| Tuesday May 24th 2016

“Ready Player One” and “The Freedom Maze” win the Prometheus Award for best novel

Congratulations to Ernie Cline for winning the 2012 Prometheus Award for Best Novel! His book, Ready Player One, shared the prize with The Freedom Maze, by Delia Sherman. Both Cline and Sherman will receive one-ounce gold coins (what else would you expect from the Libertarian Futurist Society?).

The Freedom MazeDelia Sherman’s young-adult fantasy novel focuses on an adolescent girl of 1960 who is magically sent back in time to 1860 when her family owned slaves on a Louisiana plantation. She’s mistaken for a light-skinned slave fathered by a plantation owner. She endures great hardships, commiserates with others suffering worse, works in the household and the fields, and sees the other slaves demonstrating their humanity in the face of incredible adversity. In the process, she comes to appreciate the values of honor, respect, courage, and personal responsibility.

Ready Player OneErnest Cline’s genre-busting blend of science fiction, romance, suspense, and adventure describes a virtual world that has managed to evolve an order without a state in which entrepreneurial gamers must solve virtual puzzles and battle real-life enemies to save their virtual world from domination and corruption. The main characters work together without meeting in the real world until near the end of the story. The novel stresses the importance of allowing open access to the Internet for everyone.

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What “Fifty Shades of Grey is badly written” is really code for

Laurie Penny has a spirited defense of Fifty Shades of Grey, a best selling pornographic novel that started out as Twilight fanfic (“quite good, quite detailed descriptions of sex written from the point of view of a woman who seemed to be really enjoying herself”)Fifty Shades of Grey and looks at the gender issues and double standards lurking in the widespread condemnation of the book…

Similarly, I can’t recall Page Three of the Sun ever getting taken to pieces for its lack of artistic imagination. The point, the only point, is to show three million men some tits in the morning, and they’ve been happily ogling those pixellated teenage breasts on public transport for thirty years. That’s understood. Exactly the same basic principle applies to the Fifty Shades series, which has the added bonus that no actual nubile, desperate postpubescents were harmed in its production – but somehow the idea that women might gobble down a poorly-written book in their tens of millions just because they’ve heard there might be some fucking in it is uncomfortable for the sort of snobbish commentators who have absolutely never themselves bashed out a cheeky one over FHM magazine.

When you get down to it, the problem most people seem to have with Fifty Shades of Grey is that it’s for girls. Even worse – it’s “mommy porn”, porn for mommies, for older women to read and get excited about, and that dangerous nonsense really needs to be stopped right now. Everyone knows that the only women who are allowed to actually have sexuality are slender, high-breasted twenty-one year old virgins – rather like, it has to be said, the heroine of “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

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Sesame Street: Share It Maybe

How Many Checkpoints in One Morning?

Like a? boss!

“Did I stumble into Mexico?”

The appropriate responses should be:

  1. Why are you stopping me?
  2. Do you have reason to believe I am not a US Citizen?
  3. Are you charging me with a crime?
  4. Am I free to go ?

What Exactly is “50 Shades of Grey” (and What Can You Expect From the Movie)?

50 Shades of Grey

So what’s this “50 Shades of Grey” thing you keep seeing everywhere? Women all around you are reading it — ladies on the bus, that khaki-pantsed woman clutching her pearls in the coffee shop, your mom. And now they’re making it into a movie.

Lucky for you, I read this thing so you don’t have to.

50 Shades of Grey,” for the blissfully uninitiated, is a book trilogy written by E.L. James (no relation to Fudge), a woman who loved ‘Twilight‘ but was annoyed that there wasn’t enough sex in it. (Seriously.) So she wrote some fan-fiction and it became “internet popular.”

Fan-fiction is the written word equivalent of taking two naked dolls and mashing them together to make what you think sex looks like when you’re 10 years old. And it’s written at that level.

