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‘He promises to just smoke pot as mayor. Not crack’: Hilarious anti-Rob Ford campaign posters
10:47 am

Current Events

Rob Ford

^^^^^ I’d vote for him!

Apparently parody election signs are popping up all over Toronto by No Ford Nation. The tagline on all signs are, “Anyone’s better than Rob Ford.”

The reaction by Torontonians have been a mixed bag so far. Some people are finding the signs absolutely hilarious, while others are pissed-off and claim the signs are damaging the city’s reputation.


Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Chaos theory: What it might look like if 1500 people walked and texted at the same time

This Japanese ad, by mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo, purports that one in every five people who walk while using their Smartphone will experience some type of accident or injury. I believe it. They’ll probably also inflict many an injury on innocent people, too. (I witnessed a mother crossing a busy downtown Los Angeles street with her toddler yesterday smiling at something and texting and I wondered WHAT could be so important that she had to reply to it right then and there?)

Attention to the surroundings is neglected while walking around staring at your cellphone.

We decided to study the danger of texting while walking using a computer simulation.

We used a computer simulation to have 1,500 people text while walking at Shibuya Crossing, the busiest crossing where people can cross in every direction.

What actually happened? Chaos? Fear? Comedy?

See the numerous unusual movements resulting from texting while walking.

*Some of the numbers used in the simulation were based on the research results of Professor Kazuhiro Kozuka, Department of Media Informatics, Aichi University of Technology.

Okay, so it’s not exactly the infamous 1979 Who concert in Cincinnati, but it does show you how disoriented people get from walking and texting. And from what I can tell, a few animated people do get trampled.

Via Daily Dot

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Will robots replace Lady Gaga?

Last week Dangerous Minds’ Martin Schneider posed the question “Will pole dancing robots put human strippers out of work?” After watching the video of this batshit gyrating animatronic by artist Jordan Wolfson I’m inclined to answer “maybe.” I mean I doubt they’ll be wearing bonkers witch masks, but who knows?

According to the description on YouTube:

“The figure incorporates facial recognition technology, allowing her to focus on, and unnervingly follow visitors at the exhibition.”

The piece is currently being exhibited March 6 – April 19 at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. 

Via io9

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Man locks wife in shed for singing ‘Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ when his mother died

Andrew Salmon, from Cornwall, apparently locked his wife in a garden shed after she kept repeatedly singing “Ding dong, the witch is dead” following death of his mother.

Questioned later, Salmon explained his actions by saying that his wife never liked his mother and was very unsympathetic when she died.

He told magistrates she kept saying “ding dong, the witch is dead”.

“I was provoked but I am sorry for what I have done to my wife and regret everything I did.” he said. “I was pushed towards it although I should not have done it.”

Lesson: Don’t mess with this man’s mama!

Via The Independent

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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What are the odds of THIS: Cyclist hit by pickup truck, mattress cushions his fall
09:21 am

Current Events

Hit and run

I’ve watched this four times, but I still can’t tell if the pickup truck actually hits the cyclist or just the bike itself. In any case, holy hell what are the mathematical odds of a mattress falling off the truck to break his fall???

On the flipside of that equation, as one YouTuber by the name of Albino Spaz quipped:

not sure if he is lucky or unlucky

Well, he does stand up. I vote lucky!

Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Has Courtney Love found Flight 370???
01:52 pm

Current Events

Courtney Love

Courtney Love posted this to her Facebook page 11 hours ago. I’ve got nuthin’ else to add.

I’m no expert but up close this does look like a plane and an oil slick. … prayers go out to the families #MH370 and its like a mile away Pulau Perak, where they “last” tracked it 5°39’08.5"N 98°50’38.0"E but what do I know?

Courtney Love on Facebook


Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Trust is hard to rebuild once it has been broken’: NSA’s own advice column trashes unwanted spying
02:11 pm

Current Events

National Security Agency

Willy Wonka
On June 15, 2010, the NSA debuted a new recurring feature on its intranet—an advice column. This really happened. The existence of the column was revealed by Glenn Greenwald’s new website The Intercept a few days ago. The advice column was called “Ask Zelda!” The “Ask Zelda!” columns were distributed on the agency’s intranet and accessible only to those with the proper security clearance; they were among the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The lighthearted column addressed to most mundane and quotidian issues of NSA life, issues familiar to all office workers, including workplace attire, stolen food from common refrigerators, co-worker body odor, and so on.

The inaugural column consisted of one letter, and it was about the skimpy clothes that some younger NSA staff were wearing during the balmy late spring of 2010:

Dear Zelda,

Now that the warm weather is here, some of the newer Agency employees in my office are dressing in ways that are less than professional. How do I, as their supervisor, get them to stop dressing like they’re going to the beach when NSA doesn’t have a formal dress code?

