28 February, 2019

Will Smith on success not filling the holes in your heart

I took pretty much a year and a half off. In 2010, basically everything that I had ever dreamed of had come true and the hole was still there, you know? In 2010, it was "Whip My Hair" [Willow Smith's hit single] and The Karate Kid, and Jada and I had just hosted the Nobel concert, and Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and the only interview he did was with Jada and me. It was the best and the worst year of my life. It was everything that I had dreamed, and my family was battered by the conquest.

26 February, 2019

Gaga and Cooper

From Observer archives (2007): Dorothy Counts at Harding High, a story of pride, prejudice

As Sept. 4 approached, most students figured a black kid would never show up.
One might, though. And Marty and his buddies couldn’t stand it.
Now, 50 years later, he tries to explain. He takes a long look over the lake before he comes up with the words.
“The peer pressure was just unbelievable, “ he says. “I can understand why teenagers do what they do, because I felt it back then. You do things that, looking back, you can’t believe you did. All we knew was that she was different from us and we didn’t want her there.”

U.S. Cyber Command operation disrupted Internet access of Russian troll factory on day of 2018 midterms

The U.S. military blocked Internet access to an infamous Russian entity seeking to sow discord among Americans during the 2018 midterms, several U.S. officials said, a warning that the Kremlin’s operations against the United States are not cost-free. [...]
The operation marked the first muscle-flexing by U.S. Cyber Command, with intelligence from the National Security Agency, under new authorities it was granted by President Trump and Congress last year to bolster offensive capabilities. The president approved of the general operation to prevent Russian interference in the midterms, officials said.

19 February, 2019

A Mother Learns the Identity of Her Child’s Grandmother. A Sperm Bank Threatens to Sue.

Danielle Teuscher decided to give DNA tests as presents last Christmas to her father, close friends and 5-year-old daughter, joining the growing number of people taking advantage of low-cost, accessible genetic testing.
But the 23andMe test produced an unexpected result. Ms. Teuscher, 30, a nanny in Portland, Ore., said she unintentionally discovered the identity of the sperm donor she had used to conceive her young child.
The mother of the donor was identified on her daughter’s test results as her grandmother. Excited and curious, Ms. Teuscher decided to reach out.

18 February, 2019

N.C. congressional contest marred by voter fraud scheme: official

RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) - An investigation into a disputed 2018 congressional election in North Carolina has uncovered a “coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” to influence the vote’s outcome, a state election board official said on Monday.

Will You Listen To Us Now?

As you rebuild, consider the clear, repeated warnings of Scripture against pursuing this work without the influence and guidance of the wisdom of women. There are Abigails and EsthersDeborahs and JaelsProverbs 8 women all throughout your organization. They haven’t deserted you, even though they’ve been sorely tempted. 
Ask them for the help they’ve been gifted to give you. 
Ask them to be your allies in this battle, the allies they were created to be. 
And when you’ve commissioned them, listen to them when they speak.

13 February, 2019

TED’s Statement on the Termination of MacDonald

Seven years ago, we began to publicly air just a few of the stories that former elders and pastors had begun to share with us in private.  While they did not allow us to share many of these stories, we published accounts and documents about finances, power and control as a means of pointing to the much deeper issues that were swirling around MacDonald and Harvest.  As of the end of 2017, we felt that we had said all that we could to warn the people of Harvest about this toxic scenario.
Thankfully, in April of 2018, Julie Roys approached The Elephant’s Debt with a desire to continue her own research into this story.  As she proceeded to write, even amidst the pressures of ongoing litigation, her fresh approach inspired a new wave of witnesses, some of whom spoke with a previously unparalleled boldness.  We are thankful for these folks, particularly Matt Stowell, who spoke with a grace and wisdom that was so needed at that time.  Furthermore, we are also deeply indebted to Eric “Mancow” Muller, who grabbed the mic and took a risk by playing  a toxic, hot-mic audio of James MacDonald on WLS890AM talk radio.  Over the past several weeks, Mr. Muller has displayed a courage that is often profoundly lacking in the evangelical community; and we will always be appreciative of the true leadership he provided in this era.
We recognize that many people at Harvest Bible Chapel are hurting today.  And we are hoping and praying for better days ahead for your community.

