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#Wheredidmattgo? Matt Lauer Apparently Quits Social Media Amid Firestorm 

#Wheredidmattgo? A day after Matt Lauer was fired by NBC the now-former Todayhost appears to have deleted all of his social media accounts and been excised from those of his ex-employer.

The online world quickly noticed today that the disgraced morning-show stalwart’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts have gone inactive. Read the rest of this entry »

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Make America Bootyful Again: Joy Villa in MAGA Gown on Grammys 2017 Red Carpet 

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Singer Joyce Villa wore a ‘Make America Great Again’ gown.

Scandalous dresses on the Grammys red carpet aren’t what they used to be. It wasn’t deep cleavage or a thigh-high leg slit that had tongues wagging about singer Joyce Villa on Sunday night. It was her red, white and blue gown emblazoned with “Make
joyce-villaAmerica Great Again” in front, and “Trump” across the train.

It’s a controversial statement coming from an artist in an industry that’s largely in opposition to the new president’s social policies, not to mention from a woman who identifies as bi-racial.

[In other words, The Hollywood Reporter finds it shocking, and controversial for the President of the United States to receive public support from a non-white entertainer]

The singer-songwriter, who goes by the name Princess Joy Villa, teased the ensemble on Instagram with a photo of a heart-shaped clutch and a caption stating, “My whole artistic platform is about LOVE. I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and tenderness of those beautiful supporters and friends around me.”

Villa went on to say, ”I hope you enjoy tonight’s #grammyawards2017 and remember to forget your problems and focus on the future! You are infinite and beautiful and no one can stop you but you. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Santa Monica Evicts Airbnb: The War on Homesharing 

The popular “homesharing” service made it affordable to book a beachfront property in Santa Monica. Then the city intervened.

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Katie Hopkins’ Savage Takedown: ‘Lena Dunham Just Loves Being a Victim’

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‘You cannot be a credible young person these days without being a victim.’

Katie Hopkins writes: You cannot be a credible young person these days without being a victim. Or even better a persecuted minority. Or the gold standard – discriminated against.

Even if you blatantly have to misappropriate a cause because the most challenging thing you’ve fought is genital warts.

The Clinton campaign was a perfect example. She was one big ol’ bitch in a pant suit, barking to any American who felt like the underdog; female, gay or Hispanic. Preferably all three.

Lena Dunham Keynote And Greenroom Photo Op - 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival

“No it is not you daft trout. Your life is devoted to trying to position yourself as chief cheerleader for every man-hating opportunity there is.”

She believed she could win on the victim ticket alone. Sod policy! If you were angry at the hand your were dealt at birth, she was the unlikely champion of your cause. A posh white woman who was the WAG in the White House now obliging her supporters to hold posters saying ‘I’m with her’ – when, as it turns out, she was never going anywhere. Except down.

“Posing for pictures. Then calling out the guy on photo-shop for trying to make the images a little less frightening. Being overweight and trying to celebrate it, like diabetes type II is the new feminist frontier.”

I discovered exactly the same types when I went to the Jungle at Calais to assess the migrant situation there.

“I expect she wakes up every day wishing she was black, so she could truly own that cause too.”

By far the most heavily represented group (after angry single men from Somalia) were rich white kids enjoying a bit of charity tourism so they could stick it on their CV. Kids without a struggle, misappropriating the migrant one, so they could pretend to be Bob Geldof.

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Writing on Instagram, Lena Dunham apologized and said she had made a ‘sizeable’ donation to an abortion charity

Now Lena Dunham – one of Hillary’s biggest and (since the result) freaked-out celebrity fangirls has had her very own posh white woman moment. Wanting to be front and centre in the fight for abortion rights, she bemoaned, ‘I have never had one, but I wish I had’.

Perpetually outraged types took this vital opportunity to be outraged once more.

‘I can’t even imagine how offensive Lena Dunham’s comments are for women who have actually has to go through with an abortion’, tweeted one man, playing to the offended crowd.

Actually son, not that offensive because we are too busy trying to have sex with our husbands more than once a month, getting smear tests and trying not to pee when we sneeze to notice.

It’s why half of us only find out we are pregnant when we can’t fit into our jeans and our boobs start leaking unexpectedly.

But I don’t need Lena Dunham to see abortion as a cause. And I certainly don’t need her on womb patrol any day of the week.

‘My life is and always will be devoted to reproductive justice and freedom,’ said Lena.

