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Posted by Bridget Crawford

Spotlight on UDC Legislation Clinic Students’ Advocacy for #TamponTax Repeal

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I mentioned here that students in the Legislation Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law were among those testifying on behalf of the proposed legislation repealing D.C. tax on diapers and menstrual hygiene products.

The students’ testimony is available here. Some local news outlets feature the students’ work, here and here.

This is a concrete example of how student advocacy can lead to real-life impact.  Congratulations to Professor Marcy Karin, who leads the Legislation Clinic at UDC, and to her students!

Feminist Law Professors

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Sam Machkovech

TwitchCon, the annual convention dedicated to its namesake's popular game-streaming service, kicked off on Thursday evening with an event hosted by Amazon Game Studios. There, the game publisher announced that Twitch will begin doling out a form of currency called "Stream+," which will debut in the upcoming sports-brawling multiplayer game Breakaway.

An Amazon Game Studios rep mentioned the currency while describing various ways the new game will "integrate directly" with Twitch (which makes a certain level of sense, since Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014). The reveal included a brief snippet of Breakaway action that confirmed viewers' ability to wager on matches and "earn Stream+ Coins by watching."

The reveal was otherwise scant on Stream+ details. Amazon didn't confirm exactly how the coins could be spent and what they would unlock, either within Breakaway or throughout the Twitch ecosystem, not to mention whether Stream+ currency could be bought, sold, or traded. Gambling watchdog groups will surely keep a careful eye on this implementation, especially in light of a major gambling scandal that dogged the Steam gaming marketplace. In that instance, enterprising users found workarounds to trade and monetize in-game currencies and items—and built significant wagering sites as a result.

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D.C. Considering Repeal of the Tampon Tax

Friday, September 30th, 2016 01:52 pm
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Posted by Bridget Crawford

D.C. Considering Repeal of the Tampon Tax

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The Council of the District of Columbia’s Finance and Revenue Committee held hearings earlier this week on B21-696, the “Feminine Hygiene and Diapers Sales Tax Exemption Amendment Act of 2016.” Students in the Legislation Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law were among those testifying on behalf of the proposed legislation.

Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post’s coverage:

Advocates for women urged the D.C. Council to lift the sales tax on diapers, tampons and pads at the first public hearing Wednesday for legislation that is being promoted across the country.

“What, how and who we tax speaks volumes about what we value as a community and a city,” said Corinne Cannon of the D.C. Diaper Bank, adding that the savings in sales tax could allow families to buy an additional dozen diapers a month.

District residents currently don’t pay sales taxes on groceries and medically necessary drugs — including Viagra.

Some advocates said taxes on feminine hygiene products were like a tax for being a woman, and argued that jurisdictions should not classify them as “luxury goods.”
At the hearing before the council’s finance and revenue committee, about a half-dozen women testified in favor of suspending the taxes. The committee’s chair, Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), said he supported the legislation.

Maryland doesn’t tax tampons and diapers; Virginia does. A bill that would eliminate the taxes on feminine hygiene products failed in Virginia this year.

The full WaPo article is here.

Feminist Law Professors

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Posted by Eric Berger

Enlarge (credit: NASA)

Senior managers in NASA’s International Space Station program have begun internal discussions about the possibility of buying additional Soyuz seats for US astronauts in 2019, two sources have told Ars. Although any final decision will likely come after the presidential election, the issue is “on people’s minds” at Johnson Space Center as confidence in operational commercial crew flights beginning from US soil by or before 2019 is shaky.

Ars understands that NASA has not formally broached the topic with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency which builds the Soyuz spacecraft and rockets and manages their launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Negotiations would need to begin fairly soon, however, as it typically takes as long as three years of lead time for the Russians to manufacture additional launch vehicles.

Uncertainty in the production timelines for Boeing and SpaceX, which are both developing capsules to carry humans to the space station, has driven contingency discussions about additional seats at the Houston-based space center. Publicly, NASA has maintained the hope that at least one private vehicle would be capable of operational missions by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Boeing has already slipped its schedule into early 2018, however. SpaceX has maintained the possibility of a later 2017 launch date, but with its recent accident, delays seem inevitable. Privately, NASA planners are concerned about additional delays that might slip those schedules further, into 2019.

