Climate change: UK to set bold emissions target

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 11:04 pm
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A world-leading climate change target up to the early 2030s is set to be confirmed by the British government, cutting emissions by 57%.

Paul Nurse: 'Research needs free movement to thrive'

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 10:55 pm
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Sir Paul Nurse says UK science will suffer unless any post-Brexit agreement allows the free movement of people.
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Posted by Sam Machkovech

(credit: Spencer E Holtaway)

Longtime Facebook users know better than to get comfy with how the site looks or works, as the service's decade of longevity has come in part due to constant refreshes—for better and for worse. The same might not be said for major news outlets who've grown to rely on Facebook as a source of traffic, and they may very well not care for the social network's latest site-tweak announcement.

In a Wednesday announcement, Facebook VP of Product Management Adam Mosseri declared that the site's algorithm would now shift towards "friends and family" content—a pledge that seems to appear every time Facebook talks about its algorithms. In today's case, however, Mosseri tucked the announcement's real meaning into a linked clarification: that all "pages" content would be pushed down in the general rankings. Meaning, if content is posted by a news outlet, a restaurant, or another establishment with its own "page" presence on Facebook, those posts will officially see "less of an impact."

Neither announcement touched upon "instant article" publication, a May 2015 initiative that saw multiple major news outlets—which all range from middle- to left-leaning—ally with Facebook to have stories directly publish on the social network as opposed to being hotlinked from their original sources. However, the announcement hinted at these kinds of stories possibly being deprioritized in the future. And the reasoning isn't hard to suss out: that whole conservative news-suppression mess from this May.

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Posted by John Timmer

NASA's Dawn mission has achieved a number of firsts, including being the first spacecraft to go into orbit around two different bodies. The second of those destinations is Ceres, a dwarf planet that is by far the largest body in the asteroid belt. That visit has now shown us that a lot of our expectations for what we would find at Ceres were wrong: it's not an icy body, but liquid water has helped shape the dwarf planet's most dramatic features.

A couple of papers that analyze Dawn data have appeared in Nature journals this week. In one case, they suggest that the dwarf planet's composition is much rockier than we expected. But the other suggests that the mysterious bright spots found in some of Ceres' craters are the result of salty brines making their way to the surface.

Our thoughts about Ceres prior to Dawn's visit were dominated by the dwarf planet's relatively low density. This suggested to many people that it must be composed largely of water, although the surface was darker than you would expect from water ice that was expected to be a thin veneer over an icy world. Craters were also expected to be relatively scarce, as water ice is semi-viscous at the temperatures (120K and up) expected to be found on Ceres.

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Posted by Jessica Lachenal

Ryan Murphy and some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities got together with the Human Rights Campaign to create a video tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting. Clocking in at 18 minutes long, it’s a heck of a powerful video filled with celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Chris Pine, Lea Michele, Kid Cudi, and Caitlyn Jenner. (via The Daily Dot)

  • A hopeful politician just dropped the ball by quoting the wrong Hamilton in a targeted message to his opponent. Oliver Rosenberg called out New York Representative Jerrold Nadler by quoting a line from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, not Alexander Hamilton the person. It wasn’t a reference, because, well, it was just given so earnestly. (via The Slot)
  • Chrisitan/Catholic/otherwise Jesus-focused religious VR, folks, this one’s for you: there’s a virtual reality movie about Jesus coming out this Christmas. (via Variety)
  • Vaguely, tangentially, kind of not really related to that: AMC’s Preacher just got renewed for a second season. Where’s the virtual reality version of that? (via Deadline)

Classic Spider-Man animated series fans, here you go. It’s an hour-long block of old Spider-Man Animated Series music. Sit back, pull up your favorite awkward Spider-Man GIFs, and enjoy. (via Geek)

Want to challenge your beer pong buddies to an advanced-level game? Put away your quidditch rules, this here’s Roomba Beer Pong. (via Laughing Squid)

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Posted by Mike Smithson

The first poll of members has big CON member backing for the Home Secretary

Let us lust remind ourselves how the CON leadership election works. There will be a series of secret ballot of MPs until they get down to a final two – then the choice will be made by party members in a postal ballot.

