part of larger public relations strategies all the time. Some tactics are more disturbing than others. The manipulation of facts to serve a biased agenda and garner support from the masses was most notably enacted by the Nazi regime leading up to and throughout World War II (1939-1945).

The German propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and other Nazis managed to take hold of the human psyche and derail the world’s understanding of what was fact and what was fiction by carefully crafting public relations campaigns that included posters, children’s books and newspaper ads depicting Jews as criminals and crooked personalities.

These tactics came to a head on the night of Nov. 9, 1938. The “Night of Broken Glass” saw the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and the arson of Jewish-owned businesses and synagogues , with additional campaign tactics following the events, blaming Jews for the violence. Over the next six years, more than 6 million European Jews and minority groups were murdered in one of the largest genocides the world has ever seen, otherwise known as the Holocaust.

Whether we choose to call it “propaganda” or “alternative facts,” the definition is the same, and so are the results: A public relations agenda utilizing mass media to reiterate false information, resulting in a loss of basic humanity.

Now imagine how history might have unfolded if Roosevelt or Hitler had Twitter.

Social Media Becomes Powerful Megaphone

The speed at which we can re-post, retweet or Snapchat whatever we want on today’s social media platforms is alarming. At no previous point in history have we been able to disseminate information with such ease to so many people at once, whether that content is a vehicle for telling people the facts, or creating “alternative facts.”

In the past 18 months, rhetoric used by President Donald J. Trump and re-posted throughout Twitter and Facebook has included phrases such as, “bad hombres” and “rapists” in reference to Mexican immigrants, as well as repeated xenophobic remarks against Muslims and a call for a Muslim registry in the U.S. – a proposed move that is frighteningly similar to the stars that Hitler demanded all Jews wear on their clothing.

And now, to the present: on Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 27 and Feb. 24, a mosque burnt to the ground here in the U.S. Three of the four fires have been ruled as arson. And on Feb. 26, more than 100 headstones were toppled in a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

More than 100 years after Roosevelt, we must ask ourselves whether politicians, or any public figures, are taking their cues from our former president and speaking on behalf of the greater good, or if they are operating by an alternative set of facts in order to achieve an alternative (and dangerous) agenda. In a world where anybody with a Twitter account can make a statement to 25 million people at once, and where our news feeds are our own personally programmed echo chambers, it’s important to question the legitimacy of the information we’re being spoon fed through our screens.

PRSA Reaffirms Core Code of Ethics

As PR professionals, we advise our clients on what type of messaging they should send out into the world, and we do our best to advise them on what facts to disseminate in those messages. We also try to predict what the reaction will be from those who digest that information —Facebook “likes” and Twitter retweets are measured, recorded and analyzed. We try to understand the psyche of our clients’ followers, because we want to know what catches their attention, and duplicate it for the success of future clients.

We also hold ourselves accountable to a core set of ethics. Regardless of whether a Facebook post filled with exaggerated content and alternative facts could garner mass attention and popularity for our clients, we choose instead to operate on truth.

What about our industry as a whole? Are we doing enough collectively to battle the alternative facts that are inundating our newsfeeds? It’s evident that the field of public relations and communications has a fraught history, but which end of history are we going to choose to define us?

In January, the Public Relations Society of America, which represents 22,000 communications professionals and sets a code of ethics for the profession, took a firm stand. PRSA Chair Jane Dvorak released a statement reaffirming the organization’s commitment  to communicating with honesty and accuracy.

“PRSA strongly objects to any effort to deliberately misrepresent information,” the statement said. “Honest, ethical professionals never spin, mislead or alter facts. We applaud our colleagues and professional journalists who work hard to find and report the truth.”

Communicating with honesty and integrity is a core value for the PR and marketing team at Furia Rubel, as it should be for all of us.


          Are you ready for the 2014 World Cup?        
[Not me cheering for the start of a match.]
It's almost time for the first match to start!


If you are not a football fan but are considering following coverage of the tournament, this link offers a good guide to some basic terms. It isn't complete (the playing field, for example, is referred to as the pitch) but it's a good starter.

Here are a few more things that it helps to know.

Players are prohibited from intentionally touching the ball with their hands in any way, which is an offense known as a handball. In this game, though, the hand includes the arm, starting where the arm attaches to the shoulder so handling the ball is broadly construed. This rule has two exceptions. The first exception is the goal keeper, who can only pick up the ball inside the penalty box, which is the larger of two painted boxes on each end of the pitch. (The smaller box inside of the penalty box defines goal area.) The other exception is when a ball leaves the pitch on the sideline. In this case the team who isn't responsible for the ball going out of bounds (the one that didn't touch it last) has a player pick it up and throw it back in. With the proper form of course -- failure to do a throw in right will be flagged.

Why the two boxes on each end?

Because some fouls are handled differently depending upon where they occur. If a defender draws a foul in his team's penalty box, the opposing team earns a penalty kick. Some context is needed for this as it is a crucial occurrence in any match.

There are basically two kinds of free kicks awarded for fouls, indirect and direct. You'll know a typical free direct kick because defenders will line up between the ball and the goal (at least 10 meters away from the ball) while covering their crotches with their hands. A direct kick means you can score directly from the kick itself, whereas an indirect kick means the ball must be touched by another player first. But not just any free kick is a penalty kick. A penalty kick is a free direct kick awarded for a foul inside the penalty box that is taken from a designated central spot located between the lines for the penalty box and the goal box. In other words, right in front of the goal. And it's a one-on-one shot against the goalie at that point blank range. Which means that at the professional and international levels of competition, a failure to score on a penalty kick is considered to be either blown attempt for the one taking the shot or an amazing save by the keeper.

The smaller box marks the limits of goal area where a goal kick may be taken. What's a goal kick? If the ball leaves the pitch along the goal line (the one marking the far ends rather than the sides of the pitch) and an attacking player was the last to touch it, the defending team gets a goal kick to reintroduce the ball into play.

I'll finish up with the corner kick. If a defender is the last to touch the ball before it crosses the goal line and go out of bounds, the attacking team gets to place it on the corner of the pitch on the same side where the ball exited. Defenders must stand back 10 yards for the ball as with indirect kicks. Often the player taking the corner will try to "cross it" in front of the goal in the hopes that in all of the pushing and jumping it gets knocked into the net for a score. A different strategy is to kick the ball back away from the goal to another player who can either take a power shot (through the crowd) or try to pass it around to an open player.

As you might imagine, penalty kicks and corner kicks are major events in any match as they are prime scoring opportunities, and both are the responsibility of the defenders to avoid if possible (and for the attackers to try and draw). There are other rules and lots of team formations and strategies involved (see "diving" for example), but this short introduction includes the highlights that will best help you better appreciate the matches.

Go on and enjoy the international competition!
          #NeverTrump: Donald Trump for president? That joke isn't funny anymore        
I really don't like talking politics on the internet, and even less so in this blog. Jon and I have tried to keep this blog as an escape from the "real world." I get into enough arguments about Yankees-Mets or Yankees-Red Sox; I don't need to fight political arguments, too!

Until now, that is. I really feel compelled to say something about Donald Trump. I want to add my voice to those who are trying to stop this demagogue and bully from getting the Republican presidential nomination, or, (heaven forbid) becoming president. 

So I feel like not saying something in the bully pulpit of this blog when I feel so strongly on this would be cowardice, And I never want to be a coward. To quote both Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata and soul singer James Brown, I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees. 

That's because I went through multiple bullying horrors in my childhood, which have made me have a pretty visceral reaction as an adult to bullies. Nowadays, I stand up for myself pretty well (some might say too well!) because I never want to experience that feeling of powerlessness as I did back then, when I wasn't able to fight for myself. 

Nor do I ever want to be the type of person who sees something awful happening to other people, and just pretends to ignore it.  That's not how I live my life. In fact, I actually get angrier when I see others, especially loved ones, being bullied than I would if it were myself. Because at least I know I can do something about it and not put up with it. Other people can't always do that, for various reasons..

Anyhow, all this is to say is that the more this Trump candidacy goes on, the angrier I get. For our country's sake. And like any bully, he's been getting away with this because almost nobody has taken a stand until now. The media has been in the tank for him because he's good for ratings. The Republican Party has been afriad of alienating his voters. And a lot of us were hoping that this was a bad dream, and he would go away before long. So much for that.

Several things really sent me over the edge this past week and compelled me to speak out. The first was Trump stumbling over disawoving David Duke -- and the criticism Mitt Romney got from professionals who should know better for calling him on it! Romney got compared to Mother Jones (Laura Ingraham) and President Obama (Tucker Carlson) for doing so. Is that how far we've fallen as a nation in 2016, that we're actually arguing on whether or not to denounce the KKK? Not to mention how nasty and insulting Trump is with anybody else who annoys him, but he had such a hard time attacking Duke and the Klan. Very telling.

The second was Trump's campaign giving a white supremacist radio host full media credentials (at the same time they were refusing credentials to the Des Moines Register, Buzzfeed, and Fusion.net because they didn't write 100% positively about him) and even having his son Donald Jr.appear on the cretin's radio show, at the same time African-American students were being ejected from his speech at Valdosta College in Georgia without actually doing anything worth being thrown out for.

The third is the way Trump uses and would, if he were president, abuse the military. Over and over, he has talked about using the U.S. military as his personal goon squad, suggesting that they do torture worse than waterboarding, and that they kill suspected terrorists' families. These things happen to be war crimes. And when it was pointed out to Trump at the last debate that these things are illegal, he scoffed at the very notion, saying about the service members: "They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse. Believe me," and claimed that this was what "leadership" was all about. No, that's what being a dictator is all about. He finally backed down on this, but who knows what he would do in office?

The fourth was the revelation that the anti-immgration Trump, who talks tough about American jobs, brings in captive (and white) staff from countries like Romania to staff  his resort Mar-a-Lago, instead of hiring American workers. As Ted Cruz very effectively pointed out at the latest debate by asking ex-waiters and waitresses in the audience to raise their hands, American workers would not turn down such a job, as Trump claims.

And finally, the idea of Trump getting anywhere near the Oval Office terrifies me. His thin-skinned attitude, which was amusing in "Celebrity Apprentice" (he refused to pick the deserving Penn Gillette to win because Penn said something about Trump in a book that he didn't like) would be horrifying if he were in the Oval Office. He's already threatened to throw out libel laws so that he can sue writers who say mean things about him. He thinks judges sign bills and thinks he can have 11 million deported on his say-so. As my friend Joe says, Trump doesn't even show a sixth-grader's knowledge of civics class. God help us all if he gets his finger near the button. Will he start World War III if some world leader mocks his combover?

The worst thing about Trump is that instead of being a candidate who brings this country together, he has cynically fomented the divisions in this country, and made them worse. I have friends throughout the political spectrum, but I really have to wonder about the Trump acolytes. Are they naive or wicked? Do they not know any better, or do they know all too well what he wants to do? Do they agree with his racism? His sexism? His xenophobia? His dictatorial beliefs?

I do expect that there is at least one "Face in the Crowd" style audio or video of Trump trashing his followers. According to a former Romney aide, that may be the case:
So I'm hoping some patriot releases such a recording. In the meantime, I hope that all good people, no matter what their political persuasion, speak out against Trump. It's not too late, by any means, to deny him the Republican nomination for president.

And I have to wonder about the cowardice of those who act like this is all inevitable, and don't seem to want to do anything to stop this runaway train of Trump, other than to give in. This, even though Trump is currently fewer than 100 delegates ahead of Ted Cruz, and Trump only has a quarter of the delegates needed to get the nomination. I have to wonder about such people who are telling the #NeverTrump crowd to just give up. Is that what they tell kids when they're bothered by bullies -- just give up your lunch money and hope the bully doesn't bother you again? Surrender without a fight? That's a terrible way to live.

One of the saddest things I've seen this past week is how Chris Christie, a smart, talented, take-no-prisoners type of politician, has been completely emasculated by Trump. He now calls him "Mr. Trump," while being called "Chris" in return. And who could forget how forlorn Christie looked standing beside Trump at Super Tuesday?

If we don't do something soon to stop Trump in his tracks, we're going to be the ones looking forlorn while Trump pushes us around.

I was heartened over the past week to see some pushback -- both in the presidential debates and among voters -- against Trump. (And how he can't seem to handle the attacks at all!) Let's hope it sticks, and that we don't have to face the horror of a Donald Trump presidency.



          29 Sándwiches del mundo        
Me lo robé tal cual de Buzzfeed Foods.. Gracias @matiasrivera por el datito!! 1. Chacarero (Chile) seriouseats.com A traditional Chilean sandwich of thinly sliced steak or pork on a round roll with tomatoes,…
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          The sinister implication of that Breitbart article that everyone is mocking        


Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

In an article published this afternoon, Breitbart.com Washington political editor Matt Boyle criticizes a New York Times reporter for “soliciting government employees to become leakers” under the hysterical headline “Exclusive -- Deep state teams with fake news: Email evidence proves New York Times soliciting anti-Trump bureaucracy leakers.” Journalists and media critics -- myself included -- who understand that that particular activity is central to reporting were quick to mock Boyle as a fool. And that very well may be the case. But after reading the piece in full, I think there’s something deeper and more sinister afoot.

If you started reading the piece and didn’t make it past the ridiculous headline and lede, I can’t blame you. The “revelation” Boyle claims to have uncovered in an email from Times environment reporter Coral Davenport and John O’Grady, the president of a union that represents Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workers, appears to be a fairly standard inquiry seeking to confirm critical stories she had heard about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt with “first-hand or eyewitness accounts” from EPA workers. As a Times spokesperson told the right-wing outlet, Davenport’s “email demonstrates the process of reporting and gathering facts.” It is Breitbart’s effort to turn such run-of-the-mill communications into a scandal that has drawn so much scorn.

But those who made it all the way to the end of Boyle’s sprawling, dramatically overwritten 1,600-plus-word piece found what I think may be the real reason Breitbart published this story. O’Grady forwarded Davenport’s email to nearly three dozen EPA employees, telling them what types of stories Davenport was looking to confirm and to “Please feel free to contact Coral directly.” Boyle published the names of all 34 employees. In so doing, Breitbart is serving as the Trump administration's pawn, giving it a roadmap it can use to ferret out potential leakers.

President Donald Trump has spent much of his first 200 days in office working himself into a lather about leaks to the press from the White House. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to prosecute those who leak classified information and even to subpoena reporters who publish those leaks, after receiving a steady stream of criticism from the president demanding such investigations. During his brief tenure as White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci promised to fire White House leakers.

But leaks have also bedeviled the EPA since Pruitt, a climate change denier and close ally of the fossil fuel industry, took the helm. It’s likely no coincidence that Breitbart’s article comes the day after the Times published a draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies which “concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now,” contradicting Trump and Pruitt. According to the Times, the report was leaked because scientists fear Trump will bury it.

Political appointees at the EPA now have a list of 34 potential whistleblowers, individuals the head of the EPA’s union thought might be willing to confirm negative information about the organization’s chief. They will be internally investigated at best, and indiscriminately punished at worst. They may find themselves reassigned off their current projects, or cut out of important meetings and decisions. A Breitbart story posing as an attack on a Times journalist instead functions as a tool to bolster an internal administration mole hunt.

Most journalists would likely view enabling an administration’s anti-leak effort as abhorrent behavior. But not Boyle and his Breitbart crew. Boyle is an administration toady, a longtime Trump sycophant who has always been eager to try to torpedo more critical journalists on Trump’s behalf. Formerly run by Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, Breitbart is institutionally more interested in protecting the Trump administration from criticism and lashing out at unfavored White House factions than providing legitimate reporting.

Breitbart has regularly cheered on the White House’s efforts to curtail leaks and lashed out at critical leakers and the outlets that publish them. But the latest article takes the right-wing outlets’ typical pro-Trump propaganda to a new level, with Breitbart effectively serving as an arm of the administration, helping its communications team smoke out whistleblowers.

A few weeks ago, Scaramucci and Boyle joked about the Breitbart editor joining the White House communications staff. But no need: Boyle is more than willing to do the administration’s dirty work without being put on its payroll.


          We looked at Trump's Twitter interactions for more than a year. A lot of them are suspicious.          


Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

President Donald Trump tweets … a lot. But along with his usual flurry of tweets attacking the media, lamenting fake news, or criticizing practically anyone who disagrees with him, Trump has another Twitter habit -- quoting his supposed supporters' tweets. A look at over a year of Trump’s retweets, quote tweets, and tweets in which he quoted another Twitter handle has left a lot of questions.

Using the Trump Twitter Archive, Media Matters audited the president’s Twitter handle, @RealDonaldTrump, between April 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017, focusing on retweets, quote tweets, and tweets where @RealDonaldTrump quoted another Twitter handle. We used that list to identify unverified accounts that he quoted or retweeted, which we then checked for the original tweet and suspicious or bot-like activity. If an account seemed suspicious (for example, it posted an unrealistic number of tweets or exclusively pro-Trump messages), we examined its tweeting habits during the weekend of the second presidential debate (October 6 to 10, 2016). Finally, if an account seemed like a bot, we reviewed its tweeting habits between August 2015 and January 2016.

Factors used to identify suspicious behavior included the date the handle was created; the number of tweets sent; the general frequency of tweets and use of hashtags and images; the content and frequency of tweets the weekend of the second debate; and what the account tweeted before the October 2015 primary season. Here’s what we found:

1. Trump retweeted and thanked a woman named Nicole Mincey over the weekend of August 5, 2017, as was widely reported by numerous outlets. Mincey was suspected to be a bot, but was later identified by BuzzFeed and others as a real Trump supporter who was using her page to sell merchandise. It was odd for Trump to simply retweet an unknown account because, based on Media Matters’ findings, Trump typically retweets only verified accounts, such as Fox & Friends’ Twitter account or those of his staffers and family members.

However, Trump frequently does quote tweets from unverified accounts (not using the Twitter “quote tweet” function but literally quoting a tweet). These quote tweets have been called out in the past for featuring white supremacists, and it appears that he also quotes tweets with some frequency from accounts that appear to be either fake accounts or bots.

2. At least 12 of the Twitter handles that Trump quoted in tweets have had their accounts suspended, and at least 16 additional handles have been deactivated. For example, on May 15, 2016, Trump quoted a tweet from the handle @TakingIt_Back: 

However, when one tries to go to the page for @TakingIt_Back now, it redirects to an "Account Suspended" page. This is true for Trump's quoted tweets of @Gengm7, @patrioticpepe, @EyeCandyTMGayle, and @tweak626 as well as others.

3. On at least six occasions, Trump retweeted tweets from accounts that have only one or two tweets on their page -- and currently have largely inactive profiles.

While we were unable to locate the original tweets from these accounts, they are still active. For example, on August 29, 2016, Trump quoted a tweet from @RhondaR:

When one goes to @rhondar's page now, this is what they find: 

Similar account activity can also be seen on the pages of users Trump quoted in these tweets. 

4. Trump has quoted tweets from the handles of at least two suspected bots, one of which is the well-known, now-suspended @PatrioticPepe. The other handle, @Don_Vito_08, has been described as “a partly automated pro-Trump cyborg.” @Don_Vito_08 was created soon after Trump announced he was going to run for president; the account began aggressively tweeting pro-Trump memes in December 2015 and anti-Clinton memes after the presidential primaries. The account has over 33,000 followers and claims in its Twitter bio that it was retweeted three times by Trump.

5. Over 20 original tweets that Trump quoted on Twitter could no longer be found.

 

Natalie Martinez and Freedom Murphy conducted the research documented in this post.


          Text Voting Is a Scam. Don't Listen to the Trolls | WIRED        
Text Voting Is a Scam. Don't Listen to the Trolls | WIRED:

fyeahcopyright:

Some social media law/info for you during this election season.
(In particular, don’t believe anything that tells you to enter your social security number to check on or do *anything* online re this election.

More on possible Election Day scams: https://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/inside-4chans-election-day-mayhem-and-misinformation-playboo


          What Your Corn-Eating Habits Say About Your Personality        

You find yourself face to face with a cob of corn (a corn cob? a corn on the cob?). If you're lucky, it's salted. If you're truly blessed, it's buttered and salted. Hot sauce? Herbs? Cheese? So many choices.

But that's not even the start of it. What's your natural instinct when it comes to the eating part: Do you move your teeth down the line, left to right (or right to left?!), turning the corn only once you've reached the end? Or, do you rotate the cob like a drill bit, biting around its circumference until you've gnawed it clean? Do you throw methodology into the flames and attack the corn at random? Or do you use a tweezer to dislodge each kernel, one by one? (Do you think time grows on trees?!)

The "Best" Way to Eat Corn on the Cob, According to the Internet
The "Best" Way to Eat Corn on the Cob, According to the Internet by Mayukh Sen

The natural, proper, moral way to eat corn is no new question. Back in '95, Kathleen Kelleher of the LA Times asked readers to "think of the way you eat corn on the cob as a Rorschach test, a kind of toothy imprint of the psyche, a revealer of truth." But does your personal practice reveal huge psychological truths, or is it a product of your conditioning? "I think it is kind of like the way you put the toilet paper in the holder—each is passionate about their way of doing things," wrote user barbarhow on the Windsor Peak Press forum board. (Yes, my "research" took me to this corner of the internet.)

To which corn camp do you belong—and do you think it says something about your essential being, or a habit you could readily break?

(If this were a Buzzfeed article, we'd call it, "Tell us how you eat corn and we'll tell you your favorite Rugrats character.")

Photo by Julia Gartland

From top to bottom...

Old-Fashioned Typewriter:

If you eat your corn from end to end, then rotate it and repeat, row-by-row, you're probably a neat freak—and you're among the majority of the Food52 staff: 23 of the 39 respondents claimed affiliation with Team Typewriter.

John M. de Castro, a psychology professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, hypothesized that that typewriter-style eaters "live orderly, methodical lives and may be more prone to obsessive-compulsive disorders" (I'm pretty sure he was at least half-joking).

Some people even audibly "Ding!" when they reach the end of each row. Please do not do this in the company of non-family members or small pets.

Free-Spirited Artistry:

If you take every opportunity to express yourself, from graphic tees to tattoos, why can't your corn be a canvas, too? Your teeth are your artist's tools: Use them to nibble elaborate designs (we made a wave in the cob above, but you can do better)—and then leave all of the remaining kernels forever untouched.

(We are kidding.)

Rolling Pin:

aka Rotary Method

You're interested in the columnar nature of the corn cob, not its length. Psychologists surmise (again, half in jest) that the rotary method is "favored by creative, artistic, right-brainer folks." While the typewriter-style makes your progress enormously apparent, the rolling pin-style may obscure your accomplishments.

Others have very thought-out reasons for choosing the rotary-method: "My reasoning is this," says Eric Nager of The Christian Science Monitor: "freshly cooked corn is not uniformly hot. It cools more quickly on the edges. By eating around on the edges first, you create natural hand holds and then can proceed to eat around to the center, which cools last."

Rabid Squirrel:

aka "Hunt and Peck"

You fall into this category if you attack the corn with no particular direction. Have you been blindfolded?! When one commenter on Chowhound wrote to see if anyone out there agreed with her husband, who "finds it very odd that [she] eat[s] [her] corn on the cob in random bites," the first person to respond said, "Nothing weird with that! Except you're obviously psycho. ;-)."

The Clean Slicers:

According to The Emily Post Institute, both major parties—the typewriters and the rolling pins—are in the wrong ("Take just a bite or two at a time rather than chomping back and forth along the rows like an old-fashioned type-writer or spinning it around like a roller"), but don't even think about using a knife to slice off the kernels in four fell swoops: "Only for kids with no teeth!" Emily Post specifies.

"If you’ve lost all your front teeth and can’t get the corn off the cob with your gums, ask an adult to cut the corn off the cob so you can still enjoy it."

Eat your corn however you like, I say! Demolish half of it with the rotary method, then typewriter the rest. Or take random nibbles—just don't be alarmed when dining companions ask if you're from Mars.

Children of the...

12 New Ways to Eat Corn This Summer
12 New Ways to Eat Corn This Summer by Lisa Siva
Summer Corn Risotto in Sweet Corn Broth
Summer Corn Risotto in Sweet Corn Broth by Susige
How to Choose an Ear of Corn (Without Peeking!)
How to Choose an Ear of Corn (Without Peeking!) by Brette Warshaw
Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad
Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad by Kendra Vaculin
Kevin Gillespie's Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms and Lemon
Kevin Gillespie's Creamless Creamed Corn with Mushrooms a... by Genius Recipes
Honeyed Sweet Corn Cakes
Honeyed Sweet Corn Cakes by Erin McDowell
How to Use a Whole Ear of Corn
How to Use a Whole Ear of Corn by Marian Bull
An Armful of Corn, 5 Dinners
An Armful of Corn, 5 Dinners by CrepesofWrath

Time to chime in: How do you eat your corn? Tell us in the comments below!


          Bye, Gems.        
I doubt I'm going to update this blog again (as much as I love it).

There's still a lot to look at, though!
And if you want to check out the things I still update...

So long.



          Gems of the Week        
Robin Eisenberg.
Atelier Stella for West Elm.
Brigadoon.
Not gonna lie, I'm kind of into Michael Douglas in The China Syndrome.

MOVIES + TV + ACTORS + SUCH

Marvel firsts in Jessica Jones (and some more on the show here) / the Thanksgiving episodes of Bob's Burgers / "Real talk: Your friend shouldn't marry someone who won't watch Friday Night Lights. None of us should be marrying people who won't even give FNL a try." / Meet Your Second Wife is my favorite SNL sketch in years / the new age of celebrity stalkers / "to look bored while wearing neon paisley at a backyard barbecue is, somehow, delightfully sinister" / Grover > Elmo / binge-watching to get through hard times / Carter Burwell on some of his scores / and (not that anyone's asking) my favorite movies of the year were Ex Machina, Love & Mercy, Magic Mike XXL, Spotlight, Brooklyn, RoomCrimson Peak, Carol and Creed.

ART & DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION THINGS

prints by Kate Miss

BOOKS / WRITING / THINGS OF THAT NATURE

on The Price of Salt and Carol (also: Frank Rich on Patricia Highsmith - "her own favorite animals were snails, which she smuggled through customs by hiding a half-dozen or so under each of her breasts")

ETC.

active shooter training / a wonderful interview with David Letterman (particularly the part about "not growing up" for his son's sake and making his son laugh) / "Everybody’s cool with women dating up, so long as the older person they’re dating is a man" / I'm actually not a big fan of bean boots, but I am a big fan of things that are handmade in Maine / The Case for Hamilton as Album of the Year (also - LOL) / Carly Rae Jepsen / Marnie / don't underestimate the pleasures of stuff / Hillary Clinton / LUSH's bath bomb factory / "Disney didn’t have to reimagine the princesses, it turned out. Girls had already done it themselves. The dolls had just never been marketed like that."

          Gems of the Week        
Suspiria.
A pizza purse.
Dadu Shin.
Eleanor Bostrom.
The Gay Divorcee.
Shirt by Opening Ceremony at Frances May.
Eleni Kalorkoti.
Justina Blakeney for Hygge & West.
Danielle Kroll for Anthropologie.
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.

ART, DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, ETC.

a triangular villa / wee dig dinos / an interview with Leslie Stein / IKEA's stuffed animals based on children's drawings / I want to live in this castle in Connecticut / Arro Home has a new range for kids / pickles

BOOK-RELATED

this book cover made me laugh ("a merry-go-round of sex")

MOVIES, TV, ACTORS + THE SUCH

agreed re: Michaela Watkin's scene in the elevator on Casual / Daria5 Famous Guys Who Are Masters At Saying One Particular Word / reading Angelia Jolie / high school show casting

ETC.

On "Doing It For The 'Gram" / "My body is not an abstract when I put it between someone who needs a shield and someone who wants them to hurt." / Talib Kweli analyzes Hamilton / I have these heated narwhal slippers and I use them at work and they are amazing / how we did Halloween at BuzzFeed (I'm #30) / cats and kids / my alone snacking habits = lying in bed and deciding to eat 1/2 a bag of sour Jolly Rancher gummies after I've already brushed my teeth (completely ruining my enamel) / dream robe

          Gems of the Week        
Ceramic cactuses by Vsocks.
Grace Easton.
The Carol poster is so great.
Beech Hall.
Emily Isabella for Hygge & West.

ART & DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION

the matching bird project / animated book covers

MOVIES + TELEVISION + ACTORS + SUCH

movies about nice people / Tom Hardy / I will be purchasing the 800 page Mad Men book mentioned in this interview / on Mr. Robot's cinematography / "I would suggest that Meyers is as much of an auteur as anyone else" - agreed / the progressiveness of The Golden Girls /

ETC.

My Superpower Is Being Alone Forever: Off the Market / "To appreciate her is simply to be morbidly fascinated by the mind that would write those words and think, Yep, there’s the chorus." / oh look! it's a video of my hand / sad topographies / I made a cheese hedgehog for work (he tasted terrible) / and on a serious and inspirational note, Lyndsay's breast cancer story

          Gems of the Week        
A new zine by Eleni Kalorkoti.
I loved Alanna Bloom's wardrobe on this season of Hannibal.
Lucy Darling.

BOOKS + WRITING + AUTHORS + SUCH

an interview with Sara O'Leary

ART, DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, ETC.

illustrated Norway / Alexander Girard for Paperless Post / a brightly colored basketball court / Alessandro Mendini / playing cards by Kaye Blegvad / the sad ghost club / "The Swim" by Anne Emond / the illustrations for this post made me laugh

ACTORS & MOVIES & TV & THAT SORT OF THING

Hugh Dancy's airport carpet obsession / kids and "inappropriate" tv / Hannibal is dead. Hannibal is the future / on the Scream opening / pop culture couple cards by The Good Twin Co. / did Luke really make good coffee?

I love everything about this list of musical moments on tv EXCEPT for the insinuation that the Landry + Tyra relationship on Friday Night Lights wasn't believable - IT WAS VERY BELIEVABLE. Landry forever <3. Another moment that I definitely would have included = "Late At Night" by Buffalo Tom on My So-Called Life.

ETC.

photos of people on cruise ships in the 1990s / I've developed a strange fascination with the town of Asbestos (in Canada)

          Gems of the Week        
Anne Benjamin.
The Seapink.
Numph.
Adidas....
....and Adidas x Mary Karantzou.
Caitlin Kuhwald.

ART, DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, ETC.

cool shops / an Animal Crossing necklace / architecture-inspired cabinets / I like this photo shoot / a treehouse shaped like a bird / if pinterest actually followed you around and made suggestions / prints for book lovers / The Drink Order / a bed that lowers from the ceiling / a pot that grows with your plant / glitter, oil, & soap / Kate Miss Jewelry

MOVIES + TV + ACTORS + SUCH

my favorite fictional restaurants / all the "can you guess the movie from the ________?" quizzes I've done at work (it brings me such joy to make these): fooddogs, shoes, kisses, first day of school outfits, and cats (plus - a tv food one) / The Shining underwear / The X-Files Out of Context tumblr

BOOKS AND WRITING

Leo: A Ghost Story (trailer) / on sending a novel out under a male name

ETC.

on red foods / "I work in a foundry. Is it safe to have dogs near open pools of molten iron?" / how to dress like a tech employee / jock jams / bad boys vs. the one bad man / Ludacris’ "What’s Your Fantasy," Told By Cats / polite ways to leave a conversation

          Gems of the Week        
Carla Colour.

ART + DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION + THE SUCH

the designer of the "jazz cup" / plantsonpink / fairy tale prints

MOVIES

goodbye The Dissolve - you were one of my favorite movie sites /on the lack of female duos in animated movies and Inside Out (related - as much as I loved the movie, this is lame) / I would love to meet Carl Reiner / "a studious, judicious deployment of art direction" = one of the things I appreciate most about Sofia Coppola's films ("Coppola is constantly seeking images that explore the tension between the internal and external") / also: why wardrobe matters  / the Jurassic Park poop scene / the modernist homes of L.A. villains / choosing the music for Magic Mike XXL / an oral history of Love and Basketball / "Psychologists studying tears have used the opening sequence of Up to induce crying in lab participants" / on "turning off your brain" during movies / Jake Gylls really was great in Little Shop of Horrors and I'm so glad I got to see it

TV

a conversation with Dr. Lecter  (and one with Bryan Fuller) / "there’s a difference between 'not for me' and 'not for any decent person.'" Adam Scott on his roles (the idea that only 15,000 people watched the Party Down finale is insane to me! More people read this article than watched that episode) / the granny square blanket / Hannibal jokes / Elaine gets a Vogue makeover / "I'll be 70 one day, going up to Jerry, saying, 'Jerry, it's me, Man Hands!'"

MUSIC

"Taylor’s career is, in fact, the perfected realization of every writer’s narrowest dream: To get back at those who had wronged us, sharply and loudly, and then to be able to cry innocent that our intentions were anything other than poetic and pure." / just a casual "will you be in my video?" message from Rihanna on Instagram

BOOKS

Kate Beaton on The Princess and the PonyRilla Alexander

ETC.

parenting advice / very excited about the Misery playon writing for Lucky / questions from my mixed race son / pecs or it didn't happen / on tact / What I Learned From Leading Tours About Slavery At A Plantation / I love a good Greenies joke (Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman, and Max Silvestri talk about weed...but mostly dog medications) / American Girl dolls / my co-worker Rachel thinks up amazing cocktails (see also) / help / anting

          Gems of the Week        
We Never Sleep (spring / summer 2015).

This post has been percolating for weeks, so a lot of this stuff is probably "old news."

+ this was very light image-wise, but I've been pinning a lot... check 'em out here.

ART, DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, ETC.