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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

We’re all* excited about Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition (*based on the fact that infinity people clicked on it), with its library of built-in classic NES games and notable improvement over your original NES that it has an HDMI connection/didn’t get sold at a yard sale 15 years ago. But, Nintendo is, of course, introducing the Japanese version as well, which mimics the look of the Japanese console that would become our NES. Now we have options, and options are hard.

Sure, you’d have to import the mini Famicom from Japan, but with built-in games and plug-and-play functionality, that’d be a lot easier than dealing with an actual import console and import games. Like me, you may have been too young while playing the NES to have any concept of regional console differences, but now you, too, can get the truly original Nintendo 8-bit experience! That is, if you’re willing to forgo your own nostalgia in the process—or if you’re some kind of fancy-pants who can afford both.

Or maybe you’re just a completionist, because the mini Famicom actually comes with a slightly different library of games (compared to the NES classic), including River City Ransom and Final Fantasy III (via Ars Technica):

  • Donkey Kong
  • Pac-Man
  • Excitebike
  • Balloon Fight
  • Ice Climber
  • Galaga
  • Yie Ar Kung-Fu
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Atlantis no Nazo
  • Gradius
  • Makai Village
  • Solomon’s Key
  • Metroid
  • Castlevania
  • Adventures of Link
  • Bumping Sumo
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Mega Man 2
  • River City Ransom
  • Double Dragon Ⅱ The Revenge
  • Super Tamashito Luo
  • Final Fantasy Ⅲ
  • Dr. Mario
  • Downtown Nekketsu March Soreyuke
  • Mario Open Golf
  • Super Mario USA (Super Mario Bros. 2 in the US)
  • Kirby’s Adventure

The mini Famicom goes on sale November 10 in Japan for about $59 plus import costs.


(via Ars Technica, image via Screenshot)

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About our “Ig Glorious” ticket holders

Friday, September 30th, 2016 02:01 pm
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Posted by David Kessler

The audiences who come to Sanders Theater to watch the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony include scientists, science enthusiasts, and people who have no connection to science. Some of them come individually, some of them come in groups (self-organized Official Audience Delegations). And then there are the very special “Ig Glorious” ticket holders.

“Ig Glorious” tickets are a way for a few of our audience members to be especially (and financially) supportive of the Igs. They sit in excellent locations and enjoy access to the “Ig Glorious Liaison”,  a glorious  person who assists them in small, glorious ways throughout the evening. Ig Glorious ticket holders receive a few other perks as well, such as a gift bag that holds: (1) an Ig Nobel poster signed by at least one of the new winners; and (2) other inconsequential items.

And immediately after the ceremony officially concludes, they can pose for a photo on the Ig Nobel stage with one of the Human Spotlights! Here’s what that looks like:

One of our 2016 "Ig Glorious" ticket holders, onstage with a Human Spotlight

One of our 2016 “Ig Glorious” ticket holders, onstage with a Human Spotlight. The Human Spotlight is on the right, holding a non-human spotlight aimed at an Ig Glorious person.

Two of our 2015 "Ig Glorious" ticket holders, onstage with a Human Spotlight

Two of our 2015 “Ig Glorious” ticket holders, onstage with two Human Spotlights. The Human Spotlights are on the far left and the far right. The one on the left is Jim Bredt, who invented the concept of a Human Spotlight and who also is one of the inventors of 3D-printing. The one on the right is Katrina Rosenberg.

Two of our 2016 "Ig Glorious" ticket holders, onstage with a Human Spotlight

Two of our 2016 “Ig Glorious” ticket holders, onstage with a Human Spotlight. The Human Spotlight is the one who, in this photograph, has no visible clothing.

[syndicated profile] bbc_science_news_feed
Mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, react to confirmation that the Rosetta probe has ended its mission to Comet 67P by crash-landing on to the icy object's surface.

Rosetta mission: 'Really sad, but the legacy lives on'

Friday, September 30th, 2016 01:15 pm
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Professor Monica Grady of the Open University gives her reaction to the Rosetta probe crash landing into the comet it has been studying for two years.
[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Jennifer Baker

Enlarge / What's in a name? Mansplaining 101 (credit: Victor/Victoria, MGM)

Ladies, don’t reveal your gender or potential tech employers won’t hire you, a California venture capitalist has warned.