So of all the polls the ones we should pay most attention are those tonight from YouGov which has very good news for May and disappointing news for the long term front-runner, Mr. Johnson.

Of course it might be that these will not be the final two and in the past the Tory election process has thrown up surprises. In 2001 the big favourite, Michael Portillo, did not make the final cut and the Tories ended up with IDS who was ousted two years later.

I think that Johnson suffers from not having been a cabinet minister and in this election the party is choosing the next PM.

Mike Smithson

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Posted by Anthony Wells

Tomorrow’s Times has a poll of Conservative party members about the forthcoming leadership election, showing Theresa May ahead of the supposed favourite, Boris Johnson. Asked who would they would prefer as party leader May is on 36% to Johnson’s 27% (Andrea Leadsom and Stephen Crabb are both on 7%, Liam Fox is on 4%). Party members only actually get to vote on the final two candidates of course, and in a straight contest between Theresa May and Boris Johnson current support stands at May 55%, Johnson 38% – a seventeen point lead for May. The full tables are here.

Theresa May appears to have had a good EU referendum campaign or at least, by standing a little aside from it her reputation has survived intact while most other Tory politicians have been damaged. When YouGov asked Tory members if they had positive or negative impressions of various politicians 72% were positive about May, up 4 from before the referendum. In contrast Boris Johnson was at 58% (down 18 since the referendum), Gove 63% (down 6), Sajid Javid 42% (down 8), IDS 54% (down 9), George Osborne 47% (down 21). She is also one of relatively few figures who is positively regarded by both those members who supported remain and those members who supported leave.

Part of the turnaround appears to be the perception that Theresa May is better placed to unite the party – 64% of party members said this was one of the most important considerations (up twenty points since Febrary) and May has a thirty point lead over Johnson on who would be better able to unite the party (46% to 16%). Given the current political and economic situation, she also has a lead over Johnson on ability to handle a crisis (49% to 18%), taking tough decisions (46% to 18%) and negotiating with Europe (32% to 22%).

Boris Johnson’s own strengths are still apparent though – he is seen as by far the best media performer and the candidate who best understands how to win an election. Both he and Stephen Crabb are ahead of Theresa May on who party members think would be most in touch with ordinary people. While the poll shows him losing in a May -vs- Johnson run off, they still suggest Boris would win in a run-off against Stephen Crabb (by 54% to 31%) or Liam Fox (by 52% to 29%).

This is, of course, a very early poll – it was conducted between Monday and Wednesday, so before nominations opened or the final list of candidates was confirmed. Party members don’t yet know what pledges and promises the candidates will make, what their detailed stance will be on Europe or other key issues. For less well known candidates like Stephen Crabb many members won’t know much about them at all. As the race begins though, Theresa May has the early advantage.

Reading Wednesday

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 11:23 pm
rmc28: (wonderfrown)
[personal profile] rmc28
What I have read:
I have not been reading any books or short stories.  I have instead been reading way too much stuff about my country's current glorious political situation, mostly via Twitter and Facebook.  Have some highlights:

Happy Now pretty much covers my current emotional state (spoiler: not happy)
Brexit was a Con is a thoughtful comparison to the Scottish referendum

Things we can do:
On LJ, my friend [ profile] strange_complex wrote about things to do to "[try] to make this country the best place it can possibly be, given the hand we are now holding"

Two different guides to speaking up in response to hate speech: I sincerely hope not to need this, but I also know that preparing by thinking through my possible responses is the best way to avoid being part of the bystander effect.  The Guardian last November ran "How do I ... respond when I see racial abuse in public? and UNITED for Intercultural Action provide a leaflet Who, if not you? which covers similar ground.

More general again: good advice about how to argue with people if you actually want to persuade them rather than "win".

