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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 11:58 AM
Number of posts: 11,067

Journal Archives

Things We Saw Today: Margaret Atwoods Handmaidens Protest Texas Reproductive Rights Laws

Source: The Mary Sue

A group of people dressed up as handmaidens from Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale showed up at the Texas Legislature today to protest the state’s continually restrictive stance on reproductive rights. It’s a chilling reminder of the fact that while the concept for the show might seem neat and entertaining, there are some very stark parallels between our world and that horrifying dystopia.


Julia, A Muppet With Autism, Joins The Cast Of 'Sesame Street'

Source: NPR

For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air.

Her name is Julia. She's a shy and winsome 4-year-old, with striking red hair and green eyes. Julia likes to paint and pick flowers. When Julia speaks, she often echoes what she's just heard her friends Abby and Elmo say. Julia has autism.

"There's so many people that have given her what she is. I'm just hoping to bring her the heart," says Stacy Gordon, the veteran puppeteer selected to play the part.

Presenting Julia to the gang requires a bit more explanation of her differences and hidden talents for the other Muppets — and their young viewers. As Abby Cadabby (the 3-year-old fairy played by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) explained during NPR's recent visit to the set in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., it can be hard to get Julia's attention. Big Bird had to repeat himself to get her to listen, for example. And she sees things where others don't.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/2017/03/20/520577117/julia-a-muppet-with-autism-joins-the-cast-of-sesame-street

The twit is tweeting.

Batgirl PSA

Top this, Steph Curry: Marylands Destiny Slocum nails unbelievable 70-foot buzzer beater

Source: WaPo

Maryland’s third-seeded women’s basketball team was about to polish off a terrific second quarter Sunday afternoon when West Virginia’s Teana Muldrow connected on a layup with time expiring. That seemed to be the half’s conclusion. It was all over but the buzzer.

The ball was inbounded to freshman phenom Destiny Slocum, who had about three seconds to attempt a desperation shot. She chose not to take advantage of the full three seconds, instead using a two-handed overhead delivery to slingshot the ball 70 feet down the court. It seemed like an afterthought. Then it swished through the net for one of the wackiest buzzer beaters you will ever see.

The Xfinity Center crowd went bonkers. Slocum turned to the media table and stands with her mouth open in shock. Then she was mobbed by her entire team.




The New Handbook For Cyberwar Is Being Written By Russia

“It’s not that the Russians are doing something others can’t do,” a US intelligence officer said. “It’s that Russian hackers are willing to go there, to experiment and carry out attacks that others countries would back away from.”

Source: BuzzFeed News

SAN FRANCISCO — It was just before midnight on Dec. 17, 2016, when most of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, went dark.

A transmission station, a type of power station that transmits high voltage electricity across large areas, had gone down. Vsevolod Kovalchuk, the head of Ukrainian state power grid operator Ukrenergo, explained on his Facebook page that the station had come under an “external attack” lasting roughly 30 minutes.

It was, cybersecurity experts said, the most recent maneuver in Russia’s increasingly aggressive and overt efforts to push the boundaries of modern-day warfare using everything from old-fashioned kompromat, the Russian term for publishing (real or fake) compromising material designed to smear opponents, to malware that blacks out cities.

“The Russians use cyberweapons like they butter bread in the morning. It’s a critical, fundamental component of their global hybrid warfare strategy. They are pushing the envelope on how they use it every day,” said Malcolm Nance, a former counterterrorism and intelligence officer for the US military, intelligence agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security. “Ukraine is just one of many test beds.”

If the world is currently entering a new era of cyberwarfare, Russian hackers are the pirates of those yet-uncharted seas. Nearly every week brings a new cyberattack, as Russia tests the vulnerabilities of countries around the world. From hacking into the emails of senior members of the Democratic Party to defacing the websites of Eastern European political candidates, Russia is being named as the perpetrator of the most audacious cyberattacks in recent years. In some cases, those attacks are acts of espionage, looking to sweep up as much intelligence as possible. In others, Russia is toying with psychological operations, teasing out their geopolitical goals. Just this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a 2014 breach of Yahoo, which exposed more than 500 million email accounts, had actually been the work of Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents working with cybercriminals — one of the largest email breaches in history, targeting, the DOJ said, the email accounts of a small group of journalists, dissidents, and US government officials.