(Comments start at 13:36 mark)

No it is not you daft trout. Your life is devoted to trying to position yourself as chief cheerleader for every man-hating opportunity there is.

Posing for pictures. Then calling out the guy on photo-shop for trying to make the images a little less frightening. Being overweight and trying to celebrate it, like diabetes type II is the new feminist frontier.

I expect she wakes up every day wishing she was black, so she could truly own that cause too. Read the rest of this entry »


A Warning Unheeded: Democratic Strategist Doug Sosnik in 2013, ‘Party In Decline’

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Doug Sosnik says the Democrats will be “at considerable risk” when the president leaves office.

One of the Democrats’ most veteran strategists warns that the party is “in decline” and “at considerable risk” when President Barack Obama is no longer on the scene.

“Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.

While Republican branding problems get the lion’s share of attention, the Democratic Party’s favorability rating has declined by 15 points since Obama took power. A Pew Research Center survey this January showed that the Democratic Party was viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, down from 62 percent in Jan. 2009.

These memos are read closely by an influential community of insiders in the political and business worlds. In this one, Sosnik outlines several challenges facing his own party:

• Obama’s personal popularity does not easily translate for other candidates. The president is not building the Democratic Party’s institutional apparatus in a way that it will thrive when he’s gone.

• The losses in the 2010 midterms gave Republicans control of the redistricting process, which will be in effect until after the 2020 census. This gives the GOP a structural advantage in keeping the House.

• Millennials, born 1981 to 1994, and Generation X’ers, born 1965 to 1980, are voting Democratic, but a plurality identify themselves as independents — which makes them less reliable.

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[Read the whole memo. View the accompanying PowerPoint slides.]

With the likelihood of gridlock and near-record-low confidence in public institutions, Sosnik expects 2014 to bring the fourth change election in the past eight years. Read the rest of this entry »


This Pizza Box Is Made Out of Pizza 

The owner of Vinnie’s Pizzeria, Sean Berthiaume, must have been channeling Xzbit earlier this week when he thought to himself, “Yo Dawg, I heard you liked pizza, so I put your pizza in a box made from pizza.” But lo and behold here is the world’s first ever entirely edible pizza box that really works as more of a pizza sandwich than a functional box.

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This isn’t Sean’s first brush with pizza glory…(read more)

Source: Neatorama


Stephen Hawking Debuts With a Big Bang on Chinese Social Media

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One of the world’s most celebrated cosmologists stretched the fabric of China’s social-media universe with a simple greeting on Tuesday.

“Greetings to my friends in China! It has been too long!” celebrated black-hole theorizer Stephen Hawking wrote in an inaugural, bilingual post on Chinese social media platform Weibo. “I hope to tell you more about my life and work through this page and also to learn from you in reply.”

The response was, well, astronomical.

The account amassed more than a million followers in its first six hours. In that time, Mr. Hawking’s first message was…(read more)

Source: China Real Time Report – WSJ


How The Terrorism Watchlists Work – and How You Could End Up On One

Long-withheld document provides insight into secretive system in which people can be placed on terrorism databases with astounding ease, and without any way to get off.

Spencer Ackerman reports: Placement on a terrorism watchlist is a life-changing event. Your travel is monitored and in many cases restricted. If overseas, you could be stranded, costing your employment or reunion with your family. You could be detained and, certain lawsuits allege, tortured by foreign governments.

Yet the ease with which someone can be placed on US watchlists and terrorism databases contrasts markedly with the impact placement has. A long-withheld document published on Wednesday by the Intercept detailing the guidelines for placement shows that the standards for inclusion are far lower than probable cause, and the ability for someone caught in the datasets to challenge their placement do not exist. In 2013, the government made 468,749 nominations for inclusion to the Terrorist Screening Database, up from 227,932 nominations in 2009; few are rejected.

The rise – and the low standards the Intercept documented – is partially explained by the near-miss airliner bombing in Christmas 2009, by a man connected to a Yemeni branch of al-Qaida. Partially it is explained by the overwhelming secrecy surrounding the process: attorney general Eric Holder has called it a state secret (although the guidance document itself is unclassified), preventing meaningful outside challenges that would recalibrate a balance between reasonable expectations of security and liberty.

Transportation Security Administration screeners check passengers as they prepare to board flights. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

That secrecy, as the Intercept’s publication indicates, is starting to erode – slowly. Recent court cases have given the beginnings of insight into how the US government’s apparatus of terrorism databases and watchlists works in practice. Here is a guide.