"Robert Plant" / adding googley eyes to modern art / an interview with Martha Porter of Buried Diamond / Matisse shopping bags / Dot magazine (for pre-schoolers) / paper cut illustrations / a butt pin / Andy Warhol sunglasses / Literalogue / a new comic by Lizzy Stewart / food in art / Wee Hee Hees / Peter Pan prints / Kayla Mattes / Vans x Murakami / make your own Gemma Correll pug comic / dream bag

MOVIES + TV + PEOPLE THAT WORK AS ACTORS + THINGS LIKE THAT

an interview with Ex Machina's production designer / Val Kilmer and Will Forte almost applied to be on Amazing Race together / on Adventure Time winning a Peabody award / love Grey's Anatomy or loathe Grey's Anatomy, you have to admit that if the writers can make people care so much about the death of a fictional character, they're doing something right (I will watch Grey's Anatomy until it ends--it's too late to stop now + <3 Karev <3 forever) / why Sansa Stark deserves the throne / The Great Mouse Detective is great / good for Elizabeth Banks / what would Veronica Corningstone wear? / "a romantic comedy made by someone who’s researched human behavior but had very few brushes with it in person" - on Aloha / disappointing and exciting / The Grand Overlook Hotel

MAD MEN

"the oral history" / some of the costumes were donated (I think that's so cool) / the music / the first and last appearances / young Pete / random comment - I know that some people think that Peggy and Stan ending up together is too much of a romantic comedy ending, but idgaf - it made me so happy that I cried

BOOKS & WRITERS & READING & THE SORT

How 15 Minutes Of Internet Fame Did Nothing For My Books / CookFiction / on rereading / no comment (liked this, although I think comments should be done away with altogether) / an interview with Christopher Silas Neal and another with Carson Ellis and yet another with Jen Corace

ETC.

"And there are few things more dangerous to the lurking hordes than women who like themselves." / "There’s a near mania to a lot of them, but it’s expertly offset by fluff, honey, glitter." - on Mariah Carey's songs / tortoises try tiny pancakes / I mean, I'm also looking for a guy who instagrams snail pics / Lianne La Havas / a year of flaunting / chocolate puzzles / Trail Type / How I Adopted Nine Lobsters And Traumatized My Entire Family

          Gems of the Week        
Leena Kisonen.
Rachel Antonoff for & Other Stories.
Ellen Surrey.
Laura Langston drew me a pineapple.
Lemon & Ket.
Shrimp!
The Goodbye Girl.
Katie Scott.

ART + ILLUSTRATION + DESIGN-Y THINGS

another printa bathtub made out of quartz / "The Lady of Shallots" / Eleni Kalorkoti's moon animation / empathy cards / just an adorable gif / Juju Papers / Saul Bass / this was pretty accurate / beautiful vintage playing cards / a cute coloring book / pyrite studies / yet another great Lucky Peach cover / 9 squares / the designer cubby / the "best" of indoor picture taking / ice cream mosaics 

MOVIES / TV / ACTORS / THE SUCH

iconic / "Leonard"  (oh, Leonard - and just fyi "it took him awhile to get hair under his armpits") / don't shame Anne for wanting to protect her pale complexion - carry that umbrella with pride / a Bob burger / a Mulleavy movie / In Praise Of Betty Draper, Difficult Woman / this is the sort of thing I'd do with my money if I had an unlimited supply of it

BOOKS & WRITERS & WRITING

The Fever is becoming a tv show / Beastly Verse / a brief interview with Julie Morstad / reading illustrations at Chronicle Books

ETC.

Canned Soup and Molecular Cuisine Aren’t All That Different / birth / things to try in May (including one of my fave coloring books) / typedrummer

          Gems of the Week        
I can't wait to get a copy of this "reimagined" version of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Andrea D'Aquino (pre-order it here).
Craig & Karl for Sephora (buy here).
Father of the Bride.
Cushion by Lesley Barnes.
Alex Eben Meyer (this honestly makes me sad - the poor guy).

ART + ILLUSTRATION + DESIGN + THE SUCH

lovely patterns to download / floating house shelves / scribble rugs / 100 days of things with faces / floral collages / a new zine by Evah Fan / beautiful stamps / an interview at Frankie with Danielle Kroll / blossom type

MOVIES + TV + ACTORS + ENTERTAINMENT-Y STUFF

Jen Larry / I can't believe that I wasn't at the office on the day these two were there / Let's Play: The Shining / Coraline concept art / Seinfeld action figures

          Gems of the Week        
Sophie Buhai.
Seed packets designed by Lisa Perrin.
Zoo in my hand.
BANQUET.
Big Bud Press.
Passive Juice Motel.
Obus.
Julien Knez.
“The Gleam″ - Ciara Phelan.

BOOKS + WRITING + AUTHORS + SUCH

underwear / covers by Lizzie Stewart / meet Carson Ellis / a Dr. Seuss museum / "the mule boasting of his genealogy" / memories of a book lover

ART + DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION + RELATED THINGS

a feature on Ellen Giggenbach at the Etsy blog / Nous Vous studio visit (+ Atelier Bingo) / colorful gradients / a colorful jigsaw of a shopaerial wallpapers / rebranding of junk foodfacemoji / Herschel Supply for Liberty / fabric by Rae Hoekstra / dog bed meets coffee table / steel furniture / stained glass made from sugar / the new Snoozer Loser collection / Gluten Free Museum / a new collection from Print Club Boston

MOVIES + TV + ACTORS + THAT SORT OF THING

A.V. plays itself / Kristen Schaal is great

ETC.

if college courses were taught by famous pop stars / what did David Bowie do at your age? / I'm obviously late to the party, but I love Taylor Swift's tumblr presence / Brother Orange / I will need this game

          Gems of the Week        
Noemiah.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
Dusen Dusen Home.
Fantasia recordings.
Eleanor Taylor.
Houseboat.
Tiny Dogs on Tables.
Gilda.
Lorna Simpson at Miss Moss.

ART + DESIGN + SUCH

a hotel shaped like a giant hunk of amethyst / redesigned Harry Potter covers by Natalie Andrewson / Split Second Stories / how to paint with Ben & Jerry's ice cream / this potato man / Eames house print by Chris Turnham

TV + MOVIES + ACTORS + SUCH

can you guess why Ross is mad at Rachel? / I only wish I could attend Tyra and Landry's imaginary wedding

ETC.

a house built around a train carriage

          Gems of the (Previous Few) Week(s)        
Touchka.
Cat Ballou.
Uniqlo is selling Leo Lionni t-shirts!!!!
The Thin Man.
Monica Ramos for Rachel Antonoff.
Magnificent Obsession.
Freaky Friday (Jodie Foster is a treasure).

BOOKS & WRITING & SUCH

an interview with Chris Van Dusen / Pete Peanut / furniture hidden in a book

ART / DESIGN / ILLUSTRATION / ETC.

a trio of lovely phone wallpapers you can download / the new Corby Tindersticks collection / Samantha Pleet / stickers from the 80's / lingerie / fashion desserts / Horizontal Press (I bought the whole set) / on a more innocent note, Cookie Monster's art museum tweets are delightful / art lovers / fabric designed by Teagan White / stained glass basketball hoop backboards / Romanian stamps / this bag is amazingly grumpy looking / dog a day / golden years / let's dance / hands / happy blog birthday Miss Moss

MOVIES + TELEVISION + ACTORS + THAT SORT OF THING

Big Birdman / black movie poster art / My Father, "All That Jazz," The 1980 Oscars — And Me / what movie scene would you have wanted to be on set for? (and fictional afterlife choices) / there's going to be an Adventure Time movie! / Parks & Recreation by the numbers

ETC.

dream vehicle / balloon party / Lesley Gore / a suspended tree house / the Jungle Cruise script / you need capybaras / Harry Potter cocktails / best friends forever / tbh, I'd have a panic room if I could afford one / I love bears but dear god am I afraid of them / Nate Fisher from Six Feet Under would be all about these burial pods / glow away / I can't wait to see this show / a man and his owl / Cates (my co-worker who posted "the dress") / "it’s hard to thrive as an online news outlet if you think you’re too good for the Internet" / so many drinks that I'd like to be sipping right now

          In Sweden, traditional tabloid rivals are taking their battle to viral sites        
Thomas Mattsson, editor-in-chief of the Swedish tabloid Expressen, set a bold goal for his staff last summer: Develop, build, and launch a viral news site — think the more LOL elements of BuzzFeed — in just two weeks. The paper met its deadline and in July launched Omtalat, which means “talked about” in Swedish. In...
          Report: Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Says Trump Is "Incompetent," May Be One-Term President        

According to Buzzfeed, one of Donald Trump's staunchest allies in the tech sector is becoming disenchanted with the Orange Oligarch, telling friends there's "a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster."

I'd put the chance at considerably higher odds.

Donald Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter has distanced himself from the president in multiple private conversations, describing at different points this year an “incompetent” administration, and one that may well end in “disaster.”

Peter Thiel’s unguarded remarks have surprised associates, some of whom are still reeling from his full-throated endorsement of Trump at the Republican National Convention. And while the investor stands by the president in public — “I support President Trump in his ongoing fight," he said in a statement to BuzzFeed News — his private doubts underscore the fragility of the president's backing from even his most public allies. Thiel’s comments may sting in particular in the White House as they come amid a series of hasty and embarrassed departures from the Trump train, as conservative voices from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page to the floor of the US Senate have begun to distance themselves from the administration.

Thiel’s views remain private — but various disparaging comments were recounted to BuzzFeed News by three separate sources, and others who subsequently confirmed those accounts. These people requested anonymity for fear of damaging personal relationships and possible retribution.


          Institute Expert in NY Times: Face Facts on North Korea        

Jeffrey Lewis on CBS

The New York Times published an op-ed piece by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis urging realism regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities. The image above is taken from Lewis’ July 28 appearance on the CBS Evening News.

“The reality is that the United States is now vulnerable to North Korea’s nuclear-armed missiles — and has no choice but to live with that reality,” writes the Middlebury Institute’s Dr. Jeffrey Lewis in an August 3 New York Times op-ed piece. Lewis—director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and an adjunct professor in the Institute’s Master of Arts in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program—is one of the most widely respected and quoted civilian experts on North Korea’s nuclear program in the United States.

Lewis’ essay traces the history of North Korea’s drive to acquire an intercontinental nuclear weapons capability while comparing the at-times shocked U.S. reactions to a similar situation decades ago. “It seems impossible to imagine the most impoverished, backward communist regime in Asia, run by a madman and recovering from a crippling famine, should set out to build a long-range missile that could deliver a nuclear weapon all the way to the United States,” writes Lewis. “And yet Mao Zedong’s China did it.”

As Lewis points out, North Korea’s leaders have never been coy about their nuclear ambitions. “Over the past few years, North Korea has made every possible effort to indicate that, like Mao’s China, it was committed to developing a nuclear-armed intercontinental range ballistic missile… It showed off new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles in parades in 2012, 2013 and 2015. In March 2013, North Korean state media released pictures of Mr. Kim approving a nuclear targeting plan, illustrated with a graphic of the United States titled ‘Mainland Strike Plan.’”

Lewis and his colleagues study every aspect of the Kim regime’s nuclear program using publicly available data, images and video to decipher clues about the program’s progress. Lewis, Melissa Hanham, David Schmerler, Shea Cotton, Andrea Barber, Masako Toki, and Joshua Pollack, among others, have been quoted in recent months in national and international media coverage of North Korea’s nuclear advances.

Here is an abbreviated list of major stories on North Korea quoting Institute experts in the past week:


          Travis Kalanick’s Loyalists Are Petitioning Uber to Let Him Return        

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may have been pressured into resigning on Tuesday after major investors demanded he do so, but now some of his former employees are demanding he remain in place in an “operational role.” Michael York, a product manager at Uber, sent around an email to staff on Wednesday with a petition for company employees to sign, as multiple outlets have reported. The email received more than 1,100 responses in favor of bringing back Kalanick, which amounts to about 10 percent of the company’s employees. Their argument: Yeah, he had problems—but he was also a unique inspiration.

Kalanick’s ouster followed an onslaught of reports of a sexist, dehumanizing culture at the company and increasing criticism from Uber users upset with company policies and action. But York and other Uber employees are advancing a different narrative, summed up in the note: “Uber is TK and TK is Uber." (Kalanick will remain on Uber’s board.)

In the letter that the dissenting employees wrote back to the board of directors, they report being “disappointed by the short-sightedness and pure self-interest demonstrated by those who are supposed to protect the long-term interests of our company,” according to Axios, which obtained the letter.

“Yes, Travis is flawed, as we all are,” write the employees. “But his passion, vision, and dedication to Uber are simply unmatched. We would not be here today without him, and believe he can evolve into the leader we need. He is critical to our future success.”

In his email, York writes that Kalanick inspired him to drop out of college at age 18 and noted that “Nearly everyone I’ve spoken with who’s met him has an amazing story to tell about how Travis motivated them to to do their best work.”

A statement that Uber’s management released to employees following his resignation acknowledged that “as you'd expect, the emotions around Travis’ decision are intense." They’re also evidently quite divided. On Twitter, the New York Times’ Mike Isaac pointed out that the petition was started by a worker who was "a favorite of travis."

But according to Isaac—who broke the news of Kalanick’s resignation—Uber employees are far from unified in their sentiment. A founder-CEO with significant control over a company whose business tactics were of a piece with his “always be hustlin’ ” ethos, Kalanick certainly had acolytes. But he also oversaw the startup that led Susan Fowler to write her nightmarish account. No wonder, as Isaac points out, that plenty of other Uber employees are either jumping ship—or hoping to sail forward, with someone other than Kalanick at the helm.


          The Biggest Threat to Uber’s Business: Who Would Want to Work There Now?        

On Tuesday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence from the company. The move followed an ever-tightening spiral of scandals for the San Francisco–based ride-hailing juggernaut that boiled over this week following the resignation of the company’s senior vice president for business, Emil Michael, on Monday; the release of a report by former Attorney General Eric Holder suggesting fixes to Uber’s sexist, Hobbesian work culture; and the company board’s vote to adopt all of Holder’s recommendations.

Could Uber, which has a valuation of $70 billion and is the dominant ride-hailing service across much of the globe, be in danger of losing its perch atop the industry pecking order? Three schools of thought suggest it might be.

First, the company’s leadership has been gutted. Kalanick and Michael joins Uber’s former president, head of mapping, vice president of product, top communications executive, vice president of engineering, and head of finance, all of whom left the company in the past six months. An Uber board member resigned Tuesday after making a sexist joke at the meeting dedicated to reviewing possible solutions to the company’s long history of rampant sexism. How long can a company survive with its head cut off?

Second, as Aarian Marshall argued Tuesday in Wired, Uber is a toxic brand and an unreliable partner. “Bad news cycles are bad news for collaborations,” he wrote, and collaboration (especially with automakers) is essential to Uber’s dreams of one day dominating the self-driving car market. Wall Street backing is also the basis for any eventual IPO, which the company had been hoping to roll out as early as next year. But trust in Uber is in short supply these days.

Third, there are Uber’s customers. As Farhad Manjoo opined in the New York Times on Wednesday, a decline in app users could hose any prospects of future recovery. “To encourage a better Uber, it’s time to play the only card you’ve got” as a consumer, Manjoo exhorted. “If it backslides or otherwise fails to live up to the promises it’s making now, stop using Uber.”

But there are reasons to doubt that these particular doomsday scenarios will pan out. In both its bullish business model and pervasive workplace sexism, Uber is like a ghastly mirror image of the “nevertheless, she persisted” meme that has come to symbolize feminist perseverance in the face of misogynistic headwinds; its awful behavior never seems to dog it for too long. The company has been embroiled in controversy, flayed with unflattering headlines, and buried under court motions for years. But “instead of making any meaningful changes” to the way it operated, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith wrote Tuesday, “Uber simply pressed on,” continuing to win customers, score business deals, and rake in wads of cash despite a thuggish workplace culture and questionably legal behavior. Why should the temporary departure of its CEO and the rechristening of the company’s “War Room” (it's now the “Peace Room”) meaningfully change things for the embattled startup? As Manjoo himself admits, “No matter what it does, a lot of us just can’t seem to quit Uber.”

But there’s a fourth constituency that could end up sealing Uber’s fate: Its employees, both present and future. The company currently employs an estimated 12,000 people worldwide, roughly 7,000 of them in the U.S. And in an employment landscape with as much turnover as Silicon Valley, the ability to attract top talent is the lifeblood of any tech company. Fail to extract the best employees from that churn and you’re not likely to keep your head above water very long. Uber’s failure to hold onto and attract employees might deliver the killing blow long before the company’s erstwhile leaders, jittery investors, or disillusioned customers do.

Of course, we don’t yet know much about how Kalanick’s departure is affecting employee outlook. But if it’s any indication, the company’s head of human resources asked Uber workers to stand up and give their fellow employees hugs after the oft-criticized CEO’s announcement Tuesday. And morale at the company has been low for some time. In part that’s the result of Uber’s infamously hard-charging, regulation-skirting, “bad-boy” corporate culture, which Kalanick both boasted of and embodied during his tenure. But the rumblings of dissatisfaction grew louder after Susan Fowler, a former Uber employee, published a blog post laying bare the undercurrent of unpunished sexual harassment that pervaded employee interactions in the company’s engineering division, which a group of female employees later called a “systemic problem” in a February meeting with Kalanick. Subsequent accounts—including a criminal probe launched last month by the Department of Justice and recent reports that the company’s president of business in the Asia Pacific mishandled the case of an Uber driver accused of raping a passenger in India—have only made things worse. (The victim in the India case, whose medical records were inappropriately obtained and shared by Uber executives, is now suing the company.)

None of this to say that anyone should feel bad for Uber employees who’ve stuck with the company—software engineers reportedly rake in an average of $292,000 annually, after all. But under those conditions it’s not hard to imagine employees, particularly women who feel unwelcome in the industry or who suffer harassment at the hands of co-workers, quickly vacating positions at the company—or simply choosing not to apply to them in the first place.

What’s more, Uber has already demonstrated a lack of grace when it comes to assuaging nervous employees in the wake of other high-profile departures. In late April, Anthony Levandowski, the former head of San Francisco–based company’s in-house self-driving car outfit, distanced himself from the division while under legal scrutiny related to an ongoing court case with Google (he was fired outright last month). The void reportedly sparked a spate of external job-hunting by nervous Uber engineers who worried their jobs might disappear out from under them—fears the company’s management apparently did little to quell, Recode reported at the time.

The company could also end up an unwitting victim of its own outsourcing business model. As Daniel Gross noted Tuesday in Slate, much of the Uber’s workforce—from its legions of nonemployee drivers to the owners of the vehicles that comprise its nationwide fleet—is only loosely yoked to the company. Those looking to jump ship could find a soft landing with Uber’s top U.S. competitor, Lyft, where drivers enjoy higher wages and greater levels of overall employee satisfaction (and for which many Uber drivers are already switch-hitters). Uber has struggled to retain drivers for years; fully half of them quit within their first 12 months with the company, Forbes reported in 2015. And with few employee protections and just 14 percent of driver jobs held by women, Uber’s outsourcing reflects many of the same pathologies of behavioral impunity and gender inequity that plague the wider company—mistakes its plucky rivals are eager to exploit.

That last prospect—an industry competitor scooping up not just Uber’s employees but also its vision for the future of transportation—might end up being the most optimistic outcome for the besieged ride-hailing startup. As Manjoo noted in the Times, there’s no need to eschew the company concept writ large even while kicking Uber to the curb. “Ride-sharing, as an industry and a civic utility, is too big an idea to be left to a company like the one Uber is now,” he wrote. And as I suggested just three weeks (but a lifetime of Uber scandals) ago, it’s looking ever more likely that the tech giant could end up a ride-hailing Ozymandias, a byroad warning to other startups barreling down the gig economy road. Besieged by demons of its own design, ending up a cautionary tale could be the best shot at leaving a positive legacy Uber has left.


          4 Slick Ways to Expand Your Digital Branding Strategy        
Augment your online marketing strategy by tapping these tools: YouTube, BuzzFeed, Playbuzz and Udemy.
          I Nominated This For The Shorty Awards And For My (mostly) Selfless Act Got A Mention In Buzz Feed        
BuzzFeed

NYC Based Web Series Brings The Laughs

The Louise Log: A Comedy Web Series appeals to Louie and Curb Your Enthusiasm fans.

posted on April 3, 2013 at 5:03pm EDT by Axton Ruiz

Comedy web series are a dime a dozen these days. Largely due to the fact we all have camera phones and think "if so and so can do it, I can surely do it". In reality we should wait for the professionals and spare our family members from enduring our had-to-be-there comedy videos. After our wait we then face the difficult task of finding the comedic gem in the proverbial haystack my father calls "the internets". Well take a break from your funny cat videos and collegehumor.com fart jokes because I have found a web series with the comedy trifecta: consistency, relatability and hilarity. If you love Curb your Enthusiasm or Louie, check out "The Louise Log" web series.


"The Louise Log", created by Anne Flournoy, follows a Greenwich Village wife and mother as she struggles with her overactive inner voice. Each video explores Louise's attitude towards a variety of mundane topics. The topics range from picking your kids up from school, running into an old (and now more successful) friend or being perpetually late. The situations are unsurprising and relatable however Louise's reactions and inner-dialogue brings layers of laughter to the series. Flournoy has created a character defined by her awareness and attitude towards the world. It's Louise's world and we're just living in it.


Praised by iconic film critic Roger Ebert, notable playwright Eve Ensler and my favorite actress from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Suzy Soro, if you haven't heard of "The Louise Log" now is the time to get hip. The web series is already nominated for "Best Web Show" at the upcoming Shorty Awards so it's just amount of time before Fournoy hits the mainstream.

Don't miss an episode and subscribe at The Louise Log website. Or follow her on Twitter and Like her Facebook page.

Copyright © 2013 BuzzFeed, Inc.





          Comment on Extraordinary Technology at TeslaTech by lgunlock        
atlantisrisingmagazine.com is cool, bookmarked! <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/bookie/unlock-samsung-blackberry-nokia-lg-motorola-an-39dn" rel="nofollow">unlock samsung</a>
          Comment on Aprovechar los tiempos libres dentro del horario laboral by Paula        
Mi pega es como estacional: entre septiembre y mayo aprox. no paro, y de mayo para adelante hay haaarto tiempo muerto, que hay que inventarse proyectos nuevos para hacer. Me costó un mundo acostumbrarme a ese ciclo, y me quiero cambiar de pega; pero no tanto por el ritmo, sino que porque ya se volvió rutinaria. Pero me desvié del tema: yo también veo videos de Jimmy Fallon (le amo), leo páginas tipo Buzzfeed, muchas notas sobre cine, entrevistas o reportajes interesantes, hago test ñoños del tipo "Qué Spice Girl serías" o "Te diremos de qué país eres según tu gusto en hombres", y vitrineo cosméticos coreanos (porque los vendo), entre otras cosas.
          Duolingo: Web 2.0, free labour and the power of ignorance        
Last time I wrote anything here, I had decided I was going to get some German under my belt. So I've tried out a couple of things on the net, and I've spent a lot of time on Duolingo, which in many ways is a very good resource, but is frustrating in the way it keeps generating nonsensical phrases and fragments.

Well, it turns out they recently added an interesting clause to their user agreement:
Temporary Restrictions on Users from the European Union
Users within the European Union are not presently allowed to submit materials for translation or translated materials to Duolingo. While these users can continue to use the educational services offered through the Website, they will not be involved in the translation of any documents. If you submit a request for translation or translated materials to Duolingo, you thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union, and will not be within the European Union when your translation request has been finalized.
So what's going on here then?

I have always felt that most dot-com organisations run on a model that breaches workers' rights laws. In most countries, a for-profit organisation is not allowed to solicit or accept free labour, and yet a great many commercial internet sites rely on free labour for their profit.

When YouTube first launched, all advertising revenue was kept by the site -- uploaders made no money. YouTube argued that the uploaders weren't working for the site, so didn't need paid... and yet, without the uploaders, there would be no site. YouTube changed their business model later on to grant uploaders a share of the advertising take. The reason they did this was so that they could get on board professional media (including music videos) and then also to stop the higher quality amateurs from migrating to sites that were willing to split the profits. Market forces worked in the interests of the little guy... this time.

But what about Facebook's big translation push at the time of the public share offering? The public sale brought in enough money to translate the site into all the world's major languages several times over, and yet they did not pay a single translator, instead "crowdsourcing" the translation. It would be one thing if they had opened translation to any and all languages, but they chose the languages and were only interested in the "big" languages that would draw plenty of users and make Facebook more money.


If it was small languages, I could understand: you don't want to pay for a translation to eg Irish when all the users will happily use the English version -- it doesn't make you any money. But when you're translating into Spanish, one of the world's most widely spoken native languages, you'll make your money back many times over even if you pay for one of the world's best translators.

Facebook clearly thought that if so many other websites had got away with free labour, they would too, but they inadvertently brought the issue to far more public attention than they expected.

You see, translators have real power in Europe. With such a linguistically diverse base, the institutions of the European Union are full of translators, which makes them one of the most powerful lobby groups you can imagine. Seriously, there is no-one who "has the ear" of a Brussels bureaucrat than the person who's talking in that ear throughout the meetings.




Now I don't recall ever hearing of any sanctions being made against Facebook for this, but the groundwork was set and Duolingo walked right into the problem, because more than any other site, their business model is built on unpaid labour... and crucially unpaid translation. Duolingo seeks to generate income by having learners translate documents for paying clients as part of their "immersion" in the language. Already, Duolingo is translating articles for Buzzfeed and CNN. Their justification is that the translators are getting something in return -- the teaching. I can see where they're coming from, to a point, but that's the same justification people try to make for internships as a source of unpaid labour.

So somewhere along the line, Duolingo has been warned off and put up these "temporary restrictions"... but didn't tell anyone about it. It's there, right at the end of the Ts&Cs, but they didn't actively notify users, and there is no notice on the translation page to warn you that you might be about to do something potentially illegal.

But it gets worse, because they don't only leave you access to the section that is illegal, but they actively encourage you to use it. I've been using it a lot recently, and after most exercises, it tells me to try the translation.

Now, if you're sitting at a computer in the UK and try to access BBC Worldwide clips on YouTube, you won't get anything. Why? BBC Worldwide content is licensed for use outside the UK, and YouTube knows where you are. The same thing happens on plenty of sites.

Duolingo makes no attempt to block based on location, but there is no technical reason that they shouldn't. I cannot imagine that a company their size would not be tracking user locations anyway, in order to optimise their marketing strategies and their technology. They must know. Furthermore, there is even a section in the profile (optional, admittedly) for you to tell them where you live.

It's a pretty stupid course of action, if you ask me. With geolocation being such a simple and standard admin task (although admittedly not 100% accurate), failure to attempt to identify and block EU-based users could be argued to be negligent. That negligence is surely made worse by the fact that they are leading their users not only to arguably (not tested in court) break the law, but also to indisputably break their own license agreement. And all the while their negligence allows them to continue selling translations to commercial clients.

It's a dangerous path, and it could lead to a very messy end....
          Behind the scenes at our recent guinea pig fashion shoot … Itchy is such a DIVA! Seriously … #guineapig #pet #pets #instapet #sweater #guineapigsofinstagram #petfashion        

          Buzz off with having a personal trainer “debunk” nutrition myths buzzfeed        
What the hell, buzzfeed??? Why would you choose a personal trainer to debunk “diet and nutrition myths”? Sure, not everything he said was inaccurate but his training does not lend itself to providing evidence-informed nutrition information. As a celebrity trainer, it’s his … Continue reading
          Google Inches Closer To The $1,000 Per Share Stock Price Club        


From BuzzFeed: JP Morgan issued a new research note this morning that boosted its price target on Google shares to more than $1,000, making it the tenth bank to feature a stock price target benchmark of more than $1,000 per share. JP Morgan cited better results from Google’s search engine marketing, optimism about the future of YouTube taking marketing spend from TV, and the potential that Motorola-built devices have for the company as reasons for raising its target price.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Google is a more valuable company than some other tech companies that have lower stock prices , however. For example, Apple shares trade around $400, but it has a total worth of nearly $400 billion, making it one of the most valuable companies on the market. Google’s market capitalization, by comparison is nearly $300 billion. But it is hard to deny the rapid growth of Google’s share price as it charges toward the $1,000 per share threshold….



          Chasing Zero Dark Thirty Reviews        


Head spinning from trying to keep up with ZDT articles. Here are a few more, plus a new pic from the Sunday Q and A.



Michael Hogan and Christopher Rosen discuss the film and Oscar chances at Huff Post 
Rosen : “I have no trouble in saying it is, by far, the best movie I've seen in 2012. Kathryn Bigelow's "Hurt Locker" follow-up is superior in almost every way to that Best Picture winner” and says his current hunch for the 5th slot in the supporting actress category is " "Les Mis" co-star Samantha Barks, with "Zero Dark Thirty" co-star Jennifer Ehle and "Silver Linings Playbook" co-star Jacki Weaver running close behind"


In her Strong Women, Ambiguous Ethics Drive Bigelow's Oscar Pic review at Movieline, Jen Yamato wrote:  “Bigelow [...] gave Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice, Contagion) the film’s second strong female role, as a senior CIA analyst who shares Maya’s drive to unearth bin Laden.”



Sasha Stone, Awards Daily calls ZDT 'unflinching, uncompromising' and talks about Oscars and the film’s central character being a woman.
“While Bigelow’s female lead doesn’t strap on the talking points from the feminist movement or even the Obama administration, it is telling that not once in Bigelow’s film does her lead stand behind a man, trust a man’s opinion over her own, or feel the need to strike up a romance with a man”


Jordan Hoffman at Screen Crushthought “This look at world’s biggest manhunt may be the best manhunt movie ever made.”  He also reveals more details about Jennifer's role than I've seen expressed before.  “Interestingly the only friction comes from another woman, played by Jennifer Ehle, who is quick to throw some odd facial expressions Chastain’s way. While the two later bond, she, a tragic character, is ultimately held up as someone who perhaps doesn’t quite have her act together. One can interpret this as someone too preoccupied with identity politics, which becomes her undoing. I may be reading too much into this, but when you consider the fact that Al Qaeda wants their women handcuffed to the kitchen, it’s impossible not to dwell on the matter." 
[Hmmm. Tragic? Can't wait to see those expressions, though!]


Jordyn Taylor in a backstage piece How 'Zero Dark Thirty' Was Cast shares this fascinating tidbit: ‘When casting director Gail Stevens auditioned actors for “Zero Dark Thirty,” she says she couldn’t let them read from the movie’s script. She couldn’t even tell them what they were auditioning for. “The script was very, very, very sensitive, and hardly anyone read it,” Stevens says. “We would get people in to read, [and] we would read from other scripts—films that had scenes that could have been used in that kind of area.”’


The confused state of best picture race is covered by Richard Rushfield in a BuzzFeed article.


Thelma Adams at The Reel Breakdown found ZDT "Engrossing. Complicated. Urgent. Spare." and says "There is not one moment of dead air or narrative padding."


Paula Puryear Martin at Revel In It was impressed, saying, “I was blown away, again and again, Bigelow and team’s ability to inject deep humanity into a story that could have been rendered in stark, us or them terms.” and calling it "a masterpiece".  She noted that it stars “the uber-talented Jessica Chastain, the tender and talented veteran actress Jennifer Ehle, and a revelatory Jason Clarke”


 
I saw hundreds of tweets from people who had seen the early screenings of ZDT. For some reason I was led to bookmark only one because I thought it just might prove to be a perfect 140-character summary of it. When I saw the tweeter’s follow-up later I had to laugh at the proof that I’d chosen very well (see the tweets below).
There is also another photo from the Sunday November 25thQ and A (credit to Mike The Fanboy who was there)







 

 

          easiest ever salmon with variables        
Monday evenings are hectic to say the least. Big'Un goes out before 5pm to help with our local Rainbows pack. She's a young leader and working towards her Queen's Guide award.
Little'Un then goes to Brownies which runs straight after the Rainbows at 6pm, and  sometimes Big'Un stays to help.  Especially in the winter, I walk back and forth with the girls to the church hall for each club, and everyone in the house needs to be fed - and all at different times!  This is the only day when I will make different meals for each person, and as Littl'Un is allergic to most fish, this is the day that the rest of us often indulge in a fish-based meal.  As all 3 kids now have a hot meal in school, I don't feel too bad about giving them sandwiches or something cold, especially Big'Un who needs to eat as soon as we get in from school at 4 in order to be ready! She usually makes herself a sandwich or a Chinese noodle packet or pot, and then has another snack later.

Tiny is really fond of salmon, and as Papa sells fish, this is our usual go-to choice.  We used to get the skinless fillets in the oven cook bag, often with a flavoured butter, but this started to get boring after a while.  I then stumbled upon a 3 ingredient recipe page, and saw this very simple suggestion, cooked it in the halogen which gave deliciously charred and crispy bits, and then I tried variations so we don't get bored.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.  If you don't have a halogen oven, obviously you can use a standard oven, but a grill might give a better result as the recipe states.  I make half this amount - one each for me, Papa and Tiny.  You could always marinade the full amount, and cook half one day and the other half for lunch the next day.

Ingredients
  • 6 x 6 oz salmon fillets, skin on or off
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce, divided
  • 2 - 3 tbsp spring onions, chopped
  • Cooking spray 
Directions

  1. In a large baking dish, lay down salmon fillets in a row. Each fillet - sprinkle with a pinch of salt and top with 1 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce. Brush or rub with your fingers to coat fish with sauce evenly on top, bottom and sides. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight is the best (up to 24 hours).
  2. Turn the grill to High and position top oven rack 5" - 6" below the heat source. Line large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, spray with cooking spray and place salmon fillets skin side down (if any). Coat with remaining marinade from the dish (if any).
  3. Grill for 8 minutes, rotating baking sheet once. Remove from the oven and brush top of each fillet with 2 tsp of Thai sweet chili sauce. Return to the oven and grill for another 5 minutes or until salmon has caramelized. Serve hot garnished with the spring onions, extra sauce (if desired) with brown rice or quinoa on a side, and maybe some steamed green veg.
  4. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.

My even simpler variation was to just use Franks Buffalo Wings Hot Sauce, (I didn't even leave it to marinate) and serve with steamed rice and greens. You are limited only by the sauces in your fridge and pantry though.  Go to town with your favourite sauce!

Thanks to http://ifoodreal.com/ and Buzzfeed for the inspiration.
          Bullets in Full Bloom with win over Bloomberg        
The DC Bullets softball team closed out their April "spring training" on Thursday with a 10-4 win over Bloomberg. From here till the end of June they embark on an all NYMSL schedule, starting with the newest league member Institutional Investor coming up this Thursday, but back to the game recap...

After making a relief appearance vs. BuzzFeed, Allison Klein (with some of the team at the comic con C2E2) was given the chance to start, and overall did very well to keep an improved Bloomberg team to 4 runs, with the only real blemish a two-run blast over the North Meadow #2 fence in left. Otherwise, fantastic work by the lefty, and she started with blanking the NYC mayor's former company in the first.