What I'm reading next:
Charles Stross's latest, The Nightmare Stacks, where I can escape into a world where the existential threat to my country is merely an alien invasion of Leeds.  Also I have now logged out of Facebook entirely on my phone, and hidden the Twitter shortcut, in an attempt to stop the negstimming.

Today's bird: Moorhen

#OscarsLessWhite: Introducing the 2016 Academy Class

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 10:07 pm
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Posted by Teresa Jusino


After years of #OscarsSoWhite complaints from film fans all over the world, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to finally, truly be making a dent in changing the face of its membership.

Geek favorites John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Emma Watson, and Alicia Vikander are only some of the 683 new members the Academy recently accepted across all film disciplines. That’s huge, considering that last year was then a “record-breaking” year with 322 new members. So, how does this year’s class compare to last year’s? The Academy’s website wants to make sure we know, considering they’ve pretty much doubled their numbers on all fronts: 46% of 2016 Class are women (compared to 22% last year), and 41% of 2016 Class are people of color (compared to 25% last year).

The Academy is also increasingly international. There are 283 international members in the new class and they’re from 59 countries. And in perhaps the best news of all of the 91 new directors accepted into the Academy this year, 48 of them are women, including TMS favorites like Lexi Alexander and Patty Jenkins! And as you can see in the tweet above, 29 of the 100 female directors listed over at Vulture are now Academy members.

Finally, the Academy seems to be putting its money where its  mouth is and moving toward gender parity with a vengeance. Here’s hoping this isn’t just a passing trend.

For the full list of new Academy members, check out the deets over at the AMPAS website.

(image via rocor/Flickr)

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Posted by Jessica Lachenal

In a striking video for BuzzFeed, Brittany Ashley and Ali Vingiano produced a 15 minute short film that examines a type of abuse that often isn’t so readily seen: emotional abuse. I should say right here that this video likely should be prefaced with a content warning regarding emotional abuse and possibly language. As well, there’s conversation about sex and a short shower scene, but no nudity is shown. That latter warning was mostly for you folks reading at work. That’s okay, we all do it.

Ashley and Vingiano discussed their thought process behind what went into making this gripping video in a conversation with the Huffington Post. Vingiano said, “We wanted to show how hard it can be to realize you’re in an unhealthy relationship, and how abuse isn’t always physical.”

What’s especially nice about the video is that it doesn’t focus on the heteronormative image of an abusive relationship; e.g., a male/female couple. They juxtapose the image of a heterosexual couple with the image of a lesbian couple, raising awareness that emotional abuse knows no gender bounds. “We hadn’t seen emotional abuse honestly depicted much in TV or media, and we especially hadn’t seen a story showing it within a lesbian relationship,” said Vingiano.

I found myself really appreciating the writing that went into this video, as well as the performances from all involved. As well, I found myself resonating with Ashley’s character in a lot of ways.

This video is well worth checking out. If you do find yourself resonating and believe that you’re in an abusive relationship, the Love Is Respect website has some resources for you. Be kind and take care of yourselves out there, okay?

(via Hello Giggles)

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Posted by Charline Jao

Get your fanfics ready! In response to “American Hogwarts,” which we found out on Pottermore is based in Massachusetts, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted J.K. Rowling that she’d be totally up for the Defense Against the Dark Arts job (or its equivalent) at the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With that spirit, you just know she’s in Wampus.

How cool would it be if Rowling wrote it in and make Warren’s professorship canon? Since the Ministry of Magic had offices dedicated to muggle affairs and a relationship with the Prime Minister, it’s not far-fetched that the MACUSA (the Magical Congress of the United States of America) has something similar going on with the No-Maj world. Senator Warren could totally teach magic on the side, stepping out periodically to the peaks of Mount Greylock to work at “one of the most democratic, least elitist of all the great wizarding schools.”

This wonderful list from Buzzfeed of presidential candidates as Hogwarts characters characterized Warren as Minerva McGonagall, which I’m also equally fine withbecause if anyone can beat the Defense Against the Dark Arts curse, it’s Elizabeth Warren.

