Source: New York Times
A “killer clown” craze is sweeping Britain, with police warning people against dressing as clowns in order to intimidate or harm people.
Now, the craze has taken a change for the strange in Cumbria, where a man is dressing as Batman and vowing to chase down the creepy clowns.
A photograph has been shared on Facebook of “Batman” seemingly chasing off a “killer clown”.
BBC Cumbria reported local company Cumbria Superheroes is behind the effort to rid the streets of clowns.
They have reassured that the costumed man is not a vigilante, but just trying to reassure local children who are scared of the “killer clowns”.
BBC Cumbria also shared a screenshot of an image, apparently from a local child, who was reassured after hearing “Batman” caught the clown. Read the rest of this entry »
Nearly two dozen videos put into ‘restricted mode.’
Jennifer Kabbany reports: YouTube has placed 21 PragerU videos on “restricted mode,” a category meant for inappropriate and objectionable adult and sexual content.
“We’ve worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public.”
PragerU stands for Prager University. Its four- to five-minute videos promote Judeo-Christian values and principles and are ideal for young people as they distill complex issues into concise bullet points with stimulating graphics.
“There is no excuse for Google and YouTube censoring and restricting any PragerU videos, which are produced with the sole intent of educating people of all ages about America’s founding values.”
“We’ve worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public,” PragerU announced Tuesday on its Facebook page.
[PragerU has also launched a petition on the matter]
YouTube is owned by Google, and PragerU states on its website that “in response to an official complaint we filed, Google specialists defended their restriction of our videos, and said, ‘We don’t censor anyone,’ although they do ‘take into consideration what the intent of the video is….(read more)
Here’s a list of the 21 videos PragerU has requested YouTube remove immediately from restricted mode, some of which are directly related to higher education topics:
Are The Police Racist?
Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?
Why Did America Fight the Korean War?
Who’s More Pro-Choice: Europe or America?
What ISIS Wants
Why Are There Still Palestinian Refugees?
Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?
Islamic Terror: What Muslim Americans Can Do
Did Bush Lie About Iraq? Read the rest of this entry »
In last night’s debate, was there a positive case for Hillary being fit for the White House? Are there Trump policies that are gonna turn this mother around? Of course not. What were you even thinking.
Let’s pretend for a moment that the biggest headlines out of Sunday night’s presidential debate had nothing to do with sexual assault allegations, or non-handshakes, or threats to jail political oponents—but instead were about policy.
In that bizarre alternative universe, what could we actually learn? Last night we learned that the two exhausted political parties have nothing much left to offer except critiques about how lousy the other one is.Hosted by Matt Welch; camera and editing by Jim Epstein.
The 10-year-old social networking service has long struggled to define its core purpose and is under the spotlight as it explores selling itself in a process that has attracted potential buyers such as Salesforce.com.
Twitter has made a recent push into news and sports on mobile devices and this foray could pique the interest of a media company as an acquirer, analysts have said.
“Twitter is what’s happening, and what everyone is talking about… News and talk. We’re the people’s news network.”
The memo does not address the sales process. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg, which first published the memo Monday, reported that it was sent to employees last week. Read the rest of this entry »
Vladimir Putin Honors Critical Russian Journalist’s Birthday with a Celebratory Gunshot Wound to Journalists’s HeadPosted: August 29, 2016
Alexander Shchetinin found dead with a gun near his body after friends tried to visit him at home.
The body of Alexander Shchetinin, founder the Novy Region (New Region) press agency, was found at his flat after friends tried to visit him on his birthday.
A police spokesperson said Kiev forces were alerted of Ms Shchetinin’s death at around midnight on Saturday. He is believed to have died a few hours earlier, between 8 and 9.30pm.
Officials have speculated that his death was caused by suicide, after a gun was found near his body along with spent cartridges, and the door to his apartment was said to be locked. Read the rest of this entry »
Dick Van Dyke and his quartet The Vantastix do a little singing after having breakfast at Denny’s. The group just finished a visit to Good Day LA to promote their upcoming show in Cerritos, Dick’s book “Keep Moving”, and their album “Put On A Happy Face”.