In the bottom half of the inning, Flash Hiremath continued his scorching-hot hitting with a single. Andrew Arnold followed up with one himself, and Big Kevin Schwoer knocked in Neil with a double. Arnold, unfortunately, was gunned down at third, though, as the Bullets discovered where Bloomberg's best outfielder played. After Jay Kogan popped up, "Oh No!", Captain Sal Cipriano brought home Kevin with a ripped line drive single to left. Blake Kobashigawa lined out to end the inning.

Alli K put up another bagel in the second before the Bullets got back to work. After Alli popped up, Dan Bertoldi singled, and Kid Flash David Pina brought him home with a double. Brittany Holzherr singled and went to second on an overthrow which brought home David in the process. Dueling catchers TayTay Esposito and Carlos Mangual tallied the final two outs.

The aforementioned Bloomberg HR happened in the top of the 3rd, but the Bullets added 2 more to their total in the bottom half of the inning. After Neil grounded out to start things off, Andrew singled, and Kevin brought both home with his 3rd homer of the season, after the ball skip under the centerfielder's grasp and just kept going. Jay doubled and Sal singled, but Blake was robbed of an absolute rope and Alli grounded out to end the threat.

The Bullets pitcher then put up three straight goose eggs on Bloomberg, and the Bullets kept supporting her as they scored runs in every inning they batted. In the 4th, Dan scored on a TayTay infield single, Arnold brought home himself and Neil with a crushed homer in the 5th, and Alli scored on a Pina single in the 6th. Frustration seemed to be creeping into Bloomberg as the game went on, culminating in news agency's massive 1st sacker running over Cipriano in a first base collision, but the captain stayed up and held onto the ball.

Bloomberg did get back two runs in the top of the 7th, but DC shook it off and closed out the game. With the Bullets at 3-1 on the short season, they'll try to start league play on the right foot next week in their first NYMSL game. They had a horrid 2-8 league season last year, but expecting an almost full complement of players, the captain will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. Come support the DC Bullets as they begin their march to the playoffs this Thursday at 5:30pm on their North Meadow field #2, though they'll be the away team on this occasion.

Bullets Box:
SCF Neil Hiremath 2-3, 2 R
SS Andrew Arnold 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR
LF Kevin Schwoer 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR, 2B
CF Jay Kogan 1-3, 2B
1B Sal Cipriano 2-3, RBI
3B Blake Kobashigawa 0-3
P Allison Klein 1-3, R
RF Dan Bertoldi 3-3, 2 R
RF David Pina 3-3, R, 2 RBI, 2B
2B Brittany Holzherr 1-3
C Taylor Esposito 1-3, RBI
C Carlos Mangual 0-3

          Welcome to Softball: Bullets Give BuzzFeed a Rough Welcome        
The DC Bullets met BuzzFeed, playing their inaugural softball game as a team, Thursday night on North Meadow #2, and BuzzFeed got a quick taste of where their needs are, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The Bullets benefited from the struggling glovework, rapping out an astonishing 40 hits in just six innings, coming out on top of a 27-7 rout.

After Larry Ganem worked a scoreless first, aided by Blake Kobashigawa's leatherwork at third base, DC put up a quick three runs. After Mike Lorah lined out to right field, Vince Letterio singled and Kevin Schwoer doubled to put two runners into scoring position. Jay Kogan cashed in the first with a line single to left. Jay moved up to second on the throw and, after Sal Cipriano's pop-out, Neil Hiremath drove home both runs with a single to centerfield. Allison Klein added a base hit before Dan Bertoldi's groundout wrapped the frame.

The comic book makers had their once-a-game defensive hiccup in the second, opening the door for BuzzFeed to plate five runs and seize a brief two-run lead. Supersoldier Nel Yomtov led off the second with a base hit, moved to second on Blake's groundout, and to third on Larry's single. Brittany Holzherr plated Nel, and David Pina's hit loaded the bases with one out. Carlos Mangual's fielder's choice erased Britt at third, but scored Larry to tie the game. Mike's RBI double put DC ahead again, briefly as it turned out.

BuzzFeed tallied a sixth run in the third, tying the game, and DC retook the lead on a Jay's double, Sal's line single to left and Neil's sacrifice fly. Allison chipped in another two-out hit, but was again left stranded.

To this point, the game had been a back-and-forth affair. After a scoreless fourth for BuzzFeed, that changed. Nine batters went to the plate in the fourth for DC - eight of them reached base safely. Nel and Blake singled, and Larry chased Nel home with a ground single into right field. Blake, however, was thrown out going to third. Britt, David, Carlos and Mike singled in sequence, driving home three more runs. Vince rolled into a fielder's choice before Kevin smacked a two-run double to cap the scoring on a six-run outburst.

BuzzFeed chipped away with a run in the top of the fifth, and the comic book makers answered with eleven in their turn. Sixteen batters went to the plate. Ten straight reached base with two outs in the inning. Oddly, one of the hardest hit balls of the inning turned into the first out, when Neil, the second batter of the inning, ripped a drive into shallow center and BuzzFeed's centerfielder made a terrific diving catch. The Bullets stopped hitting to center after that and started to find holes. Around Neil's line out, Sal, Alli and Dan singled to score one run. Nel loaded the bases with a hit, and Blake's fielder's choice added a second run. Britt, David and Carlos collected RBI singles, and Mike an RBI double. Vince tallied a two-run double, and Kevin drove him home with a rope back through the box. Jay singled, Sal (second at-bat of the fifth) RBI doubled and Neil drove home one final run with a hit of his own before Alli flew out to end the massacre.

BuzzFeed went quietly in both the sixth and seventh innings against first-time pitcher Allison, Larry having slipped away after the fourth inning. DC scored three more in their half of the sixth - Dan and Nel grounded singles through the left side. After Blake flew out to left and Britt grounded into a fielder's choice, David, Carlos and Mike drove in runs with singles. Vince, always merciful to the opposition, grounded out to end DC's evening at-bats.

Sporting an early 2-0 record, DC meets The Daily Show on Monday at Dewitt Clinton Park at 8:30pm. All three previous Bullet-Daily Show match-ups have been thrillers, so expect nothing less this time.

Bullet Box:
3B Mike Lorah - 4-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, two doubles
OF Vince Letterio - 2-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, double
LF Kevin Schwoer - 3-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, two doubles
1B Jay Kogan - 3-4, 3 R, RBI, double
1B Sal Cipriano - 3-4, R, RBI, double
CF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, 4 RBI, sac fly
RF/P Allison Klein - 3-4, R
OF Dan Bertoldi - 2-4, 2 R, RBI
SS Nel Yomtov - 4-4, 2 R
3B/SS Blake Kobashigawa - 1-4, R, RBI
P Larry Ganem - 2-2, 2 R, RBI
2B Brittany Holzherr - 3-4 3 R, 2 RBI
C David Pina - 4-4, 4 R, 3 RBI
C Carlos Mangual - 3-4, R, 4 RBI

          Bullets Spring into 2013 Season with Win over ProPublica        
The 2012 season didn't end the way the DC Bullets wanted, but in their 2013 season debut, the team served notice that they're looking to rebound in a big way. Against ProPublica, the Bullets looked solid offensively and defensively, coming away with a resounding 18-3 victory.

With 2012 Rookie of the Year and MVP Kevin Schwoer toeing the pitching rubber on the Elysian familiarity of North Meadow #2 in Central Park, the comic book makers stifled the top of ProPublica's batting line-up in the first, giving DC a chance for an early lead. And The Bullets took advantage of the opportunity.

The top five hitters all reached base to start the season with a bang. After Mike Lorah lined a single to left, Andrew Arnold smashed an RBI triple for a quick lead. Kevin followed with a fly to deep center which ProPublica's centerfielder couldn't hang onto, and Kevin sprinted all the way around to score on the two-run home run. Singles by Jay Kogan and Vince Letterio kept the pressure on, which sputtered slightly when Sal Cipriano fouled out and Christine Napolitano lined out to left. Neil Hiremath came through with a big two-out hit, doubling to left center, allowing both Jay and Vince to cross the plate for a five-fun season-opening frame.

The middle part of ProPublica's order plated two runs in the second to cut into DC's lead, and the comic book makers mustered only Laura Demoreuille's one-out single, a line shot to left, in their half of the frame.

After shutting down the opposition in the third, DC retook the momentum. Taylor Esposito and Mike reached on base hits, and after Taylor was erased on Andrew's fielder's choice, Kevin and Jay collected back-to-back singles to push the lead back to five runs. DC had a chance for more, but Kevin was doubled off second base on Vince's fly out to center.

Both teams went scoreless in the fourth, CNap's base hit being DC's only baserunner. ProPublica tacked on a third run in the fifth, but the Bullets put the game away in the bottom half, scoring 11 runs. Dan Bertoldi led off the inning with a single, and one out later, rookies David Pina and Brittany Holzherr collected base hits as well. Dan was able to score during some confusion on the base paths with benefit of an infield error, and then Taylor crushed a triple to left field to bring David and Britt home. Mike's RBI infield single plated Taylor, then Andrew's fielder's choice erased Mike. The next eight hitters all reached base with two outs - Kevin started it with a bomb to deepest center field, an easy two-run homer. Not to be outdone, Jay, who was voted the second inductee into the team's Hall of Fame during the off-season, smashed a long solo home run to left.Vince singled, took second on an over-throw, and scored on Sal's smash base hit to left. Singles by CNap and Neil loaded the bases, and Allison Klein cashed in a run with a looper into right field. Dan (in his second plate appearance of the fifth) capped the inning, punching a two-run single to left, but Allison tried to go first-to-third and got caught in an inning-ending rundown to close out the frame.

Both teams went scoreless in the sixth, and ProPublica turned in a three-up-three-down seventh, including back-to-back strikeouts from Kevin to close out the game.

With a 1-0 record, the DC Bullets meet BuzzFeed for the first time ever next Thursday on North Meadow #2.

Bullet Box
3B Mike Lorah - 3-3, 2 R, RBI
SS Andrew Arnold - 1-3, 3 R, RBI, triple
P Kevin Schwoer - 3-3, 2 R, 5 RBI, two home runs
LF Jay Kogan - 3-3, 2 R, RBI, home run
OF Vince Letterio - 2-3, 2 R
1B Sal Cipirano - 1-3, R, RBI
SCF Christine Napolitano - 2-3, R
CF Neil Hiremath - 2-3, R, 2 RBI, double
2B Allison Klein - 1-3, RBI
RF Dan Bertoldi - 2-3, R, 2 RBI
1B Laura Demoreuille - 1-3
C David Pina - 2-3, R
2B Brittany Holzherr - 1-3, R
C Taylor Esposito - 2-2, R, 2 RBI, triple

          TING DER IRRITERER MIG, VIRKELIG MEGET #46        
WOW WOW WOW, to på én uge??? Ja, siger jeg. Why not!

... Det er tilsyneladende helt umuligt at fÃ¥ fat i de rigtige sorte netstrømper. Jeg har en eller anden drøm om at trække dem pÃ¥ sammen med en denimnederdel og mine nye sneakers, men det føles ærligt som om jeg desperat leder efter den mørke chokolade, jeg troede at jeg havde liggende i køleskabet, men som pÃ¥ mystisk vis er forsvundet. Jeg havde selvfølgelig planer om at tage dem udenpÃ¥ et par nylonvenner af 10 denier – det er minusgrader udenfor. Jeg er jo ikke sindssyg.

... Det der "nye" layout Bloglovin har kørende. Det kan godt være at det bare er min hjerne der ikke kan overskue det, men hvad blev der af: "værsgo, nyeste indlæg hos dem du følger, bum."???
Mit feed er én stor pærevælling af nye indlæg, en der likede et eller andet indlæg, en der delte et 14 dage gammelt indlæg, og så var der også lige en der gemte et tredje indlæg til samlingen "opskrifter".

... Hvor meget jeg godt kunne tænke mig en eller anden fancy kalender, kontra hvor dårlig jeg er til at bruge sådan noget. Jeg er åbenbart mere tilbøjelig til bare at bruge min telefon... Eller også laver jeg bare ikke særligt mange aftaler, sådan generelt.

... Bloggere der bruger kategorien "ego" til personlige indlæg. Ej det er ikke fordi det nødvendigvis irriterer mig så meget, jeg bliver bare virkelig sendt tilbage til en tid med MySpace, snakebites, coontails og tredjegradsredigerede billeder.

... Folk pÃ¥ Instagram der ikke kan finde ud af om deres billeder skal være rektangulære uden hvid ramme, kvadratiske med hvid ramme, rektangulære med hvid ramme eller kvadratiske uden hvid ramme. Det har muligvis noget at gøre med at jeg gÃ¥r absurd meget op i det, og der er muligvis ogsÃ¥ en overvejende chance for at jeg overreagerer. MEN JEG MANGLER EN RØD TRÅD (pun intended, yes).  

... Når mine engelskkundskaber en gang imellem svigter, og jeg ender med at bruge en halv time på at formulere en sætning, der uanset hvad, bare ikke lyder rigtig.

... Da jeg egentlig skulle bruge min tid pÃ¥ en dødssyg eksamensrapport, men i stedet endte med at tage syv quizzer pÃ¥ Buzzfeed, og læse et par artikler om hytteost og Game of Thrones. I det mindste fandt jeg da ud af hvilken Kardashian jeg var, hvor gammel jeg var ud fra mine præferencer i desserter, hvem min celebrity-husbond var ud fra tre McDonald's produkter, og hvor mange procents resting bitchface jeg var i besiddelse af. Kim, 32, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson og 91%.  
Det er jo ogsÃ¥ en bedrift. 

... Hvor lidt jeg orker at bevæge mig afsted til fitnesscenteret pt. Jeg betaler 250 kroner om måneden for medlemsskab, og jeg har ikke været dernede de sidste tre måneder. Jeg undskylder det i øjeblikket med, at jeg ikke magter alle nytårsforsættene på løbebåndene. Men det kan jo ikke vare for evigt, medmindre min intention er at ligne en flødebolle til sommer.

... Folk der ikke passer på sine sneakers. Jeg siger ikke, at man nødvendigvis skal gå rundt i et evigt spil "jorden er giftig", men er I klar over hvor meget længere et par sneakers holder, hvis man bare lige imprægnerer dem, og tørre en klud over engang imellem???

... Casper Christensens "karakter" i Klovn. Frede og jeg er startet forfra på serien, og hold kæft hvor er han bare en lort af dimensioner.


//

          A growing number of new media companies like Vice Media, BuzzFeed, and Vox Media are avoiding automated ad sales from third-party firms (Mike Shields/Wall Street Journal)        

Mike Shields / Wall Street Journal:
A growing number of new media companies like Vice Media, BuzzFeed, and Vox Media are avoiding automated ad sales from third-party firms  —  Publishers That Say No to Automated Ad Sales  —  Some websites believe they can make more money on their own and reduce annoyance


          19.03.2015 P3morgen        
God torsdag morgon! Ronny, Silje og Markus vekker deg med god musikk, aktuelle saker og konkurranse. I dag er det Markbuzzfeedit med overskrifta Reaksjonen hun fikk da hun møtte papptallerkenen for første gang fikk oss til å smile. Bonussporet startar 01:01:52.
          12.03.2015 Einar Tørnquist        
God torsdag morgon! Ronny, Silje og Markus vekker deg med god musikk, aktuelle saker og konkurranse. Einar Tørnquist er dagens gjest. Han er for tida aktuell med Tørnquistklubben på TV2. Einar gir oss innsyn i hans personlege mobilnotatar. Det er også ein ny skuledag på Ronnys husfarskule! God nattesøvn står på timeplanen. Og Markbuzzfeedit tek for seg besøksforbud. I dag er det dessverre ikkje bonusspor.
          3.12.2014 Sportskommentatorlegende Harald Bredeli        
I dag kommer sportskommentator Harald Bredeli på besøk, rett før han reiser til håndball-EM i Kroatia/Ungarn. Vi spør hva som er hans topp 3 mest rørende øyeblikk i hans 20 år gamle kommentatorkarriere. Markus lager ny MarkBuzzfeedit fra gata – Hva bør man ikke gjøre på restaurant? Silje gir oss 3 ting som er nice med å være singel i adventstida. Bonus: 01:03
          Video: $100 Sneakers Vs. $25,000 Sneakers        
Special Thanks To: ShoeGame LA: https://www.facebook.com/ShoeGameLA/ The Shoe Surgeon: IG: https://www.instagram.com/theshoesurg… https://surgeon-studios.myshopify.com/ MAG PARK: IG: https://www.instagram.com/themagpark/… https://themagpark.com/ Check out more awesome videos at BuzzFeedBlue! http://bit.ly/YTbuzzfeedblue1
          Insomnie : moment ou votre créativité essaye de dire "c'est qui le patron ?"        
    © buzzfeed.     ◊◊◊       ◊ TOI ET RIEN QUE TOI :    Prénom : Athénaïs    Âge : 20 ans.    Région : Belgique !    ◊ TES PRÉFÉRENCES :    Film(s) fétiche(s) : Beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup de films fétiches. Parmi d’autres et dans le désordre : Gone with the wind, Moulin Rouge, The Artist, Mommy, Drive, Le pianiste, La piscine, Inception, Shutter Island, Okja, Le premier jour du reste de ta vie, Into the wild,… Je pourrais encore en citer mille, ...
          A Brain Surgeon Is Not An Archaeologist        
BuzzFeed NEWS reports, At the 1998 commencement for Andrews University, a school associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, [Ben} Carson also dismissed the notion that aliens were somehow involved in the construction of the pyramids. “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said. “Now all the archeologists think … Continue reading A Brain Surgeon Is Not An Archaeologist
          Printable Flu Masks With Famous Jewish Faces On Them         

Our friends over at Jewcy put together these hilarious printable flu masks featuring some familiar famous Jewish faces:

Flu season is upon us, and whether you’ve had it or been around people who have it, chances are you’re probably complaining about it. From sickly coworkers to sniffling family members, no one is safe.

Continue reading "Printable Flu Masks With Famous Jewish Faces On Them " at...


          If Buying Condoms Was Like Buying Birth Control        
Safe sex isn't always easy, says BuzzFeed.
          Comment on #367: Casting New Products Onto The Market: Interview With BuzzFeed’s Paul Curry by Kanika Sharma        
Nice. Thank you for sharing with us.
          These Safe For Work Porn GIFs Are Your New Favorite Weird Internet Thing        

These actors deserve every Oscar.

Reddit's SFW Porn GIFs is literally a one-stop shop for perfect reaction GIFs.

Reddit&#39;s SFW Porn GIFs is literally a one-stop shop for perfect reaction GIFs.

i.imgur.com

Like these that you could send to that special someone.

Like these that you could send to that special someone.

i.imgur.com

i.imgur.com

i.imgur.com


View Entire List ›


          Hetero-Outings, Buzzfeed-Sprech und erste Menstruation – Unsere Lieblingstweets        
Dieser Text ist Teil 12 von 13 der Serie Feminist_innen zwitschernFür die schnelle Sommer-Zwischendurch-Lektüre: Unsere liebsten Beobachtungen in 140 Zeichen (und weniger)! Muss eine Punkband gründen und sie Oi!ter nennen. Debutalbum: „Wir melken den Staat!“ — Wolfseule (@Wolfseule) June 20, 2015 Ich geh immer davon aus, dass alle gay sind, aber die meisten outen sich […]
          Report: Trump Wants Greenberg Traurig Shareholder for Bharara's Old Job        
Geoffrey Berman, who co-leads the New Jersey office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, is in consideration to lead the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, BuzzFeed reported Monday afternoon.
      

          Buzzfeed hearts Other People        
Pleased to report that BuzzFeed has given the podcast some love. Great to be among such fine company.
          CBP Responds to Sen. Wyden: Border Agents May Not Search Travelers’ Cloud Content        

Border agents may not use travelers’ laptops, phones, and other digital devices to access and search cloud content, according to a new document by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP wrote this document on June 20, 2017, in response to questions from Sen. Wyden (D-OR). NBC published it on July 12. It states:

In conducting a border search, CBP does not access information found only on remote servers through an electronic device presented for examination, regardless of whether those servers are located abroad or domestically. Instead, border searches of electronic devices apply to information that is physically resident on the device during a CBP inspection.

This is a most welcome change from prior CBP policy and practice. CBP’s 2009 policy on border searches of digital devices does not prohibit border agents from using those devices to search travelers’ cloud content. In fact, that policy authorizes agents to search “information encountered at the border,” which logically would include cloud content encountered by searching a device at the border.

We do know that border agents have used travelers’ devices to search their cloud content. Many news reports describe border agents scrutinizing social media and communications apps on travelers’ phones, which show agents conducting cloud searches.

EFF will monitor whether actual CBP practice lives up to this salutary new policy. To help ensure that border agents follow it, CBP should publish it. So far, the public only has second-hand information about this “nationwide muster” (the term CBP’s June 17 document uses to describe this new CBP written policy on searching cloud data). Also, CBP should stop seeking social media handles from foreign visitors, which blurs CBP’s new instruction to border agents that cloud searches are off limits.

Separately, CBP’s responses to Sen. Wyden’s questions explain what will happen to a U.S. citizen who refuses to comply with a border agent’s demand to disclose their device password (or unlock their device) in order to allow the agent to search their device:

[A]lthough CBP may detain an arriving traveler’s electronic device for further examination, in the limited circumstances when that is appropriate, CBP will not prevent a traveler who is confirmed to be a U.S. citizen from entering the country because of a need to conduct that additional examination.

This is what EFF told travelers would happen in our March 2017 border guide, based on law and reported CBP practice. It is helpful that CBP has confirmed this in writing. However, CBP also should publicly state whether U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) will be denied entry for not facilitating a CBP search of their devices. They should not be denied entry. Notably, Sen. Wyden asked CBP to answer this question about all “U.S. persons,” and not just U.S. citizens.

CBP’s responses leave other important questions unanswered. For example, CBP should publicly state whether, when border agents ask travelers for their device passwords, the agents must (in the words of Sen. Wyden) “first inform the traveler that he or she has the right to refuse.” CBP did not answer this question. The international border is an inherently coercive environment, where harried travelers must seek permission to come home from uniformed and frequently armed agents in an unfamiliar space. To ensure that agents do not strong-arm travelers into surrendering their digital privacy, agents should be required to inform travelers that they may choose not to unlock their devices.

Also, CBP should publicly answer Sen. Wyden’s question about how many times in the last five years CBP has searched a device “at the request of another government agency.” Such searches will usually be improper. Historically, courts have granted border agents greater search powers than other law enforcement officials, but only for purposes of enforcing customs and immigration laws. If border agents search travelers at the request of other agencies, they presumably do so for others purposes, and so use of their heightened powers is improper. While CBP’s document provides information about CBP’s assistance requests to other agencies (for example, to seek technical help with decryption), this sheds no light on other agencies’ requests to CBP to use a traveler’s presence at the border as an excuse to conduct a warrantless search, which likely would not be justified at the interior of the country.

EFF applauds Sen. Wyden for his leadership in congressional oversight of CBP’s border device searches. We also thank CBP for answering some of Sen. Wyden’s questions. But many questions remain.

CBP’s June 2017 responses confirm that much more must be done to protect travelers’ digital privacy at the U.S. border. An excellent first step would be to enact Sen. Wyden’s bipartisan bill to require border agents to get a warrant before searching the digital devices of U.S. persons.


          Re: Twitter Moments        


Not to hate on Twitter because there is a lot to like about Moments, but something about all the Twitter news tools (Moments, Nuzzel) never really worked for me. Aggregated Twitter user perspective's on news sit in an odd space between hard news destination sites like the NY Times and light news like Buzzfeed, which is widely distributed across all my social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, etc). When I tap on real news in Moments, hard commentary is mixed in with Twitter celeb peanut gallery comments, which is an odd experience. Buzzfeed also has the peanut gallery, but it's often from people I know in real life, which is more relevant to me than, say, Snooki's post on Trump. It's meant to be a social experience integrated with a social community, but it's really sort of a bolted on destination site not well integrated with the timeline where the social nodes aren't people I follow or care about. It's stuck in the middle for me. I suspect they need to make it more personal, both in terms of the choice of articles and commentary from people with some connection to me, and better integrate the experience into the main timeline.


          Meet David Clarke, Another Trump Appointee Who Doesn’t Support Religious Freedom        
Liz Hayes

President Donald J. Trump is continuing his trend of appointing people with troubling records on religious freedom to positions of power and prominence.

The latest is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who said during a radio interview this week that he’ll be joining the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June as the assistant secretary of the Office of Partnership and Engagement. The Washington Post reports the position acts as a liaison between DHS and local police departments – “likely pressuring them to enforce the Trump administration’s tough new crackdown on illegal immigration.”

No announcement about Clarke’s appointment has been made by the federal government, but a source told The Post that Clarke’s hiring has been announced to DHS employees.

Clarke has been a controversial figure in recent years due in large part to his inflammatory comments about immigrants, Black Lives Matter, the role of law enforcement, marriage equality, Democratic leaders and more. New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait went so far as to call Clarke “an actual fascist.”

But it’s Clarke’s views on church-state separation that concern Americans United. We’ve been aware of him since 2008, when we participated in a legal battle involving the sheriff.

Ten years ago, Clarke was forcing his deputies to attend mandatory meetings that included presentations by the Fellowship of Christian Centurions (FCC), a group formed by an evangelical Wisconsin church. Some of the messages offered by FCC included discussion of how officers could “impact others for Christ" and an assertion that God "established government and that people in authority are ministers of God assigned to promote good and punish evil."

Clarke persisted in having FCC proselytize to the department even after two deputies complained. The Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association eventually filed a lawsuit on behalf of the two deputies to stop the proselytization.

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing Clarke’s actions were an unconstitutional act of religious coercion and government showing favoritism for one faith over others. “Government officials can’t impose their religious beliefs on employees,” AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn said at the time. “Sheriff Clarke’s job is to uphold the law and the Constitution, not undermine it.”

Later that year, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that Clarke’s actions were unconstitutional.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, seen here speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention, has troubling views on religious freedom.

Clarke also has espoused the view that religious beliefs can be used to justify discrimination. During a 2015 Fourth of July appearance on TheBlaze, a radio network launched by conservative radio personality Glenn Beck, Clarke assailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized marriage for same-sex couples. He went so far as to urge listeners to revolt violently.

“The next time in your state the federal government comes in and tries to put a church or a bakery or a pizza place out of business because they want to live by their religious conviction,” he said. “When I talk about pitchforks and torches, you need to get down there, surround that business and dare the federal government to come in and close it. That’s the revolution I’m talking about. It has to start in the states.”

Clarke and Trump likely are on the same wavelength on a hardline approach to immigration enforcement that targets people based on their religious beliefs. Among Clarke’s suggestions were increasing patrols of Muslim neighborhoods to search for “hotspots” and “radicalization”; he suggested these patrols may have prevented the 2015 San Bernardino terror attack.

Aside from troubling views on religious liberty, Clarke has been embroiled in a number of controversies and legal battles. A big one involves the Milwaukee County Jail that he oversees. It was investigated following four deaths there last year – including the death of a baby born while the imprisoned mother was left unattended and kept shackled during labor and the death of a man with mental health problems who died of dehydration after he was deprived of water in his cell for a week.

Sadly, it’s no surprise Trump would consider appointing someone who’s no friend of church-state separation – after all, he’s already surrounded himself with the likes of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and education adviser Jerry Falwell Jr., Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and more.

That’s why we need you now more than ever to help us protect religious freedom. Learn how you can get involved here.


          Trump Has Nothing to Offer Europe        

All of a sudden, French President Emmanuel Macron wants to cuddle up with Donald Trump. But Macron should realize—and, after last weekend, probably does—that Trump just isn’t into him, or into anything else that Macron and most of the other heads of Europe represent.

Macron’s overture began on June 28, when he invited Trump to join him on the review stand for the annual Bastille Day parade, celebrating the storming of the barricades that set off the French Revolution. Just one month earlier, at a NATO summit in Brussels, the two had locked wrists in a “death-grip handshake,” which Macron later said he meant not at all innocently but rather as “a moment of truth” to show Trump that France would not “make small concessions—not even symbolic ones.” Tensions stiffened when Trump declined to recommit the U.S. to the mutual defense of Europe. (It was later revealed that he’d crossed out a line in his speech that would have done just that.) When Trump then pulled the U.S. out of the Paris agreement on climate change, Macron urged American scientists to take refuge in Paris, where their work would be appreciated.

Hear this article on Slate Voice! slate.com/voice

But sometime in the interim, Macron must have mulled that, uncouth as this new occupant of the White House may be, American leadership was vital to the defense and unity of Europe; so, as an aspiring leader of Europe, he should try to make friends. Hence the RSVP for the Bastille Day party on July 14, which Trump accepted.

Now, though, after the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Macron should maybe shrug off his hopes of a French-American reset. For the one thing, Trump clearly displayed that, unlike all other American presidents since the end of World War II, he has no interest in being the leader of the Western world.

His behavior at the summit proved the point in a few ways. First, although the G-20 is rarely a forum for dramatic action, American presidents usually arrange the agenda in a way that demonstrates their prominence. Trump came into this G-20 summit knowing that he would be in a minority—in some aspects, a minority of one—on issues of global warming and trade. Faced with that prospect, most presidents would push to the fore some other issue that advanced U.S. interests and appealed to most, if not all, of the other nations as well. There were plenty of such issues out there: North Korea’s latest missile test, the spread of Islamist terrorism, maybe a wild card like women’s equality or global hunger. All of these issues were discussed in the routine forums, but Trump didn’t grab the opportunity to make headlines from any of them. The only plausible explanation for why not is this: He didn’t want to.

Second, his much-anticipated, two-hours-plus meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was—from a European’s point of view—not just unimpressive but appalling. We may never know exactly what happened behind those closed doors, because no one was in the room besides the two presidents, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and the translators. Usually, a National Security Council staffer sits in, if just to take notes, but there weren’t even any note-takers at this one. That said, the accounts given afterward by Tillerson and Lavrov, in separate press conferences, were consistent with each other, so conclusions can be drawn.

It turns out that, though Trump asked Putin whether he had interfered with America’s 2016 presidential election, Putin replied that he didn’t, and that seems to have been the end of it. (Lavrov claimed that Trump accepted Putin’s denial; Tillerson didn’t go that far but did say Trump wanted to look forward in their relations rather than “relitigate” the past—which amounts to the same thing.) The two presidents also discussed a joint cybersecurity unit, to prevent intrusions in elections of the future, which is like inviting the block’s most notorious burglar to join the neighborhood watch. It was so appalling (in Sen. Lindsey Graham’s words, “not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close”) that even Trump backpedaled in a later tweet.

The Europeans care a great deal about Putin’s land grabs in Ukraine, in part for what they might bode at some point for themselves. Yet, except for Tillerson’s announcement of a new special envoy to Kiev (to do what is unclear), the presences seem not to have discussed anything about Putin’s annexation of Crimea, his invasion of Ukraine’s eastern provinces, his cyberattacks on the electrical power grid, or anything else to do with the country.

In other words, in a meeting lasting longer than two hours, the American and Russian presidents did not discuss matters that would most concern the attendants of a G-20 summit—or if they did, no one is likely to learn what was said.

Third, Trump left Hamburg without holding a press conference, either solo or with some of the other leaders. This may be unprecedented. Instead, the White House released photographs of Trump talking with other leaders, sometimes smiling or looking brow-furrow concerned. And on the plane back to Washington, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster briefed the press in particularly dismaying fashion.

Cohn managed to preserve some of his dignity, spending most of his time merely listing the president’s meetings and speeches. McMaster focused on the trip that Trump took in Poland before the G-20 began, stressing America’s commitment to Polish and European freedom. But Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs banker who’d been one of Trump’s early campaign supporters, went all in, saying three times that his boss handled the meeting with Putin “brilliantly” (which he couldn’t have known, not being in the room) and once saying Trump was “brilliant” in his bilaterals with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May as well. I can’t recall a Cabinet secretary or any other senior official talking in public like such a fanboy about a president’s performance in a diplomatic setting, even if the joy bursts were accurate, which, in this case, we know, they were not.

But Mnuchin’s ecstatic ramblings are welcome in the sense that they expose Trump’s trip for what it was—an attempt to jack up his image, not so much to his G-20 colleagues (most of whom, he must know, dislike or distrust him) but rather to his die-hard supporters back home, many of whom like the fact that he’s on the outs with foreign governments.

On July 14, Bastille Day, thousands of French marchers, who would ordinarily be celebrating their revolution, will be protesting Trump’s very presence in their midst, even declaring vast public squares as “No Trump Zones.” It will be interesting to see how Trump and his base take that.


          By: Frida_K        
@Llamas That's very nice of you to be concerned about purity of information, getting along, and not making things worse. Were you this sweet and concerned when President Obama was smeared up one side and down the other? Whether you were or whether you were not, here's my take: If there was absolutely no merit in it whatsoever, I think that he would sue. Instead, he tries to pretend that giving his business to his sons is ethical and we should be grateful. And he tries to ram his cabinet picks down our throats. And he insults the mainstream press while having a front row seat for his pals at Breitbart. And so forth. Whatever garbage gets thrown at him is nothing less than he deserves. The fact that this is believable, whether or not it all is true (and there's enough truth in the documents that Buzzfeed has the courage to print it), speaks volumes. And as vile as he has been over the years...well, too bad he doesn't like it but karma packs a punch. #notmypeeotus #goldenshowers #hahahahahaaha
          It’s Bad Enough Trump Has No Foreign Policy        

There are two things wrong with President Trump’s claim that Senate Democrats are delaying confirmation of his Cabinet picks. First, it’s not true; the pace of hearings, probes, and votes has been about the same as in previous administrations. Second, if Trump is suggesting that the delays are preventing his government from revving up, he’s the one to blame.

Three weeks into his presidency, Trump has not nominated any second-tier officials—the deputy, under, and assistant secretaries—in a major department. Whatever the merits of his various Cabinet secretaries, they are heading empty shells.

Yes, Secretary of Defense James Mattis flew to Asia to assure his counterparts in South Korea and Japan that America’s commitment to their defense is rock solid (despite some of Trump’s remarks to the contrary). Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reinforced that message with phone calls himself.

But then what? Traditionally, the appropriate underlings—the undersecretary of state for political affairs, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and various others—would follow up, in phone calls and face-to-face meetings, to discuss specific issues, allay specific concerns, reshape imperfect accords, untangle some misunderstandings. Asian allies in particular require almost daily hand-holding.