(via Motto, Image via OversightandReform/Flickr))

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Posted by John Timmer

The world is awash in our waste heat. Our computers, our motors, our electrical generating plants—all of them shed heat into the environment. That's in part because there's no easy way to capture its energy and put it to use. All the existing methods we have for harvesting waste heat are either inefficient or uneconomical.

Now, some researchers have come up with a new method of grabbing some of that waste heat and potentially putting it to work. Their system relies on nothing more complex than water and a polymer membrane and, even in its first test form, it's already capturing roughly half of the possible Carnot efficiency available to the system.

We already generate lots of electricity via heat differences. It's just that those differences are large—large enough to create the pressure differences needed to drive turbines. Waste heat often becomes waste simply because the temperature differences are small, on the order of dozens of degrees Celsius, rather than hundreds.

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Posted by Jennifer Baker

Sadly, the Privacy Shield doesn't look like this. But there (may) be dragons breathing fire on the text. (credit: Game of Thrones)

The European Commission has sent the final draft of the EU-US Privacy Shield to national representatives and expect to get a yay or nay next Monday with a view to “adopting the implementing act” one day later on July 5.

Sources from the Article 31 group told Ars last week that they did not want to be rushed, but the Commission clearly has other ideas. The text, seen by Ars, has also been sent to the European Parliament who can give their opinion, but can’t actually block it.

The so-called Article 31 committee, which includes representatives from all 28 member states, as well as the European Commission, held a meeting on Wednesday and has another scheduled for Monday.

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Posted by Ron Amadeo

Evernote has been one of the leading note-taking services for some time, with clients for the Web and every major OS. The company recently announced sweeping changes to its "freemium" pricing strategy, which puts a big limit on the "free" tier and raises prices across the board for new and existing users.

The free tier, "Evernote Basic," is now limited to two devices. If you want to access your notes on more than two devices, you'll need to fork over some cash. "Devices" means any device with an official client installed (Evernote apps are available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Phone). Using Evernote on the Web does not count as an actual "device," nor do third-party apps that use the Evernote API. Managing device access now works a lot like some music services, where every installed client counts as "a device," and you can log in to a settings page and "revoke access" from each instance.

Both paid tiers are getting 40 percent price increases, too. "Evernote Plus," which is now needed by anyone with more than two devices, has seen the price jump from $24.99 per year to $34.99 per year (or $3.99 per month). Evernote Plus limits you to 1GB of uploads per month (the free tier is limited to 60MB). The "Premium" tier moved from $49.99 to $69.99. Premium raises uploaded data per month to 10GB and adds a ton of other features. New users will see the price increase right away, while existing users renewing a subscription will see the new pricing in August.

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Posted by Jessica Lachenal

Prepare your feelings: BoJack Horseman is coming back to Netflix.

Today, Netflix released the official season 3 trailer for BoJack Horseman, reminding you that existential crisis and emotional brutality await just around the corner. That’s right, for those of us who have latched onto the somehow delightful emotional wringer that is BoJack Horseman, our wait to hop back on the bandwagon is almost close to an end. This trailer shows off some of what we can expect in season 3, which is a far cry from where BoJack was in season 1, because he’s gone from washed up cartoon horse to new Hollywood media darling, all in the span of one biopic.

The end of season 2 saw BoJack struggling to make himself a better horse man horseman, after he hit below-rock-bottom. After syncing up with his old crush (who’s now married and has a kid) and positively blowing that relationship away in the most cringe-worthy, “Oh my gosh, I’m so embarrassed for you” way, he’s back in Hollywoo and now focused on himself–without the weight of a former love weighing him down.

While it’s hard to see BoJack as a wholly sympathetic character, he’s found a way to resonate with a lot of people, myself included. I, personally, am very much looking forward to July 22nd, when season 3 premieres. You can bet I’ll be marathoning the heck out of that one.

(via /Film)

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Posted by Mark Valladares

Whilst the rest of Westminster (and beyond) is talking about Brexit and the emerging leadership contests in both the Conservative and Labour Parties, legislating continues in the House of Lords at least.

