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Monthly Archives: September 2013

 

In 2005, a National Security Agency employee was given his first day of access to the United States’ SIGINT (signals intelligence) capability. So what did he do with his vast powers?According to a newly published letter(PDF) by the NSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG), “he queried six e-mail addresses belonging to a former girlfriend, a U.S. person, without authorization.”

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20% of Yelp reviews are fake.

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Newly declassified materials reveal that the US National Security Agency spied on two prominent Congressmen — Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker — along with high-profile figures such as civil rights leader and antiwar voice Martin Luther King and heavyweight champ andconscientious objector Muhammad Ali. New York Times journalist Tom Wicker and Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald were also surveillance targets.

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A class-action suit targeting Google’s scanning of Gmail messages to deliver targeted advertising can go ahead, based on a federal anti-wiretapping law, a judge ruled Thursday.Google had filed a motion to dismiss the suit, saying that in regard to the Wiretap Act, its scanning of e-mail content was, first, part of the ordinary course of its business as an e-mail provider and, second, something consented to by Gmail users and the people with whom they e-mail.

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Not surprisingly, the primary focus is the engine’s ability to understand what you want, however you say it.

Answers

Knowledge graph—Google’s new and improved sentient know-it-all answer engine—is growing up. For example, if you say, “Tell me about impressionist painters,” it will present a layout you can scroll through, showing you different types of impressionism. Click into cubism, and it’ll bring up some stuff about Picasso. It’s essentially adding more layers.

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According to a teardown analysis from IHS and obtained by AllThingsD, the cost of components and manufacturing for the iPhone 5C is from $173 to $183, depending on capacity and including $7 for assembly. The iPhone 5S costs at least $199 (for the 16 GB model) for components and assembly. What’s more, IHS says that aside from the fingerprint sensor, A7 processor and new memory chips in the iPhone 5S, they’re essentially the same phone. Of course, this is just the cost for components and assembly, and Apple has to factor other costs into the production of the iPhone, including shipping and marketing.

Posted via a mobile Android device.

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Gay human rights issues in Russia taken to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as  the opera “Eugene Onegin” by the Russian gay composer Tchaikovsky is performed. 

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Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko was heckled by an audience member at the Met.

Gay-rights protesters have disrupted the gala opening of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. 

They were protesting a new Russian law banning “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships,” which was signed in June by President Vladimir Putin.

Before the start of the performance on September 23, one man in the audience shouted, “Putin, end your war on Russian gays!”

The protester also criticized the performance’s two Russian stars, opera singer Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev.

Both Netrebko and Gergiev were vocal supporters of Putin in his last election.  The man addressed the two, shouting, “Anna, your silence is killing Russian gays! Valery, your silence is killing Russian gays!”.

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In case you were wondering about the difference between Lesbians and Gays, there is an article in the Guardian on the subject:

Are lesbians from Mars and gay men from Venus? Or are the two groups bound together like close and loving siblings, having separate interests and lives but loving each other just the same?

This is one of the questions I am asking during the course of writing my book on the state of the gay nation. Survey results so far have found that on some issues, such as whether we are “born that way” or not, and on the causes and consequences of anti-gay bigotry, we are miles apart, but on others we agree. Some interviews with prominent members of the lesbian and gay community have ended with an admission that, in the words of one life-long gay activist, “We are like chalk and cheese but shoved together by the homophobes.”

But the fact remains that gay men and lesbians appear to have little in common except for being vulnerable to bigotry and discrimination. Our social scenes are very different, and lesbians are more likely to be coerced into heterosexuality and straight marriage than men. Punishment rapes of lesbians do not just happen in Africa, and there are far fewer positive lesbian role models in the media than there are of gay men.

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Just in case you thought that Pope Francis was sent by God to help gays regain their dignity. We have this:

From all of last week’s headlines saying that the Pope wants to forget this nonsense about abortion and gays, you’d imagine that Germaine Greer had been elected to run the Catholic Church. Actually what the Pope was saying was that he wants the Church to talk more about what it’s for than what it’s against. But that doesn’t mean it won’t still be against those things that contradict its teachings and traditions.

 Just ask Greg Reynolds of Melbourne – a priest who appears to have been both defrocked and excommunicated because of his radical views on women clergy and gay marriage.

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Next we have a interview with the  Russian Antigay MP Vitali Milonov. In the short clip Milonov claims that gays commit much more violence against heterosexuals than heterosexuals commit against gays,  “It’s not true. I think that much violence goes from gay people to straight people. Much more violence”.

French journalist Julien Pain has provided AMERICAblog with exclusive footage of Russian anti-gay member of parliament, Vitaly Milonov (the author of Russia’s infamous anti-gay “propaganda” law), attempting to crash, and close down, a gay festival in St. Petersburg, Russia this past Thursday.

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Russian vigilantes kidnap and attack a young gay Russian they first stalked on a local social media site.

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Lee Daniels, the director of this summer’s blockbuster, “The Butler,” says his father beat him for being gay. In an August interview, the director of 2009′s “Precious” talks about homophobia and racism, and how that impacted his childhood and his later works.