Prudish Prudence

Dear Prudence,

Oy! Once the thermometer hits 80 degrees, it can look like Ocean City West around here. Somehow, shorts and flip-flops don’t exactly convey the image of a fierce SIGNIT warrior.

You are right to be concerned, and I applaud your initiative as the supervisor to take corrective action. Not only is beach attire unprofessional in the workplace, but in certain cases it can be downright distracting to co-workers (if you get my drift).


As with most things, communication is the key to a happy and productive workplace. With a little proactive discussion on your part, your staff can look professional during the summer months. So the next time one of your employees looks like they work at the National Snorkeling Academy instead of the National Security Agency, try these tips and let me know how it turns out.

The identity of “Zelda” is not known, but a biographical snippet in the first column supplies some clues for those who are familiar with the NSA hierarchy.

“Zelda” is the pen name for a manager who has spent most of her 29 years at NSA in SID [Signals Intelligence Directorate] (and its predecessor orgs), supplemented by several years in career development (ADET [Associate Directorate for Education and Training]). Her managerial experience includes approximately 20 years as a first-line and mid-level Agency supervisor, as well as supervisory positions in the entertainment and food service industries. Zelda develops and teaches leadership training as part of the Nartional Cryptologic School’s Adjunct Faculty, and enjoys bossing people around outside of work, too.

In September of 2011, “Zelda” addressed the issue of—you guessed it—unwanted spying in the workplace. Her response was a fascinating brew of pie-in-the-sky helpfulness, naivete, and inadvertent revelation. Here’s the exchange in its entirety.

Dear Zelda,

Here’s the scenario: when the boss sees co-workers having a quiet conversation, he wants to know what is being said (it’s mostly work related). He has his designated “snitches” and expects them to keep him apprised of all the office gossip – even calling them at home and expecting a run-down! This puts the “designees” in a really awkward position; plus, we’re all afraid any offhand comment or anything said in confidence might be either repeated or misrepresented.

Needless to say, this creates a certain amount of tension between team members who normally would get along well, and adds stress in an already stressful atmosphere. There is also an unspoken belief that he will move people to different desks to break up what he perceives as people becoming too “chummy.” (It’s been done under the guise of “creating teams.”)

We used to be able to joke around a little or talk about our favorite “Idol” contestant to break the tension, but now we’re getting more and more skittish about even the most mundane general conversations (“Did you have a good weekend?”). This was once a very open, cooperative group who worked well together. Now we’re more suspicious of each other and teamwork is becoming harder. Do you think this was the goal?

Silenced in SID

Dear Silenced,

Wow, that takes “intelligence collection” in a whole new – and inappropriate – direction.

It’s lonely at the top

First let me say that I do not think this manager’s intent is to discourage teamwork. What it sounds like to me is that he (I’ll call him “Michael”) feels like an outsider and wants to be in the know. It can be lonely being the boss. You sit closed off in an office and miss the easy camraderie with your co-workers, while at the same time feeling the need to “police” their behavior. Maybe someone told Michael there was too much chit-chat in his organization or that some specific problem existed, and resorting to snitches is his misguided way of ferreting out the culprit(s). Either that or he’s been watching too much “Law & Order.”

Why don’t you try this: go overboard communicating with him. Call him over when he’s wandering around spying on people and fill him in on things. Give him details of work projects and ask his opinion about mission matters so he feels like he’s “in the loop.” Get others to drop by his desk periodically just to say hello, “hope you had a good weekend,” or “How ‘bout them O’s?” [I’m pretty sure this means the Orioles.] I bet that will satisfy his need to know what’s going on and he’ll back off with the nosiness.

NSA=No Secrets Allowed

We work in an Agency of secrets, but this kind of secrecy begets more secrecy and it becomes a downward spiral that destroys teamwork. What if you put an end to all the secrecy by bringing it out in the open? You and your co-workers could ask Michael for a team meeting and lay out the issue as you see it: “We feel like you don’t trust us and we aren’t comfortable making small talk anymore for fear of having our desks moved if we’re seen as being too chummy.” (Leave out the part about the snitches.) Tell him how this is hampering collaboration and affecting the work, ask him if he has a problem with the team’s behavior, and see what he says. …. Stick to the facts and how you feel, rather than making it about him (“We’re uncomfortable” vs “You’re spying on us.”).

If, after your attempts to bring things out into the open, it becomes clear that Michael is simply evil (some people live to stir up trouble), your best recourse may be to approach Michael’s boss with the problem and perhaps Michael can be reassigned. Be sure to focus on the effect it’s having on the team’s work when you talk to his manager.