John Greathouse is a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture-capital firm, and previously a serial entrepreneur according to the Wall Street Journal, which published his op-ed. Josh also teaches entrepreneurship at University of California at Santa Barbara.

“Professional women, are you properly curating your online first impression?” he begins—but it’s obvious to Joel that the answer is no.

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Guilty plea for Syrian Electronic Army accomplice

Friday, September 30th, 2016 01:12 pm
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A Syrian man pleads guilty to charges of helping the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) extort cash from hacking victims.
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Posted by Danny Soz

cometThe team working on the Rosetta mission have filed an insurance claim after insisting the comet pulled out in front of them.

So far no conference or JC re-election bounce for LAB

Friday, September 30th, 2016 12:23 pm
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Posted by Mike Smithson

No change at YouGov following events of last week

New findings on TMay

But BREXIT not seen to be going well

Little appetite for an early election

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Posted by Anthony Wells

There are new YouGov voting intention figures for the Times this morning, with topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. The Conservatives continue to have a solid lead and there is no sign of any benefit to Labour from their party conference (fieldwork was on Wednesday and Thursday, so directly after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech).

Theresa May has been Prime Minister for two and a half months now, so we’re still in the sort of honeymoon period. Most of her premiership so far has consisted of the summer holidays when not much political news happens and she’s had the additional benefit of her opposition being busy with their own leadership contest. Now that is over and we approach May’s own party conference and the resumption of normal politics.

Theresa May’s own ratings remain strong. 46% of people think she is doing well, 22% badly. Asking more specific questions about her suitability for the role most people (by 52% to 19%) think she is up to the job of PM, she is seen as having what it takes to get things done (by 53% to 19%), and having good ideas to improve the country (by 35% to 27%). People don’t see her as in touch with ordinary people (29% do, 40% do not) but that is probably because she is still a Conservative; David Cameron’s ratings on being in touch were poor throughout his premiership. The most worrying figure in there for May should probably be that people don’t warm to her – 32% think she has a likeable personality, 35% do not. One might well say this shouldn’t matter, but the truth is it probably does. People are willing to give a lot more leeway to politicians they like. In many way Theresa May’s ratings – strong, competent, but not particularly personally likeable – have an echo of how Gordon Brown was seen by the public when he took over as Prime Minister. That didn’t end well (though in fairness, I suppose Mrs Thatcher was seen in a similar way).

The biggest political obstacle looming ahead of Theresa May is, obviously, Brexit. So far people do not think the government are doing a good job of it. 16% think they are handling Brexit negotiations well, 50% badly. Both sides of the debate are dissatisfied – Remain voters think they are doing badly by 60% to 10%, Leave voters think they are doing badly by 45% to 24%. Obviously the government haven’t really started the process of negotiating exit and haven’t said much beyond “Brexit means Brexit”, but these figures don’t suggest they are beginning with much public goodwill behind them.

Finally, among the commentariat the question of an early election has not gone away (and will probably keep on being asked for as long as the Conservatives have a small majority but large poll lead). 36% of people currently want an early election, 46% of people do not. The usual patterns with questions like this is that supporters of the governing party do not normally want an election (they are happy with the status quo), supporters of the main opposition party normally do want an election (as they hope the government would be kicked out). Interestingly this still holds true despite the perception that an early election would help the Conservatives: a solid majority of Labour supporters would like an early election, most Conservative supporters are opposed.

Full tabs are here

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Posted by Bridget Crawford

New Book Announcement: Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce

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Cambridge University Press has published a new book by Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) and Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex University, UK), Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce.  Here is the publisher’s description:

Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce fills a gap in the literature on discrimination and disadvantage suffered by women at work by focusing on the inadequacies of the current law and the need for a new holistic approach. Each stage of the working life cycle for women is examined with a critical consideration of how the law attempts to address the problems that inhibit women’s labour force participation. By using their model of lifetime disadvantage, the authors show how the law adopts an incremental and disjointed approach to resolving the challenges, and argue that a more holistic orientation towards eliminating women’s discrimination and disadvantage is required before true gender equality can be achieved. Using the concept of resilience from vulnerability theory, the authors advocate a reconfigured workplace that acknowledges yet transcends gender.

Thomas Jefferson has a nice press release here.