“I ran from that for such a long time – my identity – because I was beaten for it, and then my dad died and I was sort of happy that he did because I dunno that I would have been alive, he’d just kept beating me for being gay,” Daniels told KCRW. ”So my mom didn’t want me around cause then… in the African American community we don’t embrace that [being gay]. You know, we simply don’t because men have to be strong and being gay is not a good thing. And so my mom took me to an all-white school… at that point I went from being ‘gay, gay, gay’ to ‘n—er, n—er, n—er.’ …It’s a very, very, very painful experience to live and I try to show that in all of my work, you know, the personal atrocities that I’ve lived.”

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In case you thought the homophone and gay human rights violator Vladimir Putin could not get more ridiculous,  we have this:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is defending former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, linking the septuagenarian media magnate’s conviction for sex with underage prostitutes to criticism of Russia’s new anti-gay law.

“Berlusconi is being tried for living with women, but if he’d been living with men, as a homosexual, no one would have dared lay a finger on him,” Mr. Putin said during the 10th annual Valdai Discussion Club in Russia, according to the Russian Interfax news agency.

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Rob and Linda Robertson regret pushing their son to become straight, and they want LGBT people to know heaven won’t be complete without them.

Rob and Linda Robertson, evangelical Christians whose gay son died of a drug overdose, have contributed a moving video to the Not All Like That Christians Project.

The story of the Robertsons and their son Ryan became well-known after they posted a video on Facebook in January, titled “Just Because He Breathes:  Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son.” The Seattle couple had encouraged Ryan to try to become straight through prayer, but this strategy resulted in him abandoning his family and his faith.

During the period of estrangement, he became addicted to drugs, and his parents realized they had been sending him a wrong and hurtful message about being gay. 

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The deaf gay community:

Hands and fingers move through the air with amazing speed and precision. I sit watching, hoping the weak smile on my face will mask my befuddlement. All I see in these movements is a blur; everyone else at the table sees jokes, anecdotes, and answers to the omnipresent dinner party question, “What have you been up to lately?”.

While the rest of the world catches up and works to include the hearing impaired in the fabric of society, the deaf have created their own community through organizations, social gatherings, and internet forums. In this way, the deaf community is much like the LGBT community, and a substantial body of research that looks at issues of inclusivity and diversity has included sections on challenges facing both deaf and LGBT individuals, as they are often the same. However, scant research has been done on those individuals who are both LGBT and deaf. This is surprising, considering what my sister, an interpreter for the deaf, has told me: “You’d be surprised how many deaf people are gay.”

How many exactly? No one is quite sure, as there has yet to be a definitive study to measure the population. According to DeafQueer.org, though, there are about 2.8 million deaf LGBT persons in the United States alone. However, their methodology for arriving at this number isn’t quite scientific. Using the questionable Kinsey estimate that ten percent of the population is gay or lesbian and the fact that there are 28 million deaf or hard of hearing people in the US, they conclude that 2.8 million of them – or ten percent – are gay or lesbian. My sister, who has only anecdotal evidence, would maintain that percentage is probably higher. 

A deaf gay couple adopts a child:

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Anti-Gay Pastors may be stirring violence against gays in the island of Jamaica:

After cries of ‘kill the battyman!’, a gay rights activist believes this incident is another that proves homophobic attacks are rising on the Caribbean island.

The next clip discusses the use of the bible to preach hate against gays. The video makes the point that the bible was used to support the holding of slaves in early America. It also makes the point that the bible does not mention lesbians; so logically the bible should not be used by sociopaths to preach hate against lesbians. At one point in the clip, we are told that if the bible were taken literally we would need to put to death nearly 200 million Americans.

In passing let me add that The Bible when taken literally is not only an instruments of oppression against gay people, it is also an instrument of oppression against heterosexual people. In fact close to 4 million gay men are currently married to straight women in America alone. These men were to a large extent mobilized by religious peddlers of gay hatred to embrace marriage with woman and  foreclose on their sexual orientation. The victims of this outcome were not only the men, but the straight women  that ended up married to them, not to mention the children of these families who grow up in an environment that thrives in inauthenticity.  

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A discussion of the impact evangelicals and their preaching  of hate against gays in Uganda.

“North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley shared with his congregation how he thinks the country should deal with the scourge of gay men and lesbians: Lock them into a pen with an electrified fence, drop food down to them, and because they can’t reproduce, they will die out. The Pastor’s leper colony-esque proposal came in response to the president’s endorsement of same-sex marriage…”

Pastor Charles Worley’s church entertains tax exempted status by nature of being a religious organization. Why should an organization that spews hate against the American people entertain tax exempted status? 

Samsung is reportedly introducing the Galaxy Note 3 Active next month, a version of the phone launched just weeks ago that incorporates Samsung’s new YOUM flexible OLED display technology. A Samsung official supposedly confirmed the release with the Asian Daily, but the company currently hasn’t released any official information.

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Sources claim this version of Samsung’s phone will come packed with a high-end metal chassis. The device will also be joined by a second, cheaper model seemingly addressing the iPhone 5C with an LCD screen and lower mainstream hardware. Whether these two devices actually make it outside Samsung’s home market of Korea is unknown at this point.