No one likes a tattle-tale

“Silenced” implied that in this situation the snitches were unwilling accomplices for Michael. The reluctant snitches feel like they’re “damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” and everyone else is walking on eggshells. If you are bothered by snitches in your office, whether of the unwilling or voluntary variety, the best solution is to keep your behavior above reproach. Be a good performer, watch what you say and do, lock your screen when you step away from your workstation, and keep fodder for wagging tongues (your Viagra stash, photos of your wild-and-crazy girls’ weekend in Atlantic City) at home or out of sight. If you are put in the “unwilling snitch” position, I would advise telling your boss that you’re not comfortable with the role and to please not ask that of you.

Trust is hard to rebuild once it has been broken. Your work center may take time to heal after this deplorable practice is discontinued, but give it time and hopefully the open cooperation you once enjoyed will return.


Emphasis mine. I’m relishing that series of words…. “We work in an Agency of secrets, but this kind of secrecy begets more secrecy and it becomes a downward spiral that destroys teamwork. What if you put an end to all the secrecy by bringing it out in the open?” I hope that wherever in Russia Edward Snowden is today, he can take come grim solace in the fact that somewhere inside the vast NSA, there exists or once existed (maybe she’s retired) a 29-plus-year veteran who, even if she doesn’t know it, thinks that Snowden did the right thing.

But then again, as she wrote, “No one likes a tattle-tale.” I think I’ll go vomit now.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Edward Snowden’s testimony to the European Parliament is a must-read for EVERY concerned American

Edward Snowden
If Edward Snowden isn’t very careful, they’re going to crush his head!

The fate of Edward Snowden continues to be excruciatingly unresolved. The former NSA contractor who made international headlines in 2013 when he illegally disclosed details about the shocking scope of federal surveillance programs via The Guardian and other news outlets has been obliged to seek asylum from various non-U.S.-aligned governments, such as Russia, Ecuador, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Nobody really disputes that Snowden has committed criminal acts—no matter how justified—and yet the intransigent stance of the U.S. to hold over Snowden’s head the most draconian penalties (short of the death penalty, praise Jeebus). Attorney General Eric Holder promised that Snowden would not be tortured if Russia, Snowden’s current home, were to turn him over to U.S. authorities, but in the wake of Bush/Cheney and Obama himself, such promises ring hollow. In the end, the behavior of the U.S. government and other western governments has, unfortunately, tended for the most part to substantiate Snowden’s more “paranoid” claims. The optimal outcome at this stage would be for the United States to offer a more “reasonable” prison term of 3-5 years—such a gesture would go a long way towards confirming to suspicious citizens that the U.S. intends to get its house in order.

Short of that, acceptance by U.S.-friendly western goverments of the European Union would likewise tend to send the message that surveillance interests don’t trump every other value in the geopolitical system. One of the dispiritng lessons of the Snowden affair thus far has been the lack of counterbalancing perspective in the global system, in other words, the only apparent recourse Snowden has had to escape punishment from the United States has been various “bad guys” like Iran, North Korea, Russia and so on.  The strong impression has been left that countries like Germany, France, U.K., and so on, which once may have acted as sensible, fair brokers are all (a) unduly beholden to the U.S., and (b) compromised in their own right, as each country has its own semi-legal regime of espionage and surveillance. If all western states are but satellites in the U.S. sphere of influence, then Snowden’s revelations become all the more urgent.

For this reason, Snowden’s testimony (delivered in the form of a written statement) to the European Parliament on March 7 is a huge story—one that, sadly, has gone largely unnoticed by major U.S. media outlets. (At this point it’s a little difficult to distinguish sinister anti-Snowden propaganda from regular Snowden fatigue.) You can read Snowden’s entire testimony here.

In his testimony, Snowden related that he has requested asylum in from a number of EU countries, only to be told by European Parliamentarians that the United States would not permit its EU partners to make such an offer. “I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to the requests I sent to various EU member states. Parliamentarians in the national governments have told me that the US, and I quote, ‘will not allow’ EU partners to offer political asylum to me, which is why the previous resolution on asylum ran into such mysterious opposition. I would welcome any offer of safe passage or permanent asylum, but I recognize that would require an act of extraordinary political courage.”
In Snowden’s view, the NSA and the security agencies of various EU states have created a “European bazaar” in which the perception of shared interests among the EU states trump the rights and expectations of western citizens to conduct their affairs in private. Wrote Snowden:

“The result is a European bazaar, where an EU member state like Denmark may give the NSA access to a tapping center on the (unenforceable) condition that NSA doesn’t search it for Danes, and Germany may give the NSA access to another on the condition that it doesn’t search for Germans. Yet the two tapping sites may be two points on the same cable, so the NSA simply captures the communications of the German citizens as they transit Denmark, and the Danish citizens as they transit Germany, all the while considering it entirely in accordance with their agreements. Ultimately, each EU national government’s spy services are independently hawking domestic accesses to the NSA, GCHQ [U.K. Government Communications Headquarters], FRA [Försvarets radioanstalt, the Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment], and the like without having any awareness of how their individual contribution is enabling the greater patchwork of mass surveillance against ordinary citizens as a whole.”