I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter

The grief is consuming even now, and although it has no teeth or jaws, it still swallows me whole. It has derailed me countless times over the 12 years since her death. I am in bits. A part of me is still there wiping blood from white tile. I am a dead moth on the window sill. I am buried under so much dirt. And I am here in these words. I am immense.
I have three daughters now, and I love them with the sort of ferocity that can choke me sometimes. But I would be lying if I said I do not also grieve what was taken from me. I grieve the person I might have become if had not been a young victim, a young mother, forced into unimaginable circumstance, seeded by compounding traumas. Did that girl not also deserve mercy? Was her life any less important?
It should not have been this way.

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission

Opportunity, the longest-lived robot ever sent from Earth to the surface of another planet, roamed the red plains of Mars for more than 14 years, snapping photos and revealing astonishing glimpses into the planet’s distant past. But on Wednesday, NASA announced that the rover is dead.
“It is therefore that I am standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude that I declare the Opportunity mission as complete,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, said at a news conference.
The golf cart-size rover was designed to last only three months, but proved itself to be an unexpected endurance athlete. It traveled more than the distance of a marathon when less than half a mile would have counted as success.

12 February, 2019

The ugly -- and, yes, slightly gross -- truth of stadium bathrooms

Rawls began collecting data across Virginia on restroom habits at airports, shopping malls and arenas. After interviewing hundreds of subjects, she discovered that women generally required 180 seconds to use the restroom compared to 84 seconds for men. In the past, the discrepancy was either ignored, laughed off or blamed on excessive primping. Instead, Rawls found that they were serious issues, such as clothing restrictions, security, bags, pregnancy, menstruation and the increased frequency (compared to men) of having to accompany small children. Rawls' groundbreaking research exposed the way bathrooms were being used as a form of gender discrimination, especially in sports stadiums.

11 February, 2019

What are your thoughts on the anti-vaccination movement?

How many families do you personally know who've lost children between the ages 3 and 10 to a disease of any sort?
My mother is in her eighties. When she was growing up EVERYBODY knew a family that had lost a child to a disease. Most knew more than one family who had. Imagine the day-care, or school you take your child to. Think how often these children get sick. Now imagine that 1 in 20, so probably 1 or 2 out of every class, was going to die from one of these diseases before 4th grade.
People today, don't fear what they really should fear. There are wolves circling, all the time, for your children. All the time. Just because you haven't seen them in decades, doesn't mean they aren't out there still, hungrily circling, waiting for you to let your guard down.
Anti-vaxxers are letting their guard down. Unfortunately, the children the wolves are going to get aren't necessarily their children. The wolves will exploit any opening, and they don't care which child they take.
That's the strongest analogy I have. We finally found a way to keep the wolves at bay, but it required everyone in the community to guard against them. It's a simple thing to do. It's been made as easy as possible to guard against them, but still, some get lazy, or forgetful, or refuse to believe in the wolves, and then the wolves slip through and take a child.

The fundamental problem with Silicon Valley’s favorite growth strategy

There’s another point that Hoffman and Yeh fail to address. It matters what stories we tell ourselves about what success looks like. Blitzscaling can be used by any company, but it can encourage a particular kind of entrepreneur: hard-charging, willing to crash through barriers, and often ruthless.
We see the consequences of this selection bias in the history of the on-demand ride-hailing market. Why did Uber emerge the winner in the ride-hailing wars? Sunil Paul, the founder of Sidecar, was the visionary who came up with the idea of peer-to-peer taxi service provided by people using their own cars. Logan Green, the co-founder of Lyft, was the visionary who had set out to reinvent urban transportation by filling all the empty cars on the road. But Travis Kalanick, the co-founder and CEO of Uber, was the hyper-aggressive entrepreneur who raised money faster, broke the rules more aggressively, and cut the most corners in the race to the top.