But none of this can happen, because there are no officials who can do it. Nor can the Trump administration do much to form new policies, assess new trends, or address new threats. Usually, the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee does the staff work—sometimes the initial analysis—on these sorts of issues. But it can’t be done now, because there are no deputy or undersecretaries to fill a Deputies Committee. There are acting deputy and undersecretaries, but they’re holdovers from the Obama administration, and so, they can’t pretend—or be trusted—to speak for the new crowd. They tend to be junior hangovers, at that, since most of Obama’s midlevel officials left on Inauguration Day, either by their own choice or at Team Trump’s insistence.

Officials at this level are presidential appointees, and the slots are usually filled—at least tentatively (for they, too, require Senate confirmation)—in the transition between the election and the start of the term. Some presidents give Cabinet secretaries leeway to pick their own underlings or to reject the ones offered, but only to a degree and sometimes barely that. Presidents don’t want a Cabinet that’s too independent; putting their own people in key positions is one way to maintain control. In this administration, Mattis has pushed back on several of Trump’s preferred undersecretaries, and he may be the only Cabinet secretary with the moxie and leverage to do so. The others are still waiting.

Ordinarily this delay in staffing wouldn’t much matter. New administrations take some time to find their footing; crises rarely occur so early on. But Trump has been spawning mini-crises almost daily. With nearly every phone call to a foreign head-of-state comes a tantrum, a faux pas, or at very least a storm of confusion that heightens tensions or foments new uncertainties. Usually, before presidents call a head of state, they’re briefed on the major issues concerning that country, the positions held by both sides, perhaps some personal peculiarities. For heads of particularly important countries, they’re given briefing folders to read in advance. Trump reads no such folders and hears no such briefings, except sometimes an informal point or two, delivered not by a State Department official, but by his national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who, in some cases, has his own agenda and, in others, has little to say.

Several foreign leaders have shaken their heads in wonder at these phone calls, so hostile or, in any case, bewildering. French President François Hollande told aides that all Trump seemed to care about was the money that America spends on the rest of the world. Trump famously screamed at Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a prior deal for the United States to receive 1,200 refugees—in part because Trump didn’t know about the deal and, on a broader level, had no knowledge of the critical role that Australia plays in Asian security or in the global U.S. intelligence network. In another phone call, when Russian President Vladimir Putin asked about extending the Obama-era New START nuclear-arms-reduction treaty, Trump scoffed at the treaty as a bad deal that gives Moscow an advantage—in part because he was unfamiliar with the treaty, which in fact requires both sides to cut their nuclear arsenals to equal levels and which, meanwhile, gives the United States unprecedented rights of inspection.

It’s not clear whether Trump would have wanted a State Department briefing on these subjects, had one of his own people been available to give it. But he had no such people, and there were no briefings.

Trump is right about one thing: The world is a mess. He doesn’t seem to realize the extent to which his words and actions—his hostile messages, mixed messages, and sometimes the absence of a message where there needs to be one—are making it messier. He knows almost nothing about foreign policy. He has no foreign-policy apparatus, only a few Cabinet secretaries and some White House advisers, who have little experience running federal bureaucracies and who disagree on basic premises. In short, he has no foreign policy, but only a string of clichés about “America First” and “winning,” which don’t translate into substantive ideas or prescriptions for action. And he seems blithely unaware that he’s spinning aimlessly.


          Mass Confusion at the State Department        

On Wednesday, observers of Donald Trump’s presidency were noting an unusual degree of disarray inside the government. That afternoon, a key segment of the government simply vanished.

The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin reported that the State Department’s top management officials—veteran Foreign Service officers vital for providing continuity and institutional memory to a new secretary of state and his aides—resigned en masse.

A former senior State Department official told me Thursday morning that, on Jan. 19, the day before Trump’s inauguration (which was also the day he resigned), a member of the incoming president’s transition team told the management officials to leave within 24 hours. “But then,” the former official said, “it seemed common sense had prevailed, and the Trump folks realized they would need people to actually run the institution. So I assumed they were staying for at least a while.”

The officials who left Wednesday are the people who run the machinery of foreign policy through successive administrations, Republican and Democratic. The highest-ranking among them, Patrick Kennedy, had been the undersecretary of state for management for nine years and, by many accounts, was angling to keep that job in the new administration—until he suddenly left, for still-unknown reasons, taking with him Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond, and the director of the Office of Foreign Missions, Gentry O. Smith.

Meanwhile, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, hasn’t yet been confirmed by the Senate. (He cleared the first hurdle, winning the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s endorsement by the slimmest 11–10 margin.) And the department’s second-echelon policy officials haven’t even been nominated.

So, as British Prime Minister Theresa May touches down in Washington on Friday for President Trump’s first meeting with a foreign head-of-state, the proceedings will take place without a functioning State Department.

And as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Thursday morning that he was canceling his scheduled trip to Washington, there is no one at State who can make the calls and clean up in the mess with any authority. (The cancellation came after Trump said, in an often-bizarre interview with ABC News broadcast Wednesday night, that if Mexico wasn’t going to pay for his border wall, maybe the country’s president should cancel his forthcoming trip. Trump may have meant the remark as a threat; Nieto took it as an opportunity.)

On paper, the State Department is now run by Tom Shannon, who was John Kerry’s undersecretary of state for political affairs, the third-ranking position. Most of the State Department’s other senior policy officials—the deputy secretary, undersecretary for policy, and assistant secretaries of the various regional and functional bureaus—resigned when Kerry did, if not sooner. So those posts are occupied by deputy assistant secretaries or, in some cases, FSO bureaucrats.

Tillerson has much experience roaming the world and making deals for Exxon Mobil Corp., where he worked for his entire adult life, rising to the top job of chairman and CEO. But he has no experience dealing with U.S. foreign policy except when clashing with State Department officials whose interests differed sharply with his company’s, most notably in Russia and Iraq. If Tillerson is confirmed, which seems likely, he will enter his job with no senior institutional backup and much hostility from mid-level careerists. (In his book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, Steve Coll portrays Tillerson as holding State Department diplomats in contempt.)

Before his confirmation hearings, which even supporters found unimpressive, Tillerson had been offered a briefing from the State Department, as is customary practice. But Tillerson turned it down—though, according to one former official, it was Trump’s transition team who rejected the offer. Tillerson was left on his own as a result of the same bitterly partisan motives that have driven everything about the transition team—and now, assuming he does take the office, he’s left on his own quite literally.

Across the Potomac River, retired Gen. James Mattis, who has been confirmed as secretary of defense, appears to be holding the line. None of his second-tier officials have yet been nominated either, but he is highly respected in the Pentagon and he has convinced most of the incumbent deputy-, under-, and assistant secretaries to stick around until their replacements are named and confirmed. (The current deputy secretary of defense, Bob Work, may stay for a while longer.)

Mattis and the new CIA director, Mike Pompeo, even seem to have mustered the leverage to derail an executive order that Trump was set to sign on Wednesday resuming operations of CIA “black sites” and at least reviewing U.S. policy on torture, which was ended in 2006 and is currently banned by law. Just hours before the scheduled signing on Wednesday, the New York Times and Washington Post reported in detail on this “draft” order—which stunned Mattis and Pompeo, who had heard nothing about it. In his ABC interview, which was taped early that day, Trump confirmed that he would be signing this order along with two others on building the border wall and barring immigrants from certain Muslim countries. By the time he signed the orders, the one on black sites and torture wasn’t on the table. Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied that the draft in question was a White House order. The order, it turned out, came from the archive of Mitt Romney’s transition team during the 2012 election, with some of the language changed—for instance, “jihadist” became “Islamist.” But it was, without question, White House officials—probably National Security Adviser Michael Flynn or someone working for him—who retrieved the document and tried to revive it.

The episode of the discarded order suggests that, in some circumstances, Trump can be persuaded to ignore his instincts, at least for a while. In the ABC interview, Trump said that he still favored waterboarding, among other methods of extreme interrogation, because he felt that it worked and because some intelligence officials had told him that it worked. However, he added, “I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don’t wanna do [it], that’s fine.”

On other issues, though, it’s unclear whether moderating influences will be heard, much less whether they’ll prevail. It’s unclear where those moderating influences would originate. Not from the State Department, because for the moment, for all practical purposes, there is no State Department.


          Well, That Was a Waste of Time        

What an ill-focused forum, a senseless not-quite-debate, another wasted hour in an election season that’s been more wasteful and dispiriting than anyone could have imagined possible, until it gets more dispiriting still.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which sponsored Wednesday’s “commander-in-chief forum,” as they called it, is a laudable organization, and the tragedy of our wounded warriors and the mess of the Veterans Affairs system warrants more attention. But a back-to-back Q-and-A with the two main presidential candidates might not be the best place. A veteran in the audience asks what they think of the high rate of suicides among his comrades-in-arms, and what answer can anyone expect but “It’s terrible, I plan to do something about this, go read the position paper on my website.”

The moderator, NBC’s Matt Lauer (who proved himself unready from Moment 1), grilled Hillary Clinton on her emails—entirely appropriate, but then two of the veterans in the audience also grilled her on the emails. (Were the questions screened?) By the time Lauer got around to asking her about the Iran nuclear deal and she started to explain the deal’s context, he interrupted and urged her to make her answer quick. He did that a couple of times.

Lauer put some challenging questions to Donald Trump as well, asking, for instance, what in his experience made him qualified to be commander-in-chief. He replied, “I built a great company, I’ve been all over the world, I’ve dealt with foreign countries. … I have great judgment, I know what’s going on”—saying (and being asked) nothing about his company’s four bankruptcies, the fleecing of vendors, or the fundamental difference between running a business (where there’s a clear profit-loss tally) and running a country (where there are competing views of what the goals should be).

Asked how he’s been preparing for the awesome job of commander-in-chief, should he be elected, Trump referred to the 88 generals and admirals who recently endorsed him without noting that he’s consulted, or even talked with, very few of them. He then said, as he’s said before, “I think also I really feel I have a common sense on the issues”—proving yet again that Trump is that most dangerous man: a prospective national leader who doesn’t know just how much he doesn’t know.

Lauer then recalled Trump’s statement, a few weeks ago, that in the heat of a campaign, he sometimes says things that he regrets, and asked if this is a quality one should seek in a president. Trump replied, “I regret, but in the meantime, I beat 16 people”—referring to his primary opponents—“and here I am.” To Trump, it’s all about the popularity. Similarly, when asked about his admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he noted Putin’s 82 percent popularity rating among his people, making him, Trump said, a better leader than President Obama.

Trump disputed Clinton’s remark in the first half of the forum that he, too, had initially supported the invasion of Iraq, saying that he opposed the war in a 2004 issue of Esquire. But the invasion took place in 2003, and he told Howard Stern a few months before its launching that he favored the war—just as he also, in fact, favored U.S. military intervention in Libya, for which he lambasted Clinton, blaming her for the chaos that ensued.

The most jaw-dropping moment may have come when he said that we could have preempted the rise of ISIS if only we’d taken Iraq’s oil. “It used to be ‘To the victors belong the spoils,’ ” he said—thus confirming every anti-American’s deep belief that our foreign policy is driven by rapacious imperialism. How would you take the oil? Lauer asked. “We’d leave a group behind, we would take sections that have the oil,” Trump replied, as if that were the easiest thing in the world.

Trump used to say that he had a plan to defeat ISIS “very fast,” but recently he said he would ask his generals to give him a plan within 30 days on how to do so. Is that his plan, Lauer asked: to get others to come up with a plan? “No,” Trump replied, “but when I do come up with a plan that I like—I may love what the generals come up with … I have a plan … maybe a combination of my plan and the generals’ plan”—without once hinting, even broadly, what his plan entailed.

Then again, Hillary Clinton didn’t do so well at this forum either. She started strong. Asked to list the most important character traits of a commander-in-chief, she replied, “Steadiness … mixed with strength … someone who listens, who evaluates … who is able to sort out the very difficult options and make the decision,” like the one that she helped make to raid Osama Bin Laden’s lair. She was listing the traits that she most clearly possesses and Trump most clearly lacks.

Then came the onslaught of questions about emails, the Iraq vote, and Libya—for which she’d prepared answers that were coherent (if not quite convincing to viewers who hold those issues against her). She mounted a good defense of the Iran nuclear deal, summarizing her stance on Iran in general as “distrust but verify.” She rattled off the many things she’s done and bills she’s helped pass to assist veterans—more than Trump has done.

But she took a strange route when it came to the war against ISIS. She said she supported airstrikes, special-ops forces, and enablers to help Arab and Kurdish ground fighters—but, she added, no U.S. ground troops. “We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again” or in Syria either. Well, we have put a few thousand ground troops in Iraq and Syria: That’s what those special-ops forces and enablers are. She might have been more precise had she pledged not to escalate beyond the levels or types of troops in place now—but it’s hard to say what precisely she thinks.

Then again, she clearly thinks something, she thinks about these issues, she’s thought about them a lot, though sometimes, as she now admits, to mistaken conclusions—whereas Trump has never thought about them at all yet believes he’s a sage.

This was the choice laid out before us: on the one hand, a flawed, sometimes slippery, but capable, intelligent, tough woman well-versed in all levels of politics and diplomacy—on the other hand, a man who thinks he’s all those things but isn’t any of them. But there was one moment that may have stood out in the minds of the undecided—when Trump said of Clinton, “She’s been there for 30 years. We need change.”

It was the same tack he took when he tried to appeal to black Americans by saying, “What have you got to lose?” It didn’t work with black Americans. For one thing, he made the remark to an all-white audience. For another, black life in America isn’t the unrelieved hellhole that he depicted. Trump spent his time Wednesday night—and in a speech earlier in the day—painting America’s military as “depleted,” its foreign policy as “disastrous,” and its generals (except for those supporting him) as “reduced to rubble” under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. His speech was jammed with mendacity, comparing the number of U.S. warships and jet fighters with those of decades ago (without noting the enormous difference in quality) and claiming that Obama has shrunk the military budget (when in fact it’s larger than it has been for the last 30 years).

Hillary Clinton wasn’t asked about any of these matters. But if Trump’s big lies are believed, if people (most of whom don’t experience foreign policy in their everyday lives) are convinced that we’re getting weak, growing limp, and so “we need change,” even from someone who seems so improbably cast for the job, he might sway votes his way, even on this issue, where the contrast between the two candidates is so enormous—vaster than the contrast between any two candidates in modern times—that the contest should be tipping effortlessly the other way.

Read more from Slate on the 2016 campaign.


          Let’s Count the Lies in Christie’s Attack on Clinton        

In his convention speech Tuesday night, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie roused the Republican delegates with a bill of indictment against Hillary Clinton’s record and character as the nation’s top diplomat. He was clearly staking his bid for a Cabinet post in the Trump administration, but his reading seemed more like an audition for the role of Reverend Parris in a summer-stock production of The Crucible.

“Lock her up!” “Burn the witch at the stake!” roared the crowds that night, as they had the night before, and Christie fit right in.

But let’s examine his monologue in a way that no one else, least of all Christie, has done: as a serious, substantive list of charges. In this light, he wouldn’t make it as an assistant district attorney in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, much less as attorney general of the United States.

Christie began with Libya, a weak spot for the Democratic contender. The U.S. intervention in that country’s civil war, with the resulting ouster of Muammar Qaddafi, did turn out disastrously, and, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was the Obama administration’s most avid advocate of supporting the rebels militarily. But it’s over-the-top to pronounce her “guilty,” as Christie did, “for ruining Libya and creating a nest for terrorist activity.”

For one thing, Clinton was far from alone in pushing for armed intervention. Christie didn’t mention this (and I doubt anyone else will this week), but Donald Trump also favored U.S. military action, saying, “If you don’t get rid of Qaddafi, it’s a major, major black eye for this country.” Recall the context: The besieged Qaddafi was threatening to exterminate tens of thousands of his own citizens; the Arab League, in a near-unprecedented move, unanimously beseeched the United States for help; NATO expressed eagerness to dive in; and the U.N. Security Council drafted a resolution.

Obama agreed (yes, with a push from Clinton and National Security Adviser Susan Rice) to send in U.S. air power but only if the European allies, who had more stake in the conflict, restored order and cleaned up afterward. The leaders of France and Italy agreed. The first part of the operation succeeded. The problem was that France and Italy proved unable or unwilling to do their parts in the “post-combat phase.” As a result, the place fell apart, and terrorists moved in to fill the vacuum. But is Libya worse off than it would have been had Qaddafi remained in power? Unclear. Regardless of the answer, is Hillary Clinton to blame for the ensuing anarchy? Marginally, at most.

At least a real debate could be had about Libya. (Not that Christie contributed to one.) The rest of his speech was flooded with falsehoods.

“In Nigeria,” Christie told the crowd, “Hillary Clinton amazingly fought for two years to keep an al-Qaida affiliate off of the terrorist watch list,” and, “as a result of this reckless action by the candidate who is the self-proclaimed champion of women all around the world,” the terrorists abducted hundreds of schoolgirls.

The truth is the Nigerian government, a U.S. ally, strenuously opposed efforts to put Boko Haram—the al-Qaida affiliate—on the watch list, arguing that doing so would elevate the group’s stature. A letter to Secretary of State Clinton, signed by 25 Africa specialists, including the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria under President George W. Bush, urged her not to place the group on the watch list. Doing so, the letter stated, “would internationalize Boko Haram, legitimize abuses by Nigeria’s security services, limit the State Department’s latitude in shaping a long-term strategy, and undermine the U.S. government’s ability to receive effective independent analysis from the region.” There was an internal debate over the matter, but the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau took the Nigerian government’s side.

Even so, in June 2012, Clinton put the three alleged leaders of Boko Haram on the terrorist watch list—which sparked a process leading to the designation of the entire group in 2013, not long after she left government service. In any case, there is no evidence that putting Boko Haram on the watch list earlier would have prevented the abductions.

Christie then moved on to China, claiming that Clinton “praised the Chinese government for buying our debt to finance Barack Obama’s bloated stimulus plan.” Quite apart from the issue of whether the stimulus plan was bloated, this is how debt-financing works, and this particular feature of Chinese-American relations long precedes—and will long follow—Clinton’s tenure as secretary.

Then came Syria where, according to Christie, Clinton lauded President Bashar al-Assad as “a different kind of leader” and “reformer.” Now, Christie added, there are “400,000 dead at the hands of the man that Hillary defended,” betraying herself as “an awful judge of the character of a dictator and butcher.”

Again, Christie distorted the facts. In March 2011, Assad started arresting protesters who were inspired by the Arab Spring. On CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asked Clinton why the U.S. wasn’t sending in airstrikes, as it had in Libya. After all, Assad’s father had “killed 25,000 people at a lick” in similar circumstances 30 years earlier. Clinton replied (emphasis mine):

Well, if there were a coalition of the international community … the passage of a Security Council resolution … a call by the Arab League … but that’s not going to happen because I don’t think that it’s yet clear what will occur, what will unfold. There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.

Two things are worth highlighting. First, Clinton said no one knew how the Syrian protests or Assad’s crackdown would unfold, so talk of airstrikes was premature. Second, she didn’t say that Assad was “a different kind of leader” but rather “a different leader” from his father. (Which was true at the time: He hadn’t yet approached, much less surpassed, Hafez al-Assad in brutality.) Third, she didn’t call Assad a reformer; rather, she quoted members of a bipartisan congressional delegation as calling him a possible reformer.

She was a little off in this assessment. As PolitiFact found in its research, the Democrats on the trip to Syria (including the inveterate optimist then–Sen. John Kerry) came back hopeful about Assad’s leadership; the Republicans were more skeptical. Still, Bashar was Western-educated, seemed to be more civilized than his father; he hadn’t yet revealed his true colors or maybe even decided what they were. Hope was in the air, though it turned out to be illusory. But it’s going way too far to say Hillary Clinton called Assad a reformer.

Then Christie came to his party’s bête noir—the nuclear deal with Iran, which he called “the worst nuclear deal in history … a deal that will lead to a nuclear Iran and an Israel that will be less safe,” a deal that has already made America “less safe and less respected.” This is the season’s big lie since, in fact, the deal has proved successful: Iran has dismantled the vast bulk of its centrifuges, unloaded its enriched uranium, and let in cameras and inspectors, just as the deal mandated. Iran is much farther away from a nuclear bomb and Israel much safer, as a result. (Recent reports of a “secret side-deal” are neither new, secret, nor invalidating of this assessment.)

But the relevant point, in this context, is that Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the Iran nuclear deal. She helped set up the sanctions against Iran, which, some believe, played a role in bringing Iran to the negotiating table. But it’s not true that she “launched the negotiations,” as Christie put it, nor that she “helped cut” the deal. The talks didn’t begin until after she left the State Department; her successor, John Kerry, ran the talks from start to finish. If this were a trial, any judge would dismiss this count out of hand.

Christie then denounced Clinton for her “reset” policy in Russia, which he claimed “deleted in four years the safety and security it took us to build in 40 years.” Here, Christie was treading on shaky ground, given Trump’s outspoken admiration of Vladimir Putin and his desire to restore U.S.–Russian relations—his own “reset,” plus some.

But Christie was not just impolitic: He was also wrong. For as long as Dmitry Medvedev was Russian president, the reset policy accomplished quite a bit. Washington and Moscow signed the New START nuclear arms-reduction treaty, cooperated in measures to counter terrorism and nuclear proliferation. At Obama’s request, Medvedev even canceled a contract to sell advanced air-defense missiles to Iran, at a considerable financial loss, because the missiles would have made it harder for the United States or Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors if the showdown with Tehran had come to that. All this went up in smoke with the re-emergence of Putin and his nostalgia for the days of empire. Even so, it’s nutty to say that these renewed tensions, whatever their cause, have “deleted” the gains yielded by 40 years of U.S. security policy.

While he was on the subject of Communist leaders, Christie then claimed Clinton “supported concessions to the Castro brothers” by “ending the embargo” against Cuba while getting “almost nothing in return.” Again, Christie is confused by chronology: The diplomatic gambit to reopen relations with Cuba took place well after Clinton left the State Department. And, in any case, the embargo has not been lifted.

Finally, Christie brought up Clinton’s emails, saying that she “cared more about protecting her own secrets than … protecting America’s secrets” and that “her selfish, awful judgment” made “our secrets vulnerable.” I have already been over this overhyped issue in some detail. Suffice it to say that neither FBI Director James Comey nor any other investigator found the slightest evidence that her email led to the improper disclosure of any secrets. Even the missives containing Top Secret material—all eight of them, only one of which she sent—dealt with matters known to the entire world (CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen) or not terribly important (a conversation with the president of Malawi).

Christie concluded his speech, as if addressing a jury of her peers, “Time after time, the facts and just the facts lead you to the same verdict. … In Libya, Nigeria: guilty. In China and Syria … ”

 The crowd screamed, “Guilty!”

 â€œIn Iran and Russia and Cuba … ”

“Guilty!” they roared again.

“And here at home, for risking America’s secrets to keep her own and lying to cover it all up … ”

“Guilty!”

Chris Christie had taken the stage 20 minutes earlier with the end of his political career in sight, panting into the final months of his final term as New Jersey governor, saddled with unspeakably low ratings, denied his dream of a spot on the ticket with Trump after months of a lapdog’s humiliation. He mustered his case for the candidate nonetheless, on an issue about which he knows next to nothing, and incited the mob passion despite his placement on the schedule just before 10 p.m. That is, just before the three networks started covering the proceedings, a prime time that Trump had allotted to his least-known son and Ben Carson—Carson, of all Trump’s discarded rivals!—who wound up straying off-script to denounce Hillary Clinton as a disciple of Lucifer, outdoing even Christie’s gamest efforts at pandering.

If Trump is elected president, he might nominate Christie to be his attorney general. If Clinton is elected, we may never hear of Chris Christie again. As Christie said, at one point in his speech, “You’re the ones who will decide.”

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.


          10 Gifs That Epitomise Student Summer (List)        
1) Saying goodbye to uni friends: Every time one of your housemates moves out it's like a part of you dies, you just can't imagine getting through three whole months without them. Who will you have drunken heart to hearts with? Who will you 'borrow' milk from? Who will you compare your results from a BuzzFeed quiz on which piece of garden furniture you are with? 2) Seeing your school friends again: You spent the last term communicating almost solely through tagging each other in memes, so there is a lot to catch up on. But seeing old friends can be weird. There's always one who's completely changed since going to uni and another who seems to have picked up the regional accent. Despite all this, these people know you better than anyone. No matter what's gone on since you left 6th form, it feels like nothing's changed once you're all back together. 3) Moving back in with your parents: To begin with, things seem great: you get to eat something other than pasta and ketchup; there's no mould in the shower; there's no one blasting out grime when you're trying to sleep. But your parents just don't seem to understand you're now an adult. They get annoyed when you sleep in past 10am and they insist that breakfast pizza isn't a thing (even though we all know that it is). It doesn't take long until you remember why you left in the first place. 4) Being broke: You thought you'd have loads of money over summer, after all, you don't have to pay rent or bills, and your parents buy your food. But you miscalculated: your last loan instalment was months ago and you splashed the remainder on results day VKs, so now you have to spend summer on a budget and a very tight budget at that. 5) Part time work: Penniless and destitute, you're forced to go back to your old weekend job so that you can afford all the summer plans you've arranged. The customers may be terrible and your boss may be an idiot, but when you're lying in bed debating whether you really need a degree, the memory of this summer will force you to get up and go to your 9am. 6) Internships: Or better yet, you've somehow managed to land yourself an internship in some fancy office in the city. You've got a smart suit and some swanky stationary, but you're way out of your depth and have absolutely no idea what you're doing. 7) Festivals: A student summer staple. It will inevitably rain all weekend, yet your tent will be hotter than the Sahara Desert. Come Monday, you'll get home covered in mud and glitter, with a cumulative five hours of sleep for the last three days, unsure of what your own name is. But you'll still buy tickets for next year, because nothing's better than being drunk in a field with your mates. 8) Day Drinking: Most of the year, day drinking is frowned upon. But somehow summer makes drinking in a park at midday not just acceptable, but practically encouraged. Maybe it's because of the amount of fruit in Pimm's and Kopparberg – they're practically one of your five a day. 9) Endless holiday Instagrams: If you do manage to go on holiday, it is absolutely paramount that you post about it on Instagram on a daily basis. This summer, with the glorious addition of stories and multiple picture posts, you can make your followers even more jealous/annoyed. Think: regular updates on your tan and panoramas of the same Zante beach five times a day. If you're really cool you'll move away from the typical beach selfies and post a photo of a polaroid of the Amsterdam letters. Remember, if you don't share it online, you may as well not have gone. 10) Getting a bit carried away with buying new stationary: As autumn term approaches the magnetic properties of Paperchase intensify. Safe in the knowledge that the long-awaited student loan will imminently pull you out of your overdraft, you spend money that you don't have yet on stuff that you will never need. Cactus paperclips? Ice cream rubbers? Dinosaur rulers? Yes please, I'll have twenty!

About the Author: Josie Rogers is a Chemistry undergraduate at the University of York. Her passions include music and dog memes.

If you enjoyed this listicle, you'll love our relatable hashtag #grbrelates Can you think of something to add to the list? If so, tweet us: @thegrbteam
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9 surprisingly heartwarming moments you may have missed in last night's 'Game of Thrones.'

   
     

Welcome to “A Song of Nice and Fire” Upworthy’s weekly series recapping one of the most brutal shows on TV. Since brutality is not really in our wheelhouse, Eric March has taken it upon himself to dig deep, twist and turn, and squint really hard to see if he can find the light of kindness in all the darkness. He may not always succeed, but by gosh if he won’t try his best.

Here’s what he found on this week’s "Game of Thrones."

FIREBALL!

GIF by "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

For an episode high on characters non-consensually set ablaze, "The Spoils of War" featured a lot of man's-kindness-toward-his-fellow-man. I didn't even have to squint that hard.

Let's dive right in!

1. The Stark siblings reunite!

"You guys are weird." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

After six and a half seasons, thousands of miles traveled, several months of assassin training, two nightmare marriages, and one attempt to kind of become a tree, the remaining three children of Ned and Catelyn Stark finally get the band back together — and it's glorious.

Sure, it's also a little awkward. Bran behaves like the world's most insufferable college freshman home for Thanksgiving who has thoughts about the categorical imperative, while Sansa increasingly suspects that Arya's kill list might include a certain red-headed sister whose name rhymes with Pantsa Park. Arya, meanwhile, is too busy fighting knights three times her size to a draw to really bother with any palace intrigue, stirring up some of her sister's long-buried childhood resentment. But for the most part, everyone hugs and has a nice, easygoing break from the generational trauma they've been subjected to.

And just like at most family reunions...

2. Everyone gives everyone a dagger!

Like a fruitcake on Christmas morning, Westeros' most infamous stabbing implement — the knife that almost ended Bran way back in season one — spends a majority of last night's episode being re-gifted. Littlefinger gives it to Bran, who gives it to Arya, who gives it to Brienne, who gives it back to Arya. Sure, they all have different motives, not all of them 100% pure, but hey, it's the thought that counts!

Judging by Arya's rapid mastery of the weapon, I can easily imagine it making its way into a certain perpetually-on-the-edge-of-cynical-laughter face before too long.

Careful who you pawn that fruitcake off on...

3. A Lannister pays her debt.

What do you know? Cersei actually delivers on her promise to make good on her loan from the Iron Bank.

"Profits. Dividends. ROI." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

That's A+ financial responsibility, even if it involved poisoning an old woman to death to make it happen.

Gotta balance those books!  

4. Bran thanks Meera for dragging him thousands of miles through the snow.

Yes, he does so in the most ungrateful, detached way possible and leaves out a few minor details and incidental dead friends, but if we set the bar as low as we possibly can, he does say thank you. Turns out you can be all-knowing and all-seeing and still recall the essential Emily Post.

Anyway, Meera's off the show now probably, so score one for character economy!

5. Jon gives Daenerys a free art history lesson in the dragonglass mine.

Time was, a guided tour of the catacombs beneath Dragonstone would set you back 175 euros and a cooler full of overpriced baguettes, but here's Jon, giving it to Daenerys free of charge!

"I think I'm gonna take a pool day, but you two go ahead!" Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch. It turns out that in addition to enough dragonglass to slay an army of white walkers, the mine contains some seriously spiral-y etchings that conveniently help Jon sell the story he failed to adequately transmute to his potential ally-in-walking-dead-killing a few days (Weeks? Months? Centuries? What is the timeline on this show?) prior. Panicked, throne-room descriptions of ice zombies delivered by a man wearing an IKEA shag rug on his back? Eh. The same story scratched onto a cave wall? That's the sort of thing that gets a dragon queen on board.

Jon wins her over enough that Dany offers her killing prowess — in exchange for your standard pledge of undying loyalty and submission ("Bend the knee"). Unfortunately, there are some plan-hitches even Dany is unaware of.

Thankfully...

6. Tyrion delivers the good news first!

"Also, loooove the sash." Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Good communicators know how to sandwich bad news in between the good, and that's exactly what Westeros' smartest, most prolific talker does by leading with the glorious capture of Casterly Rock before filling in the small matter of the trapped Unsullied, ransacked resources, and dead allies.

The delivery is so tactful that Daenerys remains cool enough to probe Jon for advice — and seems to take it when he reminds her why people are into her in the first place.

People, that is, like him. He seems into her.

Also, she is his aunt.

Weirdly, we all 'ship it.

7. Jamie casually persuades Randyll Tarly not to whip a bunch of his soldiers.

Look, it really sucks when your exhausted army is moving at a snail's pace, and flogging the slow-moving dudes does seem like the kind of thing that would speed things up, but props to Jamie for urging his co-commander to at least give the guys a stern talking-to before going all "Fifty Shades of Grey" on them.

Later, Jamie, the most morally medium Lannister, continues to get right with his gods by attempting to talk Tarly's son Dickon out of his shell shock. His efforts are nearly undone by Bronn, who not only laughs at the dude's admittedly hilarious name but proceeds to mock his pampered upbringing with a well-/poorly timed poop quip.

But the sellsword rapidly redeems himself because not seven seconds later...

8. Dany goes for a dragon ride!

What good is painstakingly raising three dragons from birth if you're going to sit around and not ride them? To the delight of viewers and horselords alike, aspiring Queen Daenerys finally scratches the itch for the first time since landing in Westeros.

Her first destination? Straight at a bunch of unsuspecting Lannister soldiers (cf. the above "FIREBALL!").

Mercifully, in the ensuing (epically one-sided) carnage...

9. Bronn ditches his sack of gold to save Jamie's life...

"Um ... hm!" Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

...when they and several hundred of their closest foot soldiers find themselves under combined assault from the Dothraki, who apparently brought a teleportation machine over from the steppe (again, I have to ask — how quickly is time moving on this show?) and the aforementioned 50-foot fire monster from the maw of hell. In an act of utter and utterly surprising selflessness, when forced to choose between his spilled gold and the lives of his comrades, Bronn elects to leave the cash money behind and make a beeline for the scorpion in a vain attempt to spear Daenerys' one-woman scaly air force out of the sky.

Indeed, for a supposedly honor-less killing machine, not only does Bronn sniff out the oncoming horde in the first place and trade his pay for the chance to save a couple dozen Ed Sheerans, he (or some guy who really looks like him) also risks involuntary immolation to push Jamie into the most conveniently adjacent river of all time, sparing him an untimely death-by-Drogon.

Give that man his castle, already.

P.S. — While it's not exactly "nice," credit to director Matt Shakman for providing lots of long, lingering shots of Lannister soldiers screaming and staggering around on fire, reminding us that war really, really sucks if you're the little guy — even if you fight for the baddies.

Random Acts of Niceness

  • Jon, who hasn't seen Theon since all that, you know, stuff went down, demonstrates heroic restraint and refrains from smashing the ironborn lordling's face in. Funny how so many of the nicest moments on this show involve one character not killing another character they emphatically should kill! Take it where you can get it, I guess.
  • Littlefinger promises to protect all of Catelyn Stark's children, which seems sweet until you remember it's a vow that conveniently leaves out a certain sibling/cousin/bastard who just happens to be out of town giving museum tours at the moment.
  • Thanks to Stannis, Davos is now an insufferable grammar pedant who knows the difference between "less" and "fewer." Stannis appreciates the congrats.