Ros has been a proponent of transport policy for many years, and this particular bill is especially important to her, offering as it does a chance to improve transport links for those living in rural communities like Creeting St Peter. She isn't terribly impressed by the response of the Government to some of the points that she has already raised though... 

Baroness Scott of Needham Market (LD)

My Lords, I wish to speak to my Amendment 5A, which is in this group. When I reread the Second Reading debate and reflected on the amendments which have been tabled, it struck me very forcefully that a huge number of them relate in some way or other to the question of accessibility, whether that is accessibility of ticketing and information or in terms of proper provision for people with disabilities or people in rural areas or of different age groups. That led me further to think that perhaps the fact that so many amendments are being tabled about accessibility suggests that there is something fundamentally missing in the ambition of the Bill. I have tabled this amendment because it is important sometimes to have aspiration and to say right up-front that this is not just about stopping the decline, as my noble friend said earlier, but about something more than that and about actually improving the standards of services. That is why I have tabled this amendment. Otherwise, there is a danger that it becomes primarily a sort of regulatory and financial Bill that is not underpinned with aspiration.

I am particularly concerned about rural bus provision—coming from a rural area, I guess that that is inevitable. As I said at Second Reading, I can understand why tiny villages like mine no longer have bus services, but we are now in the position where quite sizeable communities no longer have bus services after, say, 6 pm, or at all on Sundays. Some quite large villages now have no bus services at all. The community transport network has, to a large extent, stepped in to meet that provision, but in Suffolk and other local authorities that is under threat, too. I am disappointed not to have received a written response from the Minister’s department to the points I raised at Second Reading, and, specifically, to one which has emerged in Suffolk, where the retendering of community transport in the Mid Suffolk area, where I live, has resulted in passengers no longer being able to use their concessionary bus passes. The noble Lord is an imaginative man, and I am sure he can understand how much distress this has caused people locally. I would like to review this issue in the regulations which say that a nine-seater vehicle cannot be eligible for the use of bus passes. I did raise this, and I would like him to respond—not today probably, but in writing.

My understanding was that we would also have something about rural proofing in time for this stage, and we have not received that either, unless it is in the impact assessment, which I have not had time to read in detail. I have had a look through and have not spotted very much—my noble friend is now indicating there is very little. I think that means there may be some rural issues that we will have to return to on Report, as we clearly cannot deal with them now.

This franchising approach can really deliver for rural areas if we get it right, so I am very positive about the general provision. I have been in contact with people in Jersey, where they brought in a franchising system. They have 80 buses serving a population of 100,000; yet, in that very small pool, they have had an increase of 32% in passenger numbers in the last three years, and, significantly, they have saved £1 million in public subsidies. This shows that this is not just about scale—you can have a win-win situation of saving money and improving accessibility. I do think that, if we get this Bill right, we can deliver that for our rural areas.

I asked the Minister at Second Reading about links with home-to-school transport, which is again significant in rural areas. It is not just about access to education—although, goodness knows, that is the most important reason for the provision of transport to young people—because there is a close relationship between the provision of education bus services and the normal services. However, it goes deeper than that, because local authorities spend a significant amount of money on public transport for pupils, particularly those with special education needs. Young people and children with special educational needs are encouraged to use public transport as a way of preparing them for leading full lives later. Indeed, the Children and Families Act 2014 specifically encourages the giving of bus passes to young people with SEND. Yet in rural areas there are increasingly no buses on which to use the bus passes. For example, Surrey currently spends £25.5 million a year on SEND transport. If we can find a way of bringing some of this together, we can get much better value and improve the services. But there is a fear among community transport and smaller operators that the Bill as drafted is just there for larger companies, and will not help them.

Finally, there is one way I think this might be dealt with. It came to me rather late, and I apologise for that—otherwise, I might have tabled a separate amendment. We do have the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, which includes transport services. I wonder whether the Minister could undertake to include reference to this in the guidance to remind local authorities that, using the social value Act, they can take a broader view of the services they provide in terms of placing a value on social as well as financial outcomes.