They’re reading your tweets

The watchlisting guidance says that “first amendment protected activity alone shall not be the basis” for nominating someone to the lists. The key word: alone. What you say, write and publish can and will be used against you. Particularly if you tweet it, pin it or share it.

[Read the full text here, at The Guardian]

The guidelines recognize that looking at “postings on social media sites” is constitutionally problematic. But those posts “should not automatically be discounted”, the guidelines state. Instead, the agency seeking to watchlist someone should evaluate the “credibility of the source, as well as the nature and specificity of the information”. If they’re concerned about a tweet, in other words, they’re likely to go through a user’s timeline. That joke about that band blowing up could come back to haunt you at the airport.

Where you go might get you placed on the list – and then stranded

Contained within the guidance is a potential reason why many US Muslims find themselves abruptly unable to return from trips abroad without explanation. An example given of “potential behavioral indicators” of terrorism is “travel for no known lawful or legitimate purpose to a locus of TERRORISM ACTIVITY”. Not defined: “lawful”, “legitimate” or “locus”. That could mean specific training camps, travel to which few would dispute the merits of watchlisting. Or it could mean entire countries where terrorists are known or suspected of operating – and where millions of Americans travel every year.

The guidelines themselves, in that very section, warn that such behavioral indicators include “activity that may have innocent explanations wholly unrelated to terrorism”. It warns analysts not to judge any circumstance “in isolation”.

What happens on the no-fly list does not stay on the no-fly list. A federal judge, writing in June, noted that the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center shares information on banned passengers with 22 foreign governments as well as “ship captains”, resulting in potential “interference with an individual’s ability to travel by means other than commercial airlines”.

Many people who have sued the US government over the watchlists have reported being unable to return from travel abroad. Ali Ahmed, a US citizen in San Diego, attempted in 2012 to fly to Kenya to meet his fiancee for their arranged marriage. But first he flew to Saudi Arabia to make the religiously encouraged pilgrimage to Mecca; he found himself stranded in Bahrain after he was unable to enter Kenya. Ayman Latif, a disabled US marine originally from Miami who now lives in Egypt, was prevented from flying to the US for a disability evaluation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There’s room for the family (and perhaps your friends)

A precursor data set that feeds the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB or, “the watchlist”) is the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. TIDE contains records of known or suspected international terrorists. It also contains information on their families and perhaps their friends.

“Alien spouses and children” of people NCTC labels terrorists get put into TIDE. They “may be inadmissible to the United States”, presumed to be dangerous. TIDE also contains “non-terrorist” records of people who have a “close relationship with KNOWN or SUSPECTED terrorists”, the guidance reads. Examples listed are fathers or brothers, although the guidance does not specify a blood or marital relationship as necessary for inclusion. Those people can be American citizens or noncitizens inside the United States. While those “close relation[s]” are not supposed to be passed on for watchlisting absent other “derogatory information”, their data may be retained within TIDE for unspecified “analytic purposes”.

Just because a jury finds you innocent doesn’t mean watchlists agree

The guidelines explicitly state that someone “acquitted or against whom charges are dismissed for a crime related to terrorism” can still be watchlisted. A federal official nominating such a person for inclusion on the list just needs “reasonable suspicion” of a danger – something defined as more than “mere guesses or hunches”, based on articulable information or “rational inferences” from it, but far less than probable cause. A judge or jury’s decision is not controlling.

Watch how you walk

In keeping with a general enthusiasm exhibited by law enforcement and the military for identifying someone based on their seemingly unique physical attributes, biometric information is eligible as a criteria to watchlist someone. Several of those biometric identifiers are traditional law enforcement ones, like fingerprints; others are exceptionally targeted, like DNA. Then there are others that reflect emerging or immature analytic subjects: “digital images”, iris scans, and “gait” – that is, the way you walk.

[Read the more here, at The Guardian]

Gait and other biometric identifiers do not appear sufficient to watchlist someone. But they are sufficient to nominate someone to the watchlist or TIDE, provided they rise to the “minimum substantive derogatory standards” – articulable reasons for suspecting someone of involvement of terrorism, a far lower standard than probable cause – unless they come accompanied with evidence that the manner of walk in question includes “an individual with a defined relationship with the KNOWN or SUSPECTED terrorist”. It does not appear that a particular swagger by itself can be watchlisted.

Lisa says …

Barack Obama consults his homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, in the Oval Office.