Whew! Lots to cover on the kindness beat. Join me next week when, hopefully, Jamie finally learns Dickon's name (assuming the golden-armed general hasn't drowned), Sam finally gets to read the long academic tome of his dreams, and Tormund and his wildling brigade report nothing of note going on at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea — false alarm!



          Hey, Tech Companies: Knock It Off With the Apps That Let People Change Their Skin Color        

For a brief moment on Wednesday, FaceApp—the app that went viral in April for taking a photo of someone’s face and making them look older, younger, more masculine, or more feminine—had a new feature that let users see how they would look if they were a different race. That means white users could make their faces black, and black users could whiten their skin. There was also an Asian filter as well as one to make people look Indian.

Within hours, FaceApp had pulled down the new feature. That’s good. But really: Who thought it was a good idea? Did they actually think that this would go well?

You may be thinking to yourself, This sounds awfully familiar. Haven’t we been through this nonsense before? Yes. Yes, we have. The new race categories were an update to the app. Back in the spring, when everyone first ran to download and play with FaceApp, it had a feature called Spark that lightened users’ skin tone. Spark was removed as an option on FaceApp after users took to social media calling the company out for whitewashing.

At the time, FaceApp called what happened “an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior”—a rather ridiculous excuse.

But somehow, for some mysterious reason, Wireless Lab, the company that developed FaceApp, apparently decided to lean in to its race filters, adding even more options than just skin whitening. But adding a blackface filter, an Asian face filter, and an Indian face filter didn’t level things out. At all.

Perhaps the Russia-based company wasn’t aware of the history of racial parodying on our side of the pond. But considering the outrage that ensued after its whitewashing filter, one would think FaceApp had learned that making an app to change people’s race will never, ever, ever, ever be OK. Almost every country in the world continues to grapple with the racist aftermath of hundreds of years of colonial history. There’s too much very real and very recent history of people trying to pass or change their race in order to survive or live a more privileged life.

To be fair, FaceApp isn’t the only photo filter social media app that’s toyed with race. Last year on April 20, the national holiday for marijuana enthusiasts in the U.S., Snapchat offered users a filter that made them look black with dreadlocks. It was obviously a nod to Bob Marley but it was nevertheless a blackface filter, and the company got significant blowback, too. Not that Snap learned its lesson. Later that year, in August, Snapchat released another alarming filter, an “anime” option that made people’s face look more yellow, their eyes look more narrow, and teeth bigger. And yet again, the company was chastised for making a racist filter.

The amazing thing is that this keeps happening—that these features make it to the market at all. Please, tech companies: Knock it off with the race-based face filters. There’s nothing cool about making someone look like a different race. Stick to flower halos, glasses, hats, and animal-ear filters. So many people who use the internet are plenty racist enough already. There’s no need to help.


          Facebook Has Stopped Saying “Fake News”        

Nine months after the U.S. presidential election brought the term “fake news” into wide use, Facebook is still in the early stages of finding ways to curb its spread. You’ll hear the company talk often these days about its efforts to combat misinformation on its platform, including a new feature that displays related articles from other publishers alongside controversial stories in your feed.

One thing you won’t hear from Facebook these days, however, is the term “fake news.” That phrase figured prominently in the company’s press releases when it first set out to tackle the problem late last year. Quietly, however, Facebook stopped using it months ago. In most instances, including its blog post announcing the latest update, it has replaced the term with “false news.”

Why the change?

If you ask Facebook, the company will tell you vaguely that it finds the phrase “false news” to be more precise. A spokesperson sent me the following statement via email:

The term ‘fake news’ has taken on a life of its own. False news communicates more clearly what we’re describing: information that is designed to be confused with legitimate news, and is intentionally false.

This comes across as a careful way of pointing out the obvious, which is that the term “fake news” is politically loaded. It appears to have entered the popular lexicon in the 1990s as a synonym for news satire, its first rise tracking that of the the Onion. Last year, however, it took on fresh meaning as scammers and pranksters began to find that they could make money by fooling Facebook users with viral fictional articles related to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

When a BuzzFeed News analysis found that the majority of fake news stories appeared to be pitched to a pro-Trump audience, the term’s days as a nonpartisan descriptor were numbered. First it became a popular liberal excuse for Trump’s win. Then Trump supporters, and eventually Trump himself, coopted it as a derogatory epithet for mainstream news sites whose political coverage they found to be flawed or biased. Calls to narrow the definition went unheeded. Ask someone what “fake news” means today, and depending on their political orientation, they may be more likely to mention CNN or the New York Times than the sort of hoax sites to which the term was previously applied.

All of which is to say that it makes sense for Facebook—and others—to cede the term to the right-wing trolls who have claimed it as their own.

As a replacement, however, “false news” leaves much to be desired. Facebook is using “false” as a synonym for “fake,” but their meanings aren’t identical. “Fake” implies an intent to deceive—to pass something off as other than it is. That’s why it seemed to make sense as a descriptor for fictional stories designed to deceive people by adopting the jargon and trappings of the professional news media.

“False” can sometimes carry that connotation, but its primary meaning is simply “untrue.” Thus, whereas “fake news” must be concocted, “false news” could describe any news that turns out to be inaccurate, intentionally or not. That renders the concept even less useful, because it could apply just as easily to factually mistaken “real news” stories as those fabricated by teens in Macedonia. If everyone were to adopt Facebook’s phrase, then, the confusion and controversy over what constitutes false news would only grow worse.

It may be that there is no perfect substitute for “fake news,” but rather a handful of already well-established terms that could be used to refer more precisely to various subgenres of the category. Fictional stories passed off as news articles can fairly be called “hoaxes,” a term that is widely understood and has a long and colorful history. Stories that have their basis in speculation rather than evidence can be called “conspiracy theories.” Blatantly partisan content can be called “propaganda,” especially when it carries a pro-government theme. Articles that contain truth yet mislead can be called just that: “misleading.” Individual falsehoods that advance a political agenda can be called “misinformation.” And so on.

It’s prudent of Facebook to ditch “fake news.” Better yet will be when it recognizes that news comes in more varieties than simply “true” and “false.”

Previously in Slate:

Facebook’s Latest Move to Fight Fake News Might Finally Be the Right One

Stop Calling Everything "Fake News"


          The Absurdity of Honolulu’s New Law Banning Pedestrians From Looking at Their Cellphones        

If the fusty sigh of “Kids these days!” were a law, it would look something like the new Honolulu ordinance making it illegal to cross the street while looking at a cellphone. The fines will start in October at $35 and increase to $75 for a second offense and $99 for a third.

The law, signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday, is intended to lower the city’s pedestrian-fatality rate, which is among the highest in the U.S. In practice, however, it will inject police discretion into another routine of daily life—while perpetuating the media-driven myth that pedestrians are responsible for their own deaths.

There is an epidemic of American pedestrians getting killed by drivers. But there is virtually no evidence that they are being run over because they are too busy reading Slate on their phones.

There are a few reasons why the “distracted walking” narrative has taken hold. The first comes from a 2013 Ohio State University study that reported that the percentage of pedestrians visiting an emergency room for injuries sustained while using cell phones has risen, from less than 1 percent in 2004 to more than 3.5 percent in 2010. But the numbers of victims remains quite small—in the low four figures, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission data—and injuries related to cellphone use seemed to track neatly between pedestrians and drivers.

It is certainly true that overall, more pedestrians are getting killed by drivers. In March, the Governors Highway Safety Association projected the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways would increase by 11 percent between 2015 and 2016, the steepest year-on-year increase since record-keeping began—and comes after a 9 percent jump between 2014 and 2015. If the projection holds true, 2016 would mark the highest number of pedestrian deaths recorded in more than two decades.

Guess what has also increased by record numbers in the past two years? The number of total roadway fatalities in the U.S, just 15 percent of which are pedestrians. In 2015, road deaths jumped by 8 percent. The first six months of 2016 appeared to show a jump of more than 10 percent over the same period in 2015.

It’s almost as if the cellphones responsible for rising pedestrian death totals are the ones that drivers cradle in their laps as they steer their two-ton machines at high speeds through densely populated urban areas. (Other countries have figured this out. In the United Kingdom, for example, where people also use cell phones, fatalities largely held steady between 2010 and 2015.)

Dig into the data and cellphones start to look like even less of a factor in pedestrian deaths. The Ohio State study (which, keep in mind, is four years old—a lifetime in cellphone use habits) reports that 70 percent of cellphone pedestrian injuries involved talking on the phone, which drivers are allowed to do in every state (though some require headsets). The more recent GHSA report also noted that 74 percent of pedestrian deaths occur in the dark, which suggests visibility, road design, and driver focus would have played a bigger role than pedestrian distraction. Furthermore, 15 percent of pedestrians were killed by drunk drivers, and more than one-third of pedestrian fatalities were themselves over the legal limit to drive. If Hawaii really wanted to police pedestrians to save their lives, it would ban drinking, period.

But this was not exactly a data-driven effort. While Honolulu does have one of the highest pedestrian death rates in the country, the city councilman behind the bill, Brandon Elefante, got the idea from talking to high schoolers who were worried about their friends wandering into the street.

I get why distracted walking is an attractive target. As a largely unsupported trend, it’s a media darling, and it’s kind of funny to see people using phones walk into lakes—especially compared to the banal carnage of car deaths. It also enables city politicians to act like they’re responding to a safety problem without actually cracking down on the people who are doing the killing—drivers. In a study of more than 3 million drivers, the driving behavior tracker Zendrive found that drivers with smart-phones use them on 88 out of 100 trips. Devices like speed camera and red light cameras, which document and punish dangerous driving, are treated as unacceptable extensions of the surveillance state. But giving the police license to detain anyone crossing the street while looking at a phone? Sure, fine.

Like jaywalking, the offense of phone-walking will be selectively enforced according to the whims of the city’s police force. It will serve, as Angie Schmitt writes at Streetsblog, "as a pretext for arbitrarily harassing pedestrians.”

The way to stop drivers from killing pedestrians is to make the roads safe. More than four in five pedestrian fatalities occur outside intersections, which is not surprising: Americans suburbs are designed for cars, and people without them are condemned to play Frogger. Too often, the response is to blame the victim—rather than reformin the system that puts people in danger in the first place.


          Twitter Claims Its Changes Have Led to "Significantly Less Abuse." But Will They Be Enough?        

Twitter, like many other social media platforms, can be a cruel place when people choose to make it one. Rude quips abound, as do, more troublingly, threats of assault and death.

For years, users have been calling on the company to make the site safer. And now, at least according to a recent blog post from Twitter’s General Manager Ed Ho, some of their appeals have been answered.

Back in January, Ho tweeted a thread about the social media network’s ramped-up efforts to tackle the issue, writing, “Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus and we are now moving with more urgency than ever.” He admitted that the company didn’t move fast enough to address abuse in the past, and said that his team would start speedily rolling out product changes. That particular week, he tweeted, they were introducing overdue fixes to muting, blocking, and preventing repeat offenders from creating new accounts.

On Thursday, Ho’s blog detailed some of the other efforts Twitter has made in the past six months. Among others, he wrote, the company convened a Trust and Safety Council that included “safety advocates, academics, researchers, grassroots advocacy organizations and nonprofits focusing on a range of online safety issues—from child protection and media literacy to hate speech and gender-based harassment” to help Twitter tailor new policies and features.  The team also conducted research and made algorithmic changes like producing better search results and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality tweets.

In the post, Ho seemed confident that the reforms were leading to substantial progress.

“While there is still much work to be done,” he wrote, “people are experiencing significantly less abuse on Twitter today than they were six months ago.”

But we’ll have trust to the company’s word on the metrics. Twitter hasn’t released any internal data yet, though Ho did disclose a few positive measures.

For one, he said, Twitter is taking daily action against abusive accounts at 10 times the rate it did this time last year. It also began imposing temporary limits on abusive accounts that he said resulted to 25 percent fewer abuse reports from those users. Of the accounts put on probation, 65 percent don’t have to be restricted again.

Yet on some other significant measures, the company remains opaque. Twitter hasn’t been as vocal about how other major changes, such as its new “algorithmic timeline,” have changed the nature of abuse, discourse, and engagement on the site. Nor has it addressed why its moderators are still missing some flagrant abusers.

As Slate’s Will Oremus detailed last year, Twitter also hasn’t explained how, exactly, it interprets its “hateful conduct” policy.  The site reportedly retrained moderation teams to enforce stricter anti-harassment policies last year. After the November election, it banned several alt-right figures, including Richard Spencer, for espousing racist views—though it declined to say what specific tweets led to the suspension.

Critics argue that this gives Twitter room for double standards. One prominent beneficiary: President Donald Trump. The commander in chief has posted content on his personal account that some think warrant a ban (does a GIF of him body slamming CNN ring a bell?).

In a meeting with journalists at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters in July, a Recode reporter asked Vice President of Trust and Safety Del Harvey if the company treats Trump like everyone else’s.

“We apply our policies consistently. We have processes in place to deal with whomever the person may be,” Harvey told Recode. “The rules are the rules, we enforce them the same way for everybody.”

In April, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey also told Wired that his company held all users to the same standards, but added that company policy also accounted for “newsworthiness.” He said he thought it was important to “maintain open channels to our leaders, whether we like what they’re saying or not, because I don’t know of another way to hold them accountable.”

Though the post on safety updates this week said that users were experiencing significantly less abuse, it didn’t address whether individuals actually felt safer. Ho wrote that Twitter would continue to solicit feedback. He also said it would remain committed to making the site a safe place for free expression.

Its users will be the judges of that.


          U.S. Customs and Border Protection Says It Doesn’t Look at the Cloud When Searching Digital Devices        

Agents on the U.S. border have always had more leniency when it comes to searching people’s belongings. After Trump’s immigration ban was announced in late January, reports circulated that travelers’ personal digital devices were increasingly getting searched when they tried to enter the country.

In response to those stories, Sen. Ron Wyden from Oregon introduced a bill that, among other things, would require Customs and Border Protection to get a warrant before searching travelers’ digital devices.

Back in February, he asked the Department of Homeland Security questions regarding this issue and then followed up with CBP. Now it looks like CBP might be changing some of its ways.

On July 12, NBC published a document—dated June 20—that said CBP looks only at what’s physically on a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other device. According to the document, agents don’t use travelers’ personal devices to look at information stored on the cloud during checks.

The release appears to be a response to Sen. Wyden’s questions to the agency.

On July 17, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, published its thoughts about the new information. It reported that this represents a change from CBP’s 2009 policy, which “does not prohibit border agents from using those devices to search travelers’ cloud content,” but instead allows agents to search information they find at the border. The EFF interpreted the 2009 rules to mean agents were allowed to look at cloud content.

Border Patrol agents have certainly taken advantage of the vagueness of the previous policy.

In November 2015, BuzzFeed reported the story of a journalist who was detained before a flight to Miami. Police reportedly looked through his phone and data, including emails with sources and intimate photos.

And then came the immigration ban. In January 2017, Megan Yegani, an immigration lawyer, tweeted about Border Patrol checks: “US Border patrol is deciding reentry for green card holders on a case by case basis - questions abt political views, chking facebook, etc.” Her tweet went viral.

In February 2017, the Associated Press reported that the American Civil Liberties Union and the EFF “have noticed an uptick in complaints about searches of digital devices by border agents.” But the AP also said that the numbers were on the rise before Trump was inaugurated: the number of electronic media searches increased to 23,877 in 2016 from 4,764 in 2015

The EFF seems pleased with this recent announcement, but it’s also being a little cautious.

“EFF will monitor whether actual CBP practice lives up to this salutary new policy. To help ensure that border agents follow it, CBP should publish it,” the organization wrote.

As a next step, the EFF would like CBP to release information about how often it conducts searches for other agencies and to tell the public whether agents actually advise travelers that they have a right not to tell a border agent the passwords to their devices.


          As American Tech Firms Move to India, Many Choose to Self-Censor        

Among big American tech companies, the race for India is on. With 355 million internet users (and rapidly growing) up for grabs, it’s no surprise that firms like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon are investing billions of dollars to make inroads in the world’s largest democracy.

But as they do, they’re running up against a particular conundrum: how to cater to the country’s cosmopolitan consumers without offending its more conservative classes, including the right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a surprising number of cases, companies are erring on the side of censorship—for instance, by blocking images of dead cows and ads for anti-nationalist home goods.

As Buzzfeed News reporter Pranav Dixit noted in his article, American tech companies like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are pre-emptively censoring their content in a bid to avoid backlash from the Indian government and conservative Hindu circles. Dixit also noted that Tinder had followed the trend with its tone-deaf advertisment for users in India.

India’s approach to internet governance isn’t in the same league as the heavy-handed censorship of neighbor and rival power China though, which has historically blocked popular websites including Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook through its “Great Firewall.” India represents a softer form of sanitization. By law, the nation offers a constitutional protection of free speech and limits the government’s ability to crack down on online content. But that doesn’t mean the internet has become a free-for-all. For example, India frequently leads the world in government requests to Facebook for account data and for content removal (mostly related to local laws against anti-religious or hate speech). Many companies also choose to pre-emptively clean up content to appease the government and avoid backlash from of India’s culturally conservative classes.

As noted in a post by the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi on Legally India, the practice of self-censorship is particularly widespread among international video streaming services. The authors suggest that the platforms may be “trying to find their place in the Indian market without drawing attention for the wrong reasons.”

This May, Netflix released a censored form of the Hindi dramedy Angry Indian Goddesses for viewers in India, even though it made an uncensored cut available for foreign audiences in April. According to Indian digital news site MediaNama, it seems that the streaming service released the version of the film—which covers stigmatized issues like homosexuality, rape, and caste—that had been approved for theatrical release by the India’s Central Board of Film Certification. But that body doesn’t have jurisdiction over online content from platforms like Netflix and recently implied it has no intention of regulating online content in the foreseeable future.

Instead, it appears Netflix’s decision was a case of self-censorship. According to the film’s production company and director, the American company requested the edited version of the movie first, apparently preferring to stream the version that cut references to the Indian government, blurred an image of an Indian goddess, and cut out dialogue referring to an “Indian figure,” the holy Hindu bovine “cow,” and, for unknown reasons, the words “guitar” and “lunch.”

“Business is Business. They would rather censor stuff and stay on the good graces of the government of India than appease users and risk controversy,” wrote one Reddit user in a discussion about the streaming service’s seemingly arbitrary censorship decisions in the country.

After getting complaints from confused India-based viewers, Netflix released an uncut version of the movie in June.

Amazon Prime Video also routinely eliminates nudity and other inappropriate content from its vast streaming catalog. Since its 2016 launch in India, many TV shows and films available in the region have been edited to the point where plots elude human comprehension. Among others, Amazon heavily cut an episode of Jeremy Clarkson’s car show The Grand Tour that featured the host driving a car out of animal carcasses. Despite complaints, Amazon defended the move to Mashable India, saying it wanted to "keep Indian cultural sensitivities in mind.” Considering the recent episodes of violence allegedly tied to beef consumption, Amazon may have thought it incendiary to show the dead body of an animal so highly revered in Hindu circles.

Amazon has also had to mind its online merchandise. The everything store came under fire in January for selling doormats with the Indian national flag design. (In India and other South Asian countries, feet on such a symbol would be considered an insult.) Upon learning of the product, India’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted, “Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately.” In a subsequent tweet, she threatened to withhold and rescind visas from Amazon employees if action was not taken quickly. The company swiftly complied.

Tinder, too, hasn’t been immune. The hookup app took criticism earlier this year after releasing a seemingly tone-deaf video ad for potential Indian users, which featured a conservative mother surprisingly approve of her daughter’s date, saying, “From my side, there is a right swipe for this."

Some criticized what they saw as a regressive message at odds with the app’s reputation for facilitating casual sex. Others pointed out how not OK their parents would be with them meeting up with strangers in a culture where open dating has traditionally been taboo.

“If ma knew her daughter is on a hang-and-maybe-bang app, she’d kick me outta the house, not sweetly send me off to drunk-make out with a rando,” one user told BuzzFeed India.

When Tinder India CEO Taru Kapoor was asked about the video by Huffington Post India, she admitted the ad might not have been perfectly executed. But, she said, it was part of a larger effort the company would continue to make to show that online dating could appeal to a broad range of Indian users. Although differing from Amazon Prime Video and Netflix’s self-censorship, the advertisement tied into a broader trend of appealing to more conservative audiences.

As huge profit margins and success in the Indian markets are already demonstrating, that may not be an unwise business decision.


          What the Research Really Suggests About That Facebook Chatbot Therapist        

Using social media can be a little like a free—albeit not very effective—therapy session. People share life events, complain about their problems and offer each another advice, along with lots of FOMO, rants, and vaguebooking.

So Woebot—a chatbot engaging in therapy-like services via Facebook Messenger—seems intriguing. The idea is to help you understand and monitor your moods using a combination of natural language processing and therapeutic expertise. Sounds good, right? Using A.I. via social media to significantly reduce psychological problems like anxiety and depression would be quite a breakthrough. But there are some major hurdles to overcome.

Like the rest of the health care sector all across the world, mental health treatment is in crisis. Therapy and counseling are incredibly labor-intensive, requiring multiple sessions with one expert per client over long periods of time to achieve even modest results. As such, this is an area ripe for Silicon Valley-style disruption—using technology to scale a competitor service to a bigger audience at a lower cost. In the past year, we’ve seen ample evidence of this happening. Ever since Facebook opened its Messenger platform to developers, there’s been an explosion of chatbots, and several of them are explicitly marketed as mental health tools.

Woebot, built by a Stanford team, is one of the first to be scrutinized under empirical research and peer review, and the results were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (Mental Health) on June 6. From a flyer posted online, researchers were able to recruit a convenience sample of about 70 participants, mostly white women. While it would be easy to criticize such a lopsided sample, it’s more important to note that at baseline, more than 75 percent scored in the severe range for anxiety symptoms. These people are vulnerable and in need of care and protection.

Participants were randomly assigned to either interacting with the bot (test condition) or were directed to self-help resources (control condition). Before beginning the treatment, Woebot first introduced participants in the test condition to the concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a type of psychotherapy that encourages clients to restructure their thinking patterns to try to improve their moods. Then Woebot gathered mood data by asking general questions and replied with appropriate empathetic responses. For example, if a participant expressed loneliness, Woebot would reply with something like, “I’m so sorry you’re feeling lonely. I guess we all feel a little lonely sometimes.” (Here’s an example of a Woebot interaction.) Its conversational style also included CBT techniques such as goal-setting and reflecting participants’ mood trends back to them. If a participant reported clinical-level problems like suicide or self-harm, he or she was directed to emergency helplines.

After about two weeks, participants once again completed measures of depressive/anxious symptoms, and positive/negative mood. The study’s lead author said that she was “blown away” by the data, but compared with baseline, no significant between-group differences were observed in terms of anxiety, positive mood, or negative mood. Only on reported depressive symptoms were any significant results achieved. In other words, being assigned to Woebot instead of self-help material made no difference to participants’ mood or anxiety levels.

To be frank, these results aren’t much to write home about. But at the same time, in these times of extraordinarily dysfunction in health care provision, any work that tries to alleviate mental health suffering should be welcomed, if cautiously. While Woebot might not be a cure-all right now, as the authors of the study say, for the 10 million U.S. college students suffering from anxiety and depression, it has the potential to become a useful mental health resource.

However, there’s another wrinkle here, one the study authors don’t mention in their write-up. Because Woebot is built on Messenger, participants’ data is shared not only with the Woebot operators, but with Facebook, too.

Facebook came under fire earlier this year when it was accused of helping advertisers target teenagers by their emotional state—an accusation it strenuously denied. In comment to Slate, Facebook confirmed that it does not offer tools to target ads to people based on their emotional state. Moreover, Facebook also said that it does not target any type of advertising based on the content of Messenger conversations. So, if you use Woebot, you should not receive targeted ads based on the deeply sensitive data you share with it, and hence Facebook. So far, so good.

However, Facebook could not confirm that it had no plans to do so in the future. Of course, Facebook never comments on future product developments, so this is unsurprising, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything nefarious is in the works. But at the same time, this policy could change, and certainly Facebook has done so in the past. Note, for example, the $122 million fine thrown at Facebook by the European Commission for combining its data with data from WhatsApp—something that it said it “couldn’t” do when it first purchased WhatsApp.

Fundamentally, the social media industry is largely self-regulated, and as a result, so are therapeutic bots like Woebot. Even if they are minimally effective, the people using them are clearly vulnerable and deserve to have their most sensitive information secured indefinitely. Our mental health crisis is not going any time soon, and government and the tech industry have profound responsibilities here. As therapy and counseling are disrupted, we need to make this emerging field safe and secure for all of us.


          This Study on the Most Effective Facebook Headlines Will Make You Cry Tears of Recognition        

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when online headlines began to converge on the now-familiar set of tropes that dominate our Facebook feeds, but a good guess might be 2012—the year Upworthy was founded and BuzzFeed’s traffic boomed. “You’ll Never Guess … ”; “33 Animals Who … ”; “What Happened Next”: Listicles and curiosity gap headlines proliferated as sites across the Web sought to mimic the viral success of posts painstakingly engineered to generate likes and clicks on social media. (For a stroll down memory lane, you can try our Facebook news feed headline quiz.)

It wasn’t long, of course, before the tropes became overly familiar, the gimmicks stale. By 2014, Upworthy had already peaked, and the Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal reported that the curiosity gap was closing. Indeed, Upworthy announced in 2015 that it was pivoting from viral aggregation to original video content. Yet BuzzFeed has managed to sustain its upward trajectory by continually reinventing itself. And Upworthy’s abandonment of its once-successful formula in 2015 has not proved quite the death knell for social-media growth-hacking that it might have seemed at the time.

A new study of social media headlines from the content-analytics firm BuzzSumo suggests that the curiosity gap remains very much open in 2017, and the listicle’s appeal has endured as well. That said, some popular headline formulas appear to be working much better than others these days.

The study looked at 100 million headlines published between March 1 and May 10, 2017 to find the popular three-word phrases, or trigrams, that correlated with the highest and lowest levels of engagement on Facebook. Here are the top performers:

What’s surprising here is just how effective second-person headlines seem to be in provoking reactions from readers. “Will make you” is not only the highest-rated trigram for social engagement, but headlines that include the phrase drive more than twice as much traffic as any others in the study. (Note that BuzzSumo did not evaluate every possible trigram; the study’s author, Steve Rayson, told me it included only those that appeared in headlines on at least 100 different domains.) Typical “will make you” headlines, according to BuzzSumo, include “24 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Better About The World” and “What This Airline Did For Its Passengers Will Make You Tear Up — So Heartwarming.”

At first glance, the key commonality seems to be the direct appeal to readers’ emotions, which was one of Upworthy’s founding insights. The importance of emotion in a Facebook headline is underscored by the presence on the list of phrases such as “are freaking out,” “tears of joy,” “give you goosebumps,” and “melt your heart.”

But Rayson pointed out to me in an email interview that there is a second genus of “will make you” post that also performs extremely well: the productivity/life-hack listicle. One of the most-shared headlines in the whole study, for instance, was, “10 Graphs That Will Make You Pro at Cleaning Anything.” (Ten, incidentally, is the optimal length for a listicle, according to BuzzSumo’s data.)

This suggests that the secret to the phrase’s success lies not only in its appeal to emotion, but also in its explicit promise to impact the reader in a specific way. These headlines work, in other words, by acknowledging the transactionality of the relationship between publisher and reader: You give us a click, and here’s exactly what we’ll give you in return. Another way of looking at it: These headlines make the story about you, the reader, rather than about some third-party subject.

That’s also true, in different ways, of the second and third top-performing phrases in the study: “this is why” and “can we guess.” The first promises to answer a specific question that the reader is curious about. The second, associated with quizzes such as BuzzFeed’s “Can We Guess Your Age Based on Your Sense of Humor?,” promises to hold a mirror to the reader based on her habits and tastes.

Interestingly, the phrase “what happened next”—one of the most infamous of the original Upworthy clichés—still seems to resonate, making the list at No. 20. But “you’ll never guess” is nowhere to be found: At some point, it evidently crossed the line into parody.

The phrases that generate the least Facebook engagement are instructive in their own right.

The bottom three—“control of your,” “your own business,” and “work for you”—all include the word “you,” which indicates that lots of publishers have internalized the notion that the second person works well on Facebook but haven’t quite figured out how to make it, well, work for them. One trend here is the emphasis on work or business: Facebook, it seems, is a place where people go to avoid work, and they don’t seem to like being reminded of it. Perhaps these headlines would fare better on LinkedIn.

Likewise, Rayson points out in his blog post that the phrase “on a budget” seems to be a turnoff on Facebook, yet it performs much better on Pinterest in conjunction with DIY projects. One lesson might be that each social media platform demands a different framing, which poses a challenge for headline writers accustomed to writing just one or two headlines per story.

There’s much more of interest in Rayson’s long post, and it’s worth reading in full for those who care about how social media shapes communication. It’s also worth a closer look at the study’s methodology before you draw firm conclusions from it.

By focusing on trigrams, BuzzSumo appears to have followed a similar approach to that employed by Max Woolf in a 2015 post that looked exclusively at BuzzFeed headlines. Yet whereas Woolf went deep on a single site, BuzzSumo did the opposite, including in its analysis no more than one headline per trigram from a given site in order to avoid overweighting posts from the most popular publishers. This led to some significant differences in the results: Whereas BuzzSumo identified the most popular listicle length as 10, Woolf found that the best-performing BuzzFeed listicles were much longer, often upwards of 30 items. Still, the trigram results should be familiar: the top headline phrases in Woolf’s 2015 analysis were “Character are you,” “before you die,” and “you probably didn’t.” Again, the word “you” is in all of them.

One error of interpretation that would be easy to make: assuming that the use of these phrases necessarily causes headlines to succeed or fail on Facebook. “Will make you” headlines may work at least in part because they tend to be attached to content that actually does resonate with a lot of readers in some way. Slapping that phrase on a post that doesn’t actually make readers do anything is likely to backfire, especially since Facebook has repeatedly altered its news feed rankings to punish publishers whose headlines make promises that their content doesn’t fulfill. To its credit, BuzzSumo makes this point in its own post about the study, including commentary from several social media pros who warn against using the trigram charts as a headline-writing cheat sheet.

This study might read as depressing to those who had hoped the worst of the headline-gimmick era was behind us. But there are at least two good reasons not to weep for the future of journalism and online discourse. (Aren’t you curious to know what they are?)

The first is that the study doesn’t actually tell us much about the relative prevalence of headline cliches on the web today versus any other point in time. Because the study only includes phrases that appear in headlines on at least 100 sites, the ones that make the cut are bound to be generic and formulaic-sounding—anything distinctive or unique is ruled out of the running. Its conceivable that the best-performing headlines of all are those that eschew these stock phrases altogether, but the study can’t tell us that.

The second consolation is that headline clichés have existed for just about as long as headlines have. In the print era, they tended toward terse, impersonal jargon rather than pathetic entreaty, but that didn't necessarily make them better. “Dems Seek to Interview Aide” is a headline you’re unlikely to run across in your Facebook feed, and good riddance to it and its ilk.

Today’s social media headlines may appear gimmicky, and no doubt some still are. But when a gimmick endures after the novelty wears off—when it proves resilient to the backlash and to changing tastes and algorithms and market conditions—eventually it’s no longer a gimmick. At this point, motifs such as “will make you” and “10 reasons why” are simply embedded in the social media firmament.


          12 Unborn Animals In The Womb You Have To See To Believe        
Thanks to Buzzfeed for this story

These images were created for a National Geographic special called In The Womb: Animals by Producer Peter Chinn. He used a combination of ultrasound technology, tiny cameras, and computer design to create these incredible images that replicate what fetal animals look like. This is an incredible window into the womb (or egg as the case may be), laying bare the mysteries of the beginning of life! Makes you wonder

1. Unborn Elephant

Unborn Elephant
 

2. Unborn Horse

Unborn Horse                         
 

3. Unborn Leopard

Unborn Leopard
 

4. Unborn Penguin

Unborn Penguin                         
 

5. Unborn Dolphin

Unborn Dolphin                         
 

6. Unborn Tiger Shark

Unborn Tiger Shark
 
 

7. Unborn Lemon Shark

Unborn Lemon Shark                         
 

8. Unborn Polar Bears

Unborn Polar Bears                         
 

9. Unborn Snake

Unborn Snake                         
 

10. Baby Wallaby

Baby Wallaby                         
 

11. Unborn Bats

Unborn Bats
 

12. Unborn Chihuahua

Unborn Chihuahua                         
 

Clump of Cells?

Clump of Cells?                         
 
Wait a minute, what? That’s an unborn human being isn’t it? For every other entry in this series, we realized that the animal inside the womb was the same type of thing as the animal outside the womb. Why should it be different for human beings? It would be dehumanizing to use dissociative language like “clump of cells” in this instance.
 
Unfortunately however, this particular fetal life in the womb is treated as less than human—it isn’t given the full rights of “Personhood” in the United States. And for that reason, this little one can be killed through abortion. Seems unjust doesn’t it? We think so. If you agree, please sign the Ten Million for Life pledge, which declares that all human beings should be recognized as full persons.

          clickholeofficial: This Quiz Is Going To Call You A...        


clickholeofficial:

This Quiz Is Going To Call You A Cricket

This seems more reasonable than the last Buzzfeed quiz I took that told me I was 18 years old.


          Iran Is Just Loving the Trump Era So Far        

If you’re feeling generous, you could say the one organizing principle of Donald Trump’s foreign policy is that Iranian influence must be contained and rolled back. Though the president doesn’t seem to agree on much with senior members of his national security team, like H.R. McMaster and James Mattis, these days, they’re on the same page when it comes to the threat posed by Tehran’s regional ambitions. But far from being rolled back, Iranian influence appears to be spreading. And far from being united, the international community is deeply divided over how to respond. Some of the Trump administration’s policies may even ultimately bolster the Islamic Republic’s growing clout.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

Carlotta Gall of the New York Times reported over the weekend on Iran’s growing influence in Afghanistan. Iran “is providing local Taliban insurgents with weapons, money and training. It has offered Taliban commanders sanctuary and fuel for their trucks. It has padded Taliban ranks by recruiting among Afghan Sunni refugees in Iran, according to Afghan and Western officials.” Afghans also fear that Iran “is working to subvert plans in Afghanistan for upstream dams that could threaten its water supply.” Iranian influence has grown as the U.S. presence in Afghanistan has waned. From that perspective, the current debate within the U.S. administration over troop levels in the country presents something of a win-win for Iran: Washington will either commit more troops and financial resources to a fight it has little hope of winning (whatever “winning” means at this point) or it will draw down further and leave a power vacuum behind.