50 Shades of Grey” tells the story of Anastasia Steele (get it?) and Christian Grey (DO YOU GET IT?). His name is Christian because Edward was an obvious ‘Twilight’ reference, and E.L. James obviously watched ‘Secretary’ while doing her “research.” Anastasia is just like Bella Swan — a clumsy lip-biter (modern day pearl-clutcher) whose catchphrase is “Jeez” because she’s really Woody Allen. And she’s just as neurotic, if not worse. She’s a senior in college with plans to work for a publishing house, but she doesn’t own a computer or a smart phone and doesn’t know how to use them because this is fiction.

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Siri vs Google Search (Jelly Bean)

Law Student Puts Cop In His Place After Being Unlawfully Stopped For Carrying A Gun

“I was detained by Portland PD officer J McDonald on 26MAY2012. He detains me without suspicion of any criminal activity in violation of Delaware v Prouse. He admits his sole reason for stopping me is my legally carried firearm in violation of US v DeBerry. He seizes my weapon with no reasonable suspicion that I’ve committed a crime in violation of Terry v Ohio. He demands my ID without reasonable suspicion in violation of Hiibel v Nevada”

Woman accused of groping TSA agent

A lot of people get peeved about TSA pat downs. But a Bonita Springs woman is accused of groping an agent at Southwest Florida International Airport and it’s all on tape!

TSA patdownIt happened on her way to Cleveland, Ohio. Airline passenger Carol Price says while going through security to catch her flight, a TSA agent groped her.

In response, the video shows Price put down her carry-on bags, turn to a TSA supervisor and grab her – allegedly without permission – to show the supervisor what Price says she went through.

“It was a customer complaint of an extremely inappropriate search,” said Price’s defense attorney John Mills.

Mills says another TSA agent first groped Price’s genitals and breasts.

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iOS 6 Has Added Push Notifications For Government Alerts

Government emergency alerts

Apple has added push notification-support for Government alerts (“AMBER Alerts” and “Emergency Alerts”) in iOS 6, according to CNET.

As you can see in the above image, two new toggles – one for “AMBER Alerts,” and another for “Emergency Alerts” – have appeared in the “Notifications” section of the built-in Settings app in iOS 6. Users have the option of enabling what we presume to be push notifications for these two alert-types, meaning that in the event of an emergency, users would receive a notification on their iDevice.

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“Why We Should All Root for the Miami Heat”

Chris Bosh suspect

While Bennett said all the right things about keeping the Sonics in Seattle, a team executive dinner on September 9, 2006, tells you all you need to know about the man and his motives. On that fine evening, the Sonics management, all held over from the previous ownership regime, all Pacific Northwesters, gathered in Oklahoma to meet the new boss. Bennett made sure they were sent to a top restaurant, and picked up the bill. As the Seattle execs sat down, four plates of a deep fried appetizer were put on the table. After filling their mouths with the crispy goodness, one asked the waitress what this curious dish with a nutty flavor actually was. It was lamb testicles. Bennett laughed at their discomfort and the message was clear: the Sonics could eat his balls. (See Sonicsgate.com for a full accounting of this theft.)

Putting all the politics behind the Seattle/OKC move aside, OKC has great fans and a team that has worked hard to get to this level. I can’t root against them.

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I don’t take no orders from no woman!

A man accused of dumping tree parts on a Detroit street tells a reporter “I don’t listen to women.” The man – Ihor Stetkewycz of Warren, Michigan – also claims to be from Mars.

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New 3D imagery for Google Earth for mobile

Since 2006, we’ve had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and we’re excited to announce that we’ll begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices in the near future.

Thanks to new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision, we’re able to create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery.

By the end of the year, we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.

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Meet a “real-life Barbie”

Valeria Lukyanova

A 21-year-old girl, who has become an internet sensation in her home country of Russia, claims on her blog to be the most famed woman on the Russian-language internet.

Valeria LukyanovaValeria Lukyanova’s doll-like features, long blonde hair and ‘perfect’ body make her look like a real life Barbie.