Barack Obama consults his homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, in the Oval Office.Photograph: White House

Lisa Monaco is a former US attorney who holds one of the most powerful and least accountable positions in the US security apparatus: assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism. She has enormous influence over the watchlisting system. Read the rest of this entry »


Narcissus and the iPad

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Susan Sarandon Spreads Timothy Leary’s Ashes at Burning Man

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Susan Sarandon participated in Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nev. on Saturday to distribute the ashes of close friend and late LSD advocate Timothy Leary, according to USA Today.

The actress marched with Leary’s remains into a special church, which was built as one of the many art displays during the seven-day event. The gothic cathedral structure was later set aflame with other art creations (including a 60-foot giant man) in a spectacle that left crowds in awe.

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“When I went to Burning Man last time, that’s when I thought I’d bring him back here. I think he’d be so happy.”

Most of Leary’s ashes were sent to outer space in 1997, but Sarandon kept a small amount that she saved for a special moment. The actress worked with Burning Man and photographer Michael Garlington to lend a creative hand during the weeklong festival. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Neighbors Report, Cops Shut Down Seinfeld Family Lemonade Stand

Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, posted a photo on Instagram of her comedian husband, their son, Julian, and two other boys with their hands on top of their heads in surrender, with a police car behind them.

Kipp Jones writes: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his family were operating a charity lemonade stand a week ago in East Hampton Village, NY, when they were forced to shut down the operation after police received a complaint from a neighbor.

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Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, posted a photo on Instagram of her comedian husband, their son, Julian, and two other boys with their hands on top of their heads in surrender, with a police car behind them, after the August 18 charity operation was shut down….(read more)

Source: Breitbart.com


Russian artist Salavat Fidai: Pencil Art

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The Department of Phenomenal Pencil Art continues to marvel at the astonishingly intricate pencil sculptures created by Russian artist Salavat Fidai(previously featured here). Using an X-ACTO knife and extraordinary amounts of patience and care he can transform the end of an art pencil into tiny human figures – such as an astronaut and deep sea diver, expressive hands – including one offering the Vulcan salute, or any number of famous buildings. Read the rest of this entry »


Cuckoo for Coconuts: Where It’s Legal for Women to Go Topless in the U.S.A

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A guide to patchwork and confusing laws on taking it off

Local officials in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles voiced support this week for allowing women to sunbathe topless, calling the move “a serious equality issue” and citing the city’s Italian namesake as one of many European regions where toplessness is socially acceptable. But topless sunbathing is illegal in the city and county of Los Angeles, and the local disagreement is just the skin of a patchwork of nudity laws and customs that vary by state and municipality across the country.

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The vast majority of states actually have laws on the books making clear that women can’t be arrested under state law solely for being topless in settings where it’s OK for men. But many local ordinances ban the practice anyway. And there’s plenty of grey area for police officers to make their own interpretations and make arrests for “public indecency” or “disorderly conduct.”

GoTopless.org

GoTopless.org

Celebrities like Chelsea Handler and Miley Cyrus have been public critics of what they call a double-standard that women face when it comes to going shirtless, and have tried to get Instagram to stop taking down photos of breasts, garnering some support with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple. Scout Willis, daughter of the actor Bruce Willis, recently illustrated the point that women are technically permitted to walk the streets of New York City topless—but not to post topless photos on Instagram—by posting shirtless photos of herself on city sidewalks to Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »


Turkish Cartoonists Fined for Suggesting President Tayyip Erdogan is Gay

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara

Two Turkish caricaturists have been fined for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan after a court ruled that one of their cartoons implied he was gay, local media said on Wednesday.

“Erdogan, who brooks little dissent, has dominated politics for more than a decade in Sunni Muslim Turkey, where homosexuality is widely frowned upon.”

Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan were prosecuted for an illustration on the front page of satirical magazine Penguen last August in which an official greeted Erdogan while apparently making a circle with his thumb and forefinger.

“Others to fall foul of his sensitivities include a former Miss Turkey winner, who is facing a possible jail term for allegedly insulting him on social media, and a 13-year old boy who was this month questioned over a Facebook post.”

Prosecutors launched the indictment after a citizen complained that the hand signal, commonly used in Turkey to insult homosexuals, was against the country’s moral values.