A major police operation is ongoing in Munich, around the city’s Olympic Park, with German media reporting ‘multiple deaths’.
People were seen running from the shopping mall to get away.
Munich is in lockdown tonight as at least five people have been killed and 10 injured in a shooting rampage involving three gunmen.
A huge manhunt has been launched across the city, including snipers in helicopters, to catch the gunmen who are still on the loose.
Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Munich Olympia Shopping Centre, in the district of Moosach, after hearing gunshots.
Witnesses said that the gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘f*** foreigners’ before shooting.
A video purporting to show the shooter, dressed in black, firing 20 shots has been posted on Twitter. The footage shows him outside a McDonald’s directly outside the shopping centre.
In unverified footage, a man with dark hair, wearing a black t-shirt and denim trousers, appears to take aim at people outside a McDonald’s restaurant near the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum metro station.
He raises his arms, apparently holding a shotgun, and appears to fire at people outside the restaurant, who can be seen running for cover. Read the rest of this entry »
“The vocal minority of students who actually want censorship—who want to be protected from ideas they don’t like—they’ve always existed,” says Reason associate editor Robby Soave. “But in the last five years they have gained institutional power on these campuses.”
From microaggressions and trigger warnings, to the shouting down and assault of controversial speakers, the climate on American college campuses have shifted sharply away from the classical understanding of free speech and inquiry that were once the bedrock of higher education.
Soave, who reports on political correctness and on college campuses for Reason, sat down with Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch at Reason Weekend, the annual event hosted by the Reason Foundation, to talk about the state of free speech on American colleges and universities.
Edited by Alex Manning. Camera by Paul Detrick and Todd Kranin
The porn industry is known for driving innovation online. After the live-streamed trial on pornography charges of four Chinese Internet executives went viral over the weekend, it’s now driving an unusually vigorous debate in China over how the Internet should be managed.
“We believe there’s nothing shameful about technology.”
— Wang Xin, the CEO of Shenzhen Qvod Technology
At the center of the debate is Wang Xin, the CEO of Shenzhen Qvod Technology Co. Ltd., which is best known for running the widely used online video player called Kuaibo. Mr. Wang spirited self-defense in the face of allegations he helped disseminate thousands of sex videos has turned him into something of a Chinese Larry Flynt.
Similar to the Hustler publisher, who famously used his pornographic publishing empire to test the legal bounds of free speech in the U.S., Mr. Wang used the popularity of his company’s video platform to try to turn the tables on China’s Internet censorship regime.
Prosecutors alleged in the two-day trial in Beijing late last week that Qvod executives knew their video platform, Kuaibo, was a popular tool for watching porn and did nothing to stop it. They said porn videos, which are illegal in China, made up 70% of the 30,000 files police had pulled from servers connected to Kuaibo. Mr. Wang’s argument, delivered in a spirited and well-prepared defense that drew applause online: The company was responsible for producing the platform, not policing what people did with it.
Efforts by governments to hold the creators of online platforms responsible for the content their users post are hardly new. In early days of the Internet, U.S. companies like Google, Yahoo and America Online faced a slew of lawsuits — and a piece of legislation known as the Communications Decency Act — that attempted to hold them legally liable for hosting vulgar, misleading or illegal content. Generally, those efforts ended in failure.
In China, the outsourcing of censorship to the websites themselves is a central part of authorities’ strategy in trying to keep tight control over 650 million Internet users and the hundreds of news, video and social media sites they visit. Some technology companies consider the requirement a costly measure that stifles innovation.
Beijing has also increasingly tried to use criminal courts to regulate behavior online and quash rumors and criticisms of the government while also cracking down on porn and other illicit content. Read the rest of this entry »
Inside Job: ‘Hate Crime’ Narrative Interrupted; Man Charged with Setting Houston Mosque Afire Turns Out To Be a Devout AttendeePosted: December 30, 2015
Carol Christian and Leah Binkovitz report: A Houston man has been arrested in connection with a suspected arson at a mosque on Christmas Day, but the motive for the crime remains a mystery, with the suspect maintaining he was a regular at the mosque.
“Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times.”
A spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that the suspect, 37-year-old Gary Nathaniel Moore of Houston, was arrested early Wednesday. Moore appeared in court at 7 a.m., spokeswoman Nicole Strong said, and bond was set at $100,000.
According to a charging instrument released by the Harris County District Clerk, Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times per day to pray seven days per week.
“Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records.”
Moore said he had been at the mosque earlier on Dec. 25 to pray, and had left at about 2 p.m. to go home, according to authorities and court papers. Moore said he was the last person to leave the mosque and saw no smoke or other signs of fire when he departed, authorities said. He maintained he had returned to the scene after hearing about the fire from a friend.
“A search warrant of his home was conducted, and investigators recovered a backpack and clothing similar to that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter-fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.”
MJ Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, which operates the mosque, said he was unfamiliar with Moore. “We are just looking into it ourselves,” he said Wednesday morning after learning of the arrest.
“We are really very surprised and saddened by this whole thing,” said Khan.
Using surveillance video from multiple businesses nearby, investigators were able to identify Moore, according to records. A search warrant of his home was conducted, and investigators recovered a backpack and clothing similar to that which was seen in surveillance footage, as well as half of a two-pack of charcoal lighter-fluid bottles that seemed to match another lighter fluid bottle found inside the mosque.
A team of 30 investigators worked around the clock investigating the cause of the fire, which was found to have multiple points of origin. Moore was even interviewed by investigators at the mosque the day of the fire. He had attended services there earlier that day, according to Ruben Hernandez, chief arson investigator with the city’s fire department. Read the rest of this entry »
FBI Director James Comey appeared to refute a report that said that Tashfeen Malik had pledged her support for Islamic jihad on Facebook messages and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.
At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said that no evidence had been found to indicate that the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on December 2 were members of a terrorist cell or had any contact with overseas militant groups. Most notably, he said that Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his 29-year-old wife, Tashfeen Malik, had expressed support for “jihad and martyrdom” in private communications but never did so on social media.
“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright?”
The statement appeared to contradict a report that appeared in the Los Angeles Times citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials who said that Malik “sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.” The messages were reportedly written in Urudu, a common language in Pakistan. One of the officials was quoted as saying the messages were “her private communications.”
“The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”
— FBI Director James Comey
“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom,” Comey said. “I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright? The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”
It remains unclear whether Malik had declared loyalty to the Islamic State on Facebook on the morning that she and Farook killed 14 people who were attending an employee holiday party at a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.
A report first appeared on CNN and later circulated elsewhere citing unnamed US officials who said that Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State using a Facebook account that was registered under a different name. The sources did not say how they knew for certain that Malik made the post. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been around for decades, but virtual reality has been anything but real for most people. That’s about to change as a slew of new virtual-reality technologies get set to tempt your wallet. Some of them are even available in time for this year’s holidays.
This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Larry Greenemeier. Got a minute? Virtual reality started off as a way for scientists to visualize their research. Ken Perlin, a computer science professor and pioneer in the field of virtual reality, explains:
[Ken Perlin:] The first people who seriously developed virtual reality were Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull back in 1968. They built a very large device, which they nicknamed the “Sword of Damocles” because it was a very large contraption that hung over your head and carried the headset with it as it moved around on a giant boom arm.”
New gadgets expected to launch in 2016 will be a bit more sophisticated.
[Perlin:] “The major commercial releases of virtual reality that will appear in the first half of 2016 track your head, and they track your two hands.
[Perlin:] “In order to have a full social experience with other people of being in a world together, you also need to know where your feet are. Once you know your head and your hands and your feet, then you can build a computer graphic representation of everybody.”
This version promises to address a major problem the technology faced in the past.
[Perlin:] “Motion sickness was a problem when the delay between my head movement and the graphics that I saw exceeded a certain threshold, generally about a 10th of a second. Modern technologies that make use of these inertial trackers in the headsets have pretty much gotten rid of that.”
Virtual reality will first invade our homes offices and classroomsthrough games and educational tools. But Perlin thinks the technology will become much more than that over time. Read the rest of this entry »