In fact, with her tiny waist and large breasts, she bears such a resemblance to the famed plastic doll that cynical web users have been speculating about whether or not she is real.

In a spoof video posted on YouTube, an animated version of the model undergoes surgery to enhance her already prominent assets.

The girl checks into a plastic surgeons office. As she lies on an operating table, the ‘surgeon’ uses a hand-held pump to enlarge her breasts, before giving her a face-lift using putty and a chainsaw.

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BlackBerry 10 Camera Features

Apple will release 2 years after BlackBerry does, and all the Apple fanboys will think it’s the most genius thing they have ever seen.

Pittsburgh’s Twin City: Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas, Lithuania

Google Maps

The Decline and Fall of “Draw Something”

Draw Something graph

Just six weeks ago, Draw Something was the hottest mobile game in the world, but today its popularity has collapsed and Zynga may be left holding the bag.

Online game company OMGPOP launched Draw Something on February 6 of this year and watched it soar to 35 million downloads in just seven weeks. Not since the runaway sensation Angry Birds, had a game became the favorite pastime of iPhone addicts so quickly. That’s when Zynga, the mobile game company that’s intimately linked with Facebook, pounced. They quickly snatched up OMGPOP and its 40 or so employees for $200 million, rescuing a struggling company that had burned through $17 million in funding in six years and was on the verge of bankruptcy before stumbling upon the Pictionary clone that made everyone rich.

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“Tron: Uprising” new trailer

Can Tron do for Disney XD what Star Wars did for Cartoon Network?

Here’s the new trailer for Tron: Uprising, the new animated series debuting on Disney XD in June. Like Cartoon Net’s acclaimed The Clone Wars, this is a sophisticated-looking animated series that’s set at a moment in time that takes place between two feature films (in this case, 1982?s Tron and 2010?s Tron Legacy — thus preserving the future of the Tron story, as well as its origin, for any films that Disney might want to make later down the road). Voice talent on the show is pretty impressive… Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reubens and, from the films, Bruce Boxleitner… and is that some music from the awesome Daft Punk soundtrack I hear?

Gary Wilson – The Great Porn Experiment

Have our brains evolved to handle the hyperstimulation of today’s Internet enticements? In a response to Philip Zimbardo’s “The demise of guys?” TEDTalk, Gary Wilson discusses the disturbing symptoms showing up in some heavy Internet users, the surprising reversal of those symptoms, and the science behind these 21st century phenomena.

The University of Pittsburgh Bomb Threats

This spring, the University of Pittsburgh has received fifty-seven bomb threats. The targets have varied greatly both in respect to their occupancy and their function. Most recently, Panther Central (the Student’s front desk. It handles housing and things like that.), Heinz Chapel (some kind of secular repository for stained glass), and the University Club (which is a banquet hall, housing for UPMC patient families, faculty gym, and a small somewhat “spaish” facility) have been threatened, evacuated, and searched for the bombs that everyone is reasonably sure don’t exist. University of PittsburghPitt’s endowment is in the billions of dollars and its community is in the tens of thousands, yet it has been rendered impotent by threatening notes scrawled on bathroom stalls and untraceable emails warning of imminent disaster.

Pitt’s coping strategy is a clear application of the national disposition to fear: every threat no matter how small must be heeded lest we repeat the national tragedy of 9/11. This strategy is proving to be untenable on various fronts and I think that its shortcomings provide an interesting lens through which the point of this site might be explored. What does it mean to be a good man (for that matter, a good person)? What does a person do in these situations such that their response can be said to reflect goodness?

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Facebook Buys Instagram For $1 Billion

Facebook just bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock.

InstagramInstagram is a mobile-only photo-sharing app. It grew from 1 million users in January 2011 to 15 million in December 2011. It has 30 million users now.

What’s great about it is that it is very fast… especially compared to Facebook.

With the Facebook iPhone app, there are 6 screens a user has to go through before a user can actually take a picture. With Instagram, there is one.

Mark Zuckerberg just announced the news on Facebook…

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