10 February, 2019

Prominent Uyghur musician tortured to death in China’s re-education camp (unverified)

The world-famous Uyghur singer and musician Abdurehim Heyit who was detained and held without formal charge by Chinese government, has died on Saturday in detention at the age of 55, after enduring two years of brutal torture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
Heyit, reportedly had been arrested because of one of his songs called “Atilar”, or “Forefathers.”
He was being held without any charge in an ethnic cleansing political "re-education camp" in Urumqi since 2017.

Art, live on SNL

Space levity from Apollo 10

05 13 29 44 CDR Oh - Who did it?
05 13 29 _6 CMP Who did what? 
05.13 29 47 LMP What? 
05 13 29 4_ CDR Who did it? (Laughter)
05 13 29 51 LMP Where did that come from? 
05 13 29 52 CDR Give me a napkin quick. There's a turd floating through the air. 
05 13 29 55 CMP I didn't do it. It ain't one of mine. 
05 13 29 57 LMP I don't think it's one of mine. 
05 13 29 59 CDR Mine was a little more sticky than that. Throw that away. 
05 13 30 06 CMP God almighty. 
05 lB 30 08 SC (Laughter)

09 February, 2019

Apollo: Where are they now?

In retrospect, I was unbelievably lucky to grow up with an Apollo Module 1.5 miles away.


Command Module
Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia

More Wells Fargo workers allege retaliation for whistleblowing


More former Wells Fargo employees allege they were fired after they tried to blow the whistle on shady activity at the bank.

That's according to a new filing by Wells Fargo (WFC), which disclosed claims of "retaliation" by ex-employees.
Wells Fargo has been at the center of a number of scandals over the past year. This filing addresses two in particular -- when the bank forced thousands of customers into car insurance they didn't need, and when it wrongly charged homebuyers to lock in mortgage rates.

08 February, 2019

Outlawing Late Abortion Seemed Like Such a Reasonable Idea Until I Needed One Myself

In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I eagerly planned our family. I relished my pregnancy and, when the time came, wondered at my daughter and the deep power I had in her creation.
We tried again to grow our family, but experienced only miscarriage. Three in a row. By the time another baby finally took, the expansiveness and easy hope of my first pregnancy was stifled by bad luck.
The first trimester came and went, then the second. Still, I felt anxious. At 7 months, I tried to think positively. I picked up my knitting needles and began a tiny sweater for this next baby girl. I was working the final rows of that sweater at an ultrasound, which my midwife hoped would ease my relentless worry. When she saw me knitting, the doctor’s eyes welled with tears.

07 February, 2019

The United States has been indispensable to world peace.

At the same time, the United States has been indispensable to world peace. Since World War II, the entire planet has been enjoying it's single greatest period of international peace in human history. War and deaths from war are at all time lows. In 1600 everyone on the planet had a 25% chance of being killed in a war. Today, even in the worst world war zones on the planet -- Central Africa, Afghanistan and Syria -- that chance is still less than 1%. And those are worst individual conflict regions currently in existence. Averaged across the whole of the planet, you have a much greater chance of dying in a automobile accident than in the war.
In large measure that has been because of American political and military polices since 1945. The US military was made into a behemoth without rival on purpose. It's mere existence encouraged most nations to stop trying to build large militaries. To most of the Western Alliance went the added promise of American protection if it ever was required.
The United States also engaged political and economically with the rest of the world. The US helped to create and worked closely with the United Nations, European Union, NATO, NAFTA, G7 and G20, WTO, OAS, and later even with OPEC, the African Union and The Arab League. As well as with a large number of political and trade agreements with various nations outside those groups.... such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Mexico, etc.
This was done largely to make sure conflicts didn't start. The US would engage the political forces that groups could exert to prevent most military conflicts before they started.

01 February, 2019

One Lawyer, One Day, 194 Felony Cases


On April 27, 2017, Jack Talaska, a lawyer for the poor in Lafayette, La., had 194 felony cases....It is even harder to make the argument that the sheer size of lawyers’ caseloads makes it impossible for them to provide what the Constitution requires: a reasonably effective defense. That is partly because there has never been a reliable standard for how much time is enough.

Now, reformers are using data in a novel attempt to create such a standard. The studies they have produced so far, in four states, say that public defenders have two to almost five times as many cases as they should.