For the rest of the debate, here's the link to Hansard...
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Posted by Carolyn Cox


Poor James Cameron. You make a few offhand, lukewarm comments about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and suddenly everyone has opinions about your opinions.

During an interview ‘discovered’ on YouTube by IndieWire, the Titanic and Avatar director shared these thoughts about J.J. Abrams’ addition to the Star Wars franchise: “Well, George Lucas is a friend of mine and he and I were having a good conversation the other day about it. I don’t want to say too much about the film cause I also have a lot of respect for J.J. Abrams, and I want to see where they’re taking it next, to see what they’re doing with it. I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters. So for me the jury’s out, I wanna see where they go with it.”

Here’s the video:

Personally, I think Cameron was fairly diplomatic here, being forthright about his own tastes and biases while also saying he looks forward to everything else this new trilogy has to offer. I do agree with him that, when compared to A New Hope, The Force Awakens perhaps just “retrenched” old ground, but it also drastically changed the franchises’ gender representation and recaptured the heart I felt was lost in the prequels.

What tickles me about Cameron’s comments is the image of him and George Lucas, hanging out together and ragging on The Force Awakens. George and James have been chummy for some timejust look at this card Cameron received from his pal Lucas after Titanic‘s box office success—and I’m sure it would be funny to hear the two of them talk shop. Oh, to be a mynock on that wall…

(via Collider, image via Featureflash Photo Agency/

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Posted by Teresa Jusino


Now that women are allowed to serve in all combat positions in the US military, it makes sense that each branch would start making their language, I dunno, gender neutral. Especially considering that even before women were serving in these position, one’s job in the military was never being a man, it was using a rifle, or driving a tank. Well, the US Marines are finally doing just that…and it’s not making everyone entirely happy. But it’s like, you know, totally not a big deal. Whatever.

The US Marines have recently changed 19 out of 29 titles for combat positions to reflect the 233 female enlistees who’ve qualified for those positions in recent months. According to The Washington Post, “The list of jobs removes the word “man” from 15 of the titles and replaces it with Marine. In other changes, “antitank missileman” has been renamed “antitank gunner,” and “field artillery operations man” is now “field artillery operations chief.” The three titles associated with the job formerly known as “reconnaissance man” will now refer to reconnaissance Marine.

However, not all titles will change. “Rifleman” and “mortarman” are still in use, as are eight other titles. Which confuses me, because couldn’t they just call them, like “Rifle operator” or “mortar Marine?” Or couldn’t they just call them all “shooters?”

Still, this is a great step forward. Well, it is to most people. There are some (mostly men) in the military who aren’t thrilled, though they will insist that it’s not that big of a deal, whatever, pssht. It’s just, you know, a sign of political correctness. And, you know, who wants that? As reported by Jezebel:

“On one hand, the name changes from ‘man’ to ‘person’ or whatever they want to call it doesn’t really matter. They could call mortarmen bakers for all I care,” said Sergeant Geoff Heath, a Marine rifleman and combat veteran, in an interview with WaPo. “But on the other, it’s a direct reflection on society’s crybaby political correctness.”

I mean, I’m totally not gonna cry about it or whatever, but this is clearly a sign of what crybabies people are. Crybabies.

So, “it doesn’t really matter?” Then why do you even need to have an opinion about it? If it’s not a big deal, why not allow the change to go unremarked upon? Also from Jezebel:

Other statements WaPo kindly collected from Terminal Lance—a Facebook group dedicated to the comic of the same name whose subject matter centers around Marine culture—indicate similar sentiments.

“Not really seeing why this matters,” wrote one commentor. “A marine is a marine. If this triggers you well … not really sure what to say honestly. You’d think someone who has seen combat would have more stones.”

It always amuses me that women are considered the “emotional, irrational” ones, but the second you take the word “man” off of something, men have to bust out the condescension and defensiveness. It’s almost as if they can’t help themselves. It’s almost as if…men are being irrational and emotional.