We’ve seen this movie before—in Iraq, where Iran’s economic, political, and military influence is stronger than ever. Just days after the U.S. passed new sanctions on Iran last month, Baghdad signed a deal to boost military cooperation with Tehran. During his campaign, Trump often accused Barack Obama of handing the country over to Iran by withdrawing troops, but that die was probably cast in 2003, when the U.S. toppled the anti-Iranian government of a country that borders Iran and has a majority Shiite population. When the Iraqi military collapsed in the face of ISIS in 2014, Iranian-backed Shiite militias stepped in, doing much of the fighting against the group. Now that ISIS has been mostly ousted from the country after the fall of Mosul, those militias don’t seem to be in a hurry to disband.

As reporter Borzou Daragahi recently reported in a lengthy investigative piece for BuzzFeed, militias, overseen by the secretive Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, are an increasingly dominant force throughout the region. This is particularly true in Syria, where, in recent years, Iranian-backed militias have done the bulk of the on-the-ground fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad’s embattled regime. The Revolutionary Guards have reportedly also found ways to continue to supply covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen, despite a U.S.-backed embargo.

President Trump noted these developments in his speech at a regional summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May, arguing that “nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.” (The last part was a bit rich for a speech delivered to an audience primarily of monarchs and dictators.) To this end, the administration has supported new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, increased support for the brutal Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and may yet cancel the 2015 nuclear deal.

But U.S. moves have not been consistently anti-Iranian. The recent reports that the CIA is dropping its support for anti-Assad rebels in Syria is the clearest signal yet that the U.S. plans to leave the Syrian strongman in power, giving Iran an unblocked string of allies through Iran and Syria to the Mediterranean. At one point last spring, the U.S. military was actually firing on Iranian-backed militias to protect a group of rebels being trained by U.S. special forces in Southern Syria, but CNN reported recently that those rebels have left the U.S. coalition after they were told they were only to fight ISIS, not Assad. Some have even been recruited by the regime to switch sides. And while American diplomats have reportedly worked to ensure that Iranian-backed foreign fighters won’t be the ones on the ground enforcing the recent U.S.-Russia cease-fire deal, that hasn’t mollified the Israeli government, which opposes the cease-fire on the grounds that it will ensure a long-term Iranian presence in Syria.

Iran has also benefited at times from the confusion and mixed signals coming out of Washington. In June, Saudi Arabia and its allies cut off diplomatic relations with neighboring Qatar and imposed a blockade, demanding—among other things—that it cease its relatively friendly relations with Iran. The Saudis’ maximalist position was no doubt encouraged by Trump’s fighting words in Riyadh, and indeed the president took credit for the situation on Twitter. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a neutral approach to the situation, and the U.S. continued to move forward on an arms deal with Qatar, undermining the Saudi position. Qatar hasn’t backed down, and ironically the blockade’s main impact has been to deepen Qatar’s  economic ties to Iran.  

The new set of U.S. sanctions on Iran may have an impact on some high-ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards, but its overall impact on Iran’s policies will probably be limited, as other countries seem unlikely to follow suit. China has been investing heavily in Iran’s infrastructure as part of its global “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative. European companies have also been investing in Iran since the lifting of nuclear sanctions: Just Monday, French carmaker Renault signed a $780 million deal to increase vehicle production in Iran. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s attendance over the weekend at President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration for a second term was another sign that European governments aren’t heeding Washington’s calls to isolate Iran.

That’s going to be a problem if Trump follows through on his tweets to blow up the nuclear deal entirely: The U.S. can reimpose its own sanctions, but they won’t have the same bite they did before 2015 if other countries don’t join the push. Trump has made matters worse by signaling that he plans to certify Iran as noncompliant with the deal, whether or not his intelligence agencies conclude that it is. This makes it patently obvious that the U.S. administration wants to kill the deal no matter what and has no serious intention of giving diplomacy a chance. If Trump goes through with it, Iran could end up with something it almost never has: widespread international support.

It would be ironic if this deeply anti-Iranian administration ended up increasing Iran’s regional clout and global influence. Of course, this assumes the Trump administration doesn’t follow its current Iran policies to their logical endpoint: armed conflict. That’s not a good outcome for anyone.


          Is There Anything to the Conservative Media Story About Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s IT Staffers?        

Conservative media outlets have been salivating the past several months over the twists and turns of a situation involving former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her former IT employee Imran Awan, who was arrested while trying to leave the country last week. The arrest brought the case more prominently into the mainstream press—the New York Times ran an article last Friday—but without many of the sensational details that have been cooked up by conservative conspiracy-mongers since BuzzFeed broke the initial story about an investigation into congressional IT staffers in February. Here is our best effort at ferreting out which allegations in this ongoing saga are plausible, which are baseless, and what’s left to figure out.

In February, BuzzFeed’s John Stanton reported that the U.S Capitol Police, at the request of members of Congress, were investigating five IT staffers working for multiple House Democrats. BuzzFeed said the staffers were being investigated for an alleged “procurement scam,” and Politico later reported their names as Awan; his wife, Hina Alvi; relatives Abid and Jamal Awan; and family friend Rao Abbas. In the same article, Politico also wrote that investigators suspected the five of accessing the House’s computer network improperly and stealing equipment from more than 20 congressional offices.

When word of the investigation broke, many congressional members fired Awan and Alvi, but Wasserman Schultz did not. In a statement, Wasserman Schultz said there hadn’t been enough evidence against Awan at the time to warrant termination. “After details of the investigation were reviewed with us, my office was provided no evidence to indicate that laws had been broken,” she said, “which over time, raised troubling concerns about due process, fair treatment and potential ethnic and religious profiling.” In March, Wasserman Schultz’s office told Politico that Awan was still employed as an adviser “on technology issues.”

Days after the investigation was first reported, conservative media outlets began rooting around for details about the Awans, Alvi, Abbas, and Abid Awan’s wife, Natalia Sova, who also worked in the House. According to the Daily Caller’s analysis of congressional staff data from Legistorm, a proprietary database of information on Congress, the Awans, Alvi, and Sova had reportedly made roughly $5 million since 2003 working for an estimated 80 House Democrats, at pay levels that in some cases are extraordinary for Capitol Hill employees but not necessarily for IT staffers. The Daily Caller has additionally published several posts containing myriad allegations about Awan and Alvi. They allege that:

Most of this information has yet to be corroborated by other media sources; for months, until Awan’s arrest, the Daily Caller had been the lone outlet consistently probing the Awans. But how much of the Caller’s dirt on the staffers amounts to a real scandal implicating Democratic members of Congress or Wasserman Schultz specifically? No wrongdoing involving either has been proven.

Nonetheless, the Caller and other conservative sites following their lead have taken a particular interest in an exchange in May between Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa during an appropriations subcommittee hearing on the department’s budget. At the very end, Wasserman Schultz pointedly and repeatedly asks Vederosa what happens to equipment lost by members of Congress and found by Capitol Police officers:

Wasserman Schultz: If the equipment belongs to the member, it has been lost, they say it’s been lost and it’s been identified as that member’s, then the Capitol Police is supposed to return it. Correct?

Vederosa: Well it’s not—I can’t give you a yes or no answer on that because I know—

Wasserman Schultz: It’s a simple yes or no answer. If a member loses equipment, and it is found by the Capitol Police or your staff, and it is identified as that member’s equipment, and the member is not associated with any case and that is their equipment, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no?

Vederosa: Depends on the circumstances. And if the circumstances are—

Wasserman Schultz: I don’t understand how that’s possible. Members’ equipment is members’ equipment. It is not—under my understanding the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate members’ equipment when the member is not under investigation. It is their equipment, and it’s supposed to be returned.

Verderosa: Well, I think there’s extenuating circumstances in this case, and I think that working through my counsel and the necessary personnel, if that in fact is the case, and with the permission of, through the investigation, then we’ll return the equipment. But until that’s accomplished I can’t return the equipment.

Wasserman Schultz: I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and should expect that there would be consequences.

The Daily Caller alleges that Wasserman Schultz and Verderosa were actually arguing over the Capitol Police’s seizure of a laptop used by Imran Awan. When confronted about the exchange by the Daily Caller in person, Wasserman Schultz walked away, and her office declined to comment.

Last week the Caller reported, according to anonymous sources, that the FBI had seized “smashed hard drives” from Imran Awan’s home. The night after that article was published, Awan was arrested by the FBI and Capitol Police at Dulles International Airport as he was attempting to depart for Pakistan. The charge was bank fraud: Federal officials allege Awan and Alvi lied on a loan application and scammed the Congressional Federal Credit Union out of $165,000. This prompted Wasserman Schultz to finally fire Awan. CNN and other outlets then confirmed that Alvi had indeed left the country for Pakistan in March, as the Caller had reported, but not before being stopped at the airport and searched by federal authorities, who discovered she was taking more than $12,000 in cash with her. According to the New York Times, Awan and Alvi’s lawyer says Alvi and her children “had traveled to Pakistan to stay with family. After speculation about the investigation started to appear online, he said, the family began receiving threats online and without work, they needed to save money.”

What this all adds up to, if anything, is unclear. The right’s conspiracy theorists have taken to advancing some far-fetched scenarios, such as baselessly arguing that Awan, not Russia, may have been responsible for last year’s DNC email hack, echoing the still-kicking theories about the murder of DNC employee Seth Rich. Rod Wheeler, who is a principal promoter of the Rich story (and who is now suing Fox News for falsely quoting him about that case), has suggested that the two cases may be related. Roger Stone has claimed, without evidence, that Awan was “partying” with Seth Rich the night he was killed.

The day after Awan’s arrest, pizzagate theorist Mike Cernovich posted a video purporting to explain the case and claiming that Awan may have been responsible for leaking information about a botched special operations raid in February in Yemen that resulted in the death of Navy SEAL William Owens.

Last week, Sean Hannity and Geraldo Rivera assessed the story:

Rivera: Well, now you have a possible suspect. Here’s the corrupt IT guy standing at the shoulder of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, arrested at the airport trying to flee. Charged with stealing hundreds of thousands, maybe million, of dollars. What if he was the source to WikiLeaks? He has all of the passcodes, he has the passwords, he has all of the information. This is a huge story.

Hannity: I think this is deeper than that. This is my theory: Maybe Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn’t want to be exposed, which is why they smashed the hard drives—remember what happened on the eve—because she knows she colluded against Bernie Sanders. She knows the primary was rigged.

Over the weekend, GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted about the Awans:

And on July 27, President Trump retweeted a Townhall article admonishing the mainstream press for ignoring the story.

That afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked if Trump was aware of the Awan scandal. “I haven’t had a conversation with him specifically about that,” she said. “But I do think that is something we should fully look into and there should be a thorough investigation on that.”

What “that” is remains extremely murky. There is no reporting connecting Awan’s arrest for bank fraud to any of the more ludicrous allegations. There are, though, some legitimate questions, namely: Did the Awans really improperly access sensitive information on the House’s network and steal that equipment? If so, why? Were their wages unusually high, and if so, why? Did Wasserman Schultz really take measures to protect Awan, and if so, why? Even if the answer to all the above is “yes,” that doesn't necessarily implicate Wasserman Schultz or other members of Congress. It’s entirely possible, if not probable, that these staffers are simply low-level scammers who exploited a lucrative job situation and that Wasserman Schultz handled it in her usual bungled way.

Imran Awan is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a preliminary hearing on the bank fraud charge on Aug. 21.


          Scaramucci’s Now Sad Strategy Memo Is Fine Enough if There Weren’t a Message Godzilla in the Oval Office        

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci lasted just 10 hyperactive days in the West Wing, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a vision! In the apparent draft of a memo dated July 30—the day before he was fired by incoming Chief of Staff John Kelly—Scaramucci outlined a communications plan to save the White House from itself. The memo was first reported by Trump supporter Mike Cernovich in a Medium post Tuesday. But since Cernovich is a literal neo-Nazi conspiracist nutjob, you’ll be happy to know that BuzzFeed confirmed the authenticity of the memo and tracked down a version of its own.

The memo shows Scaramucci during a more hopeful time, when the Mooch was optimistic about righting the president’s capsized PR ship. The memo outlined five priorities to flip the proverbial script: “Improve the Culture,” “Comms is a Customer Service Operation — POTUS is the Number One Customer,” “Make the News — We Go First,” “Fill the Content Void,” “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.”

As far as mission statements go its contents are far less controversial than the Mooch himself. If anything, it comes off as a wee bit naïve. Yes, “improving the culture” and “professionalizing” the comms shop are nice goals, as is focusing the messaging, but the entire plan seems to forget the communications Godzilla in the Oval Office who blows up well-intentioned messaging by lying and not knowing anything and defaming other people before breakfast.

Here are a few notable portions of the Scaramucci Doctrine to make America love the president as much as he does (did):

Priority #1 — Improve the Culture
... Implement a series of professionalizing initiatives immediately. For example, no WH communication staffer goes home without returning all calls, emails, and texts.

A tad ambitious, but I like where your head's at Mooch, particularly given this White House's inability to conjure a comment on most things.

Priority #2 — Comms is a Customer Service Operation — POTUS is the Number One Customer
Comms need to humanize POTUS and burnish his image. For example, POTUS is the best golfer to serve as President. Perhaps, we embrace it with a national online lottery to play a round of golf with him….or a charity auction. POTUS has a funny and irreverent side which was shared with the electorate during the campaign.
... The media is an important Comms customer. POTUS can choose to fight with the media, but Comms can not. Comms should seek to de-escalate tensions with the media.

Not a bad try, but I think we've seen enough of his "funny and irreverent side." We're waiting on the competent human side.

Priority #3. Make the News — We Go First
...Comms needs to be run like a news channel with producers, scripts, and narration...
... the refined Roger Ailes theory- we exercise influence over the news cycle because POTUS and the government make news — (i.e. do things on a daily basis that matter). An effective Comms shop will dictate the news of the day on most days.
Comms should help POTUS convey a Reaganesque “happy warrior” image by sourcing and packaging these wins.

Happy warrior? We're talking about the same guy?  

Priority #4 — Fill the Content Void
...in addition to written word production (i.e. speeches, talking points, and press releases), the WH should vastly increases the amount of visual, video, and graphical images that it produces to communicate our message(s).
...People are fascinated by the lives of their Presidents and the operation of the White House. POTUS is the greatest TV star in history. Comms should produce video content that constructively operates as “The President Donald J. Trump” show. Obama scratched the surface of this. POTUS should take it to the next level.

The next level? “The President Donald J. Trump” show? Sweet Jesus.

Priority #5 — Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
...The message should be that businesses are investing more and creating more jobs because they have confidence. The source of their confidence is the election of a successful businessman to the Presidency. Obama bred uncertainty amongst the business community. Trump breeds confidence. Confidence=more jobs. Would the stock market have galloped from election day to year end 2016 if HRC had won? Of course, not.

The certainty we are all feeling these days is really something.

There was also a to do list!

Scaramucci To-Do List
-meet with General Kelly
-meet with Hope Hicks, Josh Raffel, Michael Anton, and Dina Powell and anyone else who you believe should be a top priority.
-meet with Steve Bannon (I want his insight and help. He presumably has an opinion on how Comms can operate more effectively)
-meet with heads of the various networks and leading journalists (like Maggie Haberman) to build a better relationship and solicit their input on how we can better work together
-meet with Directors of Communications from prior administrations (no need to re-invent the wheel on certain matters, particularly basic blocking and tackling stuff)
-meet with Ryan Lizza (not to litigate the past—to reset for moving forward)
-meet with leading Republicans who, whether for or against POTUS, have valuable insights to impart Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are at the top of this list
-meet with Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell and their respective Comms teams

Mooch out.


          Stephen Miller Doesn’t Care for Your Stupid Poem, Statue of Liberty        

White House senior adviser for policy Stephen Miller spoke at the daily press briefing on Wednesday to tout Donald Trump’s newly announced plan to cut legal immigration in half and make it harder for non-native English speakers or low-skill workers to enter the country.

When he was challenged on this part of the proposal by CNN reporter Jim Acosta, Miller decided to explain who America’s real enemy was: The poem on the Statue of Liberty.

Acosta asked:

The Statue of Liberty says “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?

And Miller’s response:

I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world; it’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to that was added later and is not part of the original Statue of Liberty.

(For those interested, here is a brief history of how that poem came to become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty and this country’s assimilation of immigrants.)

Acosta and Miller then got into a lengthy back-and-forth about what it means to be an immigrant to this country. Acosta accused the administration of attempting to limit immigration in a way that was “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Miller responded that Acosta betrayed his “cosmopolitan bias” and “ignorance” by suggesting that the administration was trying to limit immigration to certain types of people.

The exchange is notable because Miller—who is ethnically Jewish, like the writer of the Statue of Liberty poem he doesn’t think represents anything important about America—is one of the Trump administration officials with the deepest connections to the white-nationalist movement.

Miller went to college at Duke with neo-Nazi rebrander Richard Spencer, who has said they knew each other very well and that they bonded over “concerns that immigrants from non-European countries were not assimilating.”

When he was in high school, Miller wrote an op-ed attacking Hispanic classmates. “When I entered Santa Monica High School in ninth grade, I noticed a number of students lacked basic English skills. There are usually very few, if any, Hispanic students in my honors classes, despite the large number of Hispanic students that attend our school,” he wrote.

He also criticized policies meant to help integrate Spanish-speakers into American school systems:

Even so, pursuant to district policy, all announcements are written in both Spanish and English. By providing a crutch now, we are preventing Spanish speakers from standing on their own. As politically correct as this may be, it demeans the immigrant population as incompetent, and makes a mockery of the American ideal of personal accomplishment.

Additionally, former classmates of Miller’s told Univision Noticias that he used to mock children of Asian and Hispanic immigrants who didn’t speak English well. Finally, one former classmate told Vanity Fair that Miller ended his friendship with him in part “because of my Latino heritage.”

The point is that Acosta’s question was totally reasonable given Miller’s own past and his influence on immigration policy today. The presidential aide treated it, though, as an “insult.”

As BuzzFeed News reported, Trump’s policy would increase the percentage of skilled workers allowed to immigrate to the United States, decrease the number of low-skilled workers and family members of green-card holders and Americans, and create a points system that prioritized English speakers. “This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy,” Trump said in announcing the proposal.

At one point, Acosta wondered hyperbolically whether the administration was aiming to limit immigration to Great Britain and Australia. Miller erupted at him in indignation. “That you think that only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions who do speak English from all over the world,” he said.

Miller effectively distracted from his potentially embarrassing statements about the Statue of Liberty and the focus of the policy itself on English speakers and its potentially xenophobic roots.

Incidentally, Miller has supporters in his position on the insignificance of the Statue of Liberty poem. Rush Limbaugh, for one, has ranted against it in recent years. It is also a consistent topic on the xenophobic anti-immigrant web site VDare. And after Trump’s first unconstitutional Muslim ban was issued in January, Richard Spencer said this about the poem: “It’s offensive that such a beautiful, inspiring statue was ever associated with ugliness, weakness, and deformity.”

Looks like Spencer has a kindred spirit in the White House, one who’s apparently crafting national immigration policy.


          To State the Obvious, the Trump Administration’s New Affection for “Merit-Based” Policies Is Deeply Ironic        

 

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Trump Justice Department is planning to sue universities whose admissions programs "give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores." On Wednesday, POTUS himself unveiled "new legislation that would reduce legal immigration to the U.S. and evaluate visa applications based on merit," in Bloomberg's words. A theme emerges here: The Trump administration apparently believes that merit should determine an individual's access to valuable resources. To state the obvious, this is deeply ironic.

Donald Trump reportedly got into Wharton because an admissions officer was doing his brother a favor. He later inherited a real estate business from his very wealthy father.

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner was admitted to Harvard despite mediocre grades and SAT scores shortly after his father donated $2.5 million to the school. His first prominent business endeavor was running a newspaper called the New York Observer, which his father bought for him for $10 million.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a wealthy heiress who seemed unfamiliar with several basic education concepts during her confirmation hearings.

Senior national security adviser Sebastian Gorka insists on being called "Dr." despite having received his Ph.D from an obscure Hungarian university via what one U.S. expert has described as a "fraudulent" process involving a dissertation that another expert said "would not earn [Gorka] a doctorate at any reputable academic department in the United States."

And don't forget about top adviser Ivanka Trump (a UPenn legacy admit and nepotism hire), press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (the daughter of ex–Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee), Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton* (a Trump family event planner who listed schools she didn't graduate from on her LinkedIn page), and first lady Melania Trump (who claimed to have an architecture degree that didn't exist and plagiarized her convention speech from Michelle Obama).

So many self-made men and women at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. these days! Should they rename it the Merit House?

Correction, 5:25 p.m.: This post initially misspelled Lynne Patton's name.


          Report: Russian Propaganda Czar Was Murdered in D.C. Before Planned 2015 Meeting With Feds        

Mikhail Lesin, who served for years as a top adviser to Vladimir Putin, died under mysterious circumstances while staying in a Washington hotel in November 2015. A little less than a year later, federal prosecutors declared that the 57-year-old’s death had been an accident—the unfortunate result of a drunken bender that ended with Lesin falling down and sustaining fatal injuries to his head, neck, and torso.

But according to BuzzFeed News, that’s not what really happened. Citing several FBI agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the website reported Friday that Lesin was beaten to death, and that his murder occurred the night before a scheduled meeting at the Department of Justice. According to one BuzzFeed source, the weapon used to kill Lesin was a baseball bat.

One of Lesin’s core achievements as a government official in Russia was launching Russia Today, or RT, the state-owned, English-language cable channel that broadcasts pro-Russia news in the U.S. According to BuzzFeed, the Justice Department was interested in speaking with Lesin in order to learn more about RT—“basically, how the propaganda machine works”—and had paid for the hotel room where Lesin died.

“Lesin was beaten to death,” one FBI agent told BuzzFeed. “I would implore you to say as much. There seems to be an effort here to cover up that fact for reasons I can't get into.”

He went on: “What I can tell you is that there isn’t a single person inside the bureau who believes this guy got drunk, fell down, and died. Everyone thinks he was whacked and that Putin or the Kremlin were behind it.”

The particulars of the case—who exactly wanted Lesin dead and why—are not clear, and BuzzFeed emphasizes that none of its sources were personally involved in the investigation. But apparently Lesin had fallen out of favor with Putin’s inner circle in the years before his death, abruptly resigning from his post atop Kremlin-controlled Gazprom Media. At the same time, he was going on a spending spree around the world that apparently got the attention of a U.S. senator, who wrote a letter to then–Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Justice Department to look into Lesin’s finances. Lesin “was feeling good until that letter came out,” an intelligence officer told BuzzFeed, but afterward, “Putin decided to cut him loose as a potential liability. Once Putin ditched him, once he lost his protection, Lesin’s partners and competitors started going after him.”

It’s hard to know what to make of this story right now, in large part because the FBI has not made any of its investigative materials available to the public. But the fundamental question provoked by BuzzFeed’s reporting is why the official story of Lesin’s death, as recounted last year by then-U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Channing Phillips, differs so dramatically from what so many at the FBI apparently believe.


          What I Read on the Internet #25        
10 Awesome links from around the WWW, covering fashion, food, recycling, DIY, blogging and writing





10 Trends that are "IN" for Summer - And 5 that are "Out" - #11, 12, 14 & 15 are sad news for me

How Shopping On A Budget Changed My Style - "More surprising than that, though, is how shopping thrift did more for unearthing my true style than shopping fast trends ever did."

D.I.Y. Ikea Signe Rug Tote Bag - Ahah I even have that rug

41 Best Cauliflower Recipes of All Time

Our Perfect Veggie Burger

What Do People Want to Read About? - On blogs that is...

Amazing Things You Can Do With Coffee Grounds

Homemade Toothpase Recipes

The Oatmeal - How to use a Semicolon 

15 Free Web Apps for Writers




Follow me! 
And never miss a Funky post.
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          8月3日(木)のつぶやき        

戦時中、子どもたちの「夏休み」がなくなったことを知っていますか?

遊ぶことは許されず、「お国のため」に働かされるという、想像以上に過酷な「夏の思い出」。当時の「少国民新聞」を読み返して、記事にまとめてみました。
buzzfeed.com/jp/kotahatachi… #だって休みだもん

— はたちこうた Kota Hatachi (@togemaru_k) 2017年7月26日 - 17:37

北朝鮮かイランか?トランプはどっちを先に攻撃するだろう?ロン ポール .@_yanocchi0519 informationclearinghouse.info/47558.htm#.WYH…

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 00:58

マクマスター=トランプ=戦争屋 .@_yanocchi0519 As U.S. Sanctions Regime Change, a Debate on Resolvi... youtu.be/nhYz1owM-uA via @YouTube

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 01:50

昔SNL が一度だけ、放映したヴィデオ。なぜ、お蔵入りになったか、わかるよね。

facebook.com/MarchAgainstMo…

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 02:11

Attkisson: How Your Tax Money Is Being Wasted On Ghost Soldiers realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/07/…

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 02:23

儲かってまっか? US to boost S. Korea presence with 12 extra F-16 jets, 200 troops rt.com/news/398188-ko…

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 02:24

China warns Trump over North Korea: ‘Don’t stab us in the back’  telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/0… via @telegraphnews

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 02:25

.@_yanocchi0519 Senate Republicans r ignoring requests from Trump 2 keep healthcare their top legislative priority. wsj.com/articles/senat…

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 05:15

Wray Confirmed as FBI Director as Questions Swirl over His Past Record &... youtu.be/RAN7hETFLCg via @YouTube

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 05:25

Trump's proposed tax cuts could fuel animal spirits in corporate bonds bloomberg.com/news/articles/… via @markets

— machiko #FeelTheBern (@mhollifi1949) 2017年8月3日 - 05:33

これはすごいグラフィックだな。温暖化と言えども、場所と年によっては「冷夏」だとか「極寒の冬」がある。そう言うのが否定論者の認知バイアスによく働くんだけど「1900年以降、世界各国で観測された温度異常」をアニメで視覚化。90年以降が… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

— Dr. RawheaD (@RawheaD) 2017年8月2日 - 14:04
          BuzzFeed’s Ze Frank and the Science of Viral Videos Explained        
BuzzFeed, the social news website founded in 2006, has more than 85 million unique visitors to the site each month. That’s nearly triple the traffic the New York Times sees. And seven times more traffic than the gossip site TMZ sees each month. BuzzFeed gained its audience with a mix of political scoops, links to …
          BuzzFeed Content Analysis Part 2        

It’s time to extract all the voodoo from the BuzzFeed headline ! 🙂 Here we…

The post BuzzFeed Content Analysis Part 2 appeared first on hackeratwork.


          Why People Likes BuzzFeed Headlines ?        

You may know that huffpost and buzzfeed craft their content very carefully. In fact HuffPost…

The post Why People Likes BuzzFeed Headlines ? appeared first on hackeratwork.


          Originality & Impact: When Other #Blogs Rip You Off Without Knowing It #thievingblogs         
You know you are a Sarah-Palin-style maverick when everyone blogs your content without giving you any credit. This is particularly amusing because the same originality is what makes it impossible (nearly) to get published these days. You anonymice all remember back in the day (2007) when we started this blog, yes? No one thought it was a good idea to post, let alone discuss, rejection letters. They called us names; they sent threatening legal notices; they wanted to shut us down. It was unseemly for an artist to air her dirty laundry.  Now, not so much any more.  It is fun, expected, and entertaining--almost everywhere you look.  I suppose that is progress....or something.

Check out all of these:

Huffington Post
Mental Floss
Click Hole
Flavor Wire
The Atlantic
Thought Catalog
Business Insider
Buzz Feed
Esquire
The New Yorker
MSN
Reddit
Go Think Big
Bustle 
Open Culture

Plus, so many, many more....

I don't even really blame these dudes for not giving credit where credit is originally due. Who can go back that far when everything is an iteration of an iteration of an iteration of an iteration? There's a huge hunger for content on the World Wide Web, so much so that it's just like manufacturing cheeseburgers. People like to know exactly what they're getting, something they know pretty well already.  
          Everything You Think You Know about Mass Murder Is Wrong        

There are a lot of things we think we know about mass shootings: that they come about when mentally unstable individuals suddenly snap; that there are more and more of them every year; that smarter and stricter laws can help prevent them. A new article in the journal Homicide Studies says that all of those assumptions are wrong.

In the article, titled “Mass Shootings in America: Moving Beyond Newtown,” Northeastern University criminologists James Alan Fox and Monica J. DeLateur examine existing research and data to refute 11 common assumptions about mass murder—which the FBI defines as any single, sustained incident that takes the lives of four or more victims. Many of their points seem like the starting point for a conversation rather than the end of one. But if we’re going to have a national conversation about mass shootings—and we’re already having it—then it might as well be based on data rather than assumptions.  

The biggest myth they claim to bust? The idea that mass murder in America is on the rise. Fox and DeLateur specifically challenge a recent Mother Jones project that claimed “a recent surge in incidents and fatalities” from mass shootings. The authors argue that Mother Jones arbitrarily limited its analysis to certain types of mass shootings—ones occurring in public places, committed by lone gunmen with no robbery motive or gang affiliation—and that by limiting the data set the magazine came away with skewed results. By expanding their analysis to include all mass shootings regardless of location or motive, Fox and DeLateur found that the rate of mass shootings has remained steady from 1976 to 2011, at about 20 incidents per year, and that “the facts clearly say that there has been no increase in mass shootings and certainly no epidemic.” I read the Mother Jones piece when it appeared, and I found it tragic and convincing. But Fox and DeLateur also sound convincing when they argue that “including mass shootings in all forms can only add to our understanding of extreme killing.” At the very least, Fox and DeLateur’s findings add nuance to a topic that is often oversimplified.

The authors also dispute the notion that shoot-‘em-up video games and other forms of violent entertainment somehow encourage unstable individuals to commit mass murder, noting that “the ability to document a direct causal link indicating that consuming violent entertainment leads to violent behavior has eluded social science researchers for years.” I’ve written about this very topic multiple times for Slate, usually in reference to the notion that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s fondness for violent video games was causally connected to his real-life crimes. I find this argument unsatisfying, and so do Fox and DeLateur, who write that Lanza’s “gaming may be more a symptom of his personality and temperament than the cause.”

And, perhaps most dispiriting, the authors argue that pretty much every policy proposal intended to reduce mass shootings has been worthless. Increased funding for and access to mental health treatment? A well-meaning idea, but likely ineffective in preventing mass murder, given that, “with their tendency to externalize blame and consider themselves as victims of mistreatment, mass murderers see the problem to reside in others, not themselves,” and thus would likely avoid all opportunities to receive psychiatric help. Would renewing the 1994 federal assault weapons ban do any good? Probably not: “a comparison of the incidence of mass shootings during the 10-year window when the assault weapon ban was in force against the time periods before implementation and after expiration shows that the legislation had virtually no effect, at least in terms of murder in an extreme form.”

What about implementing stricter security measures in schools and other public places? Actually, “most security measures serve only as a minor inconvenience for those who are determined to cause mayhem.” As an example, the authors cite a pair of Arkansas middle school students who pulled the fire alarm in their school and began shooting people as they came outside. What about expanding criminal background checks for firearms purchasers? “Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally.”

What, then, can be done to stop mass shootings in America? Maybe nothing. “Eliminating the risk of mass murder would involve extreme steps that we are unable or unwilling to take—abolishing the Second Amendment, achieving full employment, restoring our sense of community, and rounding up anyone who looks or acts at all suspicious,” the authors conclude. “Mass murder just may be a price we must pay for living in a society where personal freedom is so highly valued.” Well. Merry Christmas, I guess.


          #45: Kerning Panic·字谈字串(三)        

本日四方会谈,聚焦全球性政治议题:绘文字。

距离上一个世界绘文字日,已经过去 135 天。立足当下,我们将以语言的、文字的、历史的、文化的、设计的、技术的等多方面视角,不中立、不全面、不深刻地闲聊绘文字。

《内核恐慌》网站:https://kernelpanic.fm ,捐款地址:https://kernelpanic.fm/donate

参考链接

主播


          The US Military's Bloody "Successes": Training Foreign Militaries to Start Coups        

Winning! It's the White House watchword when it comes to the U.S. armed forces. "We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing -- you know what that is? Win! Win!" President Donald Trump exclaimed earlier this year while standing aboard the new aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford.

Since World War II, however, neither preventing nor winning wars have been among America's strong suits.  The nation has instead been embroiled in serial conflicts and interventions in which victories have been remarkably scarce, a trend that has only accelerated in the post-9/11 era. From Afghanistan to Iraq, Somalia to the Philippines, Libya to Yemen, military investments -- in lives and tax dollars -- have been costly and enduring victories essentially nonexistent. 

But Amadou Sanogo is something of a rare all-American military success story, even if he isn't American and his success was fleeting.  Sanogo learned English in Texas, received instruction from U.S. Marines in Virginia, took his intelligence training in Arizona, and underwent Army infantry officer basic training in Georgia.  Back home in his native Mali, the young army officer was reportedly much admired for his sojourn, studies, and training in the United States.

In March 2012, Sanogo put his popularity and skills to use when he led a coup that overthrew Mali's elected government. "America is [a] great country with a fantastic army. I tried to put all the things I learned there into practice here," he told Der Spiegel during his tenure as Mali's military strongman. (He eventually lost his grip on power, was arrested, and in 2016 went on trial for "complicity in kidnapping and assassination.")

Since 9/11, the United States has spent more than $250 billion training foreign military and police personnel like Sanogo.  Year after year, a sprawling network of U.S. programs provides 200,000 of these soldiers and security officers with assistance and support.  In 2015, almost 80,000 of them, hailing from 154 countries, received what's formally known as Foreign Military Training (FMT). 

The stated goals of two key FMT programs -- International Military Education and Training (IMET) and the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) -- include promoting "international peace and security" and increasing the awareness among foreign military personnel of "internationally recognized human rights."  In reality, these programs focus on strengthening U.S. partner and proxy forces globally, though there's scant evidence that they actually succeed in that goal. A study published in July, analyzing data from 1970 to 2009, finds that FMT programs are, however, effective at imparting skills integral to at least one specific type of armed undertaking. "We find a robust relationship between U.S. training of foreign militaries and military-backed coup attempts," wrote Jonathan Caverley of the U.S. Naval War College and Jesse Savage of Trinity College Dublin in the Journal of Peace Research.  