Snowden has gone out of his way to put up a non-threatening front to the EU, insisting that he left the Russian secret service frustrated in its attempts to procure from Snowden further classified information about the United States. To the question “Did the Russian secret service approach you?” Snowden replied:

“Of course. Even the secret service of Andorra would have approached me, if they had had the chance: that’s their job. But I didn’t take any documents with me from Hong Kong, and while I’m sure they were disappointed, it doesn’t take long for an intelligence service to realize when they’re out of luck. I was also accompanied at all times by an utterly fearless journalist with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, which is the equivalent of Kryptonite for spies. As a consequence, we spent the next 40 days trapped in an airport instead of sleeping on piles of money while waiting for the next parade. But we walked out with heads held high. I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service.”

According to Snowden, the NSA itself, which has well-nigh unregulated status within the U.S. federal government, has itself been pushing for EU states to take actions that do not benefit EU citizens:

“One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”

The Snowden “affair” is a highly sensitive “node” in the incredibly complex network of institutions that touch on so many important aspects of our lives—the federal government, telecom companies, Google and Facebook, credit card companies, the U.S. military, Russia, the UN, and so on. If the European Parliament denies Snowden’s requests, it will be another depressing sign that those interrelated interests do not have your or my well-being at heart.

In this video, Democracy Now! looks at the three most important of Snowden’s revelations:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Colorado’s new marijuana DUI PSAs and the YouTube comments they inspired…

Earlier this month, the Colorado Department of Transportation rolled out a series of PSAs to discourage folks from driving while they’re stoned. While I agree no one should drive while they’re high—hell, I don’t think people should even drive while taking Benadryl, cold/ flu medications, painkillers or especially too much coffee—these commercials seem pretty silly to me. The stereotypical dum-dum stoner is in full effect here.

I posted all three commercials here for your viewing pleasure. I also added some choice comments from the general public from the YouTube comments. I’m not endorsing these comments, I am merely stating “here they are” and “make of this what you will.”

- Nobody gets high alone, bullshit PSA nobody will relate to. 

- I call bullshit.  Potheads don’t buy T-Bones, they buy double cheeseburgers and more pot.

- Apparently being stoned on marijuana magically reduces your to cognitive abilities to that of a chimpanzee.  Who knew. 

- I inject 4 marijuanas, now i punch babies for fun.

- Hey CDOT, if you want marijuana consumers to listen to you, I’d suggest talking to them like the rational, normal adults they are instead of insulting them.

- Well I don’t know what drug he was on cuz it definitely wasn’t weed…

- I’ve never broken something or forgot to do an important step, while high. This commercial makes us look stupid.

- The stoner stereotype bullshit is insulting. Keeps perpetuating that people that smoke look and act like this. Fuck the marketing team that came up with this.

- There is a difference between being high and having down’s syndrome.

- Wow!! this is EXACTLY what being high is like!

- What a totally insulting stereotype they are building in the publics’ mind that anyone who uses cannabis becomes borderline retarded. Folks who doesn’t know better must think you automatically lose 40 IQ points afterwards. What a shame, as it has inspired so much art, beauty, and productive work by responsible users, who are unjustly subjected to this demonetization.

- Isn’t it great when people who don’t blaze it act like they know what it’s like?

The spelling mistakes were left “as is” and like I was saying “make of it what you will.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson takes to the skies with world’s largest airship

Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden, is hoping to change air travel by investing in the world’s largest airship.

Called Airlander, the airship looks “as if a series of cigars have been sewn together.” It has a length of 302ft, which is roughly 60ft longer than the biggest airliners, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, and is also almost 30ft longer than the Antonov An-225, which was, until now, the longest aircraft ever built.

Airlander can stay in the air for up to 21 days at a time, has low running costs, can carry up to 50 tons in freight and is 70% greener than any cargo plane. The airship does not require a runway, and can land on virtually any surface, be that land, sea or even desert.
The airship was originally developed by US military for surveillance purposes, but was abandoned after defense cuts. It was then sold to British developers who saw a potential to make the airship a cheap and sustainable form of public aviation.

Dickinson, who is a qualified airline pilot, believes Airlander is the future of air travel and told BBC News:

“It’s a game changer, in terms of things we can have in the air and things we can do,” he says.

“The airship has always been with us, it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up.”

“It seizes my imagination. I want to get in this thing and fly it pole to pole,” he says.

“We’ll fly over the Amazon at 20ft, over some of the world’s greatest cities and stream the whole thing on the Internet.”

By flying Airlander around the world twice, Dickinson hopes to raise awareness of the vessel’s potential as the future of sustainable aviation.

Via BBC News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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