Read more: https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/the-new-handbook-for-cyberwar-is-being-written-by-russia?utm_term=.upJQddOmg#.tjv0qqAew

These Watercolor Paintings Actually Include Climate Change Data

Jill Pelto, an artist and scientist, incorporates graphs of rising sea levels and soaring temperatures in her artwork

Source: The Smithsonian

Climate change can be seen when a mountainside’s trees turn brown thanks to the burrowing of bark beetles, an insect population that explodes during drought, or when an iconic species is pushed closer to extinction. But some of its effects are obvious only to those who look for them. From decades’ worth of data, scientists build narratives about how the oceans are acidifying, the average temperatures are warming and the precipitation is becoming more extreme.

Jill Pelto, a recent graduate from the University of Maine, has made it her mission to communicate these changes. The 22-year-old artist paints vivid watercolors of mountains, glaciers, waves and animals, that on closer inspection, reveal jagged line graphs more commonly seen in the pages of a scientific journal than on a gallery’s walls. Pelto incorporates real scientific data into her art. In one piece, the silver bodies of Coho salmon dance over blue, rippled water filling a space under a falling graph line. The line connects data points that document the decline of snow and glacier melt that feed the rivers the fish inhabit. Another combines data that describe the rising of sea levels, the climbing demand for fossil fuels, the decline of glaciers and the soaring average temperatures. All of those line graphs lay one over another to create a landscape telling the story of climate change.

Mauri Pelto, Jill’s father, is a glaciologist and professor at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts. When she was 16, Jill joined him in the mountains of Washington for a field season, measuring the depths of crevasses in the glaciers they tracked, recording the extent of snow and ice, and looking for other changes. The experience was life changing. She hiked up the North Cascades for six more field seasons and, in that time, witnessed the slow deaths of the mountains’ glaciers. Around the world, once intimidating bodies of ice and snow are ceasing their centuries-old movement and becoming static remnants of their former selves, pocked with melt-water pools and riddled with caves in the summer.

Now that she has earned her undergraduate degree in studio art and earth science, Pelto has plans to pursue a Master’s degree in climate science at the University of Maine next fall.

Read/view more (interview incl.): http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/these-watercolor-paintings-actually-include-climate-change-data-180958374/

Ghost in The Shell PSA

Details of my CBP Detention at JFK Int. Airport

Source: Hassan Aden

After spending a lovely weekend in Paris celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday, I happily boarded my flight to return to the United States-something I have done countless times for 42 years after becoming a U.S. citizen. I had an enjoyable flight to New York’s JFK International Airport. On all of my prior trips, I was greeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers with a warm smile and the usual, “Welcome home sir”. Not this time. I approached CBP Officer Chow who didn’t say anything when I handed him my passport and looked at me with a gruff expression and simply stated, “are you traveling alone?”, I knew this was a sign of trouble, I answered “yes”, he then said, “Let’s take a walk”.


As I sat in the CBP detention center, numerous, at least 25, foreign nationals were also brought in and quickly released, their detentions were reasonable and appropriate, maybe 5 or so minutes while their passports were checked. I pointed out the irony of this fact to the CBP officer that was attempting to “clear me for entry”. I told him, as he avoided eye contact, how wrong this scenario was that the only US citizen, career US police officer and chief of police, out of the group of detainees, was the one with the longest unreasonable detention- I was held for an hour and a half. I asked several times, “how long of a detention do you consider to be reasonable?”, the answer I was given by CBP Officer Chow was that I was not being detained-he said that with a straight face. I then replied, “But I’m not free to leave-how is that not a detention?” I was in a room with no access to my mobile phone to communicate with my wife and family about what was happening, my movements were restricted to a chair and they had my passport………and he had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained. His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge - but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion. I certainly was not free to leave. As former law enforcement, believe me, I agree that if certain criteria is met, a reasonable investigative detention is not inappropriate-the key here being “reasonable”.


I spent nearly 30 years serving the public in law enforcement. Since I retired as the Chief of Police in Greenville, NC, I founded a successful consulting firm that is involved in virtually every aspect of police and criminal justice reform. I interface with high level U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Court officials almost daily. Prior to this administration, I frequently attended meetings at the White House and advised on national police policy reforms-all that to say that If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone with attributes that can be “profiled”. No one is safe from this type of unlawful government intrusion.


This experience has left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own. This experience makes me question if this is indeed home. My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad. This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world - and its own people - in an unprecedented fashion. High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable communities for decades-it is now hitting the rest of America.

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/aden1312/posts/10155813550429298

I initially found the story on Slate: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/19/retired_north_carolina_police_chief_hassan_aden_detained_at_jfk_airport.html

Here, take my money!

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