Welcome to Patriarchy, everyone! Where the town motto is: “It’s totally OK if men do it.”

(image via Shutterstock)

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Posted by Charline Jao

The first trailer for Netflix original film Tallulah is here, and it promises a stellar and emotional performance from Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Tammy Blanchard about different kinds of motherhood. The cast also includes Zachary Quinto, John Benjamin Hickey, and Uzo Aduba.

Page plays the title character, Lu, who “lives in a van and is fiercely independent in her hand-to-mouth existence.” The story begins with her boyfriend Nico abandoning her in New York City. As she scavenges for leftovers at a hotel, she comes across a negligent mother played by Blanchard. Before she leaves, she takes baby Madison with her and ends up at the doorstep of Nico’s estranged mother with the lie that Madison is hers.

In addition to having three female leads, the team behind the screens consists largely of women, from cinematographer Paula Huidobro, to the assistant director, gaffer, production designer, costume designer, and DP. “I think Sian and I both agree that it’s whoever is the best man for the job,” says producer Heather Rae.

Orange is the New Black director Sian Heder is the writer and director of Talulah, which was based on her 2006 short film Mother, which was also based her own baby-sitting experience in Los Angeles. Notably, Heder had one child and was pregnant with another during production, though she says in an LA Times interview that she doesn’t want the narrative “to be the story of the mommy filmmaker.”

Tallulah will be on Netflix July 29th. Are you going to check it out?

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Posted by Jessica Lachenal

Joey Fatone, whom you may recognize from his stint as one of the legendary members of *NSYNC, has recently announced that he’s getting into the hot dog business. He tweeted the announcement and unveiled his new logo, as you can see above. Somehow, someway, we all kind of knew that the one member of *NSYNC who often referred to himself as The Fat One would end up opening a sausage cart called Fat One’s in the Florida Mall. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

What’s especially funny is that Fatone shared some info on what you can expect to buy at Fat One’s. As a patron of this fine establishment, you can expect to find “100% Angus beef dogs that you can enjoy pressed in a variety of styles from the Reuben to the Gone Hollywood to the Boybander (5 mini hot dogs).” It’s clear that he’s got a sense of humor. So, in the spirit of good humor, we would like to suggest some of our top contenders (top dogs as it were) for possible food names at Fat One’s Hot Dogs & Italian Ice.

  • “Bye Bye Bison”
  • “I’ll Be Back for Boar”
  • “It’s Gonna Be Mayonnaise” (alternatively: “It’s Gonna Be Me(at)”)
  • “Tearin Up My Harissa”
  • “Merry Christmas, Happy Hollandaise”
  • “This I Promise Bleu (Cheese)”
  • “Pop” (This one wrote itself.)
  • “I Want You Baby Back” Ribs
  • “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Thyme on You”
  • “I Chive Myself Crazy”
  • “Crazy for Stew”
  • Kaleing
  • “No Potato Strings Attached”
  • “Shellfish”

We’re available for consulting, Fatone. Have your people call our people.

(via Elite Daily)

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Facebook gives friends higher priority in News Feeds

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 07:17 pm
[syndicated profile] bbc_technology_news_feed
Facebook is to give posts by users' friends and family greater prominence - a move that may challenge professional publishers.

HydraCap: So That’s the Explanation. Now What?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 06:45 pm
[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Teresa Jusino

Red Skull reads to Kobik

I had mixed feelings about the ending of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1. With this week’s Issue #2 from Marvel, we learn how it happened. What may be more important to readers, however, is why it happened and what it means for the story writer Nick Spencer is trying to tell. **SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #2**

Cap #2 cover

As I mentioned yesterday, the thing that turned Captain America all Hydra was what many suspected, a form of mind control. Steve Rogers’ memories of he and his mother being recruited by Hydra were planted in his mind by Kobik, the Cosmic Cube fragments that, thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D during the events of Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill, evolved into a sentient four-year-old girl.