Bad Actors

Through nearly 200 separate programs, the State Department and the Department of Defense (DoD) engage in what's called "security cooperation," "building partner capacity," and other assistance to foreign forces.  In 2001, the DoD administered about 17% of security assistance funding. By 2015, that figure had jumped to approximately 60%. The Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, a post-9/11 creation indicative of this growth, is mostly run through the DoD and focuses on training mid- and senior-level defense officials from allied militaries in the tenets of counterterrorism. The State Department, by contrast, is the driving force behind the older and larger IMET program, though the Defense Department implements the training.

Under IMET, foreign personnel -- like Sanogo -- travel to the U.S. to take classes and undergo instruction at military schools and bases. "IMET is designed to help foreign militaries bolster their relationships with the United States, learn about U.S. military equipment, improve military professionalism, and instill democratic values in their members," wrote Joshua Kurlantzick in a 2016 Council on Foreign Relations memorandum aimed at reforming the program.

However, in an investigation published earlier this year, Lauren Chadwick of the Center for Public Integrity found that, according to official U.S. government documents, at least 17 high-ranking foreigners -- including five generals -- trained through IMET between 1985 and 2010 were later accused and in some cases convicted of criminal and human rights abuses. An open-source study by the non-profit Center for International Policy found another 33 U.S.-trained foreign military officers who later committed human rights abuses. And experts suggest that the total number of criminal U.S. trainees is likely to be far higher, since IMET is the only one of a sprawling collection of security assistance programs that requires official reports on human rights abusers.

In their Journal of Peace Research study, Caverley and Savage kept the spotlight on IMET because the program "explicitly focuses on promoting norms of civilian control" of the military.  Indeed, it's a truism of U.S. military assistance programs that they instill democratic values and respect for international norms. Yet the list of U.S.-trained coup-makers -- from Isaac Zida of Burkina Faso, Haiti's Philippe Biamby, and Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia to Egypt's Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan, and the IMET-educated leaders of the 2009 coup in Honduras, not to mention Mali's Amadou Sanogo -- suggests an embrace of something other than democratic values and good governance. "We didn't spend, probably, the requisite time focusing on values, ethics, and military ethos," then chief of U.S. Africa Command, Carter Ham, said of Sanogo following his coup. "I believe that we focused exclusively on tactical and technical [training]."

In 2014, two generations of U.S.-educated officers faced off in The Gambia as a group of American-trained would-be coup-makers attempted (but failed) to overthrow the U.S.-trained coup-maker Yahya Jammeh who had seized power back in 1994. The unsuccessful rebellion claimed the life of Lamin Sanneh, the purported ringleader, who had earned a master's degree at National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D.C. (Two other coup plotters had apparently even served in the U.S. military.) "I can't shake the feeling that his education in the United States somehow influenced his actions," wrote Sanneh's former NDU mentor Jeffrey Meiser. "I can't help but wonder if simply imprinting our foreign students with the 'American program' is counterproductive and unethical."

Caverly warns that Washington should also be cautious about exporting its own foreign and domestic policy imperatives, given that recent administrations have left the Defense Department flush with funding and the State Department's coffers so bare that generals are forced to beg on its behalf.   "Put more succinctly," he explained, "you need to build up multiple groups within civil society to complement and sometimes counterbalance an empowered military." 

Caverley and Savage identified 275 military-backed coups that occurred worldwide between 1970 and 2009.  In 165 of them, members of that country's armed forces had received some IMET or CTFP training the year before the coup. If you add up all the years of such instruction for all those countries, it tops out at 3,274 "country years."  In 165 instances, a takeover attempt was carried out the next year. "That's 5%, which is very high, since coups happen rarely," Caverley told TomDispatch. "The ratio for country-years with no U.S. training is 110 out of 4101, or 2.7%."

While U.S. training didn't carry the day in The Gambia in 2014 (as it had in 1994 when U.S. military-police-training alumnus Yahya Jammeh seized power), it is nonetheless linked with victorious juntas. "Successful coups are strongly associated with IMET training and spending," Caverley and Savage noted.  According to their findings, American trainees succeeded in overthrowing their governments in 72 of the 165 coup attempts.

Train Wreck

There is significant evidence that the sprawling patchwork of America's military training programs for foreign forces is hopelessly broken.  In 2013, a State Department advisory board found that American security aid had no coherent means of evaluation and no cohesive strategy. It compared the "baffling" array of programs to "a philanthropic grant-making process by an assemblage of different foundations with different agendas." 

A 2014 RAND analysis of U.S. security cooperation (SC) found "no statistically significant correlation between SC and change in countries' fragility in Africa or the Middle East." A 2015 report from U.S. Special Operations Command's Joint Special Operations University noted that efforts at building partner capacity have "in the past consumed vast resources for little return." That same year, an analysis by the Congressional Research Service concluded that "despite the increasing emphasis on, and centrality of, [building partner capacity] in national security strategy and military operations, the assumption that building foreign security forces will have tangible U.S. national security benefits remains a relatively untested proposition." 

"There are no standard guidelines for determining the goals of [counter-terrorism] security assistance programs, particularly partner capacity-building training programs, or for assessing how these programs fit into broader U.S. foreign policy objectives," reads a 2016 Center for a New American Security report. "And there are few metrics for measuring the effectiveness of these programs once they are being implemented." And in his 2016 report on IMET for the Council on Foreign Relations, Kurlantzick noted that the effort is deeply in need of reform. "The program," he wrote, "contains no system for tracking which foreign military officers attended IMET… [a]dditionally, the program is not effectively promoting democracy and respect for civilian command of armed forces."

Studies aside, the failures of U.S. training efforts across the Greater Middle East have been obvious for years. From the collapse of the U.S.-built Iraqi army in the face of small numbers of Islamic State militants to a stillborn effort to create a new armed force for Libya, a $500 million failed effort to train and equip Syrian rebels, and an often incompetent, ghost-soldier-filled, desertion-prone army in Afghanistan, large-scale American initiatives to build and bolster foreign forces have crashed and burned repeatedly. 

One thing stateside U.S. training does seem to do, according to Caverley and Savage, is increase "human capital" -- that is, foreign trainees' professional skills like small unit tactics and strategic planning as well as intangibles like increased prestige in their home countries. And unlike other forms of American aid that allow regimes to shuttle state resources toward insulating the government from coups by doing anything from bribing potential rivals to fostering parallel security forces (like presidential guards), FMT affords no such outlet. "If you give assets to a group with guns and a strong corporate identity within a country lacking well-developed institutions and norms, you create the potential for political imbalance," Caverley told TomDispatch. "An extreme example of that imbalance is an attempt to take over the entire government."

Strength and Numbers

The United States has a troubled past when it comes to working with foreign militaries. From Latin America to Southeast Asia, Washington has a long history of protecting, backing, and fostering forces implicated in atrocities. Within the last several months alone, reports have surfaced about U.S.-trained or -aided forces from the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Cameroon, and Iraq torturing or executing prisoners. 

Some U.S.-trained figures like Isaac Zida in Burkina Faso and Amadou Sanogo in Mali have experienced only short-term successes in overthrowing their country's governments.  Others like The Gambia's Yahya Jammeh (who went into exile in January after 22 years in power) and Egypt's president -- and former U.S. Army War College student -- Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have had far more lasting tenures as strongmen in their homelands.

Any foreign military training provided by the U.S., write Caverley and Savage, "corresponds to a doubling of the probability of a military-backed coup attempt in the recipient country." And the more money the U.S. spends or the more soldiers it trains via IMET, the higher the risk of a coup d'état.

In 2014, the U.S. resumed IMET support for Mali -- it had been suspended for a year following the insurrection -- and even increased that funding by a modest $30,000.  That West African nation has, however, never recovered from the coup crisis of 2012 and, half a decade later, remains wracked by an insurgency that Sanogo, his successors, and a French- and U.S.-backed military campaign have been unable to defeat. As the militant groups in Mali have grown and metastasized, the U.S. has continued to pour money into training local military personnel. In 2012, the year Amadou Sanogo seized power, the U.S. spent $69,000 in IMET funds on training Malian officers in the United States.  Last year, the figure reached $738,000.

For the better part of two decades from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen to Pakistan, Somalia to Syria, U.S. drone strikes, commando raids, large-scale occupations and other military interventions have led to small-scale tactical triumphs and long-term stalemates (not to mention death and destruction). Training efforts in and military aid to those and other nations -- from Mali to South Sudan, Libya to the Philippines -- have been plagued by setbacks, fiascos, and failures.

President Trump has promised the military "tools" necessary to "prevent" and "win" wars.  By that he means "resources, personnel training and equipment... the finest equipment in the world."  Caverley and Savage's research suggests that the Pentagon could benefit far more from analytical tools to shed light on programs that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and deliver counterproductive results -- programs, that is, where the only "wins" are achieved by the likes of Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and Egypt's Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. 

"Warfighters focus on training other warfighters. Full stop. Any second order effects, like coups, are not the primary consideration for the training," Caverley explains. "That's why security cooperation work by the U.S. military, like its more violent operations, needs to be put in a strategic context that is largely lacking in this current administration, but was not much in evidence in other administrations either."


          GLAAD speaks to BuzzFeed about need for trans-inclusive admissions policy at Smith College        

GLAAD Senior Media Strategist Tiq Milan spoke with BuzzFeed about the admissions policies and practices at Smith College regarding transgender women applicants. Members of the student group Smith Q&A are organizing a demonstration for this Thursday, April 24, to demand that the school adopt a policy allowing transgender prospective students to submit supplemental documents with their applications:

“With the multiple forms and documentation required to apply for college, transgender students may not yet have access to documentation that confirms their gender identity and are therefore unfairly rejected by Smith College,” said Tiq Milan, senior media strategist at GLAAD, in a statement to BuzzFeed. “Smith administrators should end the dangerous message they are sending trans youth and prospective students, and instead have a policy in place that prioritizes applicants’ self-determination of gender identity.”

In its policy, Smith contends that it treats applications from transgender students no differently than applications from cisgender students — on a “case-by-case basis.” The policy states, “Like most women’s colleges, Smith expects that, to be eligible for review, a student’s application and supporting documentation (transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman.”

Read the full article at BuzzFeed.

April 22, 2014

          Target Shopping Secrets [VIDEO]        
With Black Friday (or whatever you want to call this year's shopping season) almost here, it's time to make sure you're prepared to shop. Buzzfeed put together a cool video of 8 Target shopping secrets they don't want you to know. Continue reading…
          The Unblogged Files: May 2017        
Hello hello! I've got a brand new Unblogged Files for you today! May was a crazy busy month for me, with social events, blog stuff, and work. Time now to sit down and catch my breath!

Ok, so a big highlight of May was my dad's 70th birthday! The week before his birthday, we hosted a huge party at his house. Sandra and I did all the cooking, and there were over 40 guests! Exhausting, but so much fun!

Birthday cheesecake

FOOOOOOD

And for his birthday present, we shouted him and Mum a staycation in the city - a weekend at the Park Hyatt, with lunches, dinners, drinks and more, all included! They loved it! I'll blog about the party and the weekend in full, but for now enjoy this photo of the Park Hyatt foyer. That hotel has serious foyer game.

Park Hyatt foyer

Let's move onto our usual programming. Breakfasts. One weekday, the pancake craving was strong, so I got up early and made a batch of Megan Gordon's fabulous wholegrain pancakes. Totally worth the early start.

Pancakes!

Most mornings though, it was simpler fare - peanut butter granola with yogurt and fruit or açaí sorbet, oatmeal, and leftover wholegrain pancakes the day after the pancakes.

Yogurt, granola, oatmeal, pancakes

Since the avocado subscription is on a break right now, I don't do savoury breakfasts so often, but sometimes I did feel like something substantial - toast with cottage cheese or smoked salmon (and that romesco sauce!), and a properly filling breakfast of scrambled eggs, spinach and smoked salmon in a wholegrain wrap. (And just quietly - not pictured, sometimes I inhaled leftover cake or a peanut butter wrap at my desk when I had early morning meetings).

Savoury Breakfasts

Seeing as I've been so busy at work, the meal-prepping for lunch took a bit of a back seat, and I ate out a lot more frequently than usual. (Eek, last week I bought lunch every day!) Oh wells, at least I get some pretty pictures to share with you! Definitely back on the meal prep wagon now.

Some lunches were my usuals - spicy noodles soup at Dainty Sichuan Noodle Express and Pho Nom in Emporium, Nandos, and even a KFC lunch to try their tobasco chicken. (Very delicious).

Clockwise from top left: Dainty Sichuan Express, Nando's, Pho Nom x 2, KFC

I also went and tried some new (for me) places! Fat Oma for the most amazing and spicy ayam belado, delicious Thai at Me Dee in the Paramount food court, Soi 38 for truly fabulous Thai boat noodles, Korean Fried Chicken at Nene, and bimbimbap at CJ Lunchbar.

Fat Oma (212 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000)
Me Dee (2/108 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000)
Soi 38 (38 McIlwraith Place, Melbourne VIC 3000)
Nene's fried chicken
CJ Lunch Bar (393 Lt Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000)

Some homecooked dinners!

Clockwise from top left: Mexican bean soup; Honey soy & buffalo wings; Lamb backstrap with marinated feta and roast veggies; Roast veggies with pork & roast brussels sprouts

Clockwise from top left: Beef stew with Spätzle; Beef stew with zoodles; Cheese platter; Spaghetti aglio olio

I did some great events / invites in May - let me know if any of these particularly interest you and I'll prioritise writing them up.

First up - a (repeat) visit to the North Melbourne Hotel (480 Victoria St, North Melbourne VIC 3051), to try out their new Autumn menu. I've visited once before, and liked it even more on this visit! Any place that garnishes a delicious salad with half a sliced avocado gets a tick from me.

Avocado and quinoa salad, candied walnuts, persian fetta and blackened corn - $15

There was also Piquancy (123 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122), a new Indian restaurant from the same owners as Babu-Ji in St Kilda. They're a slick-looking, modern restaurant, doing lots of familiar (and not so familiar) Indian dishes. I particularly liked the curries and naan, and would happily go back for dinner again. Hot tip: they've got lots of gluten-free options, including gluten free naan! (Slightly random: they also do a strawberries and Bailey's cocktail which didn't seem like it would be my type of thing, but was actually super delicious).

Piquancy

And speaking of modern Indian, I was also invited to visit Shompen (401 Rathdowne Street, Carlton VIC 3053). Chef Vikram is using traditionally Indian flavours in new and inventive ways. My friend Alaina and I were particularly impressed with the smoked silk chicken, which was incredibly tender, gently smoky, and had wonderful subtle spices throughout.

Smoked silk chicken - marinated in almond paste and spices - $15

And finally, there was "A Day on the Grove", down at the Cobram Estate olive grove in Boundary Bend. This was a special event they organised for a group of food bloggers - we were flown there in a private jet (!), given a personal tour of the olive groves and olive-oil producing facilities, and treated to a fabulous lunch featuring (you guessed it) lots of extra-virgin olive oil. Very educational and so much fun!

EVOO, yo

View of the groves from the top of an Olive Harvester

For my birthday, my friends Jenni and James got me tickets to a Good Beer Week event, The Craft of Lager Dinner at The Tippler & Co (58 Wellington Pde, East Melbourne VIC 3002). This was a six course meal, paired with six matching (full-sized) beers from Napoleone and Trumer Privatbrauerei. My favourite course was the dessert! A ridiculously decadent ginger and date pudding, with salted butter caramel and fried ice-cream. Served with a smoky Napoleone Rauchbier. (I've learned that this is on their normal menu, and not just a one-off for the event, so you can order it anytime!)

Ginger and date pudding, salted butter caramel, fried ice-cream

A few other sweet treats...

Il Melograno (76 High St, Northcote VIC, 3070). We came here to debrief over gelato after watching Get Out at the nearby Westgarth cinema. (OMG, so good, must watch). The coffee gelato was incredible! So rich and strong. Loved it. My friends had pistachio and salted macadamia, both also excellent.

Gelato at Il Melograno

Another day, I treated myself to croissants at LuxBite (38 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141). You may remember I went to the launch of their viennoiserie range and loved it, and when I saw on Instagram that they were doing a special limited edition houjicha-cream-filled croissant, I needed it in my life!

Coffees, plain croissant, houjicha-filled croissant

One day, Sandra surprised me by baking an invisible apple cake! I'd seen it on Facebook, shared the link with her, and was planning to make it for her, but she beat me to it! The recipe is here. (It's in Japanese, scroll down to the comments for an English translation). Basically it's lots of apples, just held together with a tiny amount of batter and topped with crunchy almonds. So apple. Such yum.

Invisible Apple Cake

And finally, it was Sandra's birthday at the end of the month! Woohoo! The weekend before her birthday, she had some birthday drinks at Willows & Wine (315 Victoria St, West Melbourne VIC 3003). This is a new-ish wine bar that I love! (I'd visited once earlier in the month, with my friend Alaina, straight after dinner at the North Melbourne Hotel, actually). It's cosy and cute, and the lady who runs the place is excellent at wine recommendations.

Willows & Wine

The next morning, I made some cornflake-crusted French toast! So good - here's the recipe.

Cornflake French Toast

And on her actual (mid-week) birthday, all she wanted was a simple dinner at Hills BBQ (586 Station St, Box Hill VIC 3128), followed by her favourite chocolate cake - Nigella's dense chocolate loaf cake.

Hills BBQ deliciousness

Dense chocolate loaf cake

And that was May! Phew! Plans for June? Chill out and stay warm. Peace out!

          Episode 107: Nino is Promoted to Operations Manager so Let's do a Throwback to his First Podcast        

Congratulations to our new Operations Manager Nino Balistrieri! We're going to go back to December 2015 for Nino's first starring role in a podcast when he was our Tech Manager. Nino and Pnuematics Assistant/Actor Maryane Kimbler are the masterminds that bring Hollywood quality effects to life each and every night of our season. From turning Michael Dougherty's Halloween classic Trick r Treat into an immersive pop-up-book, to bringing Krampus and his minions to life, Nino and Maryann reveal the secrets to terrorizing haunt fans with state-of-the-art technology.

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 101: Saying Goodbye to our Director of Operations Crystal        

Our Director of Operations, Crystal, is leaving us for sunny California (and who can blame her right now.) She sat down with Creative Director Scott Simmons and Director of Sales and Marketing Katie "Dudders" to reflect on her last 9 years with ScareHouse, the 2016 season, and why we call her our "Dream Killer".

ScareHouse has been around since 1999 and really blew up in 2007 when they moved to Etna. Crystal joined the team in 2008 so she has seen the haunt grow into the major production it is today. Crystal began her career as an actor before becoming the Haunt Manager of Rampage, House Manager, and finally Director of Operations. She actually wasn't very happy with her first acting role at ScareHouse, but fell in love with scaring people. She started out part-time working multiple jobs then was lucky enough to turn working at a haunted house into her day job.

Scott explains that many of ScareHouse's original sets and props were from a bowling alley that thought they could easily make money if they opened a haunted house. The first sets were built around those scenes. Screamatorium and Hall of Nightmares were more of vibe and not a story. This eventually grew into the current format of three haunts: the first one is old school and suspenseful, the second is experimental, and the third is action packed.

Crystal explains that the advice she gives her actors is from her own experience. She also lists her haunted house pet peeves.

Scott and Crystal dive into the former Rampage haunt. The team utilized props they already had to create a steam-punk, cyber-goth haunt. This was ScareHouse's first high concept, theme park level haunt. The indepth storyline and characters were not having the expected effect on their customers so they had to make changes after the first weekend. 

Scott, Crystal, and Dudders discuss the haunt builders workout. Crystal talks about the only celebrity guest that made her jump and the importance of her fannypack.

The team is constantly looking for ways to optimize their processes. They discuss the importance of outside influences and experiences. So much goes into building a successful haunted house beyond just putting together something scary including budgeting and multiyear planning. 

They discuss how important it is to work into your role. Crystal and Dudders use their job experiences beyond working in a haunted attraction to help them in the industry. Ask yourself what you bring to the table. 

What word best describes the 2016 season? We're going to steal Crystal's word, "rollercoaster". 

Scott, Crystal, and Dudders discuss what it takes to work on the team including the right balance of snark and respect. It is also important to always have a "dream killer". The person that has the data to explain why something will or will not work. 

And of course the podcast ends with Hamilton references. 

We'll miss you so much, Crystal!

The ScareHouse podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Spreaker ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.

Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.

Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 100: Serpentine: Ayne Terceira from Uncumber Theatrics' Newest Immersive and Alternative Reality Game        

"Serpentine is a film-noir style Alternate Reality Game that examines a true Pittsburgh cold case. Be prepared to travel to different Pittsburgh locales in search of clues, meet up with different characters, collaborate with fellow participants, and influence an unfolding month-long story whose conclusion will be based on your discoveries." 

Scott and Dudders sit down with Basement OG actor and Uncumber Theatrics founder, Ayne Terceira.

Ayne has been a part of ScareHouse family for four years, beginning with ScareHouse Secrets. She initially exposed us to immersive theater beginning with her role in Strata at Bricolage. She takes us back to her start in immersive theater at Carnegie Mellon University's premier improv group, "No Parking Players", part of Scotch 'n' Soda Theater. 

Ayne explains the appeal of immersive theater, and it's similarity to RPGs (role playing games). She stresses the importance of creating your own parts and roles and how she uses that idea to cast for Uncumber Theatrics. We learn about the lengths she goes to in order to demonstrate her commitment to the creative process in shows such as Her Things. She explains what it's like marketing immersive theater as an artist with little to no money and the importance of creating and building relationships within your community and word of mouth marketing.

Tune in to the 22:15 mark if you have any concerns or anxiety about diving into Serpentine. Don't be afraid to take the risk and just see what happens. Even if you're a total introvert and don't want to leave the house after the initial appointment, there are still ways to work with others to solve the mystery. If you just want to interact with unusual characters, participate in a city-wide scavenger hunt, or fall down true Google rabbit holes, they have you covered. 

Scott and Ayne dive into the show Lost, and what drove them crazy about the show. 

Serpentine wants you to ask the interesting question. Enter the story early or late, either way you'll enjoy your experience. The story begins May 19th. Purchase tickets to Serpentine here

Learn more about Uncumber Theatrics here

Available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Spreaker, and PlayerFM.

 

The ScareHouse podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Spreaker ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.

Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.

Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 99: Gaming Geeks Dreams Come True: PAPA & ReplayFX in Carnegie, PA        

Scott and Dudders visit the PAPA (Professional & Amateur Pinball Association) warehouse to chat with Special Events Director of ReplayFX, Fred Cochran. The warehouse contains 506 pinball and 300 video games from the 1950s to today.

Fred, Scott, and Dudders discuss how their love of arcade games began at Showbiz Pizza Place, Pizza Hut, and the Century III mall. Fred explains how the PAPA tournaments ended up in Pittsburgh and the creation of ReplayFX as a way to share their love of arcade games with future generations of gamers. He also lets us in on what it takes to bring some of these games back to life, what they do for fun at work, and the strangest and most unusual games in the warehouse.

Friday, May 13th, ReplayFX will have several pinball games at the Heinz History Center Pinball Game Night

This July, they're bringing every pinball and video game to ReplayFX at the David L. Lawrence Convention. The event also includes bands, tournaments for cast prizes, unlimited freeplay, and cosplay contests. For more information or to buy tickets visit ReplayFX 

If you'd like to learn more about PAPA or just watch all of the pinball tutorials visit PAPA

The warehouse (and all of those magical games) are available for corporate event rentals. Forget boring team building retreats in the woods. Battle, we mean, bond with you coworkers with video games.

The ScareHouse podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Spreaker ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.

Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.

Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 98: Atrocity Event Preview 2016 with Macabre & Morose: The Infamous Aaron Doctor & Doing Terrible Things in Beautiful Ways        

"Morose & Macabre's annual cavalcade of the beautiful and bizarre. The Atrocity Exhibition promises to create an immersive theater experience that tells one horribly wonderful story through the art of nationally recognized sideshow, burlesque, and cabaret entertainers. The Atrocity Exhibition is also host to an array of exhibiting artists and artisans for those of a darker sensibility.  


This year, the event takes us to a place where innocence is lost, nothing is as it seems, no one can be trusted, and most importantly, there is no way home.
Welcome to Wonderland...watch your head."

  • History of the Atrocity show, starting as traveling cabaret & art show
  • Why planning starts immediately after the last show
  • Whether they should make it longer or take it on the road
  • How much longer are they going to do the show
  • Keeping the audience guessing
  • Why they're so secretive about the event
  • The trust they build with their artists & performers 
  • Finding their own twist on Alice in Wonderland
  • Why the White Knight is a metaphor for life
  • The insanity behind the scenes
  • Tips for running a successful Kickstarter campaign 

Limited number of tickets for May 14th, 2016 show are available here

Their event was featured in Pittsburgh Magazine Top 10 Things to do in May

Learn more about this year's show Morose & Macabre Atrocity Facebook Page

The ScareHouse podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Spreaker

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.

 


          Episode 97: Scenic Artist & Prop Designer Brian Demski        

Hosts Katie "Dudders" and Scott Simmons interview scenic artist, prop designer, special effects makeup artist, and production designer Brian Demski. His distinct style can be found in some of the biggest haunts in the industry and Hollywood movies. His production company, Demski Creations, is located in Central Ohio, and is a fully functional studio fabricating exclusive props and Hollywood creature special effects. Visit http://www.demskicreations.net to see his incredible creations.

 Show Highlights:

  • Why he wishes he would have taken better care of his GI Joes
  • What he learned from a leather craftsman
  • How a Fangoria convention and connection with Necromance store in Hollywood changed his life
  • What it's like working at different haunts including industry giant Netherworld
  • Learning from your mistakes in the haunt industry
  • "Demskiizing" or "Doing the Demski"

You can also like him on Facebook and follow his adventures on Instagram.

The ScareHouse podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and Spreaker

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 96: Valentine's Day in The Basement: Murder Castle        

Darkness. Obsession. Murder.

It's time for Valentine's Day in The Basement. This all new production is based on the true story of America's first serial killer, H.H. Holmes. This year guests will step into our own version of his murder castle.

Podcast Guests: Dr. Margee Kerr and Dave Malehorn

Dudders, Margee, and Dave discuss America's first known serial killer, H.H. Holmes and his murder castle. They dissect his childhood, time as a medical student, his murders, capture, and influence on our current profile for psychopaths. Margee explains why it's okay that we have an interest in serial killers and the macabre and the importance of experiencing the bad to appreciate the good. The podcast concludes with an overview of this year's Valentine's Day event in The Basement. 

To learn more about Holmes & purchase tickets to The Basement visit http://www.scarehouse.com/pages/the-murder-hotel

Podcast available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spreaker

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 95: The Forest: Movie & Facts with Fear Expert Margee Kerr        

Fear Expert Margee Kerr joins ScareHouse team members Scott Simmons and Katie "Dudders" Dudas to discuss The Forest and the facts and sociological elements that influenced the movie. Margee visited Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mt. Fuji as part of her adventures for her book Scream. **This podcast may contain some movie spoilers** 

 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 94: ScareHouse Tech Experts Nino and Maryanne        

They are the masterminds that bring Hollywood quality effects to live each and every night of our season, without the benefits of editing or 2nd takes. From turning Michael Dougherty's Halloween classic Trick r Treat into an immersive pop-up-book, to bringing Krampus and his minions to life, Nino Ballisteri and Maryann Kimbler reveal the secrets to terrorizing haunt fans with state-of-the-art technology.

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 93: Krampus Comes To ScareHouse        

This season the ScareHouse design team partnered with LEGENDARY to create two all-new attractions based on the twisted imagination of Michael Dougherty, the writer/director of the films Trick ‘r Treat and the upcoming film Krampus.

ScareHouse Creative Director Scott Simmons and Art Director Macabre Noir share the secrets and challenges they faced in bringing so many of Krampus’ mischievous underlings from the upcoming film to life - what it was like to work directly with the creators of the film - and how our team created a new attraction that served as both tribute and teaser for the terrifying legacy of Krampus!

Krampus will be released on December 4, 2015, by Universal Pictures. This darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul is co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty and supported by the Oscar®-winning creature-effects wizardry of Weta Workshop. KRAMPUS features a stellar cast that includes Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”), Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), Golden Globe nominee Allison Tolman (“Fargo”), and David Koechner (ANCHORMAN series).

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 92: A Strange Escape with Amy Bruni        

The ScareHouse podcast is back! 

ScareHouse's Kate Dudas and Nicole Conniff return from a weekend of paranormal investigations at Gettysburg with our friend and Ghost Hunters' star Amy Bruni! 

Kate and Nicole talk with ScareHouse Creative Director Scott Simmons about the technology, philosophy, and community that thrives among fellow fans of the paranormal when they gather together for a weekend at one of of America's most haunted locations. Plus, Amy Bruni shares a truly creepy experience that rattled her just this past weekend -- reveals the history, mission, and future of Strange Escapes (including a preview of upcoming paranormal investigations and events --  and looks back at her encounters at ScareHouse just last summer. 

Visit www.strange-escapes.com for more details about upcoming events all across the country! 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Nightline, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 91: 30 Years of Fears with Ed Gannon        

Ed Gannon has been in the Haunted house industry for almost 30 years designing, acting and building haunted attractions all over the country!

As Director of Attractions and Development for Massachusetts' Spooky World, he designed, built, and managed all entertainment aspects of "America's Halloween Theme Park" for 12 years of operation. He has also created special effects, props, costuming, and makeup for several other Pro haunts, TV commercials & corporate videos.

Ed joins ScareHouse Director of Operations Crystal Rupp for a candid and revealing look back at his early days in the industry, and his current role as show designer for Dark Hour Haunted House.

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 89: Midwest Haunters Convention 2015        

ScareHouse Director of Operations Crystal Rupp and ScareHouse Sociologist Margee Kerr wrap up this year's Midwest Haunters Convention: the largest Halloween show of its kind in the US!  MHC serves haunted attraction industry professionals, home haunters, and enthusiasts with a tradeshow, education, chartered bus tours and entertainment. Visit www.midwesthauntersconvention.com for more information!

Crystal and Margee hit the road home and share highlights from the convention, and the last few weeks of travel and adventure. Plus, Margee shares her mind-blowing appearance at the World's Largest Book Expo in support of her upcoming book Scream! Chillding Adventures in the Science Of Fear (currently available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your favorite book sellers.) - and discusses new immersive theater experiences in Philadelphia and New York City. 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with Seth Meyers, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets.

Subscribe today for new episodes of our ScareHouse podcast. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive reviews and feedback on iTunes. THANK YOU for your support!

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          Episode 87: Haunted House Convention 2015        

It's time to recall and recover our 2015 adventures at the world's largest trade show for the haunted attraction industry!

ScareHouse scream team members Crystal Rupp, Macabre Noir, and Nino Balistrieri talk about 5 action packed days at TransWorld’s annual Halloween & Attractions show. It's the annual business gathering for owners, designers, and special effect artists involved in the production of haunted houses, hayrides, and special events from all over the world! 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. 

Check out more than 100 exclusive videos on our Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheScareHouse 

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
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          Episode 86: How to Kick Ass        

How can freelance artists stay successful, creative, and positive in a world full of competition, distraction, and negativity?

ScareHouse Creative Director Scott Simmons joins costume designer Jen Rocket, graphic artist & photographer Rachellyn Schoen, and design manager Nicole Conniff for an in-depth conversation about the risks and rewards of pursiing a career as a full time artist.

This episode is packed with vital information and advice for anyone struggling to stay focused and optimistic in the in the increasingly challenging and ever changing worlds of entertainment design, graphic arts, and fashion. 

Subscribe today for new episodes of the ScareHouse podcast every week! 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. 

Check out more than 100 exclusive videos on our Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheScareHouse 

 

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
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Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.

 


          Episode 85: Social Media Marketing 2015        

No matter what people try to tell or sell you, social media is still the most powerful and effective way to attract customers to your haunted house or Halloween event ... and a vital component of any succesful consumer business.   But with trends and habits changing so quickly, how can you get the most out of your marketing plan?

ScareHouse is well known for our commitment to social media content and engagement, and Creative Director Scott Simmons is a highly regarded as one of the leading experts on new media marketing in the haunted attraction industry. He joins Communications Technology Masters Student Katie "Dudders" Dudas and ScareHouse Design Manager Niccole Conniff for a fast-paced review of the latest trends in all the top social media platforms.

Is Facebook still king? What's changing with Twitter? How are brands utilizing Instagram, Youtube, and other outlets to reach new customers? And can you kids please explain SnapChat to us?

Subscribe today for new episodes of the ScareHouse podcast every week! 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. 

Check out more than 100 exclusive videos on our Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheScareHouse 

 

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.

 


          Episode 84: Director of Operations Crystal Rupp        

Veteran ScareHouse manager and performer Crystal Rupp joins Creative Director Scott Simmons and Sociologist Margee Kerr to look back at the explosive growth of Pittsburgh's Ultimate Haunted House, and to look ahead at our ambitious plans for Halloween 2015.

Why does it require a full year of planning and analysis to prepare for our season? How has the haunt changed since Crystal joined us 8 seasons ago? And what are the secrets that can help any haunted attraction of any size or budget grow into a financially succesful businesss? Find out in this week's podcast! 

New episodes of the ScareHouse podcast every week. Help us reach new listeners when you leave positive feedback or reviews, or contact us directly with suggestions for future episodes. Thanks for the support! 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. 

Check out more than 100 exclusive videos on our Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheScareHouse 

Like ScareHouse on Facebook.
Follow ScareHouse on Twitter.
Watch ScareHouse on YouTube.


          Episode 83: Plenty of Fish In The Sea        

We're back! After a lengthy hiatus the podcast team from one of America's Scariest Hallowen Attractions returns for an extended epsiode ... that has almost nothing to do with haunted houses. 

Long-time listeners should be in no way suprised. 

Rob Johnston, Laura Kelly, fear expert Dr. Margee Kerr, and Creative Director Scott Simmons talk about Vine superstardom, the dark and scary history of Curious George, the horrors of home ownership, sons of anarchy, football commercials, and snarky feminists. 

New episodes every week and thanks for your support and positive feedback! 

ScareHouse, in Pittsburgh PA, is one of America's Scariest Halloween Haunted House Attractions (Travel Channel) - featured on Good Morning America, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, CBS news, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Geek & Sundry, and many other national media outlets. 