Lawyers representing Erdogan then got involved in the case, demanding that the court punish the cartoonists for “insulting a public official”, Hurriyet newspaper reported. Read the rest of this entry »


Shown in Court at Trial Yesterday: Instagram Pic of Tsarnaev and His Black Flag of Jihad

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Via Michelle Malkin, Twitter


SXSW: Tinder Users Are Falling for a Sexy Robot in Clever ‘Ex Machina’ Marketing Stunt

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Well, this is sneaky — and for some, a little heartbreaking.

Tinder users at the SXSW festival on Saturday were encountering an attractive 25-year-old woman named Ava on the dating app. A friend of ours made a match with her, and soon they were have a conversation over text message. clear something was amiss…

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There was one photo and one video, both promoting Ex Machina, a sci-fi film that just happened to be premiering Saturday night here in Austin. The link in her bio went to the film’s website. And it turns out the woman in the photos is Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who plays an artificial intelligence in the movie…(read more)

The Hollywood Reporter


REPORT: Vladimir Putin ‘Neutralized’ by Stealth Coup; Health Rumors Intensify

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For MailOnlineWill Stewart reports: Vladimir Putin is ‘alive’ but ‘neutralised’ as shadowy security chiefs stage a stealthy coup in Moscow, it was claimed last night.

Former FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev was behind the plot, claimed chairman of the pro-Kremlin national Islamic Committee, Geydar Dzhemal.

  • Vladimir Putin is supposed to hold public meetings on Monday
  • The Russian leader has not been seen in public for the past nine days
  • Putin reportedly met the head of the Supreme Court on Friday for talks
  • However, the video is now believed to have been taken from file footage

There have been no confirmed sightings of Putin for nine days, while in the febrile atmosphere engulfing Moscow a convoy of large trucks parked outside the Kremlin fueled rumours of a flit by the president.

In fact, the lorries close to St Basil’s Cathedral were more likely connected to a nationalist celebration of the first anniversary of the return of Crimea to Russia – seen by Putin’s supporters as his ultimate masterstroke.

Despite this, bloggers likened it to Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych’s treasure-grab as he fled into exile just over a year ago in Kiev.

“There are allegations that a security official closer to Kadyrov ordered the Nemtsov murder, and that the FSB and Interior Ministry in Moscow have full proof.”

‘I think that Putin is neutralised at the moment, but of course, he is alive,’ said Dzhemal, seen as a Kremlin loyalist.

FLASHBACK: Wax figure of Vladimir Putin Attacked by Topless Feminist

‘He is under the control of the power-wielding agencies, who have, in my opinion, organised a coup d’etat.’

“His slaying has triggered bitter factional infighting in the Kremlin, which includes talk of defence and security service generals seeking to replace Putin.”

Recent pictures of Putin supposedly working during a nine day absence from public sight was ‘playing for time’ by the plotters, he claimed.

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MORE: Topless Feminist Stabs Wax Putin in France, Wax Figure in Critical Condition

‘My information is that Patrushev met Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Pyatigorsk on 11 March and tempted him over to his side.’

“I think that Putin is neutralised at the moment, but of course, he is alive. He is under the control of the power-wielding agencies, who have, in my opinion, organised a coup d’etat.”

— Dzhemal, a Kremlin loyalist

He also pointed to a recent visit by Patrushev – head of Putin’s security council – the US.

The visit came despite sanctions barring visits by most senior Russian officials.

‘I think he was offered something there that he failed to reject,’ said Dzhemal on Georgian TV channel Rustavi-2.

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Several large trucks were parked near Kremlin Square fueling rumours connected with Putin’s absence

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Putin has not been seen in public for nine days which has caused certain consternation in Russia

Putin failed to reappear again on Saturday – the ninth day without a confirmed sighting – as his Chechen enforcer suggested the Russian strongman is in danger of being overthrown.

“With feverish speculation in Moscow over Putin’s health and whereabouts, and claims of a bitter power struggle in his entourage which could even trigger an attempted coup, the head of Chechnya spoke emotionally of people ‘trying to harm the president of Russia – and Russia itself’.”

Ramzan Kadyrov – a devout Muslim whose security apparatchiks are seen as being behind the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov – said he would remain devoted to the Kremlin leader ‘whether he is in his position or not’.

This came amid a claim that pictures issued by the Kremlin on Friday of Putin meeting Supreme Court head Vyachevslav Lebedev may date from 2011. Read the rest of this entry »


Dallas Area School Photographer Todd B. Fleming Gets 20 Years for Child Porn

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TYLER, Texas (AP) – A Dallas-area photographer who did senior portraits for some graduates in East Texas must serve 20 years in prison for producing child pornography.todd-b-fleming

Todd B. Fleming of McKinney was sentenced Tuesday in Tyler.