Feminist Law Professors

Friday's Unscientific Poll: Rosetta's Grand Finale

Friday, September 30th, 2016 01:48 pm
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
The Rosetta mission to Comet 67P came to an end today, with the orbital spacecraft landing on the surface of the comet and switching off.

Cartoon of Rosetta with its busted solar panels, clutching its Mission Achievements log. *sniff*

Cartoon of the Philae lander going to sleep forever on the comet's surface. *wibble*

Poll #17682 Rosetta's Grand Finale
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16

The saddest cartoon spacecraft image ever is:

View Answers

Rosetta with its busted solar panels, clutching its Mission Achievements log
6 (46.2%)

Philae going to sleep forever on the comet's surface
7 (53.8%)

I shed a tear over Rosetta's demise.

View Answers

Yes, I did. I'm not ashamed.
7 (46.7%)

That's cometary dust. Dust, I tell you.
5 (33.3%)

Yes, but that's a tear of rage because now the aliens will find our space junk and come to DESTROY US.
0 (0.0%)

I have no idea what you're talking about, but here, have a tissue.
4 (26.7%)

[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Teresa Jusino

We’re so excited that the Lynda Carter, A.K.A. the first live-action Wonder Woman, will be joining the cast of Supergirl when it returns for its second season on The CW. Yesterday, we got a glimpse of Carter filming her first scenes for her appearance, and in a recent interview, she said that when playing the role, she drew inspiration from another powerful woman: Hillary Clinton.

In an interview with Variety, she commended Clinton’s performance at the first Presidential debate, and connected it to her Supergirl role as the female President of the United States. “I used Hillary to prepare,” she said. “I saw the way she can be warm and funny and inviting and serious.”

But what Carter thinks makes Clinton a role model isn’t that she’s perfect, but how she handles her flaws. She says, “Hillary is much more human than Wonder Woman. She has flaws, but we are all flawed and we learn from our mistakes. I think she is a role model in the way she has paved the way for women.”

So are you, Ms. Carter. So are you.

Carter will first appear in the third episode of the upcoming season. Supergirl Season Two premieres October 10.

(via CBR.com)

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Posted by David Kravets

(credit: Christiaan Colen)

Remember the projected Y2K bug disaster? The world's computers would supposedly go haywire as the clock ticked to January 1, 2000, thus destroying the world and ensuing widespread panic. Didn't happen. Fast forward to today, however, and another doomsday scenario is afoot (albeit with much less fanfare).

If many politicians are to be believed, an Internet disaster is set to commence this Saturday. That's when a tiny branch of the US Commerce Department officially hands over its oversight of the Internet's "address book" or root zone—the highest level of the domain naming system (DNS) structure—to a nonprofit, a Los Angeles-based body called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Calling it an "Internet giveaway," many Republican lawmakers tried to block the changeover, a transition that is strongly supported by the President Barack Obama administration and by Internet giants like Facebook and Google.

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Twitch: Gaming needs to ‘invest’ to tackle sexism

Thursday, September 29th, 2016 02:04 pm
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Bosses from streaming site Twitch tell Newsbeat what they're doing to stop sexism in online gaming.

Sam Allardyce considering move into banking industry

Friday, September 30th, 2016 11:55 am
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Posted by Neil Tollfree

Sunderland-Fat-Sam-AllardyceDisgraced Ex-England Boss Sam Allardyce could take up a high-level position in one of several banks, it has been revealed.

Rosetta mission ends in comet collision

Friday, September 30th, 2016 11:24 am
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Europe’s Rosetta probe ends its mission to Comet 67P by crash-landing on to the icy object’s surface.
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Posted by Tom Mendelsohn

Mario, probably the most recognisable video game character in the world, is only 24 years old—according to the man who created him, Shigeru Miyamoto.

From his lustrous moustache, his generous gut, and the fact that British actor Bob Hoskins was 50 years old when he played him in the Super Mario Bros movie, Nintendo fans have generally assumed to have been of more middle-aged mien, but this is not at all the case.

In a Japanese interview from 2005 which was recently reposted by Nintendo, Miyamoto claimed that Mario's age is the only thing that's definite about the character.

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China starts streaming court trials

Friday, September 30th, 2016 10:17 am
[syndicated profile] bbc_technology_news_feed
China has begun streaming court proceedings in many parts of the country in an apparent show of transparency.

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