Tickets, dates, and more information about Pittsburgh's Ultimate Haunted House available from http://www.scarehouse.com

 
Special Guest: Rob Johnston.
          Signal Boost: Manitoba Music News Roundup         

Manitoba Music launches MB Live app for Android and iOS. – ChrisD.ca 

Troubadour JP Hoe returns with holiday show. – Beatroute + FREE Download

JP Hoe talks life and his holiday show on the morning news. – Yahoo News

Scott Nolan enlists help of Americana supergroup on Silverhill. – Beatroute

Two-day marathon session sees new album from Scott Nolan. – Metro News

Living Hour soars through new track, signs with Lefse Records. –  Noisey 

Living Hour dreams big. – Stereogum

The Wailin' Jennys land on top performers  list of 2015.  – Huffington Post

Times Change(d) an iconic venue. – Buzzfeed

KEN mode has arrived. – Gear Gods 

KEN mode's Success one of the best of the year. – Basement Galaxy 

Plenty of familiar names on this best-of list. – Beatroute

Duotang, Cannon Bros., Basic Nature, Human Music make this best-of. – Beatroute

John Norman is Obsessed with Sound. – Decoded Magazine

Greg Lowe’s Chess Club is back. – Winnipeg Free Press

Jason Burnstick and Nadia Gaudet release album in three languages. – CBC Manitoba

Beastie Boy Mike D joins The Lytics in studio. – Winnipeg Free Press

Mike D sits in on The Lytics’ session. – Rhythm 104.7 FM

A German take on The Lytics. – Berlin Music

William Prince, Sweet Alibi help harvest hope. – CBC Manitoba

Autumn Still makes each song sound special. – Beatroute

Steve Bell comes to WSO stage for Christmas concert. – Winnipeg Free Press

Ho, Ho, Holiday Train bringing Doc Walker. – Medicine Hat News

The Small Glories join up with the Banjo Babes. – The Union

Take a break from the cold at Hot Blizzard Folk Festival – The Headliner

Propagandhi lives up to hometown hype. – Exclaim!

Propagandhi talking the talk and walking the walk. – The Vancouver Sun

Propagandhi gets illustrated. – Planet S Magazine

The Bros. Landreth are keeping good company. – The Star

The Bros. Landreth are steeped in history and hometown heritage. – BC Living

Matt Epp is back. – Lokalkompass

Festival du Voyageur help make Manitoba a winter destination. – The Globe and Mail

Turn your translators to stun for Cannon Bros. and Attica Riots’ M for Montreal show. - OOR

Federal Lights sings a not-a-love-song love song. – Quick Before It Melts

Federal Lights’ Jean-Guy Roy shares his favourite album – Backstage Broadcast

Harlequin's George Belanger looks back at five decades of musical memories. – Winnipeg Free Press

CKUW DJ Stu Reid curates fun Christmas album. – Winnipeg Free Press

AudioOpera's 2016 resolution = working tirelessly. – Stylus


          In The News: Manitoba Music News Stories from Around the Web        

Rusty Matyas thinks about Christmas all year long. - CBC News + FREE download

Don Amero wishes you Amero little Christmas. - BT Winnipeg

Greg MacPherson strips down on his latest album. - Winnipeg Free Press

Danger makes Greg MacPherson proud. - Metro Winnipeg

KEN mode's Entrench one of 13 magnificent metal albums. - Buzzfeed

Don't you dare text at a KEN mode show. - AUX.tv

Why read an interview with KEN mode when you can watch one?! - Zegama Beach Records

Les Jupes is a key band of 2013. - CBC Radio 3

Shotgun Jimmie is a favorite of 2013. - dcist

Shotgun Jimmie has secrets. - The Coast

Royal Canoe has one of the best videos of 2013. - Indie88

Royal Canoe reviews R. Kelly. - Spectator Tribune

Grand Analog, Royal Canoe, and Les Jupes among the top of 2013. - CBC Radio 3

JP Hoe decks the halls and more. - BT Winnipeg

Missed Chic Gamine's showcase in France? Now you can watch it all! - Trans Musicales

Get a sneak preview of Del Barber's new album. - Noisetrade

Funding boost given to Winnipeg Folk Fest and other local arts groups. - CBC News

Funding announced for local festivals and venues. - CNW Telbec


          In The News: Manitoba Music News Stories from Around the Web        

#16 really hearts The Weakerthans... like, forever. - BuzzFeed

Don Amero heads to The Big Apple. - Revolutions Per Minute + FREE Download

Don Amero is ready for a breakthrough. - Winnipeg Free Press

Tanya Tagaq accompanies documentary live with her voice. - The New Yorker

KEN Mode sign to Season of Mist and announce new album. - Punk News

Upcoming KEN Mode album features artwork from local artist. – MetalSucks

Idle No More backed by Canadian artists including John K. Samson. – Exclaim!

John K. Samson, Wab Kinew on Idle No More compilation. - Revolutions Per Minute

Supporting Idle No More an easy decision for John K. Samson. - APTN

John K. Samson is among musicians who support Idle No More. - CBC Scene

John K. Samson featured in Winnipeg literary journal. – Winnipeg Free Press

John K. Samson earns 4 out of 5 stars for Provincial. – Punktastic

Watch JP Hoe's new video for "Nothing's Going To Harm You". - Spectator Tribune

Tribute to Degrassi's Wheels act from Winnipeg collective. - The Star

Degrassi's sweetly ironic legacy. - NOW Toronto

Imaginary Cities, Boats, and KEN Mode on new music guide for 2013. - CBC Music

Boats to perform album release at the WECC. - ChrisD.ca

Winnipeg Folk Festival launches a new series of shows for kids. - ChrisD.ca

WECC gets loud. - ChrisD.ca

Phlegm Fatale is not your average band. - Beatroute


          Quirky Creative Fact: Edgar Allan Poe Originally Wanted a Parrot Instead of a Raven in His Famous Poem        
Here’s a quirky creative fact… Edgar Allan Poe originally wanted a parrot to repeat the word “nevermore” in his famous poem, The Raven. However, he apparently decided a parrot “didn’t fit the melancholy tone that his poem was going for, and he settled on a raven.”   * Source: Buzzfeed; Image: adrianamelnic.ro * FYI: Facts are […]
          Limit Break Radio: A Radio Returns - Episode 122 - CLOWN Town        
If you consider yourself strong of will and brave of heart, listen at your own mortal peril. Juxta Position has taken over hosting duties and turned this episode into a Tumblr + Buzzfeed article made real. The crew explores ‘The Top 14 Relationships that MUST happen during Stormblood’ as well as the Wheel of Intolerance. They attempt to hold a real discussion, but Juxta ruins that too. Turn back now.
          09/07/2017 - Visiting Writers Series: Danez Smith        

Recipient of a 2017 NEA Award, Danez Smith is a Black, queer, poz writer, and performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017). Danez is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books) and black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Danez’s work has been featured widely, including on Buzzfeed, Blavity, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They are a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, 3-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective. Danez is represented by Beotis Creative.


          When dreams do (or don’t) come true, what will you do?        

Each year, the days and weeks surrounding graduation serve as a time to reflect.  For our Hofstra seniors, you may be thinking about who you were when you began your studies at Hofstra and comparing those feelings and goals to the ones you have now.  Some of you may be right on the same trajectory, whilst others’ journeys took some turns along the way to get to where you are.  We know that not everyone ends up pursuing the career path they always dreamed they would; a couple weeks ago, I read this article where a photography student in India captured beautifully the contrast between people’s dream jobs and the occupations they now hold.  When shift happens, as it often does, how do we look back on those dreams and try to keep them alive?

When we work with students here at the Career Center, oftentimes a question we ask is “if there were no barriers, what would be your dream career?”  The answers we hear vary, as you may expect, but it’s in those answers where we can start to talk about what you would truly value in a career, even if it’s not what you thought it was. Think about what you thought you wanted to be; how close is it to what you’re currently or thinking of pursuing? If your answer is “No,” are there elements of that dream that are evident in what you’re doing now either professionally or personally? We find that the answer moves a lot closer to the “Yes” column; even though we may not achieve that goal professionally in the way we thought, we still retain some aspect in our lives because it brings us fulfillment.

I’ll play; when I was younger, I wanted to be a baseball player – more specifically the first baseman (basewoman?) for the New York Yankees.  That didn’t happen for me (though I’d love for you to picture me writing this blog from the clubhouse), but baseball is still a huge part of my life.  In fact, if I weren’t in the role I have now, I would probably be trying to work in baseball in some capacity in scouting, recruitment, or statistics.  The elements of teamwork, leadership, and determination that are prevalent in a career in professional sports are the same characteristics that help me succeed in my role here at Hofstra – I encourage you to think of what those traits are for you!

No matter how closely related (or not) they are, if you’d like to talk about how your dream can be part of your reality, come visit us. This is true even if you’re graduating come the 21st; you will still have access to Career Center services for a year post-graduation.

Dream on,
Amy

Amy Smith, Associate Director of External Relations

          Stephen E. Arnold: Goring the Oxen — Palantir, Facebook, Google — and Noticing Steele’s Idea for Open Source Micro-Payments in Blockchain        
From My Palantir Archive: Security With Socom embracing Palantir for maybe three years, my question is, “Does Palantir have safeguards in place which will make a third Buzzfeed type article a low probability or 0.000001 event? Yikes, two articles based on what may be leaked internal information. What happens if sensitive military information goes walkabout? …
          Baking Trends 2017        
Image result for 2017

Happy New Year!

It's a brand spanking New Year and that only means one thing! Well, two things. Firstly the hurried, panicked consumption of left over Mince Pies and chocolates from Christmas (8 pies and 4 boxes to go!!) and secondly the annual tradition that is the What Kate Baked 2017 baking trends forecast. As unreliable as the weather, as ill informed as the President-elect of the USA and as inaccurate as ever!


Marbling

By the end of 2017 all baked goods will resemble this metamorphic rock. Your standard tin loaf will resemble the marbled Taj Mahal, your Welsh Cakes will resemble the the Washington Memorial and your key lime pie will resemble your ... kitchen worktop. Well, sort of. But doesn't it look pretty? 

marbled meringues

Portugal

Viva! Step aside Peru, this year's hottest travel destination will be influencing the food we'll be eating over the next 365 days. The legendary Portuguese Tart will be on every baker's must-bake list (or must-buy list if you've a brilliant Portuguese Bakery just down the road like we have). 

Fancy flours

Start relegating your plain white flour to the back the cupboard this instant. Coconut flour is the flour you need to be using this year. Sure, it is at least ten times the price of your standard stuff, but you'll be bang on trend my friend. 

Sweet and Savoury 

In the confusing taste turmoil that is combining sweet and savoury on the same fork, look out for savoury doughnuts such as the crab doughnuts served at Chiltern Firehouse and the seafood sundaes currently being enjoyed in the finest Parisian patisseries 

Ice Cream Roll-Ups

Not the illegitimate child of Mr Whippy and a circus ringmaster's favourite saying, but a Thai street-food where liquid ice cream is flash frozen, stuffed with fruit then wrapped up burrito-style before being garnished with cookies. Otherwise known as your entire daily calorie allowance

Image result for ice cream roll up
Image: Buzzfeed

And saving the very best trend for last...

Chocolate Cake for breakfast

Yes, you read that correctly. Throw aside your toast, wave cheerio to your Cornflakes, lets celebrate the dawn of 2017 with chocolate cake for breakfast. According to the Evening Standard the health benefits of dark chocolate means we'll be eating chocolate earlier in the day, not just in December when advent calendars provide a fulfilling, nutritious breakfast. 

Grab a plate, channel Bruce Bogtrotter and have a very Happy New Year!

          A Comprehensive Timeline Of The Russia Scandal, 1980 ~ 2017        
THE PATRIOT POST
The Russian plot to elect Donald Trump by interfering in the 2016 presidential election through sabotaging Hillary Clinton's campaign was an unprecedented assault from America's greatest foe on the bedrock of its democracy.  It is the most explosive scandal since Soviet spies stole atomic bomb secrets over 70 years ago, and may well be considered the crime of the century. 
Although the scandal did not explode into view until the latter stages of the 2016 campaign, its roots date back to 1980 when the first two members of Trump's inner circle who are linked to the scandal got together.  As early as 2007, Trump was making clear his affection for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.  By 2015, U.S. intelligence agencies had become aware of the first tentacles of the plot to interfere in the election, as well as an increasing number of contacts by Trump's inner circle with Russians who had ties to the Kremlin's intelligence services. 
A timeline of the scandal has slowly come into focus.  It remains a work in progress, but this is what is now known:
1980: Roger Stone, future Trump confidante and dirty trickster, founds a lobbying practice with future Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort.  Trump is one of the firm's first clients. 
1984: Russian Ã©migré David Bogatin, a former Soviet Army pilot, pays $6 million for five luxury condos in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Bogatin is not wealthy and is a front for Russian mobsters investing in high-end U.S. real estate to launder money from their criminal enterprises.  Trump personally attends Bogatin's closing.
March 11, 1987: Bogatin pleads guilty in federal court to taking part in a massive gasoline bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters.  The government seizes his five Trump Tower condos. 
July 1987: Trump and his wife Ivana visit Moscow and St. Petersburg as all-expense paid guests of Intourist.  They sightsee and inspect potential sites for a new Trump Tower in Moscow.   
December 9, 1987: Trump meets and talks with Mikhail Gorbachev at a White House state dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Reagan.  Trump and the Soviet leader are said to have discussed hotel projects. 
Early 1992: Russian mob boss and enforcer Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov is sprung from a Siberian gulag after a judge is bribed and heads to New York where he partners with Felix Komarov, an art dealer and resident of Trump Plaza on Third Avenue, to build the New York branch of the Russian mafia from an extortion racket into a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise. 
January 29, 1997: Ivankov is sentenced to nine years in prison for extortion in federal court in Brooklyn.
October 15, 1998: Ground is broken for 72-story Trump World Tower, then the tallest residential building in the city, on First Avenue in Manhattan.  A third of the units on the tower's priciest floors are bought by either individual buyers from the former Soviet Union or limited liability companies connected to Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  Kellyanne Conway, a future Trump campaign manager, also purchases a unit.
2000: Stone serves as chairman of Trump's presidential exploratory advisory committee.  Trump decides not to run. 
2002: Russian Ã©migré Felix H. Stater, a felon and future fixer for Trump, and his Bayrock Group begin working with Trump on a series of U.S. real estate development deals, one of which becomes the Trump SoHo luxury hotel-apartments, and on projects in Russia, Ukraine and Poland. 
2004: Ivankov is extradited to Russia to face murder charges. 
May 20, 2004: Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan who owned a condo on a top floor of Trump World Tower and was being investigated for money laundering, is shot dead on Sixth Avenue after rumors circulate that he is cooperating with federal authorities. 
2005: Manafort proposes to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripask, a friend of Putin's, that he undertake a consulting assignment to influence politics, business deals and news coverage in the U.S. and Europe to benefit Putin's government. 
February 2006: Two of Trump's children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, travel to Moscow where they are shown around by Sater. 
2007: Trump states in a lawsuit-related deposition that Bayrock brought Russian investors to Trump Tower to discuss deals.  "It's ridiculous that I wouldn't be investing in Russia," he says.  "Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment."
October 15, 2007: Trump, speaking publicly of Putin for the first of many times, tells Larry King on CNN that Putin "is doing a great job . . . he's doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period." 
November 2007: Manafort's consulting firm receives a $455,000 wire transfer from billionaire industrialist and Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's political party for a campaign to improve Putin-backed Yanukovych's image in the West. 
2008: An estimated one third of the six Trump-branded condo skyscrapers in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, which is nicknamed "Little Moscow," are owned by Russian speakers.  
2008: Donald Jr. tells a real estate conference in New York, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. . . . We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." 
July 2008: Trump sells a Florida residence to Russian potash magnate Dmitry Rybolov for $95 million, believed to be the biggest single-family home sale in U.S. history.  The oligarch never lives in the house, which is later demolished.
July 28, 2009: Ivankov is shot by a sniper in Moscow.  He dies of his wounds 73 days later.  Hundreds of gangsters representing criminal syndicates attend his funeral. 
October 14, 2009: Manafort's firm receives a $750,000 wire transfer from Yanukovych's political party for the image-enhancement campaign. 
January 2010: Sater becomes Trump's "senior adviser." 
February 2010: Yanukovych is elected Ukraine president. 
April 9, 2010: Trump SoHo opens.
August 3, 2010: Trump and the promoters of Trump SoHo are sued by buyers who accuse them of fraudulently touting outsized sales figures to encourage them to buy units. 
June 19, 2012: As President Obama meets with Putin, Trump tweets, "Putin has no respect for our president -- really bad body language." 
April 2013: Viktor Krapunov, a former Kazakh energy minister and mayor of Almaty who has had business dealings with Bayrock, creates three limited liability companies which buy three condo apartments in Trump SoHo. Prosecutors allege the companies are used by Krapunov for his money-laundering network. 
April 8, 2013: Three Russians whom the FBI later accuses of spying on the U.S. discuss recruiting businessman and future Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has many Russian contacts, to spy for Moscow.
April 16, 2013: Federal agents raid several Trump Tower condos as part of a dragnet of 29 members of a global sports betting ring overseen by Russian mob boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who had been indicted for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  The entire 51st floor of Trump Tower was used by the ring. 
July 8, 2013: Trump terminates a BBC interview when asked about Sater's mob ties. 
October 13, 2013: On The Late Show, David Letterman asks Trump if he had any dealings with Russians.  Trump answers, "Well, I've done a lot of business with Russians." 
November 2013: Trump hosts the Miss Universe pageant, then part of the Trump Organization, in Moscow in return for a $20 million licensing fee from the Crocus Group.  It's president is Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire and close ally of Putin.  The Crocus vice president is Agaralov's pop singer son, Emin.  Among Trump's celebrity guests is Tokhtakhounov, who is a U.S. fugitive because of gambling ring charges. 
Late November 2013: Emin Agaralov releases a music video starring Trump reprising his Apprentice television role. 
December 2013: Putin sends Agaralov's daughter, Sheyla, to deliver a personal note and gift that Trump later describes as "a present, a beautiful present" to him at Trump Tower as a token of apology for their having been unable to meet when Trump was in Moscow for the beauty pageant.
2014: Plans by Trump and the Agalarovs to build a Trump Tower in Moscow collapse because of new Obama administration-imposed sanctions on Russia.  
February 22, 2014: Yanukovych flees Ukraine amidst a popular uprising.  A handwritten ledger left behind purports to show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort's firm from the deposed president's political party.  
April 17, 2014: Trump tweets that Obama is a weakling compared to Putin. "America is at a great disadvantage.  Putin is ex-KGB.  Obama is a community organizer.  Unfair." 
March 2015: Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state is made public.  She states she has turned over work-related emails to the government but that 30,000 or so personal emails on the server were deleted.
March 6, 2015: The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City is fined $10 million -- the highest fine ever levied by the federal government against a casino -- after admitting to having willfully violated anti-money laundering regulations for years.  Ivankov is identified as one of the Russian mobsters who routinely laundered large sums of money there prior to his 2009 assassination. 
Summer of 2015: Future Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn makes several trips to the Middle East as an adviser on a project to pursue a joint U.S.-Russia-Saudi business venture to develop nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia. 
June 16, 2015: Trump announces that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination. 
September 2015: An FBI agent calls the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to warn that its computer network had been hacked by "the Dukes," a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.  A DNC tech-support contractor does not take the call seriously. 
September 2015: A secretive anti-Trump Republican hires Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. strategic intelligence firm, to compile an opposition research dossier on Trump as the Republican presidential primary campaign heats up.   
October 11, 2015: Speaking on Face the Nation, Trump brags about sharing air time with Putin on 60 Minutes although they were on separate continents. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump says there isn't enough proof to blame Russian separatists for shooting down a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine the previous year.
November 5, 2015: Mikhail Lesin, a former top Putin media adviser, is found dead in his Washington hotel room.  A federal prosecutor concludes he died because of a series of drunken falls, while federal law enforcement sources tell BuzzFeed News he was murdered on the eve of a meeting with Justice Department officials.  
Late 2015: Britain's GCHQ, which is equivalent to the U.S.'s NSA, first becomes aware of suspicious interactions between individuals connected to Trump and Russian agents.  This intelligence is passed on to the U.S. as part of a routine exchange of information. 
December 10-12, 2015: Flynn is paid $45,000 by RT, Putin's state propaganda network, for a three-day Moscow trip in which he gives a speech criticizing Obama's Russia policy and sits at Putin's table at a banquet.
December 17, 2015: Putin praises Trump and Trump quickly returns the favor, saying "It's always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected in his own country and beyond." 
Early 2016: Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and his felon father, Charles, give up on a two-ear effort to obtain a half-billion dollar business bailout from Qatar to refinance a white elephant property on New York's Fifth Avenue.  
February 11, 2016: Flynn meets with investigators in a routine meeting to discuss his application to renew his security clearance. When asked about his Moscow trip, he reportedly says, "I didn't take any money from Russia, if that's what you're asking me."  
March 2016: The first wave of fake news stories targeting Clinton voters in swing states is detected.  The source is believed to be Eastern European hackers supervised by the Russian government.
March 19, 2016: John Podesta, chairman of Clinton's presidential campaign, is emailed a link asking that he change his password, which is believed to be the way that Russia-associated hackers later gained access to his email account. 
March 29, 2016: On the recommendation of Stone, Manafort is hired by the Trump campaign to line up convention delegates.
Spring of 2016: Page, a businessman with extensive Russian ties and previous contacts with Russian intelligence agents, is hired by the Trump campaign as a quick fix for its lack of foreign policy expertise. 
April 2016: Hackers believed to be linked to Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) gain access to the DNC computer network.
April 2016: Kushner, accompanied by Flynn, meets with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., the first of several meetings by Trump associates with Russian officials that are monitored by U.S. intelligence. 
April 2016: At about the same time as the Mayflower meeting, U.S. intelligence intercepts the first communications among Russians who discuss aggressively trying to influence the presidential election by sabotaging Clinton. 
Late April 2016: The DNC's IT department notices suspicious computer activity and hires private security firm CrowdStrike to investigate. 
Early May 2016: Manafort meets in New York with Konstantine Kilimnik, a Ukrainian businessman who served in the Russian army and may be working for Russian intelligence. 
May 2016: CrowdStrike determines that highly sophisticated Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries named Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear are responsible for the DNC hack.     
May 2016: An unidentified Democratic client takes over the Fusion GPS contract.  Fusion hires Orbis Business Intelligence, a British intelligence firm co-founded by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, to assist it in investigating Russia-Trump connections.  
June 2016: Russian-Macedonian hackers begin a fake news campaign to energize Bernie Sanders supporters against Clinton by planting stories that, among other things, she murdered former Bill Clinton aide Vince Foster.
Early June 2016: The CIA concludes in an internal report that Russia is actively engaged in interfering in the presidential election, including the goal of getting Trump elected.
June 2, 2016: Clinton gives her first major speech on national security in San Diego and repeatedly calls into question Trump's affection for Putin and his "bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America." 
June 3, 2016: Publicist Rob Goldstone, representing Emin Agaralov, emails Donald Jr. that he had met with "his father Aras this morning and . . . [he] offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary . . . and would be very useful to your father."   Donald Jr. replies "if it's what you say I love it." 
June 7, 2016: Trump promises "big news" on Clinton's "crimes" in a forthcoming "major speech."  
June 9, 2016: As a result of the email exchange with Goldstone, Donald Jr. arranges a meeting of the campaign brain trust at Trump Tower with Goldstone and Natalia Veselnitskata, a Russian lawyer with intelligence agency ties, who through Goldstone has promised damaging material about Clinton. Also attending are Kushner, Manafort, Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and former counterintelligence agent, and Ike Kaveladze, an official in the Agalarov's real estate company.  The source of the undisclosed dirt on Clinton is believed to be Yuri Y. Chaika, Russia's prosecutor general.
June 12, 2016: WikiLeakers founder Julian Assange states in an interview that his site has a "very big year ahead" and promises the imminent release of emails "related to Hillary Clinton."
June 13, 2016: Trump does not give the promised "major speech" because of a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.     
June 15, 2016: A hacker with the online persona Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the DNC hack and begins posting DNC documents on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
June 15, 2016: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells fellow Republican leaders that "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump." Dana Rohrabacher is a California Republican.  House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately interjects and swears those present to secrecy. 
June 17, 2015: The Washington Post publishes a story headlined "Inside Trump's Financial Ties to Russia and His Unusual Flattery of Vladimir Putin." 
June 20, 2016: Manafort replaces Corey Lewandowksi as Trump's campaign manager. 
June 20, 2016: Steele delivers the first of a series of reports to Fusion GPS based on several confidential sources.  He identifies "Source A" as "a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure," "Source B" as "a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin," and "Source E" as "an ethnic Russian" and "close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump." 
June 22, 2016: Trump, speaking in New York, excoriates Clinton for her handling of the Benghazi attacks and warns that emails she deleted from her private server could make her vulnerable to "blackmail" from unspecified countries hostile to the U.S.  
Summer of 2016: U.S. intelligence agencies collect information revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political operatives are discussing how to influence Trump through Flynn and Manafort.
July 2016: Russia escalates a campaign of harassment of American diplomats and intelligence operatives in Russia.  
July 5, 2016: FBI Director James Comey rebukes Clinton for being "extremely careless," but recommends no criminal charges in connection with her handling of classified information as secretary of state, including emails on a private server, ostensibly lifting a cloud from her presidential campaign. 
July 6, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appears on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
July 10, 2016: DNC staffer Seth Rich is shot to death in what Washington, D.C. police describe as an attempted armed robbery.   
July 14, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
Mid-July 2016: Working behind the scenes, the Trump campaign rewrites the Republican National Convention platform on Ukraine, removing a pledge to provide lethal weapons in its fight with Russia over Crimea and a call for maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia.   
July 19, 2016: Trump is nominated for president at the convention after he, Flynn and other surrogates declare, in what becomes an oft-repeated campaign theme in the coming weeks, that Clinton should be "in jail" for her use of the private email server. 
July 19, 2016: Trump's debt load has almost doubled from $350 million to $630 million over the past year, reports Bloomberg News.
July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks, which is friendly with Putin, begins releasing 44,000 hacked DNC emails.
July 24, 2016: Donald Jr. tells CNN's Jake Tapper that the Clinton campaign's suggestion that Russia was trying to interfere in the election on behalf of his father is "disgusting" and "phony."  
July 25, 2016: Trump suggests that the Russians were behind the DNC hack because Putin "likes" him. 
July 27, 2016: Trump calls on Russia to hack 30,000 so-called "missing" Clinton emails. 
July 27, 2016: Manafort denies any relationship with the Russians and says it's "absurd" to suggest Russia was working on behalf of the Trump campaign.  
Late July 2016: The FBI opens an investigation to examine possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but its existence is kept secret even from high ranking members of Congress colloquially known as the Gang of Eight, who by law are to be briefed on important intelligence matters. 
Late July 2016: The FBI obtains and then renews a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court warrant allowing it to monitor Page, whom it believes is in touch with Russian agents and had been used in previous years by Moscow spies to obtain information.   
Early August 2016: The CIA concludes that unnamed Trump campaign advisers might be working with Russia to interfere in the election by sabotaging the Clinton campaign through a multi-pronged attack personally approved by Putin that includes email hacking, disinformation and false news stories. 
Early August 2016: The CIA informs the White House of Putin's campaign to interfere in the election.  For the next five months, the administration secretly debates dozens of options on how to retaliate, including whether to use CIA-gathered material that would be embarrassing to Putin. 
August 2016: CIA Director John Brennan convenes a secret task force with analysts and officers from the CIA, FBI and NSA to keep the White House and senior government officials informed. 
August 2016: Manafort meets again with Kilimnik. 
Early August: Steele begins sharing his memos to Fusion GPS with an FBI agent assigned to the bureau's Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad. 
August 4, 2016: Brennan calls Alexander Bortnikov, director of the FSB, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB, to warn him that election interference will not be tolerated. 
August 12, 2016: A batch of hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
August 14, 2016: Stone engages in direct messaging with Guccifer 2.0. 
August 15, 2015: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on Florida primary elections. 
August 15, 2016: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson arranges a conference call with dozens of state election officials to enlist their support to shore up voting systems in light of the Russian effort.  He gets no support. 
August 19, 2016: Manafort is forced out as Trump's campaign manager, ostensibly over concerns about his ties with Russian officials.  
August 21, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on Pennsylvania congressional primaries.
Late August 2016: Brennan is so concerned about Trump-Russia links that he initiates urgent, one-on-one briefings with the Gang of Eight. 
Late August 2016: Stone boasts that he has communicated with Assange, who he says has materials including "deleted" Clinton emails that would be embarrassing to her.      
August 25, 2016: Brennan tells Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then the highest ranking Democrat, that the FBI and not the CIA would have to take the lead in what is a domestic intelligence matter. 
Late August 2016: Reid writes to Comey without mentioning the Brennan briefing. He expresses great concern over what he calls mounting evidence "of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump's presidential campaign." 
August 31, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases documents hacked from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's personal computer.     
September 2016: Intelligence shows that although Republican sites are also being hacked by Russians, only DNC emails are being publicized by WikiLeaks. 
September 2016: Aaron Nevins, a Republican political operative with ties to Stone, receives Democratic turnout analyses hacked by Guccifer 2.0 and publishes them online under a pseudonym. 
September 5, 2016: Obama, meeting with Putin at a conference of world leaders in Hangzhou, China, tells him that the U.S. knows about the election interference and "[he] better stop or else."  Putin responds by demanding proof and accuses the U.S. of meddling in Russia's internal affairs. 
September 8, 2016: Trump campaign adviser Jeff Sessions meets with Kislyak in his Senate office. 
September 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents from New Hampshire, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio. 
September 16, 2016: Stone declares on Boston Herald Radio that "I expect Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people to drop a payload of new documents on Hillary on a weekly basis fairly soon."  He says he is in touch with Assange "through an intermediary."  
September 22, 2016: Two other Gang of Eight members -- Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the ranking Senate and House Intelligence Committee Democrats -- release a statement stating that Russian intelligence agencies are "making a serious and concerted effort" to influence the election. 
September 23, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked documents from DCCC chairman Ben Ray Lujan.
Late September 2016: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, at the behind-the-scenes urging of the Obama administration, is asked to warn state election officials of possible attempts to penetrate their computer systems by Russian hackers.  McConnell resists, questioning the veracity of the intelligence.   
September 25, 2016: McConnell writes to state election officia
          VIDEO: BuzzFeed debuts touching new "Queer Prom" series        

Following the celebration of the outlet's inaugural Queer Prom, BuzzFeed released a new 5-part video series, “Queer Prom,” which documents the journey of the eight high school seniors invited to attend BuzzFeed's (and the students') first-ever queer prom. The series will release one video each day from June 8th until June 12th. 

While prom has long been a source of discomfort for LGBTQ youth due to its dependence on traditional conceptions of gender and sexuality, BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom breaks the mold. The love and community in Queer Prom was evident as hundreds of high school seniors from across the country attended the event in Los Angeles, alongside out bisexual, pansexual, queer, and gay celebrities, including Evan Rachel Wood, Adam Lambert, Daniel Franzese, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Perez Hilton, and the Mayor of West Hollywood, Lauren Meister.

Eugene Lee Yang, star of the BuzzFeed original series “The Try Guys,” hosted the event and executive produced the series, which is sponsored by Truth, the largest and most successful youth smoking prevention campaign. Yang is aware of the limiting, typical prom experience and how, “at prom, where you’re traditionally expected to bring a date of the opposite sex and act according to your assigned gender, the pressure to assimilate in such a public space is yet another potential roadblock in a young queer person’s coming out journey.”

Much of what encompasses the celebration of prom is the preparation: the promposals, the makeovers, the pictures. Yet for closeted students or those who who would feel unsafe participating in these events because of how others may target them for how they express their gender and sexuality, full participation in this milestone can become dangerous. Through Queer Prom, BuzzFeed wants to chip away at this harmful reality for many queer and trans youth. Says Yang, “our hope is to show viewers around the world who might be struggling with their identity that it’s absolutely okay to be queer and, for even just a single night, it’s also perfectly normal.”

What is most unique about this new video series is the way it powerfully illustrates BuzzFeed’s commitment to fostering inclusion and uplifting LGBTQ youth stories. The video series will serve to inspire and connect LGBTQ young people who likely do not have access to a an inclusive and accepting prom. Having a window into this experience reminds LGBTQ teenagers of the strong community they are a part of and amplifies these students’ stories of resiliency to viewers all across the globe.

The first episode of Queer Prom was posted June 8th, with a new episode premiering every day through June 12th, concurrent with L.A. Pride Week.  Episodes include:

Episode 1: High School Seniors Get A Surprise Invite To Queer Prom

Six diverse LGBT high school seniors from across the nation are surprised with an official invite to attend BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom in Los Angeles to be part of the official Prom Court. BuzzFeed gets to know their families, friends, and coming out stories as they offer viewers an intimate glimpse into their lives and why the opportunity to attend this event is so important to them.

Episode 2: Dream Prom Makeovers That Transform Queer Teens’ Lives

After arriving in Los Angeles, the Prom Court is surprised with dream makeovers. With the help of celebrity wardrobe stylists, hairstylists, and makeup artists, the teens are given the opportunity to present their true, unabashed queer selves and express their identities through fierce fashion and heartwarming transformations.

Episode 3: Queer Celebs Reveal Their Awkward Prom Stories

Queer-identifying celebrities in attendance at BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom share their personal high school prom stories and why they believe that inclusive, safe events like this must be supported.

Episode 4: High School Seniors Attend Queer Prom For The First Time

The Prom Court arrives at BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom and are surprised by a rainbow-themed event attended by queer celebrities and local high school seniors. The evening unfolds with a series of surprises, from a jaw-dropping drag show to the entire Prom Court being crowned kings, queens, and everything in between.

Episode 5: BuzzFeed’s Queer Prom Crowning Ceremony

The full crowning ceremony of the Queer Prom Court, featuring host Eugene Lee Yang, crowning officiant Adam Lambert, BuzzFeed’s Prom Kween 2017 Evan Rachel Wood, thoughts from It Gets Better’s McKenna Palmer, and closing statements by Daniel Franzese.

June 9, 2017