The 54-year-old Fleming last October pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of children. Investigators say Fleming from 1999 to 2007 coerced juveniles to engage in sexually explicit conduct for producing child porn. Read the rest of this entry »


Facebook and Instagram are Down, and Everyone is F-F-F-F-F-F-Freaking Out

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[PHOTO] Selfie Nation

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GLOBAL PANIC UPDATE: Miss Lebanon Under Fire for Selfie with Miss Israel

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Beirut (AFP) – Miss Universe contestants are keen to proclaim their desire for world peace, but this year’s Miss Lebanon has declared war after claiming Miss Israel muscled in uninvited during a group “selfie.”

Saly Greige took to her Facebook page to declare that Israel’s Doron Matalon had pushed her way into a now widely-circulated photo showing the Middle Eastern beauties with Miss Japan and Miss misses-Lebanon-Israel-in-1993Slovenia.

“I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”

“Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me),” Greige wrote in English on her page.

“I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”

The offending photo, taken in Miami where the Miss Universe pageant is staged, appeared on Matalon’s Instagram account on January 11.

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It shows Miss Israel with a beaming Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan, and Miss Lebanon, who appears to be gritting her teeth.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game.

— Miss Israel Doron Matalon

Matalon responded to the controversy herself on Sunday, saying it made her “sad”.

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game,” she wrote in English and Hebrew. Read the rest of this entry »


Officer Down Memorial Page: Police Officer Wenjian Liu, New York City Police Dept.

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Police Officer Wenjian Liu and Police Officer Rafael Ramos were shot and killed from ambush while sitting in their patrol car at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Thompkins Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Both officers were participating in an anti-terrorism drill when a subject walked up their patrol car and opened fire with a handgun, striking them both in the head and upper body multiple times. Other officers immediately pursued the the subject into a nearby subway station where the man committed suicide.

The subject was a gang member from Baltimore, Maryland, who had traveled to New York City specifically to ambush police officers. The man had published his intentions on social media prior to the shooting.

Officer Liu had served with the New York City Police Department for four years. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] 19 Instagram Photos That Helped Kill Hungary’s Internet Tax

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19 Instagram photos that helped kill Hungary’s internet tax

 


Reality Check: Despite Apple’s Privacy Pledge, Cops Can Still Pull Data Off a Locked iPhone

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A reminder to iPhone owners cheering Apple’s latest privacy win: Just because Apple will no longer help police to turn your smartphone inside out doesn’t mean it can prevent the cops from vivisecting the device on their own.

“I am quite impressed, Mr. Cook! That took courage. But it does not mean that your data is beyond law enforcement’s reach.”

—  iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski

On Wednesday evening Apple made news with a strongly-worded statement about how it protects users’ data from government requests. And the page noted at least one serious change in that privacy stance: No longer will Apple aid law enforcement or intelligence agencies in cracking its users’ passcodes to access their email, photos, or other mobile data. That’s a 180-degree flip from its previous offer to cops, which demanded only that they provide the device to Apple with a warrantto have its secrets extracted.

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In fact, Apple claims that the new scheme now makes Apple not only unwilling, but unable to open users’ locked phones for law enforcement. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access [your personal] data,” reads the new policy. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

“I can do it. I’m sure the guys in suits in the governments can do it. And I’m sure that there are at least three or four commercial tools that can still do this, too.”

But as the media and privacy activists congratulated Apple on that new resistance to government snooping, iOS forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski offered a word of caution for the millions of users clamoring to pre-order the iPhone 6 and upgrade to iOS 8. In many cases, he points out, the cops can still grab and offload sensitive data from your locked iPhone without Apple’s help, even in iOS 8. All they need, he says, is your powered-on phone and access to a computer you’ve previously used to move data onto and off of it. Read the rest of this entry »


Actress Lauren Bacall was Among the Last of the Golden Age Screen Goddesses


First Instagram from Space

 


If Talking About Guns Leads to Violence, Do Images of Muscle Cars Cause Car Wrecks?

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The Push to Ostracize Gun Fans on Facebook 

Charles C. W. Cooke writes:  Batten down the hatches, America, for the latest monster has reared its ugly head, and its name is . . . Facebook.