Kobik was created as S.H.I.E.L.D was secretly experimenting on fragments from the Cosmic Cube. The fragments became erratic and eventually merged into a single, confused entity that took the form of a child to symbolize that confusion. S.H.I.E.L.D used Kobik’s ability to imprison supervillains in a prison disguised to look like a quaint small town called Pleasant Hill, where Kobik alters reality in the minds of these villains, making them docile and keeping them in town. This is an idea that S.H.I.E.L.D commander, Maria Hill, came to of her own free will, highlighting the shady side that even an organization like S.H.I.E.L.D can have.

Now, it seems that Red Skull has taken control of Kobik, guiding her into thinking Hydra is awesome. For, you see, Kobik wants to be good, and has the power to seek out goodness and purity in people and things and bringing it to life. So, if Kobik is taught to think that Hydra is good and pure…well, you know how that turned out.

Hydra very definitely started as an organization that supported Nazis and the Empire of Japan that was created by Jewish creators in order to write about the events of World War II. However, Hydra has continued beyond that, being true to its namesake’s many-headed nature and finding a home in pretty much any administration, organization, or government that thrives on injustice, intolerance, and greed. Meanwhile, Red Skull seems less loyal to any particular regime and more loyal to his own power. He simply uses the regimes Hydra infiltrates to gain power in a way that suits his…sensibilities:

red skull over it

Red Skull and Hydra’s only true ideal is that Red Skull should control everyone.

These stories, in Avengers and in the Captain America titles, seem to be riding that line really hard — the line between actual ideals and the desire for power and control — by showing us that even those symbols and organizations we trust most, even those with “really good reasons for doing what they do,” have trouble distinguishing between those things. And so, S.H.I.E.L.D becomes an organization willing to take away people’s free will…for the greater good. Steve Rogers is shown to be a member of an organization that is against everything America supposedly stands for, even as he’s draped in the flag.

Sure, “mind control” is a thing that’s been used countless times in comics and other genre stories. But as Red Skull frighteningly points out above, it’s not about controlling someone’s mind entirely. It’s about forcing them to give you their free will. It’s about training Kobik so that she then comes to her own conclusions about Hydra being good. It’s about planting a childhood memory on Steve Rogers so that he comes to support Hydra of his own free will. It’s about breaking people. It’s about teaching them to give up their freedom of their own volition.

People may not be thrilled that this is happening to Captain America of all heroes, but at a time when a serious US Presidential candidate is an out-and-out sexist, racist homophobe, and “Brexit” passed because of anti-immigrant sentiments, we can see that people’s willingness to give up their own freedom in the name of “safety” is very real, and worth exploring in our fiction. Perhaps there needs to exist a Captain America that embodies the worst in us for a while — a white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed version that holds a mirror up to a majority of the people in the country, holding them accountable for their complicity in their own privilege — contrasted with a Captain America that continues to embody our best, in order for us to truly see that freedom is not something that can or should be given up, or taken away from others. It is something that should be protected and nurtured for everyone.

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[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed
The other day I blogged about the mystery of the failure of Leicester South's Jon Ashworth to resign from the shadow cabinet.

Since then the mystery has only deepened. Jeremy Corbyn is down to 40 supporters in the parliamentary party, but Jon Ashworth has still not resigned. He sits their among the Cat Smiths and Richard Burgons.

Yet neither has he offered any public explanation of his decision.

It has been suggested to me locally that Ashworth has stayed put because he is on the hard left. But, as I said in my earlier post, he was an Ed Miliband loyalist. And people from that strand of Labour thinking have now resigned.

The other story I have been told makes more sense: he is under severe pressure from his constituency party. But then, as my source said, so are many Labour MPs and it didn't stop them resigning.

Still, Ashworth has spoken out. As Dan Martin, the Leicester Mercury's political correspondent tweeted earlier, he has written an article for Labour List on the Conservative leadership:
The Conservatives have revealed themselves as incapable of providing the answers we need and as ever, it is those most in need who will suffer the most at the hands of their failure. David Cameron might be losing his job, but he won’t be the hardest hit.

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