This, at least, is the premise of a new gun-control petition, in which the entertainingly neurotic founder of Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts, complains that “Facebook and Instagram are currently being used to facilitate sales and trades of firearms between private sellers.” In consequence, Watts and her cohorts are calling for the company to “ban gun-themed fan pages on the site,” technology website VentureBeat confirmed yesterday. Thus far, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a few drearily predictable celebrities, and nearly 100,000 Americans have added their names to the supplication.

“…After all, the Internet presents a genuine and welcome challenge to centralized authority, and the state has not yet managed to quell the unruly hordes. And do Facebook and Instagram contribute to this headache? Yes, of course…”

In her entreaty, Watts gripes that Facebook’s “platforms unfortunately allow users to buy, sell, and trade firearms without requiring criminal background checks.” This, she suggests, is “a threat to public safety and the security of our families.” In fact, the “platforms” “allow” no such thing. As a spokesman for Facebook noted with barely disguised irritation, “you can’t buy things on Instagram and Facebook, nor can you promote the sale or use of weapons in advertising.” What he presumably didn’t feel he needed to clarify is that what the two “platforms” dofacilitate is people talking to one another — a service, it should be remembered, that is provided by almost every interactive system on the Internet, including e-mail, instant- and text-messaging services, photo-sharing venues, blogging hosts, comments sections, and forums.

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What Selfies Reveal About Cultural Stereotypes

A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place.

A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place.

John Brownlee  reports:  Moritz Stefaner and his collaborators analyzed more than 3,000 Instagram selfies from around the world, revealing everything from the age of the average selfie taker to how much she opens her mouth and more.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a selfie worth?

That’s what SelfieCity wants to find out. A new project by data visualization wunderkind in collaboration with Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, and Nadav Hochman, SelfieCity is an attempt to analyze the data of more than 3,000 self-portraits and, in doing so, extrapolate what a selfie is even meant to say in the first place. In the process, SelfieCity was able to figure out everything from the age of the average selfie takers to how much they opened their mouth and more…

“People take fewer selfies than you’d think.”

• People take fewer selfies than you’d think. According to SelfieCity’s data, only 3% to 5% of the 300,000-plus images that they examined were actually selfies.

• Women take more selfies than men. “In every city we analyzed, there are significantly more women selfies than men taking, from 1.3 times as many in Bangkok to 1.9 times more in Berlin,” Stefaner says. In Moscow, the discrepancy is even more striking: 4.6 times more women take selfies in the Russian capitol then men. No matter where, if a man takes selfies, though, he’s likely to be older: the median age of men who post selfies on Instagram is more than 30 years old.

“People are happiest in Bangkok and São Paulo, and more miserable in Moscow.”

• Women strike more extreme poses in selfies (especially in São Paulo). According to SelfieCity’s research, women tend to take more expressive, sexy poses than men in their selfies. On average, the head tilt of a woman’s selfie is 150% higher than for men (12.3° vs. 8.2°). Translated, this means an awful lot of women take selfies holding their cameras way above their heads. But in São Paulo, it’s even crazier: there, the average head tilt for females is 16.9°! Guess they want to fit their bikinis in-frame.

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[VIDEO] Dana Loesch Takes On ABC’s Dumb Anti-Gun Special ‘Young Guns’

“Under the guise of caring for children…”

“…I mean if we’re going to be afraid of things, let’s be afraid of that which actually exists in reality, not some pistol boogeyman born of a gun phobia.”

Instapundit

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Is That a Drone in your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me: Meet the Pocket Drone

That? Oh, that’s just a mosquito, now tell me more about your top secret project.

That? Oh, that’s just a mosquito, now tell me more about your top secret project.

Do you ever feel frustrated that you can’t keep tabs on your significant other at all times? Nervous that everyone is hanging out without you? Curious about what the heck your neighbors are doing over there?

Thankfully, there’s a Pocket Drone currently being funded on Kickstarter that will solve these problems and more. It only takes 20 seconds to unpack and launch. Then, you can load it up with any video camera you own, as long as the payload is less than half a pound. Hit record and you’re off, creating surveillance footage of everyone you know.

Control Pocket Drone with an app on your phone or tablet, and you can access hard-to-reach places like the café where that hot neighbor you’ve been Facebook stalking gets his coffee every morning.

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Found: ‘Pajamaboy’ Ethan Krupp, OFA Employee, attended UW-Madison

via Twitter / charliespiering

Bonus:

krupp model


Friends Without Benefits

What Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Instagram, and Internet Porn Are Doing to America’s Teenage Girls

In response to our Hookup Culture post from last week, Francesca of Speaking Through Curls— writes: “I recently read an article for a class that mentioned a study in England. One of the studies found that men in relationships are focused on pleasing their partners, whereas men hooking up are mainly focused on their own pleasures. Women, however, care the same amount, in and out of relationships. What concerns me more is the gender stereotypes that are sustained through hookup culture. Now, with social media, these gender norms are actually becoming even more enforced. I think you might find this article my Nancy Jo Sales (who researches the growing issue among teens) in Vanity Fair“.

The recommendation is a good one, and though it’s a lengthy article, it’s got more research behind it, more depth, and captures great dialogue. A good  companion to last week’s post. Thanks to Francesca for the tip. Check out her site here.

Teen Girl Using Computer --- Image by © L. Clarke/CORBIS

Teen Girl Using Computer — Image by © L. Clarke/CORBIS

This year, 81 percent of Internet-using teenagers in America reported that they are active on social-networking sites, more than ever before. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and new dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Blendr have increasingly become key players in social interactions, both online and IRL (in real life). Combined with unprecedented easy access to the unreal world of Internet porn, the result is a situation that has drastically affected gender roles for young people. Speaking to a variety of teenaged boys and girls across the country, Nancy Jo Sales uncovers a world where boys are taught they have the right to expect everything from social submission to outright sex from their female peers. What is this doing to America’s young women?

© PIERO CRUCIATTI/ALAMY

© PIERO CRUCIATTI/ALAMY

“Social media is destroying our lives,” a 16-year-old girl from L.A. tells contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales. But without it, she says, she “would have no life.”

NOTE: Some of the names and identifying details in this story have been changed.

THE TINDER GUY

Nancy Jo Sales writes: She wanted it to be like the scene in the Lana Del Rey video for “Blue Jeans”—“hot and slow and epic.” The scene where strangers meet and fall into an easy intimacy, making love in a pool—“and they look so hot and it’s just, like, totally epic.” A boy at her school—she didn’t want to talk about him now; he’d broken her heart; but “like, whatever.” She’d “deleted him” from her phone. “I was stalking him too much, seeing him doing fun things on Instagram, and it hurt.”

They’d been instant-messaging on Facebook, and one night he told her he loved her. And then “I found out he was talking to, like, four other girls.” And now she wanted to do something to get over it, maybe to get back at him. “I mean, I should have known. All men are basically whores.” When he didn’t turn out to be her “true love”—“like Bella and Edward, or Bella and Jacob, you know?”—she decided she had to “lose it to someone,” so why not with someone she would never have to see again? And yet, she hoped it would somehow be like the Lana Del Rey song. “I will love you till the end of time,” it goes.

The guy she was supposed to meet that day—the guy from Tinder, the dating app kids were using to hook up—“I know, like, five guys who’ve done it; girls use it too, but they pretend like they don’t”—he was cute and had tattoos on his arms. He looked “James Franco–ish,” but younger. On Tinder you could meet people in your age group. She was 16; he was 17.

Alone in her room, the night before, reading her friends’ Twitter feeds and watching YouTube videos (Selena Gomez and “baby animals being cute”), she’d started feeling lonely, restless, and bored. “Sometimes I just want to talk to a guy so bad.” So she downloaded the app and started swiping through the pictures of boys in her area. She “hearted” his picture, and within a few minutes he had hearted hers, and then they were instantly texting.

“Ur hot,” he wrote. “U wanna meet?”

“When?”

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Put Away Your Phone and Just Eat Your Food

The Experts Have Spoken: Instagram Pictures of Food Will Ruin Your Meal
A man takes a picture with his mobile of foods in his plate as he is having lunch on July 19, 2012 in Paris.  AFP PHOTO / ANA AREVALO        (Photo credit should read ANA AREVALO/AFP/GettyImages)

ANA AREVALO/AFP/GettyImages

 reports: When your friend stops you from digging into your delicious meal so that she can Instagram the food, it spoils the eating experience. And there’s science to prove that.

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology says that over-exposure to food photos on Instagram ruins your meal. Marketing professors at Brigham Young University asked 232 people to look at and rate pictures of food.

Half of the participants looked a pictures of sweet food (cakes, pastries), half at pictures of salty food (pretzels, chips). Both groups were then asked to have a salty food snack. Those who had looked at pictures of salty food enjoyed their snack less. Read the rest of this entry »